If potential clients can use your website to search for properties that you are listing, then simplifying your search bar is a must to reduce your bounce rate. While it may seem comprehensive to have a lot of filters or options for your users to search, it can quickly appear over-complicated to anyone who lands on your site. Here are some tips and examples of how to design your search bar to maximize usage from potential clients.
Make Searching Easy
The best way to encourage users to utilize the search bar is to make searching easy. Place the search bar where people are used to seeing it (usually the upper right hand corner) and make it clear what it is for. For example, if the entry to your search bar is just a magnifying glass, it may get overlooked. Designers recommend using the magnifying glass icon, but also accompanying it with a clear “search” prompt like in the image below.
Ideally, the search bar should fit naturally with the theme of your site, but still stand out enough that users will easily be able to locate it. Also, the more content you have on your site (whether that be listings of properties, blog posts, or details about your agency) the more prominent you will want your search bar to be.
Help Users with Their Search
If you enter a search bar on your website, but don’t give the users any hint as to what they should be searching for, their natural reaction might be “what am I supposed to search?” There are lots of ways nudge them in right direction without using too much copy or cluttering up your design. For example, instead of the call to action just being “Search,” you could populate it with text like “Find houses for sale.” This example from IMDb shows how this would appear on a website:
Another technique you can use is auto-populating search terms. By trying to predict what the user might be searching for, it gives them more options for things to search and also makes your website appear technologically savvy. Make sure the auto-populations are useful, and keep the number of suggestions under 10 so it does not become overwhelming. The auto-populated suggestions should also appear quickly, such as after the third character entered, in order to work in your favor.
Though the search bar may seem like a minor detail that doesn’t need that much attention, improving it will boost the user’s experience, your ROI, and potentially the number of inbound leads to your site. If you want to see more suggestions or a more in-depth breakdown of search bar design, you can check out this article by UX Planet.