You’re probably familiar with the phrase “following breadcrumbs” as it relates to navigating a website.
In web design, breadcrumbs are a navigational element that helps users understand where they are on your site and how to get back to the previous page.
Breadcrumbs (also known as breadcrumb trails) are an important part of web design, acting as a navigational aid to help users find their way around your site easily.
In this blog post, we’ll explain what website breadcrumbs are, why they’re so important in web design, and how you can use them to make your website easier to navigate. We’ll also explore some tips and tricks for making the most of your breadcrumbs website. So, let’s get started!
What are website breadcrumbs?
At its simplest, a breadcrumb trail is a way of visually displaying the hierarchy of your website. It shows where users are within a website, and how each page relates to other pages on the site. This information can then be used to create a “trail” of links that leads them back to the homepage.
Breadcrumb navigation often consists of a small row of text-based links, with each one representing a different page in the hierarchy. For example, here is an example of a breadcrumb on our website:
The key benefit of breadcrumbs is that they provide an alternative method for users to find their way around quickly. Instead of having to click through menus or search the site, users can easily see where they are and how to get back to earlier pages.
Why are website breadcrumbs important?
Breadcrumbs navigation is an important part of web design because it helps users find their way around your site quickly and easily. It also makes it easier for users to go back to previous pages they may have visited, allowing them to pick up where they left off.
Breadcrumbs are also useful for SEO purposes for multiple reasons.
Search engines like Google use breadcrumb trails to determine which pages on a website are related, and how they are structured within the overall site hierarchy. This means that sites with breadcrumb navigation can rank higher in a google search or in search engine results.
Finally, a breadcrumb link can make your website more visually appealing and user-friendly, providing hints of where users are in relation to the rest of the site, and allowing them to move around with ease.
Types of breadcrumb navigation
Breadcrumb navigation can be classified into three main types:
Path-based breadcrumbs display the hierarchy of a website, displaying the exact path users took to get to the current page. It’s ideal for websites with a deep structure, as it allows users to quickly navigate back up to the top level of the site.
Attribute-based breadcrumbs are used to highlight the different attributes of a product or service. These breadcrumbs show what attributes a page belongs to, instead of its hierarchy within a website. For example, on an eCommerce site, it might show: Home > Women’s Clothing > Dresses (Size 8). This type of breadcrumb is ideal for helping users narrow down search results.
Location-based breadcrumbs show the user where they are in the website’s hierarchy. They are typically used for navigation schemes that have multiple levels (usually more than two levels). In the example below (from SitePoint), each text link is for a page that is one level higher than the one on its right.
When to use a breadcrumb trail
Breadcrumb navigation is an important element of web design, but it’s not right for every site’s structure.
Generally speaking, breadcrumbs are best used on websites with a large number of pages or categories and a deep hierarchy. If your site has hundreds or even thousands of pages, breadcrumb navigation can make it easier for users to find specific content.
Breadcrumbs can also be beneficial for eCommerce websites, where users need to browse many different categories and attributes to find the right product. By showing the exact path a user has taken, breadcrumbs help them quickly go back and change their selection if needed.
10 tips on how to use breadcrumb navigation effectively
Now that you know what breadcrumbs are and why they’re important, it’s time to look at the best practices for using breadcrumb navigation on your site. Here are 10 tips to help you get the most out of your breadcrumb trail:
1. Keep breadcrumb trails short and concise
It’s important to keep breadcrumb trails as short and concise as possible. Try to limit your breadcrumb trail to four or five levels at most, otherwise, they can confuse users.
2. Highlight the current page
Make sure to highlight the page a user is currently on in your breadcrumb trail. This will help them quickly understand where they are and how to get back to previous pages.
3. Use meaningful names
It’s important to use meaningful names for each level of your breadcrumb trail. For example, instead of using ‘Cat1’ and ‘Cat2’, use the actual product categories or page titles.
4. Make sure breadcrumbs are clickable
Make sure to make each part of your breadcrumb trail clickable. This will allow users to quickly move back up the hierarchy without having to use the browser’s back button.
5. Offer a “Home” link
Include a “Home” link at the beginning of your breadcrumb trail so users can quickly go back to the home page if needed.
6. Show relevant categories
Only show categories that are relevant to the page a user is currently on. This will help them quickly find what they are looking for and reduce confusion.
7. Make use of search functionality
Make sure to include search functionality on your website, as this will help users quickly find what they are looking for.
8. Use breadcrumbs on product pages
Breadcrumbs can be especially useful on product pages, as they allow users to quickly navigate back up the hierarchy and find similar products.
9. Avoid duplicate links
Make sure to avoid duplicate links in your breadcrumb trail. This will help keep it tidy and reduce confusion for users.
10. Test breadcrumbs on different devices
Make sure to test your breadcrumb navigation on a range of devices, as this will ensure it’s working correctly across all platforms.
How to add a breadcrumb trail
The most popular method of implementing breadcrumbs is to use HTML markup, as this allows you to easily customize the look and feel of the navigation. Once you have added the HTML markup, you can then use CSS to style the breadcrumb navigation. This will give it a consistent look and feel across different devices and browsers.
Breadcrumbs in WordPress
If you’re using WordPress, there are plenty of plugins available that allow you to quickly add breadcrumbs to your website. These plugins usually come with a range of customization options, so you can tailor the breadcrumb trail to fit your needs. To install a breadcrumb plugin, simply search for ‘breadcrumbs’ in the WordPress Plugin Directory.
Another option is to use an SEO plugin, as many of them offer built-in breadcrumb functionality. This will allow you to easily add breadcrumbs without having to install a separate plugin.
Now that you know what breadcrumbs are and how they can be used in web design, you should have no trouble adding a breadcrumb trail to your website. By following the tips above, you can ensure that your breadcrumb trail is intuitive and user-friendly.
Breadcrumbs are a great way to help users navigate your website. They provide a trail of links that lead back up the hierarchy, making it easy for users to find what they are looking for.
When adding breadcrumbs to your website, make sure to use meaningful names, clickable links, and avoid duplicate links. Also, don’t forget to test the breadcrumb navigation on different devices and browsers.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your breadcrumb trail is intuitive and user-friendly. Good luck!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is breadcrumbs in HTML?
Breadcrumbs in HTML is a type of navigation that uses links to show the user their current location within a website’s hierarchy. It usually consists of a series of links, each representing the page they are currently on, and leading back up the hierarchy. This can help users quickly navigate through your website and find what they are looking for.
What is breadcrumb navigation?
Breadcrumb navigation is a type of website navigation that uses breadcrumbs to show the user their current location within a website’s hierarchy. It usually consists of a series of links, each representing the page they are currently on, and leading back up the hierarchy. This can help users quickly navigate through your website and find what they are looking for.
How do I check my breadcrumbs on my website?
To check your breadcrumbs on your website, you should first make sure that they are working correctly. This can be done by testing the breadcrumb navigation across different devices and browsers. You can also use HTML markup to customize the look and feel of the navigation, and use CSS to style it. Alternatively, there are plenty of plugins available for WordPress which will allow you to quickly add breadcrumbs to your website.
Once you have tested and checked your breadcrumbs, then you can start adding them to your website’s pages. This will ensure that all users are able to easily navigate through your website and find what they’re looking for. Good luck!
What is a primary navigation menu?
A primary navigation menu is a type of website navigation that allows users to quickly and easily access the different pages on your site. This is usually displayed at the top of the page, and consists of links to each page. The primary navigation menu helps users find what they are looking for without having to search through the whole website. It also provides an easy way for them to go back up the hierarchy if needed. By using a well-designed primary navigation menu, you can ensure that all users have an intuitive experience when navigating your website.