The search function is one of the most important aspects of any large website.
A good search function means completing sales rather than losing them, or satisfying customer enquiries for next to no cost rather than providing staff to deal with them in person.
The search function is typically one of the last things developers think about when building a website. They will often resort to using the search that comes with your Content Management System, or searching the site's underlying database, to return results to your customers.
Neither of these two methods have the same sophisticated relevancy algorithms that the big web search companies use, which means your content can be returned with the least relevant results at the top, and the good stuff hidden away on subsequent pages.
And because the likes of Google, Amazon and Bing are so good at getting the best stuff to the top, most of us only read the top five results these days.
Why not try this test this on your website now? Find the best page on your site about a particular product or service, then search for it with your site search. Does it come in the top five? No? Then your customers cannot find it, and you need to contact us.
The good news is that the biggest web search companies (e.g. Google, Microsoft and Amazon) now all provide access to their search engines in The Cloud, so you can leverage their clever technology and expertise to get your best content to the top of your website search, too.
Find out how we implemented TESS - Trovo Enhanced Site Search™ for Leicester City Council, after Google ended support for their existing Google Mini search solution.
The bad news with working with the main cloud website search providers is:
- They all deliver relevant search results, but in different ways, and for different prices... Now you have to work out which one is best for your site?
- They've published a lot of obscure technical documentation, which your developers will have to wade through to provide an estimate for integrating cloud search with your site... This makes your choice of provider even harder!
- Once you finally make a choice, you then have to devote web development resources to integrating cloud-based search into your site... This is supposed to make you money, not cost you a lot!
- When you're finally up and running, your requirements may change as your site usage or content changes. Or the cloud providers might change their prices. Or a whole new solution might come to market.A year later, you could be stuck with the wrong solution.
- What may have been the best decision at first may no longer look so good should the goalposts move. But switching to a different cloud search provider to get a better deal means tying the development team up with another long project again... TESS can minimise the cost of these risks to you.
Trovo Enhanced Site Search (TESS) is a suite of products that solves all the problems of working with cloud search providers. Based on seven years' experience of integrating search with websites, TESS provides simple, consistent integration with the main cloud search providers. This means:
- We can help you to analyse the requirements for your site search, then we'll recommend the most appropriate and cost effective provider.
- Your developers won't need to wade through all the different documentation and run the risk of making an inaccurate estimate, upsetting your plans before you even start. They'll just need to fill us in on the technical details of your site – i.e. what they know best- and we'll come back with an accurate plan.
- We can get the duration of your cloud search integration project down from weeks (or even months) to days. We'll help your developers to code against the simple, easy to use Trovo Enhanced Site Search™ system. (See below for more details about how TESS integration projects work).
- Once your search is in place, we’ll keep our eye on the market to ensure you're always getting the best deal for the search engine you need. And because we've hidden the complexity of each provider's system behind our simple, consistent interface, we'll be able to help you switch to a better deal without committing your developers to weeks of more work.
So if you would like to improve your website's search performance, powered by one of the world's best search engine companies, contact Trovo now.
We are committed to Agile software development, user centred design and Test Driven Development, which means we're committed to helping our customers deliver high-quality search for their websites; search that can scale to very high usage levels.
Here's how we apply these techniques to our Trovo Enhanced Site Search development projects:
We begin by consulting you on the requirements for your search, resulting in:
- A recommendation for the best initial choice of provider.
- A prioritised list of site search features to test against.
- A customer-driven development project plan.
- We use our TESS Diagnostic Tools to generate a list of realistic User Acceptance Tests based upon your requirements, and the searches your customers make the most.
With the TESS Diagnostic Tools, we generate sets of "mock" results for the User Acceptance Tests, and deliver this data with a "mock" version of the TESS system. This allows us to begin integrating TESS with your site before setting up your account with the cloud provider, meaning:
- Most of the development and testing gets done before you start paying your monthly / annual subscription fees to the provider. This saves you money.
- It also means we can run high-volume tests (e.g. load and soak tests) of the integration work; ensuring your search will scale up OK without wasting thousands of "real" queries that you would otherwise pay the provider for.
- Once testing around the integration is complete, we’ll help you set up your account with the chosen provider, and quickly (and "codelessly") switch from the mock version to the live, provider dependent version.
- Now you are ready to deploy! (We'll be on hand to help with this).
- We'll then switch to maintenance mode, monitoring your site usage and reporting back with any optimisation recommendations based on how your customers use your search.
- As mentioned above, we'll also keep an eye on how both your website requirements and the cloud search market change, and make sure you keep delivering the best solution for the smallest amount of investment, into the future.
We have experience of the three main web development technologies (.Net, PHP and Java), and we love sharing our Agile and TDD expertise with web development teams, too. So please ask your engineers and /or project management staff to contact Trovo with any technical questions they may have.