Short answer: Yes, you should put a search bar on your website for three reasons. First, some users like it so it’s good for user experience. Having it does not in any way hurt user experience so it’s a net gain. Second, if you use Google Analytics, you can easily see what visitors are searching for on your site in the search bar. Third, it increases page views and time on site (not a lot but every bit helps).
I put a search bar on every site I publish. It’s a no brainer.
Do visitors actually use the search bar? How can you tell?
Yes, people use them on sites, including sites with little traffic. As a website visitor myself, I use search features often on good sites I visit. Here’s how you can see how many searches are being done on your site in Google Analytics plus other data (overview):
What is a search bar?
A search bar is search field you place on your site so that visitors can search just your site for topics or words. Here’s what it looks like on Fat Stacks:
Where should you put the search bar?
I typically place it in the header area. On Fat Stacks, I place it on the right side of the top menu. On some sites, I also place it in the sidebar (so it shows up under content on mobile).
How do you add a search bar to a WordPress website?
It depends on your theme. With Astra, it’s a widget option that can be added pretty much anywhere on the site including the header and menu navigation. With Trellis theme, you toggle the “search bar” feature on and it’s added to the header. It will vary theme to theme. In most cases, it’s very simple to deploy.
Should you connect it with Google AdSense search results feature to make money from it?
You can certainly try it. I don’t care for it myself in relation to how much it earns. I’ve found that using Google Search results on my sites doesn’t pay much. I’d rather use the built-search feature. But by all means, give it a shot. Maybe it’ll earn you a ton and if it does, then it’s worth it.
How do you find which search terms users input in Google Analytics?
How is this information helpful?
Are you kidding? It’s super helpful. This is some of the best data you can get to help you know what your audience is interested in. You might not get a lot of long tail keyword data but you’ll certainly learn what topics visitors are interested in learning more about on your website.
Is it worth using various search plugins to improve the feature?
I don’t bother currently but you could give them a try. There are several but these days I really prefer to limit the number of plugins on my site. Some of these search plugins can be resource-heavy so I opt to avoid them. One way to test whether they’re worth using is to do some searches yourself without them, then install some of the popular ones and do searches. If you like the results better from the plugin, consider using the plugin.
Searches are a GOOD SIGN: When people take the time to do searches on your site, that’s an indication people really like your site
I love it when people input searches on my sites because that means they like the site. They trust the site. Visitors would not take the time to search on a site that they considered to be garbage. Have you ever visited a junk site and thought to yourself “mmmmhhh, this site sucks but I want to see more”? No, you probably haven’t. IMO, the more people that do searches on your site, the more you can rest easy that people like your site.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.