Some of you may read the title of this post and chuckle because you think you know how important it is for your site to be easy to navigate through the search bar.
As a matter of fact, no matter how perfect your site hierarchy and navigation is, some users won’t understand it. Or they don’t want to learn it.
For those users, a search box is paramount, because that’s the primary way they use the web. To them search is navigation.
Rather than exclude those users from your site, leave in the search box, It doesn’t hurt the usability or appeal of the site for people that don’t use it, but please make sure it is functional for users that need it
If you own an e-commerce site, do you know how many times people type “phone number” into your search bar? If you went out of your way to find out, you would be surprised to see the results. Depending on what platform you’re using, you’d have to go differently about finding out, but try it and you will be amazed.
Of course, if you’re just blogging you need your page contents to be easily searchable and if you’re selling products you need users to be able to search and you don’t want to force them to figure out what category the item they’re looking belongs to.
An often ignored fact is that the search results are another way of presenting content to your users that they wouldn’t have reached on their own. Let’s say for example you sell guitar accessories, and a user searches for “strings” wouldn’t it be awesome if in the search results you also displayed your tune up service? This is something the user never thought of and wasn’t looking for, but hey, once you have him on your site and he’s kicking around your pages what better way to present content to him than by answering his search queries with unique content.
Of course your search needs to fast and the results need to reflect the keywords the user put in, there’s a lot of data entry that goes along with that, the more data you have about your content the better results you’ll get from your search queries.
If you’re still reading, the only point we’re trying to make is that it’s important that you put some thought into best leveraging that search bar since for the most part that’s the first place users will turn to when they want to interact with your site and inherently that’s would be the primary reason visitors would leave your site – if the results to their query doesn’t get them any further.