Navigating the Digital Forest: The Magic of Hansel and Gretel Breadcrumbs for Website Usability

Breadcrumbs didn’t exactly help Hansel and Gretel in the old fairy tale but they can help your business website!

Breadcrumbs on Websites?

Website Breadcrumbs Explained

Following Breadcrumbs

In the enchanting tale of Hansel and Gretel, breadcrumbs were the key to finding their way back home. In the digital realm, website breadcrumbs serve a similar purpose, guiding users through the intricate forest of web pages. Let’s explore the concept of breadcrumbs, their origins, and how website breadcrumbs enhance user experience and SEO.

The term “breadcrumbs” in the context of websites is derived from the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale. In the story, the siblings leave a trail of breadcrumbs to navigate through the dense forest. Similarly, website breadcrumbs act as a navigational aid, providing users with a clear path back to where they started.

Breadcrumbs help you follow a path

Digital breadcrumbs provide a UI navigational aid

In the digital landscape, breadcrumbs are a navigation tool that shows users the hierarchical structure of a website and their current location within it. Typically displayed near the top of a webpage, breadcrumbs offer a trail of links representing the user’s journey from the homepage to the current page.

When business owners begin working with website developers to design their websites they often think of their website in a book-like fashion. However, people may land on any page within their website, i.e. they don’t always start at the home page. If they land on a page that has breadcrumbs, they’ll have a better sense of what the page is about or what the business is about. And they can follow the breadcrumbs for more information!

Benefits of Using Breadcrumbs on Websites

  • Improved User Experience: Following a digital breadcrumb trail enables website visitors to easily backtrack or move to higher-level categories, reducing frustration and enhancing overall satisfaction.
  • Enhanced Website Navigation: By providing a clear path, breadcrumbs make it simpler for users to explore different sections of a website.
  • Reduced Bounce Rates: Clear navigation can lower bounce rates.
  • SEO Benefits: Breadcrumbs provide search engines with additional information about the site structure. This can result in improved indexing and a better understanding of the content hierarchy.
  • Increased Click-Through Rates: Breadcrumbs can encourage users to explore related pages, increasing the likelihood of them clicking through to other sections of the website. This not only enhances user engagement but also improves the overall site’s performance.

Implementing Breadcrumbs on Your Website

Depending on your website’s structure and content, select a breadcrumb style that best suits your needs. Common styles include location-based, attribute-based, and path-based breadcrumbs. It is crucial to implement breadcrumbs that are responsive and provide an optimal user experience across mobile and various screen sizes.

Breadcrumbs in WordPress

You can have breadcrumbs on any website; html, php, SquareSpace, wix, etc. Being that a large number of my clients have WordPress websites I’m focusing on WordPress. In WordPress, there are different themes and plugins available to work with breadcrumbs. Some themes may require you to create breadcrumbs manually.

Here’s an example of a WordPress Breadcrumb Plugin

wordpress breadcrumb plugin
In the screenshot above the breadcrumb path is circled. You would be able to click on any link in the path in front of the page that you are on.

Breadcrumbs for SEO

Just as Hansel and Gretel relied on breadcrumbs to find their way, website breadcrumbs guide users through the digital forest of the internet. Implementing breadcrumbs on your website not only improves user experience but also contributes to SEO efforts. By providing a clear path for users to follow, you can create a more user-friendly and navigable website that keeps visitors engaged and encourages exploration. So, embrace the magic of digital breadcrumbs and make your website a user-friendly haven in the vast online landscape.

Not only will breadcrumbs help your website visitors, but they can also help optimize your website for search engines. How? They allow you to provide links to relevant content on your website.

Need help keeping your website visitors on a path to your products or services? Consider implementing breadcrumbs on your website and other SEO techniques. Contact us!

Initially Published 10/26/2018

NOTE: “Hansel and Gretel” is a fairy tale that was recorded by the Brothers Grimm in 1812.