“Breadcrumb” is such a strange word to find in this building a website business and I had no idea what it was when I started. Breadcrumbs to me were something you coated fish with, or fed to the ducks! So what is breadcrumb navigation and do we need it?
(Note: There are different types of breadcrumb trails, but I’m talking about path-based breadcrumb links in this article.)
On your website, this is called a breadcrumb trail, taken from the story of Hansel and Gretel where they leave a trail of breadcrumbs to help them navigate back home through the forest. It’s a navigation tool that allows a user to see where the current page is in relation to the rest of the website.
You can see an example in the image below.
Some people like to keep this on their website, but generally, usability professionals don’t recommend it, this is for a number of reasons:
- You get the same functionality by using the “back” button in the browser.
- it can be confusing to your visitor who might navigate to the wrong section on your website.
- A history trail is not really helpful to your site visitor who lands on a page deep within your website, perhaps from a link in a Google search.
- It can cause a duplicate content delivery issue to search engines. This means that it lessens the number of pages available to rank. available to rank.
However, for large websites that have hierarchically arranged pages, breadcrumbs can be useful. For example, an e-commerce website, where a large variety of products are grouped into logical categories.
So, in short, breadcrumbs are another way to navigate around your site, not to replace your primary navigation, but more of an extra feature.
Turning Breadcrumb Navigation On or Off
Not all themes support breadcrumb navigation so if you don’t have this feature don’t worry about it. If you do want to go ahead and use breadcrumb navigation there are plenty of plugins available for this like the Breadcrumb NavXT one.
Turning the breadcrumb feature on or off is again, theme dependent. In the image example above, theme “Weaver Xtreme” was used and the options are available in something called the info bar. For some themes, it can be turned on or off in the Appearance – Customize area. Other themes there will be extra theme options where this is done and sometimes you have to change this within the code area.
The theme support pages for your theme are a good resource for finding out how to turn breadcrumb navigation on or off.
Alternatively, for theme specific help ask a question below, or contact us, we can help with this.