How to Add a Mega Menu to WordPress (+5 Best Plugins)

Menus play an important role in your website’s design and functionality. They help visitors navigate between your pages and can improve overall usability. Still, when you have a lot of content, figuring out how to display it without it looking crowded or chaotic can be challenging.

That’s where mega menus come in. A WordPress mega menu can give your website a more professional appearance and help people find the content they’re looking for more easily. Plus, there are multiple methods you can use to add one to your website.

In this post, we’ll explain what a mega menu is and the benefits of using one in WordPress. Then we’ll walk you through your options for creating one and explore five of the best mega menu plugin options.

What is a mega menu in WordPress?

Your WordPress menu is the structure you use to organize and display your website’s pages. It’s usually at the top of the site — though it can also be on the side or shown in another unique way.

To access the built-in menu system, you can start by logging into your WordPress site. Then, from your admin dashboard, navigate to Appearance → Menus

creating a menu in WordPress

By default, WordPress uses standard menus, which show a list of pages, sometimes with one-column dropdowns. There’s no additional information or content like images, descriptions, etc. — it’s just a series of lists. It’s typically pretty simple and straightforward, but does limit you when it comes to the number of pages or volume or information you can include. Here’s an example from WooCommerce:

WooCommerce website with a standard dropdown menu

A mega menu is a type of drop-down menu that allows users to access a large amount of content in one place. Mega menus are often used on eCommerce websites and are becoming increasingly popular on other types as well. You can see an example on the Nalgene site, which showcases product photos, sliders, and other content in more of a horizontal style:

mega menu example on Nalgene's site

The key difference is that a mega menu typically has multiple columns of content, whereas a traditional drop-down menu only has one column. This allows for a much more robust and comprehensive menu, which can be especially helpful on websites with a lot of information.

Why use a mega menu in WordPress?

One of the benefits of using a mega menu is that it can reduce the number of clicks needed to navigate to a particular piece of content. This is great for visitors who are looking for something specific on your website, but it also improves the user experience for first-time visitors by helping them explore your site more efficiently. 

Mega menus can also be used to improve the look and feel of your website and even promote specific content or encourage the actions you want visitors to take. Plus, they’re highly customizable — so they can play off the rest of your brand to provide a seamless, visually-appealing experience.

How to create a WordPress mega menu

There are a couple of different ways to create a mega menu in WordPress. One option is to do it manually, by adding custom code. The other (quicker and easier) option is to use a plugin. Let’s take a look at how to add a mega menu to WordPress using both of these methods. 

Creating a mega menu manually (without a plugin)

If you’re comfortable working with your site files, this can be a good option for creating something highly unique.

Before doing this, it’s important to back up your WordPress site. You might also consider creating a staging site to build and test your mega menu before pushing it live. This will help you avoid any issues that break functionality on your live site. 

First, browse to AppearanceMenus in your WordPress dashboard and name your menu. 

creating a new menu in WordPress

Click on the Create Menu button. Drag and drop the pages you want to include in the mega menu, indenting them as submenus where necessary.

adding pages to the mega menu

When you’re done, you can select Save Menu.

Next, navigate to your cPanel’s File Manager or use a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) client to connect to your website’s files. Find your theme’s stylesheet by going to /wp-content → /themes → /your-theme-or-child-theme → /style.css. At the bottom, add the following line of code:

.main-navigation ul:hover li ul,
.main-navigation ul:hover li ul li ul {
    display: inherit;
}

This will make your sub-menu items appear when someone hovers over a top-level item. Now, we’ll customize the code to make it a little more visually appealing, ensuring that each sub-level item displays in full-width, with sections of items appearing next to one another. Add this code:

.main-navigation {
    position: relative;
}
.main-navigation li {
    position: static;
}
.main-navigation ul li:hover ul {
    display: inherit;
    position: absolute;
    left: 0;
    right: 0;
    width: 100%;
}
.main-navigation ul li:hover ul li ul {
    display: inherit;
    position: relative;
    left: 0;
}
.main-navigation ul li:hover ul li {
    float: left;
    position: static;
    display: block;
    padding-top: 1em;
}
.main-navigation ul li:hover ul li ul li {
    float: none;
    padding-top: 0;
}

You can then play with the styling to make it look the way you want, in line with your brand and the rest of your site. For example, you might want to switch out the background color of your mega menu or bold certain items. You might also want to adjust column spacing or add extra elements like photos. If you’re a developer or have a degree of code experience, you can craft your mega menu to look however you’d like!

Want a more in-depth guide? Tuts+ offers a full walkthrough.

Another option to create a mega menu without a plugin is to check your theme’s built-in options. Some, like the Hestia theme, include mega menu options by default. This isn’t always the case, though. 

Creating a mega menu with a WordPress plugin

If you’re not comfortable editing your site files or your theme doesn’t offer built-in mega menu options, another method you can use to create a mega menu in WordPress is with a plugin. There are plenty of options available, which we’ll discuss in the next section.

While this is a safer option than creating one manually, you should still back up your WordPress site before making any changes. 

The specific features and functionality of the plugin will vary depending on which tool you decide to use. But overall, the concept will be the same.

We’ll use Max Mega Menu as an example. To get started, you can install and activate the plugin on your WordPress website.

Next, you’ll need to enable the mega menu functionality by navigating to AppearanceMenus. You can choose the desired location for your menu, then click on the box next to Enable.

creating a mega menu with a plugin

Save your changes when you’re done. To customize your mega menu appearance and settings, you can go to Mega Menu Menu Themes.

customizing the look of the mega menu

Here, you’ll find a variety of options for styling the menu. You can modify the menu type as well as the appearance and functionality of it. 

Five best WordPress mega menu plugins

If you decide that you want to use a mega menu WordPress plugin, there are plenty of options to choose from. As you’re researching them, it’s important to consider the specific features you’re looking for as well as your budget. With that in mind, let’s take a detailed look at five of the best WordPress mega menu plugins.

1. Max Mega Menu

Max Mega Menu plugin homepage

Max Mega Menu is an incredibly popular plugin that lets you easily add high-quality, customizable menus to your WordPress site. It includes a drag-and-drop builder that’s easy to use. It also supports multiple mega menus for various locations across your site. 

Key features of Max Mega Menu:

  • Multiple, individually configurable menu locations
  • A grid layout builder 
  • Menu hover and transition options
  • A drag-and-drop builder
  • Shortcodes
  • Menu item icons
  • A search box
  • Menu logos

Pros of Max Mega Menu:

  • There are free and premium options available.
  • It’s lightweight, with clean code.
  • It includes support for WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads.
  • You can place mega menus in multiple locations.
  • The widgets let you add maps, contact forms, and more.
  • You can also build mega menus from scratch or use your existing menus.
  • Keyboard navigation makes for better accessibility.

Cons of Max Mega Menu:

  • Advanced customization options are only available with a pro license.
  • There’s no free trial for premium plans.

Ease of use:

Max Mega Menu is very easy to use. It automatically converts existing menus into mega menus. It has a user-friendly interface that’s simple to navigate. A pro license also includes updates and priority support.

Pricing:

Max Mega Menu offers a free version with limited customization options. Pro plans with advanced features start at $29 for a single site license. This also includes a year of support. 

2. QuadMenu

QuadMenu plugin homepage

QuadMenu is another popular mega menu plugin that’s easy to use regardless of your experience level. The flexible tool includes an intuitive drag-and-drop builder and a wide variety of styling and customization options for building menus and submenus for WordPress. 

Key features of QuadMenu:

  • A drag-and-drop builder
  • Multiple menu locations
  • Off-canvas, sticky, and vertical menus
  • Options for aligning links
  • Float dropdown menus
  • Font Awesome icons and Google Fonts
  • Dropdown animations
  • A variety of filters
  • Display widgets

Pros of QuadMenu:

  • There’s both a free and premium version.
  • It’s suitable for beginners and developers.
  • It supports child themes.
  • There’s automatic and manual menu integration.
  • It’s intuitive and easy to use.
  • There are tab and carousel menus available with the pro version.

Cons of QuadMenu:

  • Advanced styling options require a pro license.
  • There are limited live preview options.

Ease of use:

QuadMenu is suitable for both beginners and developers. The drag-and-drop builder makes creating and customizing your mega menus quick and easy. 

Pricing:

QuadMenu has a free version. Pro licenses are available starting at $30 for a single site. 

3. UberMenu

UberMenu plugin homepage

If you’re looking for a premium mega menu builder, UberMenu is worth checking out. This powerful, feature-rich tool uses a sophisticated grid system that lets you quickly build a professional-looking mega menu. 

Key features of UberMenu:

  • A unique grid system
  • More than 50 style settings
  • Dynamic item generation
  • Submenus based on posts, categories, and more
  • The option to add tabs within menus
  • Touch-enabled menus
  • Dropdown CSS3 transitions
  • Multiple menu triggers (hover, hover intent, and click)
  • Various menu locations
  • Flexible layouts

Pros of UberMenu:

  • It’s widely used and highly rated among WordPress site owners.
  • There are options to add custom HTML, shortcodes, and widgets.
  • It uses the native WordPress Customizer interface.
  • There are unlimited menu themes.

Cons of UberMenu:

  • There’s only a premium version available.
  • Depending on your theme, it may not be the best option if you don’t have CSS/PHP programming skills.

Ease of use:

Using UberMenu will likely be a breeze for experienced WordPress users because the interface is built on the native Customizer. You can view real-time previews of your menu as you build it. For WordPress beginners, though, this might be more difficult to navigate than an intuitive drag-and-drop builder interface.

Pricing:

An UberMenu license for a single site costs $26. This includes six months of developer support.

4. ElementsKit 

ElementsKit plugin page

If you’re familiar with and use the Elementor page builder, ElementsKit is an excellent mega menu plugin to consider. The tool includes an expansive library of custom modules, featuring a header and footer builder.

Key features of ElementsKit:

  • A live content interface
  • A custom module library
  • A header and footer builder
  • Parallax scrolling
  • Over 200 pre-designed page templates
  • A countdown timer widget
  • Dropdown animations
  • Off canvas, sticky, and vertical menus
  • Font Awesome icons
  • Light and dark themes
  • Two mobile menu layouts
  • Custom CSS

Pros of ElementsKit:

  • It fully integrates with the Elementor page builder.
  • It includes drag and drop functionality.
  • It’s beginner and user-friendly.
  • It has customizations for icon and badge text colors.
  • It has built-in WooCommerce features.
  • It offers advanced mega menu options.

Cons of ElementsKit:

  • It’s not ideal unless you use the Elementor page builder.
  • It can be overwhelming if you’re only looking for a mega menu builder tool.

Ease of use:

ElementKits is a straightforward, versatile tool. If you’re not familiar with Elementor, the interface may take some getting used to. Although, if you already use the page builder plugin, you’ll likely get the hang of this add-on in no time.

Pricing:

ElementsKit offers a free version. Premium licenses start at $39 per year for a single site.

5. WP Mega Menu

WP Mega Menu plugin homepage

If you’re looking for a simple and straightforward freemium tool to build mega menus in WordPress, WP Mega Menu is another solid option. This plugin is easy to use and provides all the basic features and functions needed to build a quality mega menu for a wide variety of sites. For a free tool, it also comes with an impressive set of options for customization and styling.

Key features of WP Mega Menu:

  • Intuitive navigation
  • A drag-and-drop interface
  • The option to create and save menu themes
  • Logo, search bar, and background images
  • Google Fonts and Font Awesome icons
  • Social icons
  • Menu labeling

Pros of WP Mega Menu:

  • It’s completely free to download and use, with a pro upgrade available.
  • It’s easy to navigate and use.
  • It has features that other plugins only include in premium versions.
  • It has the option to create and save menu themes to use across multiple websites.

Cons of WP Mega Menu:

  • It lacks tools designed for developers compared to other plugin options.
  • There’s no sticky or off-canvas options with the free version.

Ease of use:

WP Mega Menu is a beginner-friendly plugin with lots of options. It comes with an intuitive interface that’s easy to understand and navigate. 

Pricing

WP Mega Menu is free. But it also offers Premium plans starting at $29 per year for a single license. 

Comparison of the top mega menu plugins for WordPress

Max Mega MenuQuadMenuUberMenuElementsKitWP Mega Menu
Drag & DropYesYesNoYesYes
IconsYesYesWith extensionYesYes
WidgetsYesYesYesYesYes
StickyPremiumYesWith extensionPremiumNo
VerticalPremiumYesYesYesPremium
Off-CanvasYesYesNoYesNo
Google Fonts/Font AwesomePremiumYesYesYesYes
Transitions/AnimationsYesYesYesPremiumPremium
PricingFree; $29 per yearFree; $30 for one site$26 per yearFree; $39 per yearFree; $29 per year

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about mega menus

At this point, hopefully, you have a solid understanding of how to create and add a mega menu in WordPress. But let’s take a moment to wrap up with some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). 

Can I add images and icons to a WordPress mega menu?

Yes, you can add images and icons to a WordPress mega menu. Some plugins come with built-in support for this. Alternatively, you can also add images and icons by editing your website’s code.

Can I add a mega menu to my WordPress sidebar?

Yes, you can add a mega menu to your WordPress sidebar. There are a few different plugins that you can use to add a mega menu to your sidebar. Most plugins that let you display menus as widgets will also let you add them to your sidebar. 

Start customizing your WordPress menus

Menus play an essential role in your website’s design and functionality because they can be used to improve the look and feel of any site. So, if you have a large WordPress website with a lot of content and pages, you might want to consider adding a mega menu. 

As we discussed in this post, there are three main methods you can use to create a mega menu in WordPress. One is to use your theme’s options for adding a mega menu. The second is to code one manually. If neither of those are possible, or if you just want to save some time, you can try out a mega menu plugin like Max Mega Menu, QuadMenu, or ElementsKit.

Do you want to further enhance the performance of your WordPress site? In addition to providing easy, automatic backups and other WordPress security features, Jetpack can help boost the speed and UX of your site!

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Simon Keating profile
Simon Keating

Simon has worked in marketing and product development for over 10 years, previously at HubSpot, Workday, and now Automattic (Jetpack). He has a varied education, with a degree in chemical engineering and a masters in computer science to his name. His passion is helping people and their businesses grow.

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