Jetpack site search for bloggers

Why the Best Bloggers Need Solid Site Search

If you’re a successful blogger with a lot of posts, congratulations! Getting to where you are today took a lot of hard work, dedication, and passion. 

But the more content you have, the harder it can be for visitors to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily. What’s the solution? Adding a high-quality search engine to your blog.

Why is a search box so important?

Imagine that one of your followers lands on your site with a specific purpose: finding a recipe you shared on Instagram a few months ago. Because you’ve published quite a few posts since then, they have to scroll through several pages of content, click through a bunch of categories on your menu, or guess which tags might apply to that recipe. Not only will they become frustrated, they might even leave your site altogether.

Imagine that, instead, they simply type what they’re looking for in a search box and the right post shows up in the first 2-3 results. That’s a much better experience!

According to Search Engine Journal, 40% of people say that a search box is the most vital function of a good website. Here are a few specific reasons:

It helps readers find things faster

Even if you organize all of your posts with categories and tags, older ones still won’t get much, if any, visibility because they’ll be several pages back. This makes it very difficult for users to find what they’re looking for by clicking around.  

A search bar allows them to quickly find the information they need whether they’re looking for something specific, or simply want to know what you have to say about a general topic.

It keeps people on your site

If it’s hard for users to find what they’re searching for, they might leave your site for another blog. This increases your bounce rate and decreases pageviews, which negatively affects SEO, advertising clicks, and interest from sponsors. But if they land on the right blog post after a quick search, they’ll stick around and become a regular visitor. 

High-quality search results also increase overall pageviews: say someone searches for “spring outfit ideas” on your fashion blog. If they see lots of related, relevant results with attractive images, they’re more likely to click on multiple posts to gather all the ideas they can.  

It leads to more conversions

A conversion occurs when someone takes a certain action on your site — they fill out a contact form, subscribe to your email list, download an eBook, or purchase a product. 

Not only do 43% of visitors immediately head to a search box after landing on a site, those searchers are two to three times more likely to convert. Using search functionality has become a default for many online users and. If you provide what they’re looking for, they’ll reward you with a conversion. 

Jetpack Search in action
Instant search, spelling correction, and filtering on TwentyTwenty theme. Recorded in Lisbon, Portugal.

What about the default WordPress search?

While including a search box of any kind is better than none at all, the default WordPress search functionality is very basic. It’s workable on smaller sites, but doesn’t provide the functionality needed for blogs with a high volume of posts.

Style is limited

Themes are limited in how they display results and can feel like a list of posts rather than a set of search results. They also have poor mobile layouts, which means that you’re giving at least half your audience a poor experience. Unless you know how to manipulate website elements with CSS, you can’t change the way the default search widget appears. If you want to change the color, shape, or style to match your brand, you’re out of luck.

Customization isn’t included

There are lots of reasons to customize the information you give searchers:

  • You only want blog posts to show in results, not events or other content.
  • You want to add filtering by categories, tags, or dates. 
  • You want to only show results for a specific category you’re promoting. 
  • You want to filter results even further by showing the most relevant options. 

These types of settings aren’t included with the default WordPress search tool.

Results are basic

The default WordPress search functionality looks at each query and tries to match it with content on a page, post, or product. It then displays results in order of date published rather than relevancy.

While many search engines, like Google, use a proprietary algorithm to determine the most relevant results for each search, the default WordPress search tool doesn’t. There’s always the possibility that users won’t find exactly what they’re looking for.

How to customize Jetpack Search

Jetpack Search is available as a standalone product — no Jetpack plan necessary — and is priced based on how much content is on your site. 

  1. Start by purchasing Jetpack Search and installing Jetpack.
  2. Your search will be auto-configured and immediately turned on. We attempt to choose some reasonable defaults but there are a number of customization options.
  3. You can customize the search overlay by logging into your site and navigating to Appearance → Customize or clicking on Customize in the masterbar at the top of the screen.
  4. You can also customize the filters in Appearance Widgets, and update the Search (Jetpack) widget settings in your sidebar.

 Get happy readers and more views

At the end of the day, people can’t read your blog posts if they can’t find them. Make it easy for your site visitors to locate exactly what they’re looking for with the powerful algorithms behind Jetpack Search.

You’ll benefit from a lower bounce rate, improved search engine results, and happy advertisers, while your readers will benefit from a stellar on-site experience — all for an affordable price!

Get started with Jetpack Search.

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Greg Ichneumon Brown profile
Greg Ichneumon Brown

Data Wrangler at Automattic. I work on Search, Natural Language Processing, and scaling Data Science.

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