Short answer: If you have a big site with quite a few categories and/or tags you CAN have a mega menu. No, if you have fewer categories and tags.
I use a mega menu on one niche site. It’s not Fat Stacks. For the rest of my 19 sites, I don’t bother using a mega menu because it’s not necessary.
My biggest niche site has 20 categories, 200 tags and over 9,500 published articles. It warrants a mega menu. It’s a broad niche site with an absolute ton of content.
My second largest site as of today has 999 published articles, 4 categories and 47 tags. The traditional drop-down menu works just fine.
What is a mega menu and what does it do?
A mega menu offers a wide array of navigation links for visitors. It offers multiple drop down columns so that each parent menu link can conveniently and easy to browse 20+ link options within an website. They’re most noticeable on desktop although they work just fine on mobile devices.
Check out the Fat Stacks menu above. It’s NOT a mega menu. Each option either has no drop-down option or if it does drop down, it’s just one column.
Mega menus are common on e-commerce stores with many categories. Here’s an example of a mega menu from Zappos.com:
Notice in the above Zappos screenshot the columns of options from one drop-down parent menu item (in this case “Men”)? That’s the hallmark of a mega menu.
Contrast the above with a regular dropdown menu as shown below:
If a site is huge, SHOULD it have a mega menu?
Not necessarily. You can have a site with 30,000 articles but they all fit nicely within a few categories. There’s no need for a mega menu in that case.
Likewise, a site with 400 articles can have a mega menu if it offers broad topic selection or you have key pages you’d like to direct visitors to.
Each site is unique with respect to size, breadth and your objective with where you’d like to direct visitors. If a mega menu better achieves your objective, then by all means use a mega menu?
Is a mega menu bad for blogs?
No, not at all. I suspect there are some mega menu plugins that slow down sites because of how they’re coded but if you use a good mega menu; specifically one built into a speed-focused theme, it’s not bad for your site at all.
Doesn’t a mega menu result in too many links on a page?
Haha, years ago a Google spokesperson by the name of Matt Cutts mentioned that a web page should probably not have more than 100 links. That threw the SEO community into a tizzy. SEOs started counting the number of links on pages. Website footers, menus and sidebars across the Web changed significantly that day.
Some time after that, the 100 links per page guideline changed. Matt Cutts confirmed that change in his video here.
Which mega menu plugin or theme do I use?
Before getting into specifics, you should know I use the WordPress blogging platform for all my sites. The following recommendations are based on WordPress. If you use Shopify or Wix, you’ll have to investigate your mega menu options with these platforms; I’m not familiar with those platforms at all.
I use the mega menu that comes with Astra Theme via the Astra Pro plugin. It’s very easy to use and set up. It doesn’t slow down my site. It works great on all devices.
This article by Astra steps you through setting up their mega menu.
Another one I would have no problem using is the Ultimate Menu addon available with the Kadence Theme Pro Addon. I like Kadence theme quite a bit. Because the mega menu is native to the Kadence theme, it works seamlessly and doesn’t slow down your site.
This article by Kadence steps you through setting up their mega menu.
Are there any other mega menu options that are good?
Probably, but I’ve not tried them so I can’t comment on them. I prefer features like mega menus to be built into a theme or offered as an addon because it’s native and seamless with the theme.
Can you link to both archive and individual posts in a mega menu?
You bet. I do. I link to some cornerstone articles. I linke to category archives. I link to email sign up landers. I link to tag archives. I create links in my mega menu to where I think it helps visitors and to also meet some of my blog objectives such as email sign-ups and visiting high-earning blog posts.
Can you add other information in mega menus?
It depends on the mega menu. One very cool mega menu is by Kadence theme. You can add all kinds of info to it such as maps, a contact form, etc. Check it out:
While I don’t use fancy stuff like the example above, if you have a local business website, that type of mega menu could come in very handy.
Don’t overthink this stuff
If you run blogs and niche sites like I do which is mostly informational content going after traffic and ad revenue, don’t overthink this stuff. I don’t. At some point, you’ll have a site that is pulling in some serious traffic at which point then it’s worth testing various features such as mega menus but if your site is smaller and in early growth stages, focus on traffic.
Over the years I’ve learned that minor tweaks such as mega menus, table of contents, various sidebar features etc. really don’t make all that much of an impact on traffic, time-on-site and revenue. They can help but don’t expect miracles. Miracles result from lots of good content targeting good keywords.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.