Of the things that users expect when they are on a website, navigation menus are the most important. It’s hard to imagine a website without them.
A website menu is made up of a collection of links. These links are road signs that make it possible to navigate and interact with a website. They guide users from one page to another and lead them to the information contained within the website.
A well thought out, organized, and easy-to-follow menu significantly enhances the experience of visitors to your website. It arranges and displays content in a way that is easy to follow.
In this article, I will introduce you to different categories of navigation menus for WordPress available from CodeCanyon.
Why Use a WordPress Menu Plugin?
Building a navigation menu for your WordPress website from scratch requires a lot of thought, time, and planning. This is where menu plugins come in. They are perfect for developers with too many projects and very little time—and they're also perfect for people with no coding knowledge.
Keep in mind that websites are not static entities. They grow as your business grows. They evolve as technology evolves. Navigation menus also are constantly improving to keep up with changes in technology.
When you’re running a business, it’s hard to keep up with constant changes in technology. Developers keep up with these changes and make sure their plugins are up-to-date.
What Is a WordPress Menu Plugin?
A WordPress menu plugin allows you to create menus—whether simple or complex—for your website quickly and easily. The code and features have already been implemented for you. You just have to customize them to fit your unique brand.
CodeCanyon has the latest, cutting-edge WordPress menu plugins for you to choose from.
What Kind of Menu Should You Use?
The question of what menu is suitable for your needs comes down to the simplicity or complexity of your business and your website.
- What specific purpose will your website serve?
- How do you want to organize content on your website in order to reach your audience?
For example, if you’re running an online business that sells thousands of products that are organized into hundreds of categories and sub-categories, your menu will be complex. In this case, a mega menu might be more suited to your needs.
If you’re running a subscription-based website with multiple levels of membership, where access to content depends on what level of membership users pay for, then your choice of menu will have to be able to adapt to the different membership levels of each user.
But no matter how simple or complex your website is, ultimately your goal should be to make navigation super easy for your visitors so they can find the information they need without jumping through hoops. Otherwise, you lose them and they’re never coming back.
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How to Choose a Menu Plugin
WordPress navigation menu plugins from CodeCanyon are highly affordable and easy to use. All you need to do is download the script and install it on your website.
They offer a variety of easy-to-use templates you can choose from in order to build your navigation menu. Things to consider when choosing a menu plugin include:
- Ease of use: The plugin should be easy for you to set up and use. It should also be easy for your visitors to use.
- Easy Customization: No coding knowledge should be required for customization like changing the layout, changing colors, adding images, or uploading a logo. You should be able to do everything from your dashboard, without coding knowledge.
- Responsiveness: Keep in mind, 70% of traffic now comes from mobile phones and tablets. The ability to scale to all devices—desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones—is a no-brainer.
- Cross-Browser Compatibility: Not all visitors to your website use Google Chrome or Firefox.
- Security: How are system vulnerabilities that occur when using the plugin addressed? Are there regular updates?
When comparing different plugins in order to decide which one best suits your needs:
- Look at the number of downloads. This is proof of the popularity of the plugin.
- Reviews by other users are proof of the reliability of the plugin.
- Do the reviews mention the kind of support previous users have had from the developer? This is proof of the reliability of the developer should you need technical support.
A Guide to Planning a Good Menu
Always plan in advance what information you want to have on the menu. A sitemap is the best way to do this.
Naming Top-Level Menu Categories
A menu is divided into navigation bars. Each bar represents a particular category.
How you name these categories is very important. Avoid generic words like ‘tools’ or ‘resources’. Use clear names like ‘running shoes’, ‘blog’, or ‘new arrivals’. Specific, concise, clear, descriptive naming avoids confusion. It allows users to quickly and easily get to information about your business, services, and products.
Keep in mind that clearly named menu categories also make it easy for search engines to navigate your website!
Menu placement on your website should be consistent—in the same position on all pages. This makes it easy for users to pay attention and visually process the information you provide.
Place the most important items at the beginning and the end of the navigation bar. Keep the number of categories to seven or less to prevent clutter.
Interaction With Menu Items
Make your menu items clickable. Make your logo clickable. Your clickable logo should take users to the home page.
Creating a Navigation Flow
Finally, use your website UI to clearly guide users to the next item: the next page, next product, or next post; a call to action like "buy this product" or "sign up for the newsletter"; or a list of related content like other posts.
Types of WordPress Website Menus Available on Code Canyon
WordPress menus include types like mega menus, dropdown menus, sidebar menus, vertical menus, horizontal menus, sub-menus, icon menus, and more.
Mega menus are ideal for sites that manage huge amounts of content, thousands of products, or complex services. A mega menu is a dropdown menu triggered by hovering over a link or defined area. All the options are visible at once, laid out horizontally as well as vertically.
These plugins are designed and built with smartphone usability in mind.
- Touchy—WordPress Mobile Menu Plugin
- TapTap—Super Customizable Mobile Menu
- Tactile—WordPress Mobile Menu
- Morph: Flyout Mobile Menu for WordPress
- 8 Degree: Flyout Menu for WordPress
Floating Menus (Sticky Menus)
Floating menus—also known as sticky menus—stay in a fixed position when you scroll the page. When you scroll, floating menus seem to float on top of the page.
These menus work best on mobile devices. They are symbolized by three horizontal lines, one on top of another. When you tap on these lines, a menu appears. The following plugins will help you create a hamburger menu.
Try this plugin if you’re considering placing navigation menus vertically on the left side of your website instead of horizontally at the top of the website.
- Horizon—Menu Bar Plugin for WordPress
- Jumbo 3-in-1 Fullscreen Menu for WordPress
Dropdown Cart for WooCommerce
Tabs and Accordions
Accordions are the perfect solution when you have a huge amount of information but very limited space on the page. They squeeze large amounts of information into limited spaces on your website. A frequently asked questions (FAQ) page is a good example.
Tabs make it easier for visitors to see a huge amount of content without being overwhelmed with all of it on a single page.
- WooCommerce Category Accordion
- WooCommerce Tabs Pro
- Side Tabs—Layered Popups Addon
- WP Responsive FAQ with Category
- Grid Accordion
- Responsive Searchable 3 Level Accordion
These items don't fit into any other category, but they're great plugins so I wanted to share them here!
I hope this overview of WordPress navigation menus available on CodeCanyon will lead to the best menu plugin for your WordPress website.
If you want to explore more, then check out these articles and tutorials for WordPress navigation. They’ve been a great source of help in putting together this article.