I logged into a client’s WordPress backend and the bottom part of the admin menu looked like this:
Why are there so many menu items?!
I mean come on, the site is using 38 plugins, and there are 14 new menu items (not all shown in the screenshot). In my case, 37% of plugins have added their own entry in my menu.
Important note: I’m not hating on these plugins, in fact I ❤️ some of them. They’re in the screenshot because those plugins are really being used in the site.
Sometimes It’s Inevitable
I understand that it’s inevitable in some cases.
Advanced Custom Fields and WooCommerce need their own entry in the menu for listing fields and products. Of course that’s a valid point.
Sometimes a plugin will need an area especially if it has lots of settings, like WordFence – a valid point also.
Or sometimes it’s a unique entry in the admin, like Monster Insights. It introduces analytics to the admin, so I think that should have their own entry.
Sometimes You Don’t Need a new admin menu item
In some cases though, a new menu item is unnecessary.
In one of the plugins in my screenshot above, the settings page only contained a single field.. A single field!
One field doesn’t warrant its own menu item! It would be better to just put in the setting inside Settings > General instead or somewhere relevant to save space.
Also, it would be better if developers just merge their own menu items with existing ones if it directly relates to your own plugin (or if it makes sense). It would mean less clutter in the admin menu.
A plugin that adds more capabilities to comments can easily just extend the submenu items of the “Comments” menu.
Cluttered Admin Menu
Having so many items in the admin menu is just an eye sore, not to mention a cluttered admin menu makes things difficult to find.
It’s up to plugin developers whether they’d like to add an admin menu item or not. I’m not saying it’s always wrong to add a new entry in the menu, but that you don’t always need one.
Luckily though, there are a few solutions out there that lets you adjust the items in your admin menu. I’m not surprised that they have tons of installs.