A Search Box Plugin for WordPress That Gives Relevant Results!

search box plugin for wordpress

Photo Courtesy of Master isolated images at Freedigitalphotos.net

Do you use a search box on your blog?

Lately I haven’t been using one because I haven’t been able to find a search box plugin for WordPress that displays relevant results, Argh!

Well today I’m excited to tell you about a Search box plugin that works so well it inspired this post :-)

This WordPress plugin is called Swiftype.  Have you heard of it?   I didn’t until yesterday, and so far I love it!

So here’s the scoop…

First of all the plugin is free, Yay!  They have a paid version with some extra features but so far the free version works great for me and most likely it will for you too.

Go ahead try it, it’s located at the top of my right sidebar.

One thing I especially love about this search box plugin is that you can type a keyword in the search box and get a drop down list of all the posts with that keyword phrase.  You can even order how you want your results to display which I’ll talk about more in a minlute.

Your visitors can now select a specific post right from the search box.

To start simply install the Swiftype Search plugin for WordPress.  Once installed on your blog simply click on the Swiftype link in your WordPress dashboard and follow the directions.

Once you’re set up you’ll have a Swiftype dashboard to log into where you can customize your Swiftype results and read through detailed search analytics. There’s a short demo video on the plugin site for more details.

But here are some of the cool features I love most about Swiftype.

  • The search doesn’t bog down your site, even if you have hundreds of thousands of posts.
  • Your search box will contain suggestions based on titles, tags, and author names that users plugin into the search box.
  • Search results automatically update when you save, delete, or change search content.
  • Re-order search results with drag-and-drop from your Swiftype Dashboard.
  • Just click on your dashboards search engine for search results and analytics. I love this because I can see what visitors to my site are searching for. If there are consistencies this gives me an idea of what content I need to focus on more.

A few things to know before getting started with the Swiftype search Box Plugin For WordPress

The  Swiftype WordPress search plugin takes over the default WordPress search widget.  So be sure you have the default search widget set up on your blog first.  Enable the WordPress search box widget by going to Appearance -> Widgets and then drag the “Search” widget into your side bar.

The hardest part about the Swiftype installation (which isn’t that hard, it just requires the extra step), is that it requires an API key. But that’s easy to get. Once you install the plugin just follow the directions for getting your API key.

Customize Your Search Box Results in Your Swiftype Dashboard

Using your dashboard you can customize your search results with the  ‘Result Controls’ tab. Simply drag and drop the results you want to display in the order you want them for your search posts key phrase.

Analytics for Swiftype

And here’s the fun part for all you analytics fans.  Click on the ‘Analytics’ tab, select a timeframe and see how many searchs, autoselects and clicks you got.  The autoselect is when a user selects a search result from the drop down list.

Overall I like the tool, it was certainly a simple install and I like the results.

Swiftype Site SearchRight now I’m using the free version of Swiftype which gives me:

  • 1 search engine
  • 1 domain
  • 1,000 documents
  • 1 recrawl each week
  • 30-day Analytics history
  • Email Support

As you can see I’m limited to 1000 posts/pages but I’ve got some time before I reach 1000. When I hit that number I may need to upgrade but right now this gives me time to evaluate the product to see whether it will be worth it to me.

How about you? What search tool do you use?

Blessings,

P.S.  Swiftype has an affiliate program and I like the program so much I joined.  If you use the program you may want to join as well. If you decide to go with the paid version I’d be grateful if you used my links within this post which grants me an commission, but no pressure ;-)   For the free version simply download the free WordPress plugin here.

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Comments

  1. Hi Liz,
    That’s an interesting search plugin.
    Before I settled for Google Adsense for Search, I did a lot of search but didn’t find this or something similar. While Adsense for Search is also very good, it can help earn some money.

    Good luck on finding something that works for you and thanks for sharing it with us
    Enstine Muki recently posted..Reginald Chan ~ blogger of the weekMy Profile

    • Elizabeth McGee says:

      Hi Enstine,

      I tried Google adsense for search but my experience was that not many people used it. Also I wasn’t really happy with how the results displayed. So far I like Swiftype, but we’ll see how much it gets used and if it improves my visitor’s experience on my site.

      Thanks for stopping by and for your feedback :-)
      Liz

  2. Hi Liz, thanks for the recommendation.

    The Swiftype search field reminds me a lot of Google Custom Search. But Google Custom Search costs about $120.00 a year if it’s ad-free. I love this price!

    – Cole

    • Okay… all installed and configured. It took 10 minutes! Awsome.

      Thanks again!

    • Elizabeth McGee says:

      Hi Cole,

      Interesting, I didn’t know that the Google custom search costs about $120 a year if it’s ad free. Even with the ads I didn’t especially like the Google search.

      So glad you like the recommendation, and thanks for your feedback Cole.

      Blessings,
      Liz

  3. Hi Elizabeth !
    I like this plugin as it has ajax based drop down system. This plugin can help a visit/user get more relevant results or find the exact match as he/she can pick the topic of interest from the drop down list. Thanks for sharing the information .The reason why the developers have monetized this search plugin might be due to its analytic feature.Thanks for making us aware of this wonderful plugin.

    -Pamod

    • Elizabeth McGee says:

      Hi Pramod,

      Didn’t know that the technical term for this plugin ‘ajax based’, but whatever it uses I like the dropdown featue, that’s one of the reasons I chose it. The dropdown can also be customized to select which posts list first.

      I’m sure the paid portion of the tool has a lot of analytic power so the hence the cost, but for my needs right now the free version works pretty good.

      Thanks for you feedback Pramod.

      Blessings,
      Liz

  4. Hi Liz,

    Surprising post. Never thought of using a search box to gather data about what my visitors search on my blog. I use the default WordPress search widget.
    This plugin looks very cool, indeed. It reminds me of another plugin I used some time ago: Jetpack.

    Now, did you try the ultimate test? Did you studied the impact this plugin has on the loading speed of your site?
    I think this plugin connects to a site (because you need an API key). Something like Akismet.
    Correct me, if I am wrong but this connection can slow down your site. You should try to find out.
    To do this I would make 3-4 tests (one every, let’s say, 2 days) with a Plugin like P3 Performance Profiler, gather the data and analyse it. If there is a clear trend that shows the plugin is slowing down your site, then you know what to do. If not, this is a cool plugin and it deserves to be kept.

    Have a wonderful day

    • Elizabeth McGee says:

      Hey Silviu,

      Thanks for the tips on measuring site speed. The swiftype plugin says that it run on their powerful servers – it doesn’t bog down your site, even if you have hundreds of thousands of posts. I haven’t measured that. My site doesn’t seem slower but to the naked eye that can be deceiving.

      I’ll give it a test with P3 Performance Profiler and see what I see :-)

      Thanks for the tips and you have a great day :-)

      Liz

  5. Hi Liz,

    This looks very tempting, but I’m trying to cut down on plugins at the moment, so reluctant to add another one. I’m going to bookmark this for now and have a think about it.

    Many thanks for such an interesting share, and especially for the detailed instructions on installing it and for letting us know exactly what the free version provides.

    • Elizabeth McGee says:

      Hi Sue,

      I hear you! I’ve just spent an hour this morning going through my plugins and eliminating several of them, especially the ones in my ‘inactive’ file and just deleting them.

      Silviu, in one of the comments below, advised me of a plugin (I know, another plugin LOL!) that tests the loading speed of your plugins. It’s called P3 Performance Profiles. Interesting enough the Swifttype plugin doesn’t bog me down at all, but there were a few others that caught my attention.
      It’s a pretty good plugin for helping you see what plugins are impacting your loading speed.

      Anyway, thanks though for commenting Sue. Always good to hear from you :-)

      Liz

  6. Elizabeth McGee says:

    You’re welcome! I noticed you have a couple of search bars on your blog, which one do you prefer the most or are you still testing.

    Liz

  7. Liz –
    I’ve been happy with my little search box.. That is until I just played with yours! Iooked up writing, content, and seo. Yep. This looks like a good plug in. I love the drop down options.

    One thing that has concerned me is how well my readers can find specific searches. I have several on one topic, but each of those has a different set of ideas. I’m going to try Swiftype out this evening and see how it works.

    It looks like although there will be a little bit of set up time, it will be worth it. I like the part about ordering posts. That should really enhance your user experience.

    Thanks for sharing it with us!
    Karen Hoyt

    • Elizabeth McGee says:

      Hey Karen,

      Yes, do try it out and let me know what you think. There is some setup time but I think you may be happy with the results.

      Thanks for your feedback.

      Liz

  8. Huzaima Khan says:

    Hey Liz!

    I think Google custom search would be a better idea.
    What do you say?

    -Huzaima Khan

  9. For a blog or a website, Search functionality is one of the most important thing. For wordpress I think Google custom search can work well. I think what you have share might be a good plugin as I can see in your review and screenshots. Thanks for the post.

  10. This is surely a great search box plugin for wordpress. I liked your blogpost. Will surely try this plugin in future.

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