Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Website Usability–Three Main Rules for Your Website Search Box

Basic website usability - If you want to convert more visitors into customers on your website and achieve a higher over all conversion rate you need to pay attention to your Website Search Box;  where it is, how obvious it is, and the results it produces – in other words, does it find what your visitors are looking for?

It’s astounding how many e-commerce sites, from small to large (and I mean very large) do not pay enough attention to the importance of their website search box and the results it produces – I’m sure that you, like me, will have left a site in a hurry in frustration at the time it takes to find something, when it should have been immediately obvious.

Your website may have been found by natural search, or re-visited by a repeat customer but the reason that potential buyer is there is because they are looking for something.  Obviously, you may say, but take note that if they don’t find what they’re looking for fast they will leave in a flash and go somewhere else. 

Also note that on-site search beats website navigation every time – how much easier is it to put a search term into a website search box and be taken straight there, rather than take several steps to get there via navigation?

1.  The first rule about your website search box is that it should be at the top of your site – visible on every page, and preferably on or near the top right.  Anywhere else and it’s in the wrong place.

There’s a reason why it’s here…
Netaporter for site search
and here…………….

John Lewis for Site Search

2.  It should also be absolutely clear that it is the website search box, saying (strangely enough) ‘Search’ or ‘Search by Product’.  Or something similar.  Never imagine that your visitors will be able to read your mind.   They won’t.

3.  You need to make sure that your product titles and content copy match and/or contain the keywords and phrases that people are looking for when using natural search engines such as Google. 

This is where most of the mistakes are made, in that not enough attention is paid firstly to how people are searching for the products that you offer and secondly that you are making use of that information on your website.

None of this is rocket science but so many get it wrong and lose conversions accordingly. The conversion rate from a product found through your search box will be one of the highest on your website – so make it easy for your visitors to get straight to what they’re looking for.

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