Solr is a popular technology among search engine professionals, so it is of no surprise when customers want to know how we stack up. In this blog, we will address how Cludo’s intelligent site search compares to Solr, and point out key differences you should keep in mind as you evaluate search solutions for your website.
In our previous post, we talked about how built-in search on most CMS solutions aren’t very effective, and to build a more powerful search requires the usage of software such as Solr, Elasticsearch, etc. These types of software provide the framework upon which a fully operational search engine can be built, functioning much like ingredients in a recipe for your search solution.
First the good- creating a site search engine with Solr allows for flexibility and personalization of search functionalities. Solr offers a framework from which you can build your search from scratch, allowing for full customization. It also offers a wide array of functionalities, such as autocomplete, sorting, ranking and more.
The downside to Solr is its complexity; Solr is framework for developing search solutions, so it requires nuanced programming skills to set it up and tune information retrieval for the search. Because of its technical set-up, it is also a manual, complicated and time-intensive process. Whether you are paying your internal web development staff to maintain it, or outsourcing the work to an agency, the set-up and maintenance costs can add up quickly. It is also important to understand the ongoing maintenance requirements and limitations that come with Solr. Implementation is one thing, but who will your organization be relying on (and paying) to keep the site search up-to-date with changes to your website? It is an often overlooked point that the responsibility for maintaining site search ought to lie with those that manage the content and components of the site. These are the marketers, communication managers and webmasters for your organization. It is likely they will not possess the same degree of technical knowledge required to ensure an advanced framework like Solr remains up-to-date and relevant. Instead, marketers often find themselves relying on the development team to make requested tweaks. The trouble with this arises when requesting common changes that are time-sensitive (e.g. removing expired pages, updating the index, managing misspellings and synonyms, creating banners)- there are soft costs related to not being able to make those timely changes to your search.
Cludo is an alternative to build-from-scratch frameworks like Solr, as it is a much easier solution to implement and maintain. Unlike Solr where you have to build functionality like autocorrect, page rankings, banners, synonyms, boosting, etc. from the ground up, Cludo has already built these functions into the search platform and provides out-of-the-box accessibility via a user-friendly dashboard. Control over the search engine is handed back to the marketing department or webmaster. Engine boosting, intelligent page rankings and other key search functions are all tweakable with a few clicks within the dashboard. These built-in tools also reduce amount of time spent building new implementations or maintaining old ones, thus making Cludo a much more time and energy efficient option as compared to Solr.
Having ready-made features does not mean that customization is limited; in fact, the flexibility of the feature set is comparable to what you can build with Solr. The Cludo dashboard further facilitates easy customization, allowing for instant implementation of new features to accommodate site updates. Also, Cludo is a cloud-based software, so implementation of new features from our end can be quickly pushed out to all Cludo users at once, with no time wasted in manual upgrades. This is in stark comparison to the time and development resources required to maintain a platform like Solr. Aside from being time-consuming, reliability is also an issue for a platform like Solr- if your servers go down, you will have to be the one to fix it. In contrast, since we handle all the backend work with Cludo, you can have a peace of mind. We do the monitoring and maintenance of the search engine, ensuring that it remains in perfect shape at all times. And if our servers do happen to crash on you, we have 24 hour support that will be alerted of the issue immediately and will work to resolve it.
For a more concrete comparison, here’s a quick overview of the functionalities that differ between Solr and Cludo:
As you can see, Solr requires more hands-on work when it comes to building functionality, whereas Cludo comes with all the right tools in-place, ready to be used and easily customized to your liking.
The reason why Cludo can offer a search solution that is just as powerful as Solr is because Cludo is built from a framework similar to that of Solr, but just packed into a more user-friendly parcel. It still is able to offer diverse search functionalities but with less complex implementation, less time-consuming management, and a far more user-friendly and comprehensive interface.
At the end of the day, customers are wise to compare the different site search frameworks available to ensure they are aligning themselves with the best long-term solution. With Cludo’s ease of use, robust search analytics, and provision of an exceptional guided search experience, we are a good alternative to Solr for anyone who is looking to take control of their site search via an easy package.