In our August newsletter, we outlined some basic steps to make your existing site search even better for your visitors. We have more good advice in store for you this month, with ideas that can make your search feature easier to find and use – which, of course, increases the chances that visitors will locate what they need, and even make purchases at your site.
- Position the search box “above the fold,” or high up on the webpage so that visitors don’t need to scroll down to find it – data shows that people who search rather than browse are 2-3 times as likely to convert, so encourage them to use your site search by making it easy to spot at first glance.
- Test different positions for the search box, and identify which positions generate the most search traffic – our customer Black Forest Décor did this, and moved its search box from the right-hand upper corner of its site – a common placement for the search box – to the center of the page. They also made other changes to the search box, such as increasing its size and using bolder colors to make it stand out. This all added up to a big jump in average revenue from site search.
- Consider putting the cursor focus in the search box – in other words, code the page so that the cursor is automatically in the box, and visitors can start typing their keywords immediately - our customer Surveillance Video is a good example. As you can see when you visit their site, it’s fast and easy to start a search. Just remember that if you do place the focus on search, do so only on those pages where search is the primary box. If there is another form on the box that a visitor clicks on, and the visitor starts typing into that box while the page is still loading, then the focus will switch to the search box while they’re typing – which can be confusing.
- Add auto complete, which suggests possible terms when visitors type the first few letters of a keyword – it’s especially useful for hard-to-spell searches, and saves time by requiring fewer keystrokes.
Do you have additional ideas for simple ways to make search better? If so, we’d love to hear them – just drop us a line and let us know.