Creating a website without a search box is like building a library without a catalog. Without a search feature enabled, locating a particular post, photo, or product can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. The tougher it is for someone to find what they’re looking for, the more likely it is that they’ll leave dissatisfied.
A WordPress search widget or plugin that scours your site for a specific piece of information can save both you and your visitors a lot of time and potential frustration. (Note that plugins are available only to sites on the WordPress.com Pro plan.) Here are five ways to provide visitors with the search functionalities they’ve come to expect from all websites.
Many WordPress.com themes come with search bars included in headers. If yours doesn’t have one, add a search widget to your footer or sidebar by accessing your Customizer menu and going to Widgets > Search.
This basic search tool provides results based on headlines, titles, and text from:
- Media titles
- Alt text
- File names
- Single image captions
However, it excludes results from comments, gallery captions, widgets, tags, and categories.
If you need a more robust solution than the search widget, you can’t go wrong with a free plugin that uses Google’s Custom Search Engine. All you need to do is download and install it, then register your site for a Google Search ID. Then, customize its aesthetics to match your site’s design.
WP Google Search lets you search for images and text. You can set it to only search across your website, specific pages, or the entire internet.
Relevanssi offers free and premium versions. Unlike the WordPress.com search widget, Relevanssi combs through comments, categories, custom fields, tags, and even content within PDF files that you uploaded. To optimize results, it allows users to combine keywords with words like “and,” “not,” and “or.”
The premium version offers additional features such as advanced spelling correction, assigning extra weight to new posts, and user profile search capabilities.
Ajax Search Lite’s responsive live search engine enables you to tailor search capabilities using more than 40 customization options and eight built-in templates. Ajax Search Pro comes with more than 400 admin options and an additional 100 themes.
5. Ivory Search
Ivory Search allows you to create an unlimited number of search forms and configure each one individually. It works for images, media, files, and lets you exclude specific content as needed. The free version allows you to search for WooCommerce products, making it an affordable solution for eCommerce websites.
A WordPress search bar can be as basic or advanced as you need it to be. The quicker it is for your readers to find what they’re looking for, the better their user experiences will be, and the more likely they are to return to your site for repeat visits.