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Best Practice

Designing an Effective Website Search Bar

The search bar on your website is a powerful tool that can greatly enhance the user experience, it’s often taken for granted and not optimised or user friendly. When designed and implemented correctly, it can help visitors find the information they’re looking for quickly and efficiently. Here we have provided a list of best practices for creating an effective search bar that enhances user satisfaction and engagement.

Visibility and Placement:

Prominence: Ensure your search bar is easily visible and prominent on the webpage. A common location is at the top right corner of the header, but it may vary based on your website’s design.

Consistency: Keep the search bar’s location consistent across all pages of your website to help users find it easily.

Size and Style:

Size: Make the search bar large enough to comfortably type a search query. A width of around 250-300 pixels is often suitable.

Style: Use a distinctive style, such as a contrasting colour or an icon (like a magnifying glass), to make it stand out. If you use the magnifying icon be sure to create a simple dropdown search bar or new landing page.

Placeholder Text:

Include a clear and concise placeholder text inside the search bar, like “Search…” or “Type your query here.”


Implement auto-suggestions as users type their query. This feature can help users refine their search and find relevant content faster.

Search Button:

Include a search button next to the search bar for users who prefer to initiate the search manually. This provides a clear call to action.

Clear and Relevant Results:

Ensure that the search results are relevant and well organised. Users should be able to quickly find what they’re looking for. You can opt for a global search function, which means the results will present anything related to the keywords you entered or you exclude pages from the search that are most like not going to be relevant to your users. This is particularly important for shops as users will most like search for products they are interested in.

Filter and Sorting Options:

Provide options to filter and sort search results to cater to various user preferences. Common filters include date, relevance, and category.

Mobile Responsiveness:

Make sure the search bar and its features work seamlessly on mobile devices. The search bar may need to adapt its size and layout for smaller screens.

Voice Search:

Consider implementing voice search functionality, as an increasing number of users are using voice assistants and voice activated search.

Search Analytics:

Regularly analyse search queries and user behavior to understand what your visitors are looking for. This can help in improving content and user experience. These phases could also be helpful for your SEO or PPC strategy as it will give you an understanding of what your target audience is searching for.

Feedback and Error Handling:

Provide clear error messages and instructions when a search query doesn’t yield results. Allow users to provide feedback on the search experience.

Security and Privacy:

If your website collects user data through the search bar, prioritise security and privacy. Use HTTPS and follow data protection regulations.

A/B Testing:

Conduct A/B testing to optimise the search bar’s design and functionality. Test variations of the search bar to determine what works best for your audience.


Ensure that the search bar and its results are accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. Use proper HTML markup and provide alternative text for images and icons.

Regular Maintenance:

Continuously monitor and update the search functionality to adapt to changing user needs and preferences.


A well designed website search bar can significantly enhance the user experience, driving engagement and satisfaction. By following these best practices, you can create a search bar that is both user-friendly and a valuable asset to your website. Regularly analyse user behaviour, gather feedback, and adapt your search bar to meet the evolving needs of your audience.