Add Searching to Your Web Site the Easy Way

add searching easy way

For the longest time I was looking for a utility of some kind that could allow visitors to search my site for whatever they wanted. One of the limitations of my web host is that they do not support CGI routines, which means I was limited to external search services.

I checked out several companies which provide these kinds of tools to people. Some of them cost money and some of them were "free" (they get to advertise on the search pages). All of them suffered some fatal flaws that made them almost useless as far as I was concerned.

The biggest problem was that all of these services tended to take users away from my site instead of adding value. By this I mean the search worked fine, but the results were posted on a seperate page which looked nothing like my web pages. They were plastered with advertisements and links to entice my visitors to go somewhere else, which is not the result that I desired.

A second problem that I ran into with one service in particular was performance related. Slow, slow, slow. Another's server seemed to be up and down like a yo-yo.

I had given up completely on adding search to my site when I ran across a URL in someone's signiture in a newsgroup posting. I visited some websites and soon found the perfect add-on search engine.

And I do mean perfect. The free version of this wonderful service allows you to index on a weekly basis up to 500 pages on your web site. The indexing spider understands and honors robot.txt files  and allows additional pages to be excluded if necessary. This is great for removing things like awards pages, guestbooks and other similar materials from the search results.

Oh, and you can tailor your results page to look exactly like your web site. Exactly ... a perfect fit. Don't believe me? Try a sample search using my search form at the top of my home page and you'll see what I mean. Perfect.

Atomz is fast, very fast. My site is over 350 pages and the spider requires less than 4 minutes to index the whole thing. Searches seem to require a second or two most of the time, which is very acceptable.

A further advantage is the log files that are created. By examining the indexing logs you can find all of the internal links that are broken, which is wonderful for ensuring that your internal navigation is working perfectly.

Okay, so what's the catch? In the free version, Atomz gets to place a small ad on the top of the results page. That's it. One ad and a logo.

Hmm. It's fast, it's easy to use, and it's totally customizable. Now that's a great tool for webmasters!

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