“These themes are hand-picked for their outstanding design quality, features, and customer reviews.”
Prefer vertical menus over horizontal?
Vertical menus are much less common than typical header designs, but there are still tons of great options.
Every theme here has a sidebar menu, and they each suit different niches. You’ll find a theme for your site here, whether it’s for photography, eCommerce, or blogging.
Only the most customizable and attractive themes with vertical menus have been included below, so make sure to give each demo site a look.
You might also like our collection of WordPress menu plugins.
Vertical menu WordPress themes
With new updates coming out for WordPress all the time, the themes must remain up-to-date. Each of these templates has a track record of consistent attention from the developers and works great with the latest WordPress release.
Here are my top picks for best vertical menu WordPress themes for 2021.
1. Author by Compete Themes
I can’t make this list without first mentioning our theme, Author.
Author is a minimalist theme designed with a left sidebar menu. It’s great for blogs and other websites with lots of written content. The layout was styled based on the Van de Graaf canon, an ancient approach to creating optimal text layouts in books. Elements of this design have been brought onto the web with the Author theme.
This WordPress theme for writers is also completely free. You can install it directly from your dashboard by searching for “author” in the Appearance menu. Installation takes just a few seconds, and you’ll be ready to customize. You can follow the Author Getting Started Guide to personalize your site exactly how you want it.
2. Kreativa by Imaginem (Themeforest)
If you’re a photographer, check out the Kreativa theme. It has gorgeous full-screen image backgrounds and a slick, semi-transparent vertical menu.
Navigating through the demo site, you’ll be amazed by how many different layouts are available. There are 10 different portfolio designs and many more gallery styles available too. You’ll have no problems featuring your photos exactly how you want with this premium WordPress theme.
On top of the simple yet excellent design, Kreativa has many practical features for photographers. For instance, there is a built-in photo proofing and client management system. This WordPress theme goes above and beyond a great design for showcasing your images. You can also promote events on the site and even sell digital and physical products thanks to the WooCommerce integration.
3. Vertikal by ThemeWisdom (Themeforest)
The Vertikal theme has a cool style that businesses and tech bloggers will appreciate. The simple color palette is fully customizable but looks great with the default blue accents.
Of course, you’ll be happy to see that Vertikal has a vertical menu featured prominently on the left side of the site. While it looks like it may be static from the screenshot above, it actually stays fixed on the screen and follows you as you scroll down the site. This is a nice touch because visitors can always access the menu to navigate to new pages.
The rest of the site has a boxed style that makes it very easy to see all of the content available. More modern designs tend to use full-screen layouts, but personally, I appreciate how easy it is to scan the content of a boxed layout.
Vertikal has loads of pre-made skins and other customizations that I haven’t even mentioned yet. Check it out on Themeforest to see what else this vertical menu theme is capable of.
4. Divi by Elegant Themes
Divi has hundreds of layout packs available for import and can be used to create any style you can imagine. Switching from a regular header to a vertical side menu is effortless. There’s a checkbox in the settings you can click to switch to this style of navigation automatically.
Divi comes with the Divi Builder plugin, which gives you a drag-and-drop page builder to make your site. You can create reusable templates for your posts and archives and make entirely custom pages for your homepage and landing pages.
Divi customers also get an email list building plugin called Bloom, and a social media button plugin, Monarch. Divi is an excellent value for WordPress users between the theme, the builder, and the premium plugins.
5. Tower by Codeless (Themeforest)
Tower is a straightforward theme for creating a business website. As a multipurpose theme, it can create many different layouts and designs, including ones with a vertical sidebar menu.
Like most multipurpose themes, Tower is made to integrate with a page builder plugin. It includes the Visual Composer plugin bundled for free, which will save you more than $30 purchasing it yourself. There are dozens of pre-designed components available that you can drag-and-drop into place to construct your site.
Tower also has various “skins” you can switch between, includes WooCommerce compatibility, and there’s even a one-click demo importer for recreating one of the demo sites on your own WP site. Overall, it’s a complete theme and a great choice for a business website.
6. Elessi by Nasa Themes (Themeforest)
Need an eCommerce theme with a vertical menu? Check out the excellent Elessi theme.
This WordPress theme for eCommerce stores has a perfect 5.00/5.00 rating on Themeforest after 39 rave reviews. Usually, there are at least a few bad reviews from bugs or unsatisfactory support interactions. While Elessi has a great design and plenty of features, most reviews are left for the outstanding customer support the developers provide.
Elessi has a flat style design with a warm and cozy color palette. It balances images, text, and icons effectively to create a dynamic and attractive style. You can see how the vertical menu fits in to allow visitors to find the right department on your site quickly in the screenshot above. Similar to Amazon, each menu item can be hovered over to expand a mega menu with many more options inside.
The Elessi theme is fully compatible with WooCommerce, which means you get great features like payment processing, customer reviews, and product search filters, all built into the experience. The product pages themselves are gorgeous and include everything you could want from image galleries, lightboxes, and options to select different colors and sizes.
7. Bullet by RedExp (Themeforest)
Bullet is a multipurpose theme that features a left sidebar vertical menu. It’s incredibly versatile and can be used for any website you want to make.
The menu itself is prominent and easy to navigate. You’ll find it easy to use the menu system provided by WordPress to quickly fill out the sidebar with all of the necessary pages. Below the menu, you can add any widgets you’d like to make use of the sidebar space.
As for the rest of the page, you can add any content you want. Besides simple posts and pages, you can build out completely custom page templates using the page builder. Bullet bundles the Visual Composer page builder plugin for free, saving you $33. This drag-and-drop template creator takes some getting used to, but you can create any template you want once you know how to use it.
Overall, Bullet is a solid theme and one of the most customizable included in this list.
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Which vertical menu theme is best for you?
Picking just one theme out of thousands is tough. I hope this list already helped you narrow down the list, but here are a few final thoughts to help you choose.
Author is the only free theme featured here and has a simple, adaptable design. It works great for bloggers, writers, and other content creators. There’s also a premium upgrade called Author Pro with additional features.
Divi has a visual builder that makes it capable of many designs, so it’s a good choice for anyone looking to build multiple websites.
Kreativa is an excellent choice for creatives looking to showcase a portfolio of work.
I hope these final tips help you to pick the best vertical menu WordPress theme for your site. Thanks for reading!