On some of the websites I visit from time to time, it’s impossible to find what I’m looking for without a search feature. On others, there isn’t enough content to worry about it.
We sometimes put things on the websites because we think we need them, even when we don’t.
Every major CMS out there includes a built-in search feature. It doesn’t search pages, it searches database tables. What used to be included in WordPress was next to useless, so people started replacing it with an alternative. I don’t know if it’s still that way.
I’ve used Google Custom Search for years. At one time, I considered it a useful feature on my website. I no longer do and it’s because I have every searchable item available in page lists. You can pull up the article, category or tag lists and use your web browser’s search function to find whatever it is you’re looking for. I haven’t seen a click on that feature of my website in months.
Some people add features to websites just to dress them up. The biggest culprits are the so-called front-end web designers. Some people call it eye candy but I call it window dressing. It does nothing to truly enhance a visitor’s experience. While I can agree that we don’t need ugly websites, I don’t think beautiful websites are much better.
A functional website that isn’t ugly should be more than enough to take care of business. That’s what I always aim for.
Before you add that widget or that extra line to the bottom of the page, think about it. Does it help your visitors or does it just help you?