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Tetiana Pryhorovska
Content Manager at Crocoblock
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Useful Resources

WordPress Search: Best Bar Design Practices and Tips

Modern sites abound in information. Looking at this plenty of data, users often get lost and cannot find what they need. I am sure that sometimes a search bar is more important than a navigation menu because users will use the search bar to find exactly what they need quickly. 

Therefore, the search bar is a must-have for any website, especially a WordPress site. WordPress has built-in search solutions providing searches by titles, content, and quotes. What is missing is a search by categories, tags, custom post types, files, and comments. It is not enough, and WordPress search plugin usage is necessary.

Luckily, there are plenty of free and paid WordPress search plugins to develop great search bars. In this case, you do not even need coding skills. In this article, I want to shed light on the modern WordPress search bar development trends, share some life hacks, outline the do’s and don’ts in website search design, and explain how to create a search box using one of the best WordPress plugins.

Website Search: What, Why, When

Website search is an internal site indexing tool that allows visitors to get relevant results and search for the products they need. 

Why do you need the website search?

The website search is necessary for:

  • users to find a product, even if they do not spell its name correctly, make typos, or miss a keyboard layout;
  • site owners to avoid losing sales due to mistakes made by users while typing the name.

What can the website search do? It can:

  • return search results based on the morphology of the site’s language;
  • prioritize the search specifics (e.g., in e-shops, users first search for a product by name and only then by product characteristics);
  • index the site’s content;
  • filter and rank the  search results (i.e., the page with more keywords will be ranked higher in the search results);
  • recognize the product names even if the user mistypes them or misses the keyboard layout;
  • understands the synonyms and abbreviations of the product’s title;
  • suggest similar or related products if users find nothing.

When do you need the website search?

In general, it depends on the number of site pages. If you have a small site, focus on the navigation. The search bar is a must-have if you have an e-shop or a big site. But regardless of the site’s size, users can prefer the navigation to search. Therefore, add them both to your site.

Hints:

The search bar is not a competitor to the navigation system. Each of them contributes to the site’s usability.

Do’s and Don’ts in Website Search Design

A well-done search bar on the website boasts certain features:

  • The search bar is visible on the website, i.e., it should be placed in a visible convenient place and distinguished from other site elements.
  • Users should understand that this element is the search bar without identification marks and a corresponding title.

I combed through forums and summarized what many designers and users say about search bar designs. Here are the do’s and don’ts.

Search bar do’s:

  • Every website page should have a search bar.
  • Traditionally, users expect to find the search bar in the top right corner of the page.
  • The search bar should be enough to type at least 30 characters.
  • Add search by category, by parameters, and by name.
  • Use a magnifying glass or other familiar icons to indicate the search bar.
  • A placeholder text (e.g., search) should disappear if the user types something in the search bar.
  • Make it possible to use traditional search operators (like AND, OR).
  • Show the last search queries to users.
  • Show the total number of results pages.
  • Add filters to search results.
  • Apply Google Analytics to track all questions, whether the user found something or not.
  • Make a search sitewide then it will cover all website pages.
  • Output product thumbnails in the search results.
  • Make it possible to save the search results.
  • Apply autocomplete functionality.
  • Make the No Search Data page useful, i.e., add links to categories and the most popular products.

Search bar don’ts:

  • Place the search bar close to other elements.
  • Search pop-up is often not the best solution; a bar would be a more traditional option.

WordPress Search Box Best Practices

In this section, I would like to showcase various WordPress search plugin applications. 

E-shops pay essential attention to the search organization on the site and position the search bar in a visible place.

Business card sites often add the search bar icon to the header. If you click on this icon, the search bar will unfold.

Some sites embed the search bar into the page but not the header. They add filters to the search bar to speed up the search.

embedded search bar
Source: Inmo

Engineering companies implement laconic but visible search bars.

Tourist agencies often put the search bar in the most prominent place and embed it in a pop-up window. It appears immediately after opening the site.

pop-up window search bar
Source: AC Tours

You can develop the search bar with tabs and filters.

filter search bar
Source: Sparx Motors

Besides, you can embed the search bar into WordPress search forms.

Developers have built all these search bars using the JetSearch plugin.

Hints:

Did you know Crocoblock’s knowledge base and JetFormBuilder website searches were created with the JetSearch plugin too?

How to Create a Search Box with the JetSearch Plugin?

Some words aside: it is not a trivial task to specify the best WordPress search plugins. Such a plugin should be two-in-one to build the search bar as a design element and provide search functionality (analysis of spelling, ranking, indexing, etc.).

Times change, and you no longer need Elementor to use the JetSearch plugin. I mean that you can use it for Gutenberg, too. How? Let’s try.

JetSearch allows you to place the search bar anywhere, making it mobile-responsive, as well as:

  • specify a placeholder;
  • input an SVG icon, show categories list;
  • show a Submit Button, including the button label and icon;
  • specify the source of search, including posts, custom post field, and taxonomy terms to be included/excluded;
  • set the notification message for search results, including unsuccessful results;
  • specify the search area, post length, and more.

Traditionally designers place the search bar in headers. But you can add the search bar to any place on the WordPress page. 

You can add the search bar to your website with the JetSearch plugin and Elementor following documentation or with Gutenberg editor following these steps.

  1. Download and activate the JetSearch plugin.

    jetsearch installed

  2. Add AJAX Search block to the page.

    To place a search bar via Gutenberg and JetSearch, press the “+” button and find the Ajax Search block.ajax search bar block

  3. Customize search settings.

    customize wordpress search settings

  4. Style up the WordPress search with the free JetStyleManager plugin.

    Here I applied styles to the search form (i.e., the colored background with padding). Still, you can customize the input field, submit button, typography for all text elements, results area, results item, results in counter, all results button, notification, and spinner.customize search appearence

  5. Press the “Update” button for the front-end preview of your page with the customized search bar.

    Now you see that the JetSearch plugin is easy-to-use. 

I think the JetSearch WordPress plugin is one of the best search plugins because it:

Sum Up

WordPress search plugins upended the search boxes’ creation principles and turned them into design elements. Now, you do not need code skills to design a functional but impressive search box. Even search results look nice, and users can specify their ordering.

The search box is not a terse field; users can embed it into images, forms, and pop-up windows. E-shops and large portals make their search bars convenient, picturesque, and functional, including spell checks, filters, image search, file search, and even voice search.

Besides, search is a marketing tool, and it increases visitor loyalty, contributes to tracking user behavior on the site, changing ranking strategies, and testing new solutions. It indirectly affects the website indexing.