When you think of a mega menu, you likely think about big e-commerce sites such as Amazon or Walmart. However, any type of website can benefit from an expanded menu, especially if you cover several different areas or have various client types.
Good design basics indicate that the navigation menu should display all the main categories, but around 18 percent of websites do not. Users look to the nav bar to orient themselves to the site and quickly find what they’re looking for.
A mega menu allows you to put the main categories into your menu. You can create more under each main category to highlight subcategories and even sub-subcategories.
You might wonder how this applies to your manufacturer website. There are advantages to using mega menus for any type of site.
We’ll look at some of the pros in general, as well as specifically for manufacturing websites. Since it’s best to learn by example, we’ll also look at some successful expandable menus.
1] Improve User Experience
Have you ever visited a large site and been unsure where to find what you’re looking for? Unfortunately, search features don’t always work to narrow choices down enough.
However, a mega menu allows you to put the power in the hands of users. They can easily navigate to the exact product or service they need by choosing the appropriate category. Then, they can filter choices down until they get to what they need.
2] Choose the Right Main Categories
How do you choose which categories should be at the top of your mega menu? One thing you can do is select words based on the searches people perform on your site. However, you should also consider your most popular categories. The main listings should be broad enough to house a variety of products and services.
Stick to around five product/service listings so you also have room for a Home button and a Contact Us tab. It may be easier for many manufacturers to keep their categories to five or less since companies tend to specialize in what they do.
IBM shows its products and services but limits the number of main categories in the navigation bar. The nav bar offers Marketplace, Services, Industries, Developers and Support. There is also a search function to the far right. There are numerous subcategories listed under each main heading in mega menus for each topic.
3] Highlight Popular Products
One of the great things about a mega menu is that it gives you extra width for adding in features you wouldn’t have in a regular list. For example, you might add some bold text with a star to highlight special sales or popular product choices. Since you have room for additional subcategories, you can also feature deals and put arrows toward items you want to draw attention to.
4] Add Dimension With Images
Mega menus are a great place to utilize images to show the user the products you’re listing. Adding visual elements helps people see at a glance what they are looking for.
This works particularly well for industries where there may be some newer clients who aren’t quite sure what they need from you. While offering a toll-free number is a good start, some people just want to order online without having to talk to a sales representative.
Reading Truck Body does a good job adding images into its mega menu. For example, if you pull down the category tab for Products, you’ll see listings for service bodies, enclosed bodies and custom truck bodies. Above each subcategory is an image showing a custom outfitted truck body and then sub-subcategories under that listing.
5] Improve Website Layout
Adding a mega menu allows you to declutter and put the focus on the most important element on your page. About 38 percent of people stop engaging with a website if they feel the layout is unattractive.
Putting too much on a page is distracting. A mega menu lets you get down to the core of what you do and offer only a few options at first. As the user delves further into your site, they can then filter their choice down to the specific thing they need.
6] Meet User Expectations
When your site has several links, visitors expect a mega menu to help them navigate through the various options. If you feel users might expect a mega menu, you should definitely use one. Anything you can do that lets people acclimate to your site as quickly as possible improves the potential to turn them into customers.
Lockheed Martin does something interesting with its expandable menu by breaking what it does into three main categories: Capabilities, Enabling Technologies and Suppliers. Under each of those categories are subcategories such as Energy, Aircraft and Space. Each subcategory has its own separate landing page.
7] Include an Additional Call to Action
A mega menu gives you room to add an extra call to action (CTA) within your navigation. Add a link to sign up for a newsletter, get a special discount, or find more information on a product or service. Because you’ll have expanded space, you’ll even have room for a CTA button if needed.
8] Use Whitespace to Draw Attention
When you add whitespace to a page, the user’s attention is drawn to the elements on the page. A mega menu gives you more space to work with, but don’t just use it to cram in a bunch of extra stuff. Instead, use the area to draw the user’s attention to the purpose of your page.
If your main goal is signing visitors up for your newsletter, then keep navigation to a minimum and throw in a CTA for the newsletter subscription. Think about the purpose of your site and focus on that in your mega menu.
Is a Mega Menu Right for You?
There are both pros and cons to using mega menus. If your business is large enough to warrant multiple categories and options, then try an expandable one.
As with any change you make on your site, do some split testing to see how your particular visitors respond to the new features. With a bit of tweaking, your mega menu may result in more conversions and new customers.