Do you really need to have a search bar on your website? Do your website visitors really use the search box?
For the majority of website owners, one of the most basic concerns is the use of search functions for the purpose of enhanced user experience. The websites tend to grow over time, adding more and more content for driving customers. However, these new content categories can prove to be useless, if they are not properly organized. In this case, an efficient search portal is not only helpful but crucial for basic site navigation.
Users don’t visit a website to consume the entire data that is available on it. Their search is usually limited to a particular product or category. If the search option is not available, or the search results are too confusing, then this tends to frustrate the consumers. This makes the application of an efficient search bar very necessary.
Why is website search so important?
Not investing in a basic site search system can drive customers away from your website. If you offer a variety of products on the website, then searching for a specific product without any help can be hectic for a browser. Similarly, if you have an incompetent search bar, then customers are most likely to give up on the search.
A search function is a design strategy that can offer users an easy way to find content. Users can locate their search query by simply searching for specific words and phrases. Site navigation can be made quicker and more efficient.
Different types of search functionalities to add to your website:
A large number of websites have simple search functions, much to the dismay of the consumers as they have become accustomed to the versatility provided by Google and other search engines. Listed below are different types of search functionalities that can help you upgrade your website.
- Feature Search- The businesses that provide various kinds of products and services, can include feature search in their site. Adding features and filters such as price, color, kind, size, condition, can help the users find specific products easily. Amazon, eBay, and Walmart benefit greatly from the customization of the search results. Classification of items with relevant tags can assist customers in navigating the maze of products and find exactly what they want. This leads to a general boost in sales.
- Abstract search- Earlier, the search sites couldn’t understand what the customers were searching for specifically. They would fetch whatever they believed was relevant. For example- “hairdryer” and “blow dryer” were taken as separate entities.
But now, a website with an abstract search would show similar results for both these categories. This allows the customers to search in a more organic way and discover items that they might not find with a simple search.
- Auto-complete search- This functionality automatically completes the search query of the browser. For instance- in case of a clothing brand, if a consumer types women in the search bar, it will show various options to complete the search like ‘tank tops’, ‘shirts’ etc.
This helps in improving user experience drastically. Majority of Autocomplete systems work by assessing tags within the website and learning from consumer behavior. Consumers can save time during search with the help of this feature.
How to make your site search better?
If you already have a basic search system which is not very efficient. Then, you can use the following ways to upgrade it to an advanced system:
1. Place it on the front
Make sure that your search box is placed at a point where the users can easily find it. Ideally, the placement is usually in the header, above or beside the navigation bar, or as a large element just below. The combination of colors for the box also contributes to this process. Usually, search bars are white in color so that the users can easily locate them.
2. Use the power of Google
You can easily enable google search for your site. This can be done with the help of a portal known as Google Custom Search. The entire integration process is free and you can earn as well (because ads will be displayed with results by default). Google helps you to customize your search design and support much more content on your site.
3. CMS options and other add-ons
If you use WordPress as your CMS or operate on a hosted e-commerce platform, then you can make changes in your search settings. You can easily look for additional plugins and add-ons that will enable you to expand your search functionality.
- WordPress contains a plugin known as SearchWP that automatically indexes your content.
- Bigcommerce includes a specific page for filtering and faceting options.
- Shopify provides a plugin called Searchify that adds an Autocomplete search feature to your website.
4. More advanced options
For non-hosted sites and platforms that don’t use a CMS, there are various advanced options to consider-
- Tipue Search, which is operated on jQuery.
- Swiftype can be easily added to sites containing few lines of HTML.
From a business perspective, having an upgraded search box decreases the risk of people leaving your site. It also helps in enhancing the user experience and increasing sales. A small feature such as a search bar can catch potential customers for you.
For users, it brings convenience and flexibility to their lives. The search time is decreased and their journey becomes effortless. Website owners can implement the aforementioned ways to use the search feature accurately and harness good results.