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What To Know About Sitefinity's Site Search Functionality

Published by Spinutech on November 2, 2021

What To Know About Sitefinity's Site Search Functionality

Site search is one of the most important features a business can implement on its website. While this feature can be highly valuable to both businesses and online visitors, it needs to be optimized to provide a positive user experience. 

Enter Progress Sitefinity (or Sitefinity for short): A Content Management System (CMS) that you can use to create, publish, store, and manage your website’s content. As one of the best CMS platforms available, Sitefinity is a feature-rich platform that can handle even the most complex functionality, including intricate site search. 

Using Sitefinity’s site search functionality can greatly improve your user experience, and ultimately, help you grow your business. 

What is Site Search and How Does It Work? 

Site search enables visitors to type queries directly into a search box on your website, where they can look for specific products, services, webpages, or other information. Once entered, results will be generated, and your visitor will be that much closer to finding what they’re looking for. However, site search is more than just having a search box on your website. In order to provide a great user experience, site search requires helpful, strategic features. 

Sitefinity Offers Built-In Site Search Functionality 

Sitefinity has built-in search functionality and leverages three search services: Lucene, Azure Search, and Elasticsearch. Each service has its own advantages and disadvantages. If you’re looking for basic search capabilities, you may be able to use one of these options to fit your budget, needs, and preferences. 

You Can Enhance Site Search with Third-Party Search Platforms

If you’re looking for more robust and feature-rich capabilities than what Sitefinity’s built-in search functionalities offer, choose a third-party search integration. Third-party platforms are a great way to enhance Sitefinity’s search functionality as they allow better performance and advanced search capabilities. 

  • Typeahead, also known as auto-complete or auto-suggest, uses predictive software to make entering a query easier and quicker.
  • Faceting enables searchers to refine and categorize their results.
  • Personalization tailors the results specific to each unique user.
  • Analytics and reporting give you valuable insight into visitor behaviors.
  • Boost and bury rules allow you to strategically change the order of search results.
  • Pinning keeps a specific result at the top of the page.
  • Synonyms allow users to find a result they’re looking for based on intention and context. For example, a searcher might type in “jacket,” and you may have products also named “coat,” which is a synonym to this term.
  • Spell check, also known as “did you mean,” accounts for user error in that it shows correct versions of misspelled words, enabling users to re-submit their query with accuracy.

Cludo and Hawksearch are two third-party search providers that can be found in the Sitefinity Marketplace and have an official Sitefinity integration. There are also dozens of excellent search providers available to meet a variety of needs, preferences, and budgets, such as Algolia, Coveo, Sajari, Swiftype, Elasticsearch, Bloomreach, and Searchspring to name a few (which Spinutech has both experience and expertise implementing).

You Can Customize the Site Search Functionality to Fit Your Needs

Sitefinity’s customizability makes it easy to work within your budget, bandwidth, and capabilities to guarantee you have the features you need. Since 68% of visitors say they won’t return to a website with poor search functionality, you want to make sure you have these key features in your search experience: 

  • Simplicity. Your search experience should be straightforward and easy to use. 
  • Speed. How quickly search results load is critical to keeping visitors on your website. In fact, as a page’s load time goes from one to three seconds, the probability a visitor will bounce increases by 32%
  • Relevance. You want to make sure that your website generates results that are not only relevant to a search, but also take into account the user’s intent behind it. Be sure your search experience generates relevant results regardless of misspelled words, plurals, symbols, spaces, synonyms, punctuation, capitalization, etc. 
  • Responsiveness. You want to make sure your website and search experience are responsive and can be used efficiently and effectively on different devices such as mobile phones and desktop computers. This is especially important considering that mobile accounts for about half of online traffic worldwide.

With just these essential features, you’ll provide a great site search experience. By using a third-party search integration, however, you can do even more. You will have the flexibility to create highly detailed, intricate features such as faceted search and filtering capabilities. You can even create something similar to Sitefinity’s Headless API for the ultimate search experience.

Site Search Offers Many Benefits

With 43% of website visitors going straight to the search bar on eCommerce websites, it’s clear that this is a highly beneficial, valuable tool for consumers and businesses alike. 

Site search enables users to find what they’re looking for quickly, creating a seamless user experience. Convenience is a critical component of the user experience and consumers have grown to expect it. If you don’t offer a seamless user experience, you risk driving business away. 

This convenience and efficiency also support business growth, making it two to three times more likely that a visitor will convert. An easily navigable website sets you apart from your competition and increases customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

Site search also gives you insight into what visitors are searching for, enabling you to tailor both your business and website strategies accordingly. For example, you can brainstorm new blog topics or add new products and services based on what visitors are looking for. In addition to its own reporting and analytics features, you can also connect Google Analytics with your Sitefinity site search functionality to expand upon your insights.

There Are Factors That May Impact Your Site Search Features

While each third-party search platform offers a world-class experience, you will want to do your homework to ensure you’re selecting the best fit. 

Each provider has different pricing models, costs, and fees (such as setup and monthly subscription fees). In addition, they each require a different level of effort and amount of time to implement. Keep in mind that the more intricate you get with your site search functionalities, the more you may need to invest. 

You must also consider your team or web developer’s capabilities. Partner with a website developer that can not only handle your requests but also expertly advise and guide you throughout the process. The right partner will collaborate with you to help you get the best results within the timeframe and budget you have. 

Overall, quality is key. Make sure you’re choosing a platform that has features and capabilities that provide the best experience for your visitors. 

Partner with a Sitefinity Partner That Can Help You Create a World-Class Search Experience

When selecting a Sitefinity website development partner, you need to find one that is experienced, certified, and collaborative. Since Sitefinity can handle complex functionalities, it’s important that your developer knows how to implement and optimize all of the integrations you may need. Websites can be quite the investment, and it’s important that it’s not only built correctly but also optimally. 

At Spinutech, we’re experts in all things digital marketing and web design and development. As an award-winning Progress Sitefinity Premier Partner and certified developer, we have helped our clients create websites that support their business growth. 

Contact us today to learn how we can help you drive your business forward with expert Sitefinity website design and development.