I was asked recently about the value of having a search
feature on a small business website. Some people don’t see it as necessary.
Others do. I agree with the latter. For the best results from your website, you
need to give your visitors a way to search.
Years ago this was not the case. You could get by just fine with a home page
and a menu of links to your other pages. But the world has changed. Google is no
longer just a search engine. It’s a company worth $163 billion dollars. And,
it’s also a verb!
In other words, people love search. It is the number one thing people do on
the Internet. Four of the top five websites in the world are search based
websites. And for good reason. It’s what the Internet does best. People go to
the Internet to find stuff (including other people).
When people visit websites they naturally look for the search field. It’s
become second nature. So if your website does not have a search feature, you
position your organization as behind the times. You risk having people leave the
site because you’ve made it more difficult for them to find what they’re looking
Even sites that are mostly, images, video or audio should have search.
Whatever content is on your site should be tagged with relevant keywords so
people can find it easily – even if the content itself is not text-based.
How to Put Search on Your Website
It’s easy. If you have a blog, most blogging platforms have a search feature
included. Just activate it. If that’s not available, use Google’s free site
search or other free products like PicoSearch.com and FreeFind.com. You can also use your own search
engine. An easy and inexpensive one is called Zoom Search Engine (wrensoft.com).
Make it Easy for People to Use Your Website
Your website exists for a reason. If you want people to get the most from
your website you need to make it easy for them to accomplish their goals. It’s
hard enough converting people from web visitors to customers. Why make it
harder? Why chase people away before they’ve had the opportunity to get to know
your organization? These days putting a search form on your website is a
no-brainer. You simply must do it.