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Add Search Function to Website
search site, search engine

 2:06 am on Aug 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

I am currently using freefind site search function.
I have to pay yearly fee.

$19 for 5000 pages yearly.
$79 for business

I wish to know will install my own search script,
I can then save $19/$79 every year?

Please let me know other factors i have to consider,
other than the $19/$79 yearly fee.

I have no idea of how the "install my own" solution works.


[edited by: tedster at 2:20 am (utc) on Aug. 24, 2003]
[edit reason] remove url [/edit]



 2:26 am on Aug 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WebmasterWorld, vrindivan.

First, I encourage you to read this thread:
Site Search, how to make it a total asset [webmasterworld.com]

Running your own site search is a very challenging job - and it takes a lot of server resources. You may have noticed that our own site search here is far from the ideal.

Doing a web search on "site search script" and related phrases will turn up some resources you can use. A lot depends on what kind of server your site is on and what server side scripting languages are available to you.

But you should know this, it's not a simple job to do well. I don't know how much you feel your time is worth, but you may easily find it taking up more of your time than makes sense.


 8:52 am on Aug 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi tedster

Thanks for your reply.

Can you explain more on the following?

"it takes a lot of server resources"


And what would be the result?

Visit Thailand

 9:18 am on Aug 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Vrindavan, I would not worry too much about system resources it can be a problem if you are on a tight host or have thousands of searches a day but otherwise do not worry too much about that.

All you need is at : [xav.com...]

A great product and can easily handle thousands of pages.


 9:53 am on Aug 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

I just made the transition from Freefind to Xav. I can tell you that it was rather easy to install the script, while configuring the results page to your needs may take a little more.
I don't really see it as a matter of costs, since Freefind is not expensive and Xav is also quite cheap. The *real* advantage in having your own engine is that you can properly configure it. Just to make an example, we had a fair number of searches for our competitors' names: freefind could only deliver a 'No result was found' page, while xav can now show a little box (technically it is an ad) every time a keyword of our choice is searched for (that box, obviously, has links to our own brand...).
I would strongly recommend the transition to your own engine in general and to Xav in particular (which you could also get for free if, as in my case, you contribute to translate it in a new language...).


 10:31 am on Aug 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

VT and kyr, thanks for your input, and you are both right. I was probably making more of a big deal out of this than needs to be made for the average website.


 11:08 am on Aug 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Vrindavan, welcome to WebmasterWorld :)

There are other hosted site-searches, so perhaps you should consider an alternative if you are not satisfied with freefind. I do recommend atomz.com but i don't know what price range it will be for you.

You have to consider the cost of your own time, as this is what you will be spending if you run your own. How many hours of your own labour during a year does it take to reach $79 - i think this is the important question and i also think that you will quicly be spending this amount of hours and even more.

Anyway, if you have already decided to run your own, xavatoria (isn't that the name or was it once?) has a good reputation.



 12:42 pm on Aug 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have try Atomz before.
I think Atomz is a lot better than freefind. ( in terms of layout, results accuracy and report features )

But Freefind offer more plans options and therefore it is a lot cheaper to me compare to Atomz.

Therefore I selected freefind.

I plan to set up the serach function to search my group of sites that are growing to reach 5000+ pages soon.

Yes, i value my time a lot.

But how much time i need for diy solution?
i just think i need the time to learn to install & configurate .
And there's all, it it true?

Do you mean i have to spend time day to day on going to maintain my site search function too, i have no idea on what works i need to do on going after set up.

And when i do such works/maintenance, can i do other things at the same time?

$79 - just a few hours to me to earn that.
Atomz should be much more than this i think.

Besides the time/labor factor, do the diy solutions

offer detailed visitors search statistics like Atomz offer?

fast search response time?


 1:06 pm on Aug 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Here's some food for thought.

One of the greatest values I've found in a site search is a report on what terms were searched for. You certainly want to make sure that you actually have pages returned if you see a particular search on a regular basis, even if at a low level.

And this points to one of the liabilities. If you offer a site search, many visitors will go right to your search function rather than explore the site. And if the results of their search are poor - then you've lost them. So a poorly done site search can actually chase away visitors. In my opinion, a site is better off to have NO search function than to use a poorly done version.

Of all the solutions I've tried, the one that has worked best so far is an outsourced solution that actually allows me to tweak and fine-tune the algorithm. Also, the third party solution will spider at least once a day, which is very helpful. Running an in-house site search can mean actually indexing a site on a frequent basis, and that can be one of the resource drains I was talking about.


 1:10 pm on Aug 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>how much time i need for diy solution?

I really don't know. It all depends on how difficult the setup is and how easy you learn the stuff required. Kyr01 says it's pretty easy, but perhaps he is very good at the technical stuff - if he's just as good as you, i guess it's just as easy for you. I don't know if "pretty easy" means an hour or a day, really.

>> spend time day to day on going to maintain my site search function too

I don't think you will have to spend time on it each and every day. I hope you can just do the setup and config and then you are running. Untill you change something on your sites and then have to change something on the search as well.

>> that's all? && detailed visitor information? && response time?

Kyr01 and Visit_Thailand will have to answer this, as i don't know, sorry about that.



 1:22 pm on Aug 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Indexing your site is a definitely boring and resource-draining activity. Of course you can automate the process (not very easy to set up for a beginner), but you are still going to deal with things like different data sets to crawl at different times, timeouts, kills, hung processes and so on.
Besides, while it is easy to index one site, it becomes much more complex to deal with a group of sites, as it seems to be your case. I would still suggest to try a simple install and configure of Xav, but a commercial (hosted) solution may give you more free time...


 1:34 pm on Aug 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Install and configure:
I believe I am average at technical stuff, and it took less than a hour to have Xav up and running. The config stuff will require more time, since you need to tweak many variables and experiment with your own set of data.

Time needed every day:
Except for indexing every time your content change, there is very little effort involved (actually nothing, just checking stats, maybe)

Xav has a page with reports about searches. It is not very different from what you get at Freefind, just a little more information (All searches, Single words, Full strings, Time of the Day, Day of the week, Average number of results and this kind of stuff).


 2:03 pm on Aug 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>Indexing your site is a definitely boring and resource-draining activity

draining my PC resource or my hosting company server's resource?

does it mean you will normally not go for daily re-index if you are using diy solution, even you have made some additions to your site content, becasue of resource-draining?

Full strings means a "saerch word phase"?


 2:19 pm on Aug 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Unless you automate it (basically a cron job setting, except that if you have to reindex thousands of pages you better use different and smaller sets of pages reindexed at different times), indexing your site from a browser page (which xav can do) is slow, boring and time consuming. More about this can be found on the help pages on the Xav web site.
Yes, full string means the entire search phrase used, while of course single words apply to all the words used in all the search strings entered.
Whenever you add content to your site you have to reindex it, if you want that content to show up in your results pages. It is not a big deal if you atomatically reindex your site or if your site doesn't change every day, otherwise you will have to manually do the reindexing (doing that from the browser with freefind is a single click with no need to wait after that, while with Xav you'll have to wait for the full crawl to be finished...).

Visit Thailand

 3:07 pm on Aug 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Vrindavan, let's not complicate this too much.

Can you please explain what you want the search to do and how may pages roughly you have to index?


 3:32 pm on Aug 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>Can you please explain what you want the search to do
can search my group of sites' content page with
good search statistics

>>and how may pages roughly you have to index?
5000 ( multiple sites ), daily content changes and additions may be 30


 6:32 pm on Aug 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

You should have no problem indexing a cluster of sites with Xav.
5.000 pages should also be ok. They say a conservative limit is 10.000 pages.
By the way, all the answers are at:


 12:10 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thank you to all!

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