Website owners can turn 'hit and miss' into 'hits' by ensuring visitors find what they need quickly and easily - without having to implement their own search technology.
PrivateSearch is a new service from Context Solutions, a data and Web integration specialist, allowing organisations to instantly bring full text search functionality to their websites to help visitors find exactly what they are looking for, quickly and easily. PrivateSearch ( www.privatesearch.net
) is a hosted solution that requires no changes whatsoever to the existing website infrastructure or pages apart from the addition of a search button and a few extra lines of HTML code on the home page. For a small set-up cost and monthly fee of as little as R83, PrivateSearch manages the cataloguing and indexing of the site (with regular refreshes), and hosts the search engine technology.
PrivateSearch is ideally suited to Web development companies that want to provide search functionality on client websites, but do not want the overhead of ongoing search engine management and tuning, as well as for corporates that have large existing Web infrastructures and want to quickly and cost-effectively add full text search capability.
"In a survey of 100 corporate websites in South Africa, only three had any search functionality at all. Users that visit the site are expected to be able to find what they are looking for by just navigating around. This is not good enough... if the site structure is not intuitive enough, or the user simply fails to notice the right links, they will rapidly become frustrated and go somewhere else. In the online world you can lose a customer in seconds," says Marc Gammon of Context Solutions. "Search functionality ensures that the visitor finds what they came for. It is madness to have a website that does not actively address the users' basic requirements."
PrivateSearch is a hosted search engine solution, with a back-end server farm that remotely indexes and catalogues a client's site, and performs the searches. Ten lines of HTML code are inserted in the client's home page to provide a search box. The user's query is then redirected to the PrivateSearch network, where he/she is presented with the search results in a page that is visually identical to the client's site. When the user clicks on a result link, they are transparently redirected back to the appropriate page on the client's site.
This type of hosted search functionality not only saves the client the complexity and expense of implementing search functionality themselves, but also takes up no storage, performance or network resources on the client Web infrastructure.
"It is a perfect solution for Web development companies and corporate IT departments that need to set up websites, but do not want to be tied up with regular ongoing maintenance. Managing and running search engine technology requires some specialist skills, and constant tuning. PrivateSearch takes away that complexity," concludes Gammon.