Many things make for a great website. Before saying more, I need to say this: websites exist for the visitors or guests. Despite your preferences, the guest needs must supersede everything else. Never get it twisted. Websites (should) exist to serve the needs of those you want to reach. This is key when it comes to thinking about features and the user experience. Here’s why the search feature is an underrated website feature and why it matters.
One of the ways you can tell the search feature is underrated is how it can obscure or left out completely.
When people can find what they’re looking for on your website you lose them. They usually start by looking where they think it should be. If you have search, their next step is generally using the search feature. With no other way of finding what they sought, they leave. They’re not likely to return.
But there is something you can do about it. This is why the search is important. It helps you to stop continuing leaking visitors. It can help serve the people you’re trying to reach.
As much as you may you anticipate the needs of your visitors you will never think of everything. There is always going to be the one user or detail that will fall through the crack. Enter search. The search function, in a sense, transcends how you’ve organized content on your website.
Again, it is likely that you might not curate your own content the way some users want to engage with it. The search function is important because it (should) serves all the possible related information. All someone has to do is use it.
One of the cool things about WordPress is that you can tell what people are searching for on your website. This is where plugins like Search Meter come in handy. When you know what people are looking for you can create more relevant content. Goodbye content droughts.
The search feature is one way you can understand needs you might have overlooked. Only when you understand some of the people’s needs can you meet them. This could inform not only the design and content of your website but other aspects of church life. Your response could be a change in how you do things. Perhaps the need for a particular sermon series or teachings.
As you take note of what people are looking for and meeting those needs, you become relevant. This is likely to translate to people visiting you often. Don’t just create content for SEO, be useful.
Your website can be a great resource for leadership and pastoring; don’t waste it. Beyond analytics what information from your website have you been missing out? Figure it out and do something about it.
Making Sure You Have It
WordPress comes with search functionality builtin. This is one of the reasons why I’m a huge fan and advocate of WordPress. Google allows you to create custom search engines for WordPress and other platforms. You can also look at what ChurchMag uses: Search WP.
Walk Away With This
Don’t just build a pretty website, have one that is useful. Start by putting the needs of your (potential) visitors. Every website must have search.
It is important to not only have search on your website but make it accessible. Make sure that it is visible and easy for people to find and use it. See your website in the right way and reap the benefits, so that you’re more effective in your mission.
Don’t wait, act today. Act now.
How much attention have you given to search on your website and as a resource?
Would love to hear your thoughts on search in this context.