Do you want to add a search bar to your WordPress navigation menu?
By default, WordPress lets you add search to your website’s sidebar, footer, and other widget-ready areas. However, many users prefer to have the WordPress search box in the navigation menu because it’s easier for visitors to find.
In this article, we will show you how to easily add a search bar to your WordPress menu without having any coding knowledge.
Why Add a Search Bar to the WordPress Navigation Menu?
A search bar helps users find what they’re looking for without leaving your WordPress website. This can improve the user experience, keep visitors on your site for longer, and boost engagement.
That’s why most website designers and experts recommend adding a search bar to the navigation menu, where users can easily find it.
However, by default you can only add the WordPress search widget to widget-ready areas such as the sidebar. Luckily, there are many different WordPress search plugins that let you add the search bar to different areas on your site including navigation menus.
With that said, let’s see how to add a search bar to your WordPress navigation menu.
Adding a Search Bar to WordPress Navigation Menu
The easiest way to add a search bar to your website’s navigation bar, is by using SearchWP Modal Search Form. This free plugin is easy to use, looks great with any theme, and won’t negatively impact your site’s performance.
The first thing you need to do is to install and activate the SearchWP Modal Search Form plugin. For more details, see our step-by-step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.
Upon activation, you need to add the search bar to your WordPress menu. Simply go to Appearance » Menus and then make sure you select the Primary menu in the ‘Select menu to edit’ dropdown.
After that, click on the ‘Select’ button.
Next, click on the SearchWP Modal Search Forms box towards the left of the screen.
You can see the plugin has automatically added a ‘Native WordPress’ search template. Go ahead and check the ‘Native WordPress’ box.
Then, click on the ‘Add to menu’ button.
WordPress will now add a new ‘Native WordPress’ item to the menu.
To configure this item, give it a click. To start, it’s a good idea to change the navigation label to ‘Search’ so visitors know this is a search field.
To make this change, simply type ‘Search’ into the ‘Navigation Label’ field.
After that, click on the ‘Save Menu’ button to save your changes. Now, if you visit your WordPress blog, you’ll see a new Search bar in the navigation menu.
SearchWP will automatically style the search to suit your WordPress theme, as you can see in the following images.
Adding Ajax Powered Live Search
You can make your search form even more user-friendly by adding live search results using Ajax technology. This will automatically show the visitor relevant search results as they’re typing the query, just like you see with Google.
The easiest way to add Ajax-powered search is by using SearchWP Live Ajax Search. This plugin automatically integrates with SearchWP Modal Search Form and there are no settings for you to configure, so it’s very easy to use.
First, you need to install and activate the SearchWP Live Ajax Search plugin. For more information, please see our step-by-step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.
Once activated, the plugin will automatically add live search to all your forms. To see the live Ajax search in action, simply visit your WordPress website and type in a search query.
The search results show up as you type.
This is a great start, but there are ways to create an even more powerful search experience for your visitors.
Customizing Your WordPress Search Result Algorithm
Do you want to customize your WordPress search results and even highlight promoted items in your search results?
In that case, you’ll need the premium SearchWP plugin that helps you customize your WordPress search algorithm without touching any code.
For more information, see our complete guide on how to improve WordPress search with SearchWP.
We hope this article helped you learn how to add a search bar to a WordPress menu. You may also want to see our expert pick of the best live chat software for small businesses or see our list of useful tips to speed up WordPress and boost performance.