Guide To WordPress Site Search Plugins
Your site probably contains lots of content – blog posts, product pages, your contact information, etc. Even one-page sites sometimes have a lot of material. For users, navigating through your site to find what they need can sometimes become tedious and frustrating.
That’s where the site’s search function comes in. By enabling users to quickly search your site and find exactly what they’re looking for, you’ll improve your User Experience (UX) and encourage visitors to become recurring users or customers.
In this article, we’ll talk more about what a site search is and why it’s beneficial to you. Then we’ll share some plugins that can help you add a search function to your WordPress site. Let’s get going!
What Is a Site Search?
If you’ve ever typed something into the search bar on a website’s home page, you’ve conducted a site search. The process works a little like your favorite search engine, except that it only looks for pages and posts on the website you’re currently viewing.
Site searches are useful for helping your users find a variety of information. Consider our own website, for example. If someone wanted to find some of our helpful resource articles, they could simply type “resources” into the search bar on our home page.
Our site search would then turn up a variety of results, including a couple of resource lists we’ve published. Your own site search feature might help users find specific blog posts or products on your site, or even point out your contact information so they can get in touch.
The Benefits of Providing a Site Search Option
Site search is extremely beneficial to your users. Even for sites that are well laid out and easy to navigate, a search function provides a faster and easier way for visitors to find what they’re looking for. This helps to improve UX, and makes for a more enjoyable experience on your site.
Research also shows that site search can increase conversion rates. By adding a site search feature to your WordPress site, you could increase your conversions by more than 4%. That means more sales, subscriptions, and income for you.
The Best WordPress Search Plugins
While WordPress sites include native search functionality, it’s not as effective as it could be. Fortunately, there are several plugins you can use to improve your site’s search capabilities.
This premium plugin promises fast and accurate search results for your WordPress or WooCommerce site. WPSolr uses the Elasticsearch and Solr search platforms to deliver results to your users, and you can even include custom post types and taxonomies in your results.
WPSolr comes with a price tag of $220 per year, per site. Depending on the size of your site and your potential for increased conversions, this plugin may be worth the cost.
Another useful premium search plugin is SearchWP. By installing and activating it and its WooCommerce Integration extension, you can make sure that custom fields and supplemental content such as reviews are indexed along with your posts and pages.
This makes for better, more relevant search results. SearchWP licenses start at $99 per year, and the WooCommerce Extension is available with all pro-level licenses.
3. Ajax Search Lite
This free site search plugin is responsive for use on mobile devices, and supports both custom post types and custom fields. Ajax Search Lite comes with eight built-in results page templates, which you can customize with color adjustments to match your site.
There’s also a pro version with additional features, including WooCommerce integration and filters. Licenses start at just $36 per year.
4. Ivory Search
Ivory Search enables you to create custom search forms for different types of content. You can display the forms anywhere on your site, and configure them to search based on post titles, concepts, excerpts, taxonomies, specific post types, and more.
You can download Ivory Search for free, or upgrade to a premium license. The pro version is just $19.99 per year, and the ‘Pro Plus’ plan will cost you $49.99 per year.
Some users may not know exactly what the thing they’re searching for is called, which is when search features such as partial match come in handy. Relevanssi offers that and much more, in both its free and premium versions.
The premium plugin starts at $99 per year. It is important to note that this plugin is pretty hefty, and could slow your site down (depending on your hosting setup and database space).
SearchIQ is a plugin for the smallest blogs, mid-sized online stores, large-scale business sites, and everything in between. When linked with your SearchIQ account, it will also provide you with information that can help you optimize content to better match your users’ search intent.
Additionally, it includes a customizable User Interface (UI), so your search bar will match your site’s design. Plus, Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology will make sure that searches with typos still return results.
7. Better Search
With Better Search, users can sift through your posts, pages, and custom post types to find the content they’re looking for. It integrates seamlessly with your theme by default, but you can also customize the look of your search page with templates if you like.
You can also include a “search heatmap” widget in your site’s footer or sidebar, to display your users’ most popular search terms. This will help you optimize your content, and make it easier for new visitors to find popular posts on your site.
How to Install Site Search Plugins
Once you’ve chosen a site search plugin, installing it is simple. You’ll find free plugins in the Plugins > Add New area of your WordPress dashboard. Alternately, you can purchase and download premium plugins, and then upload them to your site.
Regardless of which plugin you choose, there will likely be some settings you’ll need to configure. These will depend on the tool, but they often include customizing your results page display templates, and specifying the types of content you want to show up in search results.
Some plugins might have additional requirements. SearchIQ, for example, needs to be linked to an account to work. Make sure you check your plugin’s documentation or installation instructions for additional steps. For some plugins, you may also want to set up tracking or other analytics.
Before you add one of these site search plugins to your WordPress website, it’s also wise to try out its live demo to see how you like it . Once you’ve chosen a plugin and installed it, you can head over to your site’s front end and run some sample searches to test it out.
Getting Started With Assistance from WP Engine
Adding a site search feature is just one thing you can do to improve the digital experience for your users. At WP Engine, we offer a wide range of features to help you make your site even easier to navigate, such as access to StudioPress themes and decreased loading times.
Our plans include these and other features, which are designed to help everyone from experienced developers to first-time site owners. Check out our Digital Experience Platform (DXP) today, and learn how to get started!