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Do you expect your website visitors to know how to do Boolean searches? What about expecting them to search your site using the built-in search tool of your CMS (content management system)? Using boolean terms is too complicated for visitors and using your website's built-in search tool doesn't return enough hits or rank them well. To help visitors search your site, you can use the power of the big search engines (Google and Bing) to provide custom search boxes for your site. Not only are these available for free, but it's painless to incorporate into your site.

Bing offers Bing Box. To start using this, just go to this site. There you will need to enter a few simple items, like your website address, and then choose how you would like it displayed on your site. The search results are overlayed on top of the page that your visitors search from. Ads are displayed in the window that comes up.

Google offers Custom Search Engine. To set it up, just enter your website's address, choose a couple of settings and it will give you the code for your website. The free version requires ads, but since your church is a non-profit these can be disabled.

After you copy the code, you can insert it into the pages, or CSS on your site. If you want to go a step further you can submit your Sitemap to Bing and Google so that all the pages are crawled by their spider.

Now when visitors search your site, they'll be able to find the information they're looking for faster and easier. Who provides the search capabilities for your church's website?

This is the fourth blog post in the Feature Focus series. This series provides you with quick tips on how to refine your church’s website and online presence. Look for these posts about every other week and visit this Topic for a list of past Feature Focus posts.

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