I finally made a change I’ve been waffling about for months: I switched the search box you see in the blog sidebar from WordPress’s crappy built-in search function to a simple script that calls up results in Google.
WP’s native search is awful — it only searches blog posts (not comments, and certainly not the forums or wiki), includes partial matches by default, doesn’t filter common words (search for “the,” get every post in the archives) and returns results in date order. Bleh.
Google, by contrast, is Google: You can now search the entire site — blog posts and pages, comments, forums and wiki — all at once, which gives you access to the full spectrum of GMing advice and ideas from the TT community.
When I sit down to write a post, I search TT to make sure that I haven’t covered that exact topic before (after almost two years, it’s easy to forget!), and to find posts to link in for additional info. It had reached the point where I was visiting Google to do that, so I can only imagine that TT readers have been similarly frustrated.
I’m sorry the search function sucked before — hopefully you’ll get much better mileage out of the new hotness.
This is why we love you, Martin. You go the extra mile. This is a fantastic resource. I check it multiple times a day.
Well done – thanks! 🙂
You can create a free Google Customized Search that can include filters based on URLs, too. I suggested this to Jans Carton on the d20srd.org site, which now uses that customized search. You can also choose whether or not to include ads. It’s really quick and easy to set up.
I’m glad you like it, Jae and Cody. 🙂
Amaril: Thank you for the suggestion. I considered their custom search option, and while I liked the customization it offers on the results page, there’s no clean way to fit the search box into my layout — it’s too long for the sidebar, and it clutters it up anywhere else. That’s why I went with the script instead.
That definitely looks good, but I’m not certain you’re allowed to modify their custom search code that way (no branding in or near the search box, for example).
Back when I ran AdSense ads here on TT, I had one set up to appear inside longer posts. WordPress automatically appended line break tags within Google’s script, which didn’t affect it in any way (and I wasn’t aware of it at the time). Google shut off those ads and sent me an email about it — in that case, “No modifying our code” extended to WP’s automatic line break tags.
The “Just use the ‘site:’ tag in a regular Google search” script that I’m using now avoids all that stuff, at least as far as I could tell in researching it.
(Amaril) Itâ€™d be a shame to use the existing search and have to include external sites in the results page unnecessarily.
The script I’m using only searches TT, so no worries on that front. If I switched to the custom search option, the biggest difference would be a branded results page — the actual results should be the same.
I’ll take a look at the link you provided, and give this one some thought. Thanks again for the suggestion, and for the info. 🙂