One of the most under estimated assets a web site can have is a fast and accurate site search engine. First impressions count when it comes to web sites, but that first impression can sour quickly if a visitor cannot find what they are looking for. While a well defined navigation menu is important, users are becoming sophisticated and rather than scrolling through a category to find information, they are quite happy to type it into your search window – if you have one.
That is the first big mistake made by web designers – not including at least a very basic site search capability. The second mistake they make is to hide the search window, often buried down near the bottom of the page. Having site search can make a huge change to your site’s performance. Some of the benefits include:
Reducing bounce rates – visitors only have to click through to another page and they are considered not to have bounced.
Increasing page views – a search box enables visitors to find more content related to their needs, thus increasing the number of page views.
Increasing conversions – a simple rationale – the longer a visitor stays on your site, the more opportunities there are to catch their attention. They may not convert today, however, there will be a brand impression left on them and a return visit probable.
Developing authority – the greater the amount of quality content that a visitor is exposed to, the more they will value your site.
Increase brand awareness – the longer a visitor is on your site, the more often they will see your logo, your business name, and the branding details of your site. The more often they see it, the more it will imprint on their memories.
It’s a very simple principle. Make your content easy to find, and your visitors will appreciate it. Make it hard to find and they will find it elsewhere. If you’re a business then you cannot afford to have that potential customer walk away. Be sure your web design includes a well placed site search engine in its web design – your visitors will most likely be looking for it.