Over the past couple of years, breadcrumbs have really taken off around the internet and it seems like all sorts of major websites are now using them. Unfortunately blogs in general, and WordPress in particular, haven’t really adopted the use of breadcrumbs, which is a huge shame in my opinion. Breadcrumbs are great for improving both reader navigation of your website while at the same time assisting the search engines with determining the structure of your website. In other words, breadcrumbs are super sexy and great SEO for your blog.

So, does your WordPress theme have breadcrumbs built into it?   Whenever I’m picking a new WordPress theme to start designing a new site with, breadcrumbs are one of the first things I always look for.  With the exception of Brian’s Revolution themes, I’ve found that there really aren’t many (if any) other premium themes that come with breadcrumbs built into them (directly or via a WordPress plugin).  I also have yet to find any free WordPress themes that come with breadcrumbs built into them.

How to Add Breadcrumbs to Your WordPress Blog

Fortunately many WordPress plugin authors have come to our rescue. For those of us that want breadcrumbs in our themes, there are now a number of WordPress plugins out there that you can use to easily accomplish this. Probably the most popular is the Breadcrumb Navigation XT WordPress plugin, but I just noticed today that a new WordPress plugin was released by Joost de Valk called the Yoast Breadcrumbs plugin. Joost has a great reputation as a plugin developer, so I have a feeling this plugin will work great as well.

If you decide to go with the Yoast Breadcrumbs plugin, you just need to upload and activate it, then place the following code where you want the breadcrumbs to display (usually above your post title or the content hook):

<?php if ( function_exists('yoast_breadcrumb') ) { yoast_breadcrumb('<p id="breadcrumbs">','</p>');
} ?>

Then you can use the plugin settings to get the breadcrumbs to behave how you wanted it to.

Call to Theme Designers

Where is the breadcrumbs love?   If you are working on a new free or premium WordPress theme, why not take a few seconds to build breadcrumbs into your theme?

If you’d like to see breadcrumbs built into more WordPress themes by default, leave a comment below so designers know there is a demand for it!

Kyle Eslick is WordPress enthusiast who took his passion for WordPress to the next level in 2007 by launching WPHacks.com as a place to share hacks, tutorials, etc. Follow Kyle on Twitter @KyleEslick!

  1. Thx for the mention! I’ll add conditional output to the breadcrumb, so theme designers can prefix it with a div or something like that, and only show it when the plugin is enabled.

  2. jbj says:

    Nice post, this plugin is very good. Though, if someone if interested to create a breadcrumb function manually, I wrote a how-to on my blog.

  3. Kyle Eslick says:

    @ Joost – Thanks, I’ve updated the post with your new code.

    @ JBJ – I must have missed that post. Looks like it was back in June. I will either mention it in one of our links posts or feature it here next week.

  4. miskris says:

    Though unfortunately it’s TOO major-newspaper-style for me, Nathan Rice’s Proximity is one of the most impressive premiums I’ve seen for someone who has no clue about coding. Oh yeah I mention it because it has breadcrumb navigation built in. Now if only he’ll make a version with all those features that’s more entertainment-style I’ll be ecstatic.

  5. Ian Blackford says:

    I’ve tried multiple breadcrumb plugins over the past few months and none have worked successfully, I’ll give Yoast Breadcrumbs plugin a try

  6. Kolia Shlapak says:

    Thanks for the post and comments here. I will give a try to “no plugin” solution)

  7. Kyle Eslick says:

    @ Samsara – Thanks for the kind words. Things like that help keep me motivated to keep writing!

    Yes, the JBJ post is great as well. Generally speaking I prefer to have functionality built into the theme instead of using plugins, but I have a built a strong trust for Joost’s plugins.

  8. Samsara says:

    I’m in process of moving my blog and breadcrumb navigation is mandatory for any theme i am looking at. I am not getting paid to mention the following free themes I am currently testing:

    Options by Justin Tadlock & Arthemia by Michael Jubel

    *Arthemia, however is kind of lacking in the navigation department – and I was looking for a hack. [I am moving my blog to a new domain so going to see the fruits at my current blog is pointless.]

    The weakness of Arthemia’s navigation, when one looks at Options’ is the following.

    Options –> Browse: Home / Samsara / Autobiography
    Arthemia –> Home / Autobiography

    Options, therefore, makes good use of breadcrumbs.

    My vote is definitely for a move to breadcrumbs standard. Thanks to the Yoast Plugin until this happens. I think I am going to try that before I hack up a theme I am unsure I am keeping.

    Although I think JBJ’s post of making breadcrumbs manually may be worth a read for folks sure of their theme.

    PS. I really like this site. For so much information, the navigation is very easy. And of course, thank you for all the information you provide.

  9. Sean says:

    I wanted to add soemthing like this to my blog before but I didn’t know it was called breadcrumbs. I’ll be sure to add this once my FTP starts working again, Thanks.

  10. Nakusya says:

    Hi All,

    I have been using Yoasts breadcrumbs, and its a great plugin, but I have a question which has been puzzling me for a few months and the support forums on wordpress.org havent been able to help, so I am hoping one of you may be able to 🙂

    The question is – If I have a post with multiple parent categories, how does Yoast breadcrumbs decide which path to display? If there are multiple parents there must be multiple paths and I need to predict which one Yoas breadcrumbs will display.

    I would really appreciate someones help on this

    Kind regards


  11. Silver Firefly says:

    It’s all very well using a plugin but how do you add a breadcrumb to a theme without using plugins? That kind of information would be more useful to theme designers.

  12. Riz says:

    I agree with silver firefly – it would be great if someone could show us how to avoid using plugins. The yoast one is unpredictable and response to queries non existent

  13. @ Nakusya & @Riz: the choice for the category is fairly random, as WordPress has no way to “show” which category is #1.

    @Silver Firefly: buy the latest StudioPress theme and see 😉 I coded breadcrumbs into that one (by using some of the code in my breadcrumbs plugin and attaching that as a library into the theme, so no plugin you have to activate)

    • Marjet says:

      @Yoast. Is there not a function to write to break into the randomness of WordPress picking a category?

  14. @ Nakusya & @Riz: the choice for the category is fairly random, as WordPress has no way to “show” which category is #1.

    @Silver Firefly: buy the latest StudioPress theme and see 😉 I coded breadcrumbs into that one (by using some of the code in my breadcrumbs plugin and attaching that as a library into the theme, so no plugin you have to activate)

  15. Kos says:

    I like yoast breadcrumbs but they can’t use it in Cyrillic thats why i install other plugin.

  16. Kuldeep says:

    Thanks Kyle. I am trying to add breadcrumbs without any plugin. Do you think we can do that ?

  17. Jelbee says:

    i remove breadcrumbs because looks like no value in SEO. It only tells the readers on where they are.

    • Hillary Bost says:

      Breadcrumbs helps them to navigate where they are and where they have been to get there may be they saw something and with out them didn’t remember where they came from.

    • Sjoerd says:

      It depends on your structure, but it can make the visitor feel more comfortable on your site and therefore make him/her stay longer which is good for SEO.

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