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How to Add Live Ajax Search to Your WordPress Site – The Easy Way

If you are looking for a tutorial on how to add live ajax search to your WordPress website, you’ve come to the right spot. Learn how to add instant autocomplete search to WordPress to improve search results and user experience.
How to Add Live Ajax Search on your WordPress website-2
If you are looking for a tutorial on how to add live ajax search to your WordPress website, you’ve come to the right spot. Learn how to add instant autocomplete search to WordPress to improve search results and user experience.

How to Add Live Ajax Search to Your WordPress Site – The Easy Way

As we are on a mission to provide you with all the best WordPress tutorials on how to enhance the functionality of your website as well as offer you some of the most well-researched collections on various niches related to WordPress, for this article we decided to share our insights and knowledge in showing you how to add ajax live search to your WordPress website without a hassle. 

The process is simple and straightforward as it doesn’t require any coding skills. For the purpose of this article, we are going to be using the best WordPress ajax search plugin to get the job done without us getting our hands dirty in code. Ajax search functionality is of immense importance for every website that generates a great amount of content. 

Whether that be an online store or a blog, if you add live ajax search on your WordPress website you are most likely to improve the user experience. Adding instant search to WordPress improves the default site search and makes it easier for your visitors to find the pages and posts they’re looking for. Live search is when you see a list of suggested search terms that updates as you’re typing, and it can be a valuable addition to any website. 

Today, many users simply expect every website to feature live search, and you may discover that very few people are willing to hunt through your website manually. The bigger your website, the more crucial search becomes, and since WordPress’ native search isn’t that exciting, people are adding all kinds of things such as Google search or custom search bar. Adding Ajax live search is another way to improve user experience and website navigation. Without further ado, let’s begin the tutorial.

Side Note: All our premium WordPress themes provide the ajax search feature included within the theme, meaning you won’t need to install additional plugins to achieve the results.

What is Live Ajax Search?

Live ajax search it’s just another fancy word for referring to a search box that provides live search results as you are typing them. Just like when you type in google a specific query, let’s say WordPress, and you can see it immediately providing suggestions to your inquiry to make it easier for you to find specific information or provide you with the right inspiration for the next information.
Ajax live search for WordPress websites

This is why if you add live ajax search to your WordPress website you will be helping your users conduct their search better as well as explore your content more. On your website, it might be better to have a live search that shows results that fit the search criteria. Ajax, or AJAX, is the acronym for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. 

Ajax isn’t a programming language or an application, it’s more like a way of doing things when creating things for the web. AJAX Live Search is a PHP search form that similar to Google Autocomplete feature displays the result as you type. 

When web pages use Ajax, you can update content on them without actually reloading the page. By including ajax search functionality to your WordPress website, your content will be automatically updated and shown in real-time without having to reload the page.

Why Add Live Ajax Search to your WordPress Website?

Before we dive into the tutorial on how to add live ajax search to your website, we will first evaluate the need as to why include this feature to your site and what will the benefits be. Live Ajax search, also called instant search, improves the default WordPress search experience by adding the drop-down and autocomplete feature that’s common in search engines like Google. 

The live search is based upon guessing what users are searching for and helping them find relevant content much faster and more efficiently. WordPress already has search functionality that you can locate under the block editor and add as per your needs on any page on your website. You can also add it to a widget if you wish. 

However, its capability it’s somewhat limited. Live Ajax Search will provide a more intuitive experience for your users. Because the results are shown as users are typing their queries, they may have a broader view of the contents of the website, without actually having to browse it. 

By adding the live ajax search to your website you will provide users with an enhanced experience as they are able to navigate the search experience in the way they see it fit. By helping users find what they’re looking for quickly, the live search will help them stay on your site longer, which can increase page views and reduce bounce rate. Now let’s actually see how it’s done.

How to Add Live Ajax Search on your WordPress website using a plugin?

WordPress plugins are the easiest way to add functionality to your website, they are easily integrated on your site and configured without a hassle. They provide the luxury of adding advanced functionality to your site without having to touch a single line of code. For the purpose of this article, we will be using the Ajax Live Search plugin. 

It is a freemium plugin whose free version will work just fine to show you what Ajax live search adds to your website. First things first, you will need to install and activate the WordPress plugin from the large ecosystem of plugins available under the platform. Once the plugin is installed and activated you can locate it on the WordPress dashboard area. All you need to do is set up the live ajax search on your WordPress website.

Set up the Ajax Live Search WordPress plugin

As we mentioned, you can find the plugin under the WP dashboard. You’ll find the plugin’s option under Ajax Search Lite > Ajax Search Lite. From there you will be able to configure the main settings provided on this free WordPress ajax search plugin. First off we have the General tab which is also divided into several categories. 

The first, Sources & Basics, is where you choose whether you want to try and replace the theme’s search with Ajax Search Lite. The options also allow you to determine where you want the plugin to look for results.

The other tabs include the General Options, Behavior, Ordering, and Autocomplete and Suggestions, which will allow you to decide whether you want the search to only show exact matches for results, what types of behaviors trigger results, the order in which you want the results to appear, and whether you want to turn to autocomplete and suggestions on.
Add live ajax search in WordPress
From the Image Options, you will be able to decide upon the option to have images shown whenever users search your website. You can choose the source of the image, the alternative sources from where you want to extract data, as well as the size and the display mode of the image.
Add live ajax search in WordPress with plugin
The Frontend Options let you decide whether to show search settings on the frontend and select which ones you want to appear.
Add live ajax search in WordPress with Ajax Search Lite

Now it’s time we customize the look of the live ajax search on our website. You can easily do this from the Layout Options tab. You can change the way your search looks as well as how the results will appear once the users submit specific inquiries. 

You’ll have a pick between a couple of themes for the search box, with further customization options for it, the results, and the settings, also available. Lastly, you can also adjust and configure the layout of the search results, you can determine their behavior, and decide whether you want to highlight keywords or not. If you feel confident o your coding skills, you can also add custom CSS to further customize the layout of your search box results.

Add live ajax search in WordPress website
As a last resort, you have Advanced Options, where you can choose advanced options regarding the result contents and the field. You will also be able to set some exclusion and exception rules.
Add ajax search
Once you are done configuring the main settings on how to add live ajax search on your WordPress website, we can continue with our next steps.

Display Live Ajax Search to your Website

Now we’ve come to the best part, it’s time we display and add live ajax search to our WordPress website. Once we are done with configuring, all there’s left to do is implement it on your site. The plugin offers you multiple options on how to add live ajax search to your site, you can either do that by replacing the theme’s native search box, you can add it using shortcode, and adding it to a widget. 

If your theme is not compatible with the plugin we suggest you use the latter two options. When you navigate to the Ajax Search Lite options, you’ll notice a small bar that contains the search shortcode.

Ajax Search WordPress plugin

You will need to copy the shortcode from the previous tab and place it anywhere you want on the website. Now you will need to find a page or a post where you’d like to include it and paste the shortcode into a shortcode block. And that’s it, you have now successfully added ajax live search to your WordPress website.

The next option is to add live ajax search as a widget on your WordPress website. To do that simply navigate to Appearance > Widgets. Search for Ajax Search Lite in the widgets and add it to the area where you want to display it.

WordPress ajax search plugin

That’s all that needs to be done. This option will allow you to display search on all the pages and posts that display the area where you’ve added the widget.

Final Thoughts

This is all on our article on how to add live ajax search to your WordPress. For the purpose of this article, we used a WordPress ajax search plugin such as the Ajax Live Search plugin to help us along the way from where you can customize the main settings of your live search and provide only the best experience for your users. 

Ajax lives search can be a great addition to your website. It’s a better, more interactive way to let people find what they need, and it might save them some time, too. It’s as simple as installing and activating the plugin, configuring its main settings, and displaying the live ajax search on your WordPress website without a hassle.

By Snowy Smith

Director of product design, Freehand

Introducing Kaon WordPress Theme