So you’ve built up an audience, and you are keeping them there with solid design and quality content. But unless they’ve been there since the beginning then how will they find your content amongst the vast library? Are you going to rely on the blog archives page? You need a powerful search function. While the default search for WordPress is good, it’s not great and can be a bit wonky. As always, this is where some impressive plugins can save your sanity. Here’s a look at a few that are sure to blow you away and go above and beyond your search needs.
Relevanssi (Free and Premium)
You can’t talk about search plugins without talking about Relevanssi. On a personal note, this is my go-to for search plugins. It is a very solid and well-curated solution that offers both free and premium options to fit your needs. The first thing to mention is that unlike other search options, results are sorted by relevance, and not by date. It also offers partial word matches and support for search query types. It even offers a “Did you mean?” Google style suggestions section based on successful searches. And in the free option, you have the power to log queries and track what people are searching for and what searches are turning up no hits. There are even more, new features in the premium version.
SearchWP puts the details back into your search function. Details ignored by the WP search offered out of the box. It ignores eCommerce details, custom fields, content generated by shortcodes, related post data, taxonomy, and PDF and document text. SearchWP offers a way for sites to offer up better and more relevant results. You can even create multiple search engines to focus on section-specific searching. It comes developer friendly for fine-tuning and they even offer a 3-day email course to evaluate and learn more about SearchWP.
Swiftype Search (Free)
Swiftype is a simple but powerful plugin that gives you greater insight into what your users are searching for. This will allow you the ability to customize your search engine results and cater to what will give you the greatest results. While your feature list will be a bit shorter, the power you have over the end result is impressive.
Category Wise Search (Free)
This is a pretty simple but well-developed solution that offers the ability to customize where your search engine is looking. If the default search is working well for you but you just want a little more finite control, then this might be your choice. What it does is allow you to set search for post categories and set default categories. Further, you can exclude categories and child categories from searches.
Search Everything (Free)
This is a plugin that promises to improve the default search without modifying any template pages. You will be able to configure it to search pages, excerpts, attachments, drafts, comments, tags, and even custom fields. However you still have the finite control to exclude specific pages and posts, and it does not include password-protected content. It even allows you to search within contents for further relevancy.
Better User Search (Free)
This is a little bit of a deviation from the other plugins, in that it isn’t for the public facing search. Rather, it is a plugin that makes user management in WooCommerce a bit less painful. Admins can now search by first or last name, email address, or any other custom user meta fields. It also supports all search query types, so you can further refine your results. So you can now quickly pull up only users in a certain state, or pull up a full user history with nothing more than an email. A great addition to your WooCommerce site.
WP Search Auto Match (Free)
As you can guess by the name, Auto Match adds an important and useful feature for front-end users. Now users can search partial strings and get auto-generated tag suggestions to simplify searching for your users. It doesn’t otherwise alter the default search engine. However, if you are looking for a quick upgrade to the basic WP search, this could be a great choice for you.
Instant Search for WooCommerce (Free and Premium)
Instant Search is a game changer when it comes to conversion rates. Users can search your WooCommerce store with live search-as-you-type product names, descriptions, images, and prices starting from the very first letter typed. With this advanced autocomplete and suggestion tool, you will be able to match your users to the products they have to have quicker and with greater accuracy. The basic version is fully featured but only offers support up to 50 products. If you are a larger store you will want to go premium with a $4.99 monthly subscription that comes with a 30-day free trial.
Ajaxy Live Search (Free)
Ajax offers site admins the ability to add a Facebook like live search to their sites. Like the Facebook search, it quickly offers suggestions by keyword, categories, post tags, and even supports the wp-eCommerce plugin. It comes with light and dark themes, but the developer offers the ability to customize each theme to your specific needs. Take advantage of the power of Facebook’s search tool on your site.
Curated Search (Free)
At first, this may seem an odd choice, but if you are looking for finite control over what your users see then Curated Search is a great choice. It allows you the ability to specify exactly what you want users to see based on common searches of your site. That way you don’t have to worry about users getting an endless string of results that aren’t relevant at all. That means you won’t have frustrated customers digging through partial matches and buried results.
Search functions are often overlooked by site owners who underestimate how important this feature is. Giving users the power to find relevant information and results on your site can make all the difference when it comes to converting users, increasing engagement, and reducing bounce. No matter what your site is for, those are definitely important things to keep in mind.