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Instead of using category listing templates for a site that I am working on, I am using ajax for filtering, searching, and listing all blog posts on the blog page. However, I need to add all the categories to the navigation, and when I do that, the link is, as expected, the default archive page for that category (ie. /category/my-category). Is there a way to forward that to the blog page (ideally, it would be whatever page is set as the blog page through the settings; not a specific URL) with a query string containing the category slug (ie. /blog/?category=my-category)? Or is there a better solution that still allows for a user to add categories to a menu through the menu admin?

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Figured out the answer myself. Luckily, I had a lot of the requirements already set up and it was just a matter of piecing them together. I am using a custom nav walker, and the start_el function passes in an $item parameter that contains an object property, telling you what that nav item is (ie. a page, a custom link, or in our case, a category). I was able to use this information, along with a custom function I created for generating the category URL, to get the result I was looking for:

My_Nav_Walker.php

class My_Nav_Walker extends Walker_Nav_Menu {

    /* ... */

    function start_el(&$output, $item, $depth = 0, $args = array(), $id = 0) {
        /* ... */
        $attributes = !empty($item->attr_title) ? ' title="' . esc_attr($item->attr_title) . '"' : '';

        $url = $item->url;

        if($item->object == "category") {
            $category = get_category($item->object_id);
            $url = get_category_url($category->slug);
        }

        $attributes .= !empty($url) ? ' href="' . esc_attr($url) . '"' : '';

        /* ... */

    }

    /* ... */
}

Custom Category URL Function

function get_category_url($category_slug) {
    return get_post_type_archive_link( 'post' ) . '?category=' . $category;
}

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