When it comes to WordPress, there are pretty much endless ways to make your site efficient, fast, and easy to use. Your site’s performance is a key part of its success, since visitors won’t return to a site that is either too complicated or too minimalistic. WordPress breadcrumbs are a simple addition that make any site easier to use, and more appealing to visitors.
What are WordPress breadcrumbs?
WordPress breadcrumbs are truly the digital version of the breadcrumbs used in Hansel and Gretel. They help users explore and navigate the website they’re on while laying out the path they are taking, so they can retrace their steps at any time. A WordPress website is the virtual forest, different pages are the trails within the forest, and breadcrumbs are, well, breadcrumbs. The key difference here is breadcrumbs on WordPress don’t get eaten by forest animals and leave users lost.
WordPress breadcrumbs are links that show the lead-up to whatever page the person is on, and those links are clickable so the person can return to a previous location easily. For example, an online shopping site might have breadcrumbs that look something like: Home > Clothing > Men’s Clothing >Men’s Shirts. This trail shows the user how they got there, and how to retrace their steps.
Types of breadcrumbs
There are three common types of breadcrumbs, which are hierarchy-based, attribute-based, and history-based. Hierarchy-based breadcrumbs are the most common type. Also sometimes called location-based breadcrumbs, these are the classic breadcrumbs that list out the path a customer has taken to get to a certain page, and how to return to a previous page. The example above demonstrates hierarchy-based WordPress breadcrumbs, with users going to a new page each time they narrow down their search.
Attribute-based breadcrumbs allow you to see your selections if you’re trying to narrow down a product, instead of going from page to page. Going back to the men’s shirts example, if you selected attributes such as the colour, size, or style you wanted, the results would filter based on that and would show you selected those specific attributes.
History-based breadcrumbs are the least common. This method builds breadcrumbs based on what pages you have already visited on the same site.
Why use them
WordPress breadcrumbs can be very useful to site visitors and allow for a better experience for them. With the ability to go back and forth between relevant pages, you’re making it simple for people to navigate your site. Breadcrumbs are something like a tether, so even if a user wants to explore deep within your site, they will never struggle to return to the home page when they need to.
Breadcrumbs also keep users on your site longer. Without breadcrumbs, people feel easily lost and might abandon your site out of frustration. However, with breadcrumbs, people are more likely to explore your site fully. This is especially true in ecommerce sites. If a user can easily go back to the next broadest category of their search, perhaps from “men’s blue shirts” to “men’s shirts,” then they don’t have to return to Google for an easier site to navigate. This all adds up to a better user experience and better performance for your site on rankings.
How to use them properly
You can go about installing WordPress breadcrumbs on your site a few different ways. You can install plugins that implement breadcrumbs (such as Yoast SEO), use a theme with breadcrumbs automatically enabled (like OceanWP), or code them in manually. Be sure to place your breadcrumbs strategically. They should be easy to find and neatly placed, with a font that’s not too big or too small. Breadcrumbs commonly appear at the top of a page, under the navigation bar. Also, be sure your breadcrumbs serve a purpose. If your website doesn’t have too many categories and subcategories, and you would only be repeating the tabs on your general navigation bar, you might not even need them. For example, your navigation bar likely has home, about, and contact pages. You don’t necessarily need breadcrumbs if those are the only pages on your site.
Breadcrumbs are fairly easy to use, but they can go a long way for your site. Offering a high quality user experience can’t be overstated, and WordPress breadcrumbs hold value for many visitors. If you’re looking to improve your website’s speed, security, and reliability, Atom is here to help. Get in touch with us here!