Algolia Is Our New Favorite Toy

You may not realize it, but your expectations for search on the internet have been set already, by Google. It's such a pervasive tool. We use it just as readily as we use a door knob or a light switch. When we go to a website and see a search field, we think the experience will be fast and reliable, until we land on the results page. It's at that point we realize that not all search can be Google search.

Most of our clients use Craft CMS or ExpressionEngine as their web platform. This level of client has a website that is business critical, but they are not necessarily rolling in money. They need to convert leads into clients or they need to convert clicks into purchases. They need fast and accurate site search in order to do this. In fact, some sites are so search intensive that a good search experience can make or break the business.

We have recently started using Algolia and have been very pleased with the results. Algolia is search as a service. I can go into the details in another post, but in short, you develop a way of pushing your searchable content up to Algolia's servers. Algolia indexes your content. Then on your site pages, you load Algolia Javascript code that allows users to see search results from the Algolia index as they type. The speed is phenomenal and the accuracy of search results is exceptional. In many cases, when we have put together demos of the capabilities, clients question whether we faked it somehow. I sometimes wonder myself.

One of our recent clients runs a website that is entirely dependent on the speed and reliability of the search functionality. For ICO Alert we developed a Craft CMS plugin that was capable of feeding multiple search indexes into Algolia. We then served a modified version of the Algolia InstantSearch Javascript library to provide for ICO Alert's specific needs. You can see the results for yourself.

I'll be going in to more detail and showing some more case studies of our Algolia integrations, but for now you can just get in touch and ask me some more questions about how you can convert your Craft CMS or ExpressionEngine site over to take advantage of Algolia's speed and accuracy.