Is there anything more frustrating than visiting a website and not knowing where to find the content you want?
...Yes, probably. Still, poor navigation can be the Achilles heel of an otherwise quality website. 94% of web users report that easy navigation is the most useful feature of a website. If your website lacks this, that’s enough to send someone to a competing site with better UX.
In many cases, a simple, well-designed menu provides enough guidance for users. But for websites with many pages and heaps of content, a simple dropdown isn’t enough — enter mega menus.
A mega menu is a type of menu that contains many options presented in a dropdown or flyout format, for example:
Mega menus are used on large websites (think online stores and corporate sites) to help visitors located their desired content quickly. A mega menu may also contain other types of content, like a search bar, images or videos, and/or interactive elements.
While WordPress allows you to build basic menus, negotiating its tool can be challenging as your menu sizes grow. That’s why we’ve compiled 11 of the best free and premium WordPress plugins for configuring and adding mega menus to your website.
By expediting your build and helping users get around, these plugins make everyone’s lives just a bit easier, so let’s get started.
With over 300,000 active installations to date, Max Mega Menu is the leading mega menu plugin from the WordPress plugin directory and the go-to for many admins. The free version of this plugin integrates with the native WordPress menu builder, letting you add a flyout or mega menu to your website.
Max Mega Menu can convert your existing menus into mega menus, or you can build from scratch. It also lets you style the transitions between menu items, add icons and widgets to your menus, and implement keyboard navigation for better accessibility.
If you upgrade to Max Mega Menu Pro, starting at $29), you’ll also get more menu types (like tabbed, vertical, and accordion), access to custom icons, a search box, and WooCommerce integration.
UberMenu is another popular selection among WordPress users — it's a premium plugin used for adding responsive mega menus and flyout menus to any WordPress site, and lets you control transitions, fonts, menu orientation (vertical or horizontal), and background color as well.
On top of being highly customizable, UberMenu comes with an admin dashboard where you can control all of its options. Also inside the dashboard, you can configure the width of each column, add widgets, shortcodes, and custom HTML to your menus, and view your changes in live preview mode.
If you’re looking for a quality free mega menu option, try the WP Mega Menu plugin from Themeum. This plugin includes functionality usually only found in paid options, like letting you place a logo, search bar, and/or background image inside your mega menu. You can even create menu themes and save them to apply across multiple menus.
WP Mega Menu is built on a drag-and-drop interface to quickly create user-friendly navigation. You’ll also have access to Google Fonts, Font Awesome Icons, and social icons, and all menus are mobile-friendly.
Fans of the Elementor page builder might already know about the popular ElementsKit plugin — it offers a huge library of Elementor-friendly custom modules, including a header and footer builder, a logo widget, parallax scrolling, a countdown timer widget, and a mega menu builder.
ElementKit’s mega menu builder enables users to build menus without disrupting your workflow, as you don’t have to leave the Elementor builder to put one on your site. Add menu items by dragging and dropping, and take advantage of the light and dark menu appearances and two mobile menu layouts.
Fly menus are a new trend in the web design arena. This type of menu is hidden on page load. When the user clicks or hovers over a menu icon (commonly a hamburger button), the menu enters from the side and grabs their attention. The Superfly plugin lets you add such a menu to your WordPress site with ease. Fly menus are especially useful on mobile screens where space is limited but good navigation is crucial.
With a bit of adjustment, you can use the Superfly plugin to construct a mega menu with all your important website links in one place. Styling is completely up to you — you control the transition effects, add icons to menu items, and select the background color, texture, image, or video for your menu.
Mega Main Menu is a simple but effective tool for implementing a mega menu, providing everything you need for one and nothing that you don’t. Mega Main Menu comes with over 10 layout options for dropdown menus, and you can place links, images, and widgets inside them. It also offers unlimited color options, over 1600 vector icons, a sticky menu setting (i.e. the menu stays onscreen as users scroll), and access to Google fonts.
Another quality premium option, Hero Menu from Hero Plugins has one of the best builder interfaces we’ve seen from a WordPress menu plugin. Menu items are placed with the drag-and-drop method and are color-coded in the builder. This way, it’s easy to see the hierarchy of your items. Any special menu items you need to place — a logo, search bar, or icon — can be activated with a click.
Hero Menu also offers multiple menu styles to choose from, and 60 preset color combinations to save you time. Menus are mobile responsive and WooCommerce-friendly. Finally, Hero Menu has been tested with popular WordPress themes like Divi and Avada.
WP Mega Menu Pro (unaffiliated with the WP Mega Menu plugin above) lets WordPress admins pick from 10 templates when designing their menus, along with 14 beautifully designed menu skins. Menus can be created in both horizontal and vertical orientations.
One additional perk of this straightforward plugin is the ability to limit the visibility of menu items by user role. A user with the Editor status will likely need access to more options than someone under the Subscriber role on your site. With WP Mega Menu Pro, you can restrict access to these items accordingly, so users only see what they can access.
The final mega menu builder on our list, Sky Mega Menu is a cheap way to make a basic but professional menu for your homepage. It comes with three mobile-responsive layouts, nine different color schemes, and a library of 361 icons. You can also make your menus fixed or sticky and add input forms for search, login, and registration.
For those who prefer to stick with the native WordPress menu builder interface, the Menu Management Enhancer adds some additional features that improve the building experience: It lets users expand and collapse large clusters of menu items, jump between menu items without the need to scroll, and move entire item trees.
Note that Menu Management Enhancer won’t change the appearance of your menus for visitors — it’s meant to improve your building experience inside WordPress.
Even if you run a content-heavy WordPress website, users shouldn’t have to spend minutes finding the right page, and you shouldn’t need to spend hours custom-coding your navigation.
Instead, try any of the options above. The right WordPress plugin can help produce a mega menu that helps visitors meet their goals on your site, whether it be locating a product, blog post, or contact form. By putting care into your user experience, you’ll save users time and clicks, and earn yourself more conversions and customers.
Originally published Nov 20, 2020 7:00:00 AM, updated November 20 2020