Add Breadcrumbs to WordPress

How to Add Breadcrumbs to WordPress (And Why You’d Want To)

When you think of a trail of breadcrumbs, the first thing that may come to mind is the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel. While WordPress breadcrumbs work in much the same way – providing users with a simple navigation system to find their way “home” – they do require a bit more work to set up than just dropping food along the way.

As a tool to improve user experience and make your site more friendly to search engines, breadcrumbs can be a useful addition in most cases. If you’ve never used breadcrumbs before, then you’ll be happy to know that WordPress offers several ways to add them to your sites.

In this post, we’ll discuss what breadcrumbs are and why you’d want to use them. Then, we’ll show you how WordPress enables you to add this feature, both manually and using plugins. Finally, we’ll tell you how to make the most of your breadcrumbs and reap their benefits. Let’s get started!

What Are Breadcrumbs?

Think about breadcrumbs as a sort of secondary navigational scheme for your website. They tell your users where they are, where they can go and how to find their way back to where they were earlier. They also come in handy when search engine bots come crawling.

So, what do breadcrumbs look like? You’ve likely interacted with them dozens of times in the past, and our own site uses them:

An example of breadcrumbs from our website.

In the image above, you can see three separate navigation links. The first, Nimbus Themes, is the homepage. The second, Magazine, is where our articles reside, and Guides and Tutorials is a page that features pieces in a specific category. Furthermore, note the symbols that are used to separate each of these links. While we prefer to use slashes, a lot of websites go with “greater than” signs (e.g. “Nimbus Themes > Magazine”).

There are plenty of reasons for websites to consider using breadcrumbs, including the following:

  • User-friendly navigation. Breadcrumbs make navigating through your website easier and more intuitive. A better navigational scheme can even help lower your bounce rate, which is always a bonus.
  • Good integration. One of the best things about breadcrumbs is the fact they work well with most designs since they hardly take up any room. This also makes it so they don’t get in the way for people who don’t like using them.
  • Improved Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Breadcrumbs enable search engines to understand how your pages relate to each other from a structural perspective and they add internal links throughout your website. Both these factors are highly beneficial from an SEO standpoint.

At this point, you should be pretty excited about the idea of adding breadcrumbs to your site, since they have hardly any downsides. They provide users with a better navigational experience and improve your website’s overall usability. Fortunately for you, WordPress makes setting up breadcrumbs simple, whether you decide to do so manually or by using one of the many plugins available to get the job done. All in all, the entire process shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes.

How Can I Add Breadcrumbs to My WordPress Site?

There are a number of ways you can go about adding breadcrumbs to your WordPress site. If you’re an old-fashioned sort of guy or gal, you can always go the manual route, which shouldn’t take long. On the other hand, you can always rely on good old WordPress plugins to get the job done without too much fuss. Let’s check out some of the best options available.

Yoast SEO

The Yoast SEO plugin.

Yoast SEO is a powerhouse of a plugin, providing users with tons of SEO-enhancing tools and features. From its focus keyword feature to its XML sitemaps generator and permalink cleanup tool, you can’t go wrong with this plugin when it comes to anything search engine related. Furthermore, Yoast SEO enables you to implement breadcrumbs on WordPress with just a few simple steps. Let’s check out what they are:

  1. Add a simple code snippet to your active WordPress theme.
  2. After saving those changes, navigate to Yoast SEO’s Advanced settings tab.
  3. Click on the Breadcrumbs tab, and toggle the feature to enable it.
  4. Adjust your settings as necessary, and then hit the Save button.


The Breadcrumb plugin.

Out of all three plugins in this list, Breadcrumb is certainly the simplest to set up. This lightweight plugin, which enables you to feature breadcrumbs on virtually any page of your site, offers a simple answer to your needs.

To enable breadcrumbs using this plugin, all you have to do is follow these two steps after activating it:

  1. Breadcrumb menu will appear on your WordPress dashboard; click on it to access the plugin’s settings and retrieve the necessary shortcodes.
  2. Paste the shortcode [breadcrumb] into any page you want, or use the longer alternative found within Breadcrumb’s settings tab.

Once you’ve added the corresponding shortcode to your pages, you’ll see breadcrumbs appear on them. It doesn’t get any simpler than that!

Breadcrumb NavXT

The Breadcrumb NavXT plugin.

While it may not offer as much versatility as Yoast SEO or as simple a setup as Breadcrumb, Breadcrumb NavXT is great for users looking for a customizable tool. Furthermore, with over 600,000 active installs and an exceptionally high rating, Breadcrumb NavXT has obviously proven itself to be a reliable choice.

Once installed, all you need to do is add the code below to the header.php file for your active theme:

<div class="breadcrumbs" typeof="BreadcrumbList" vocab="">
<?php if(function_exists('bcn_display'))

If you’d like to customize your breadcrumb trail, you can do this by hovering over the Settings menu option on the left side of your WordPress dashboard, and clicking Breadcrumb NavXT. From there, you can change their font size and positioning as needed.

How Can I Optimize Breadcrumb Usage for My Site?

Not all breadcrumbs are created equal. With this in mind, it’s important to know as much as possible about optimizing their usage and improving their effectiveness. That’s why we put together a list of three simple tips to get you going in the right direction:

  1. Make them visible. It’s not enough to have breadcrumbs placed on your site – you also have to ensure that users can easily find them. Use a font size and color that sets them apart from the rest of your content (without distracting too much from it!).
  2. Use a consistent placement. Keeping in line with the above tip, if users can’t find your breadcrumbs, they just won’t use them. To ensure that your breadcrumbs shine and enable users to navigate through your site, they should be located in the same place (preferably at the top) on each page.
  3. Only use breadcrumbs when necessary. There are a few instances where breadcrumb usage isn’t necessary, and you’d be better off avoiding them.

Breadcrumbs are a simple element that can bring you a wide host of benefits, and if you pay attention to the advice we just covered, your visitors will thank you for it.


If you want to improve the overall user experience for your visitors as well as your SEO, then consider adding breadcrumbs to your website. Doing so will only take you a few minutes thanks to WordPress’s wide variety of plugins and ease of use, but you can always do so manually if that’s more to your liking.

In this post, we’ve introduced you to three plugins you can use to easily add WordPress breadcrumbs. Let’s check them out one final time:

  1. Yoast SEO: A feature-packed option that can help you take your SEO game to a whole new level.
  2. Breadcrumb: A lesser-known plugin with easy-to-follow instructions and activation steps.
  3. Breadcrumb NavXT: A popular choice that offers plenty of customization options for your WordPress breadcrumbs.

Do you know of any other plugins that can be used to add breadcrumbs to WordPress? Let us know about them in the comments below!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means Nimbus Themes may receive compensation if you make a purchase using these links.


  1. Mark Avatar


    August 7, 2017 at 5:24 am

    Thanks John! Needed some bread crumb pointers, and this got me on the right track. Used the breadcrumb built into Yoast in the end as the plugin was already installed. Thanks John. Bookmarked for future ref!


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