As a blogger I had never thought too much about my search bar, all lonely towards the middle of my sidebar. If customers need to find an article the default search bar should do just fine.
That's until I moved into the eCommerce market, realizing that search could be the difference between making a successful business and a flop. This goes for many industries, from social media sites to movie databases.
In short, search matters big time.
Algolia Search for WordPress caught my eye for a few reasons:
- Algolia has various plugins and integrations, so you're not necessarily required to use WordPress.
- A free for life plan is provided with reasonable limits.
- The search functionality is so darn fast.
However, these observations are just on the surface. Search technology is far more complex than that. So, let's dive in deep to give Algolia Search for WordPress the full review treatment.
Algolia Search for WordPress Features
- Algolia search for WordPress has a full WordPress plugin for integrating with ease. Keep an eye out for the WooCommerce plugin with store focused templates and indexing for all WooCommerce fields.
- The plugin has auto-complete which predicts and finishes what users type in as they're doing it.
- The instant results page reveals information similar to auto-complete, except it involves actual content besides phrase and word predictions. For example, you may see a bunch of videos or movie posters.
- Mobile search presents the Algolia plugin in a beautiful way, allowing folks to get the same Algolia functionality on smaller devices.
- The search results show up insanely fast.
- The plugin has intuitive search result rankings with improved relevance based on your business metrics. Typing mistakes are recognized and corrected.
- Filters can show up as users type into the search bar.
- The developers claim that all languages are supported.
- Search results are optimized based on the location of your user. This is done with geo-search.
Understanding How Algolia Search for WordPress Works
The standard free plugin offers powerful functionality with stats, auto-complete tools and more. Overall, the backend looks clean and the installation takes maybe a minute to complete. After that, you can setup where you'd like the search bar and which types of results will show up.
Instant Search Results
A primary feature involves instantaneous content showing up on the page when a user searches for anything on your site. This is more advanced, and often more useful to the user, considering they can see media and descriptions for the posts and pages.
The autocomplete results are based on user behavior and an algorithm that does a wonderful job. You generally only have to punch in one or two letters to receive some suggestions with thumbnail images and short descriptions.
Furthermore, the autocomplete settings allow you to specify how many maximum suggestions should show up. You can also change around the ranking position of pages over categories, users, posts or vice versa.
A Clean Interface With Filters in the Results
Depending on your website you may need to have filters when someone types in information in the search bar. For example, a movie website like IMDB would benefit from filters like Genre and Year. The same goes for eCommerce websites, revealing filters for product variants and pricing.
The Algolia Analytics
The dashboard analytics present details from queries to records searched. I feel like the queries and records are pretty useless for the average user. I can't imagine ever looking at this besides trying to figure out when I might go over my pricing quota.
The true analytics power is a page over, offering information on the top search results, searches per user, source countries, words and the results delivered for those words. It's kind of like Google Analytics but only for your search bar.
Algolia Search for WordPress Pricing and Support
Good news here. Algolia Search for WordPress has a 14-day free trial. Not only that, but it offers a Community plan for free, and forever. No credit card is required to get started and if you decide to upgrade to a different plan the pricing looks reasonable. Finally, annual pricing is offered for those who want to save a buck or two.
Here's what the pricing plans look like:
- Community - Pay nothing for 10,000 records, 100,000 operations per month and full forum support.
- Starter - $49 per month for 100,000 records, 1,000,000 operations per month and both email and forum support.
- Growth - $249 per month for 1,000,000 records, 10,000,000 operations per month and both email and forum support. You also get 30 day analytics and a distributed search network.
- Pro - $899 per month for 5,000,000 records, 50,000,000 operations per month and email/forum/chat support. You also get 90 day analytics and a distributed search network.
The plugin also has over-quota pricing just like your phone bill. But it's not that hard to realize when you go over-quota, allowing you to switch to a higher plan for the coming future.
Onto support. The community forum support is pretty amazing, since many premium plugins keep this locked for the paying customers. As you move onto the paid plans the email and chat support is fine. Documentation is provided for developers and a blog comes in handy for learning new updates and tips from the company.
I'd rather have live chat in some of the lower plans (along with maybe some sort of phone line,) but those aren't available right now.
Is Algolia Search for WordPress Right for Your Website?
It depends. Some of my older blogs wouldn't have benefited much from a tool like Algolia Search for WordPress. Smaller and mid-sized blogs are fine with the default WordPress search bar. However, once you start working with large databases and product lists, Algolia delivers incredible results.
So, I'd recommend Algolia to database websites, eCommerce sites, social networks and Reddit or Product Hunt-style platforms where people search for posts and vote on items.
If you have any questions about this Algolia Search for WordPress review, feel free to let us know in the comments section below.