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Government Success Series Part 3: Five Ways to Know If Your City Government Website Needs a New Search Tool

Maybe your website performance is on the decline. Maybe you haven’t evaluated your search in a few years. Maybe you’re getting complaints from constituents or vendors.

It’s always difficult to know when its time to get a new search tool. But there are a few common red flags to keep an eye on.

Time Wasted:

The first and easiest sign is the amount of time you’re forced to spend on your search. If you’re spending a lot of your time helping people find things on your website, or you’re getting a lot of complaints, it may be time for a better performing search.

Low Relevancy:

The most obvious red flag, after your time commitment, is low relevancy. This means that your search results are arbitrary and do not reflect what users are seeking. You may also have old pages or files showing up in your search results. (Think five-year old documents, releases, or meeting notes). As consumers, we’re used to finding exactly what we want on our first try. If your users are consistently getting irrelevant results, it’s almost as if there is no search bar at all!

Exhaustive UI:

Next, take a look at your navigation. Do you have numerous tabs or multiple dropdowns that specify individual pages? If you have a lot of content on your website and it’s buried deep within the site’s navigation, this can become overwhelming for your users. It’s much easier for users to find information by using search, especially if the search is responsive to their needs.

Inconsistencies in Styling/Branding:

There are a number of search solutions that can host the results page on your website but have serious limitations in results page branding and styling. Data shows that these types of branding inconsistencies can cause users to lose trust in your website. Some users may think that they have been maliciously redirected to an unsafe site. If the user is inundated with ads, it may cause them to rethink what they are clicking on.

Time….again:

Let’s say your search is performing okay, but it’s not easy to update. Making updates and customizing the features of your search should not be an elaborate exercise. If it’s difficult to maintain your search software across multiple domains and subdomains, it’s time for a new search tool — like Cludo.

Want to hear more about why site search matters for city governments? Check out a recent Cludo webinar highlighting the many ways intelligent search software can support your marketing team and satisfy your end users.