Websites with a lot of useful content badly need the search box. Users love a good search box that throws up relevant results even when the query is misspelled. It is a surefire way for them to get to the pages they came for.
When a visitor uses the search box, there is high anticipation that the results will take him/her straight to the relevant page, or at least the most relevant pages to choose from.
Over a period of time, as you pile on new content and navigation options, there is too much information for the visitor to meaningfully explore. This problem is easily solved with a clearly visible search box and its button. Simplicity is very important here; you do not require fancy designs for your search box.
It would be very ironic if visitors were unable to locate the search box itself!
I have seen search boxes with only a white space and a button that no one would see easily. But the best websites I have visited have the simplest, clearest, and most useful search boxes that offer quick and highly relevant results.
Users who find your navigation too complex will look for the search box. But if that is not available or is not easily found, they are likely to hit the ‘back’ button to leave your site.
Does my website need a search box?
If you have only a few pages (less than 100) and your navigation is super intuitive, you probably don’t need the search box. Are you going to keep adding to the content on your website? You probably will, since both Google and your visitors want fresh content. That means you will soon have several more than 20 pages on your site. If so, having that clearly visible search box on your site is the best option.
Your search engine should be highly efficient at what it does. If it does not return what visitors are looking for, or if it returns too much of it, you will lose the attention of visitors. A good idea is to have your search engine break down the results into categories such as products, related products, and blog posts. That way, you can provide for the requirements of most of your visitors.
Here are a few more tips to get that ideal search box:
- Keep the search box design very intuitive.
- Place it so that it appears in the top-right or top-left corner of all your pages.
- Let your button simply say ‘Search’ or ‘Find’, instead of anything else.
- Ensure that the ‘Search’ button is clearly highlighted.
- Pay for an indexed search engine software – they are worth investing in.
- Use Google Analytics to track queries and understand your visitors’ preferences.
- You can also opt for Kaushalam’s website search feature.
If your site does not offer the search functionality, get it fast. Make sure that it offers indexed search. Get your service provider to set up both the search box and other tools to help you understand visitors’ preferences.