By Neil on June 10, 2014
What are breadcrumbs?
Website breadcrumbs are a simple navigation display that normally appears at the top of a website page or post. It shows you the internal link structure of the current page or post so you can easily see where the current page fits into the overall website. For example, this post you are reading now has the breadcrumb:
Home / Guides / add and remove website breadcrumbs
This breadcrumb shows what category (or in this case custom post type) the current post is in, and also shows the link back to the home page.
What are the benefits of website breadcrumbs
Ultimately the choice of whether or not to display breadcrumbs is up to you, and whether or not there are any SEO benefits are debatable. However, breadcrumbs can still be useful as a navigation / orientation tool for site visitors when they land on a page on your website from a search link. Also, website breadcrumbs can help visitors discover new pages & posts by clicking on the breadcrumb links.
Most of the big boys on the web use breadcrumbs, for example eBay, Google, and Amazon. While structured breadcrumbs may be more important on bigger websites with more complex navigation, they can still be very useful for visitors to smaller websites.
How to show breadcrumbs on your website
By default WordPress does not show breadcrumbs (although some child themes do), so if you want them to show up you can search for a plugin (for example Yoast offer a breadcrumb plugin), or alternatively you can manually add some extra code to your functions.php file. There is a nice article here about it.
If you use the Genesis Framework by StudioPress like I do it is even more straight forward. In your WordPress dashboard navigate to the Genesis Theme Settings and you have options to turn breadcrumbs on and off.
If you decide to have breadcrumbs on your website there may be some pages where you do not want them to show up. For example you may have an acknowledgement page or a payment page where a breadcrumb is not really appropriate. So, how do you remove breadcrumbs from certain pages on your website?
Removing breadcrumbs from certain website pages & posts
I’m going to focus on WordPress websites running Genesis here because this is what I have more experience with. With Genesis you could add some code manually to your functions.php file, as discussed here.
Perhaps a better solution (or definitely a more convenient solution) is to use a plugin that adds a metabox to individual posts and pages editor screens, allowing you to control breadcrumbs with a simple checkbox. A great solution can be found on GitHub. This plugin was developed by Gary Jones who is a respected developer who specializes in the Genesis Framework. Simply download the ZIP file and use the Add New Plugin area of your WordPress dashboard to upload and activate this ZIP file. Once activated all new pages and posts will have a breadcrumbs metabox where you can choose to show breadcrumbs or not, and even modify the title of the breadcrumb.
If anyone has other solutions or opinions about breadcrumbs I’d love to hear about them.