Search Bar or Not

Does Your Site Need a Search Bar wordpress-website-search-bar

The vast majority of websites have search bars. Why? (Note that ReFind has no search capability.)

The biggest reason seems to be "Because I can." Not good enough. I can have Eminem embedded YouTube videos all over my site. That doesn't mean that I should or will do any such thing.

Before adding a search bar, think about the reasons why you should and shouldn't have such functionality.

  • Should: You have a large and diverse database of products or services

    • Shouldn't: You have a small, easy to navigate site

  • Should: You don't want to bother with keywords and tags for your content

    • Shouldn't: You understand how to use keywords and tags effectively for sorting, filtering, and displaying content

The biggest reason why you shouldn't use a search bar is because you lose all control when the visitor clicks that magnifying glass. Your search function shows zero discrimination displaying every single instance that search term shows up on your site. Including the same word multiple times on one page, results irrelevant to the visitor, and all in a completely unsorted jumble of links.

Make using a search bar on your site a purposeful decision instead of a default. Even if the answer is "Yes" the process of deciding will help you to understand your goals and even how this tool should be configured for the best effect on your site.