Among many essential website components such as contact form widgets, email subscription boxes, cookie consent, and form widgets, the search bar widget or a search box is one of the most underrated essential website widgets.
Nielsen Group found that 51% of people who did not find what they were looking for with the first query, gave up without refining the search.
A quality search widget on a website not only helps users find content on your website but also, as a website owner, you get to know which search queries website users include in the search bar to get an idea of which content your users are looking up.
Many blogging platforms, such as WordPress (hosted and self-hosted), Squarespace, and Brizy, have a search bar widget. However, some site builders, such as Google Sites, do not have a search widget. Also, you may find the available search bar widget lacks customization, and sometimes, it fails to deliver the exact results you search for.
That is why, in this article, I will share top search widgets for websites, blogs, forums, and shops. Many of the services below use Google Search to enable site search functionality for your site.
Modern Search Bar Widgets for Websites to Use Today
Elfsight is a service that provides 80+ customizable HTML widgets for websites from e-commerce, such as social proof sales notifications, popup widgets, HTML banner widgets, pricing tables, and Chat such as all-in-one chat plugin, WhatsApp chat widgets to Tools such as photo gallery, weather details widget, cookie consent, and Search Bar widget.
Elfsight’s Search widget has five templates related to different purposes, layouts, and customization options. Since it uses Google Search API, the search will be smooth and fast and demonstrate only the most relevant results.
- Customize search field – You can make the search field appear as an inline widget, floating bar, or a button. Also, you can change the button text (i.e., search now), button color, shape, and size.
- Customize search results – Unlike most other search widgets, Elfsight allows you to change how the results appear. For example, you can make the results appear on full screen and choose a layout (List, Table, Masonry). Additionally, you can control which element to display, for example, description, picture, price, and rating. Since the search results are structured according to the schema markups, results will be well classified.
- Quick Links – Elfsight’s Search bar widget can attach a couple of links to the most popular pages of your website. You can use this area to promote essential pages to your business and potential customers.
How to create a search widget for your website using Elfsight
Use the search widget creator below to create a search widget using the Google Programmable Search Engine.
- Create your search engine at Google Programmable Search Engine and copy the Search Engine ID.
- To get your API key for the custom search engine, navigate to the Custom Search Introduction section and click “Get a Key.”
Also, you can sign up on Elfsight, search the “Search” app on the apps catalog, and start customizing it.
Here’s a complete walkthrough on creating a custom search engine on Google, getting the API key for the custom search engine, and integrating it with Elfsight’s Search widget.
HTML embed code
You will receive the HTML embed code for your search widget in your account.
<script src="https://static.elfsight.com/platform/platform.js" data-use-service-core defer></script> <div class="elfsight-app-4f095721-a58a-41a4-add0-c34727757f22" data-elfsight-app-lazy></div>
Copy and paste it on your website theme editor, HTML template, or source code editor where you want to display it. In most cases, you’d want to implement the search engine widget on the website navigation section, such as the hamburger menu, the header, or the sidebar.
A search widget with a button as the CTA and full-screen results:
The Elfsight search widget is free to use on unlimited websites. However, in the free plan, the search widget’s total views are limited to 200 and include branding. To increase views and remove the branding from widgets, you must upgrade to a subscription plan starting from $5 per month.
Also, there are All Apps packages in which you will receive access to 80+ Elfsight widgets, including the custom Google Search widget, starting from $15/month. Learn more in the Elfsight pricing guide.
Fouita is another no-coding website widget builder with 30+ widgets in its library. Some widget examples are the table of contents, count-up timer, food recipes, Panorama 3600 gallery, image hotspot, and editable customer reviews.
Fouita’s Search widget uses Google’s Search API to deliver search functionality on your website. Its visual editor lets you customize the widget to resonate with your business’s theme and goals.
- Customize search field – Fouita’s visual editor allows you to change the appearance of the search field of the search bar widget without coding. You can edit the placeholder text, text color, border colors, shape of the field, and more.
- Edit search results’ appearance – Display results in full-screen mode or a popup, change results layout (List, Grid, Table), edit no results message, and control which elements to display, such as title, description, and picture.
- Triggers – Fouita widgets come with an advanced display conditions tab called “Triggers.” In that section, you can specify when to display a widget. For example, you can only display a search bar widget for desktop visitors.
A custom Google Search widget designed on Fouita.
Fouita’s Google Search widget is not a free service. The prices start from $4.875 per 5,000 shared views. Check the pricing page to find out how much it will cost.
- Semantic site-search – SiteSearch360 lets users find what they want, not just what they type, with features like synonym and hypernym recognition.
- Search by voice – Deliver voice-activated search experience to your website users to upgrade your site further.
- Filters – You can use search filters to empower your site visitors to search more precisely and find what they need faster than before. SiteSearch360 supports filter types such as category trees (eCommerce search only), multiple choice, boolean, color, and range.
- Result grouping – This feature categorizes search results. These groups only appear when a query enters the search box. It is a handy feature, particularly for online stores.
- Results Manager – One of the powerful features of SiteSearch360 is the results manager. It gives you the whole picture of not only what users searched for but also, with Result Mappings, you’ll be able to select specific search results for any query, set up a distinctive order in which they should be presented, and even create custom results.
- Custom content in search results – SiteSearch360 provides a tool that allows you to add custom results and embed HTML content such as customer testimonials, countdown timers with promotions, HTML banners, videos, documents, and assistants. Here’s a video tutorial on adding a banner promotion underneath search results.
- Autocomplete queries – Display predictive searches based on previous searches and what you specify.
- Mobile-ready results – SiteSearch360 will activate the mobile mode when a visitor’s device’s screen is smaller than 600px wide.
- Cross-domain search, smart 404 pages (search widget in your 404 page, with automatic results to help visitors find what they were looking for), multilingual support, advanced analytics, export data, WordPress plugin, Cloudflare app, and more.
SiteSearch360 is a free search engine for websites. The free plan comes with 150 indexed entries, 1,000 monthly searches, 3 months of analytics retention time limitations, and features such as sitemap indexing, instant indexing, custom dictionary, results manager, FAQ indexing, and several other features.
For increased index entries, monthly searches, indexing types, and more features, you must subscribe to a paid plan starting from $9 per month.
SearchBar is another dedicated service that creates custom search engines for websites or any application. Its features, such as smart search (which prevents grammatical errors and represents consistent results) and multilingual support (auto-tuning search predictions based on preferred language), will help in many circumstances.
- Custom search engine for websites – SearchBar does not depend on third-party services such as Google Programmable Search to power the search widget. So, it comes with features and tools such as night mode, search as you type, and a spotlight feature. Plus, the search field can be customized and embedded as a floating widget (like a live chat plugin on a website) and an embeddable widget.
- Ranking system – SearchBar’s search engine automatically predicts which links are most relevant to the user’s search and ranks them accordingly.
- Analytics – Find the most searched terms, where the website user clicks, and what the searcher did not find.
- Marketing – Make internal campaigns on your results page by displaying your ads and events directly to your users. This is similar to ‘Quick Links’ in Elfsight’s Search widget.
- Smart search features, API, widget customization, and more.
SearchBar is free to use. However, the free plan is limited to 50 indexed pages, page indexing up to 3 times per month, branded results, and limited styling. To remove the SearchBar branding from the search bar widget and receive an increased indexed page, you must subscribe to a plan starting from $9.99/month.
Algolia is another dedicated site search engine most suited for B2C & B2B eCom websites and marketplaces, SaaS applications, and media.
Its self-proclaimed world’s most advanced search, Algolia NeuralSearchTM, understands search intent even without keywords.
- Algolia crawler – Create custom web crawlers to index and deliver content seamlessly.
- InstantSearch – InstantSearch is a set of UI components that help you develop a seamless search and discovery experience for any device. Some UI components include sorting, pagination, federated search, filters, and facets.
- Personalization – Customize search experience with personalized results based on the user’s previous behaviors.
- Features like AI features such as autocomplete, query categorization and analytics, custom ranking, rules (optimize results ranking for user’s search queries), merchandising studio, A/B testing, and more.
The prices of the Algolia search engine vary based on your usage. It is free to get started, and you can upgrade/downgrade and subscribe to add-ons based on your requirements.
Search engines vs HTML search boxes
All the services above use search engines to deliver content to users. For example, Algolia and its competitors, such as AddSearch, Yext, and Swipetype, have crawlers and indexing systems. At the same time, Elfsight, SiteSearch360, and Fouita use Google’s Programmable search engine to deliver content.
Also, you can find HTML search bars that can be integrated into your website. They do not utilize a search engine nor have many customization features. Some of those are available on platforms such as CodePen.
Final words on best search bar widgets for websites
Depending on the website, the search widget is one of the most used web components. For example, a quality search widget is a must-have, not negotiable if you run an online store or a marketplace.
Some search widget builders listed above have crawling systems, while others use third-party services. And many provide customization options so that they can be edited to resonate with your brand.