Customize and improve WordPress search and filters

WordPress search and filter – with and without plugins

Your website has grown in the meantime and your blog is slowly becoming confusing? Now you want to give your readers a comfortable one for their respective concerns seek provide?

WordPress comes with some very helpful tools out of the box, and I’m happy to show you how to use them for yourself and with the help of plugins can be perfectly expanded for your needs.)

This post is written for you as a WordPress user. The following tips are coming without Programming of page templates (PHP and/or CSS).

What are WordPress Archive, Author and Taxonomy Pages?

When I first started learning about WordPress, I was confused. The terms seemed to get confused and the translations into German didn’t always help.

If you create or edit a contribution, a look at the right column helps to understand. The possible groups of filter or search terms are collected there.

WordPress themes can provide a separate page template (template page) for each filter group.

Standard filter and search function in WordPress

The WordPress editor comes with some standard features.

The first thing to mention is certainly the search or the search field that many websites offer.

WordPress block search examples in frontendThe typical free text field for searching in a website

1. Block “Search”

The “Search” block is the typical free text input field with the magnifying glass. It offers some creative possibilities.

Select WordPress block searches in the block editorSelecting the Search Block in the WordPress Block EditorDesign options for block searchesDesign: button outside, button inside, no button – always related to the search field.

Width settings:

Set Width Search Block in WordPressThe width of the search field can also be adjusted.

The WordPress search finds the string that the user entered and lists posts and pages that contain this string on the results page. Unfortunately, you cannot make a restriction that the search should only be carried out in certain page types (e.g. in articles).

Search results pageThe WordPress search brings up a results page

The “Search” block can be used both in the widget area and in the body of a theme

2. Block “Categories”

Block Categories Examples ResultsExamples of “Categories” block settings

The Categories filter shows all the post categories used. Various representations are also offered here. It is not possible to exclude categories from the search. The “Categories” block can also be used in the widget area of ​​a theme.

Just try it yourself here.

The existing categories on www.wp-tipps.de:

3. Block “Archives”

The Archive filter allows you to filter the posts by the month of publication. A display as a pull-down or list is possible.

Just try it yourself here.

Archive at www.wp-tipps.de

Archives Select Month January 2022 (3) December 2021 (1) November 2021 (1) October 2021 (1) May 2021 (1) March 2021 (2) January 2021 (2) May 2020 (1) April 2020 (1)

4. “Authors” block?

Although WordPress creates the archive pages for each author in the background, there is no filter block that works similar to the filters above and displays corresponding lists. In a blog where there is only one author, this is not necessary anyway.

In the following I describe helpful plugins as a supplement or alternative to the standard blocks above, including the option of filtering by author.

My personal favorites for filter and search plugins

1. Annual Archives by Twinpictures

The search plugin Annual ArchiveThe Annual Archive search plugin

With the plugin Annual Archive you can fine-tune a time archive. Various contents can be called up as archive pages not only on a monthly basis, but also annually, weekly, daily or in decades. There is also the option of alphabetical sorting.

Shortcodes can be used to control the display of the search and the content to be displayed. I have linked the detailed list of shortcodes here.

Plugin Ivory Search for WordPressThe WordPress search plugin “Ivory Search”

The Ivory Search plugin gives the user a good search experience if set up correctly. Even the free version can do a lot and is updated regularly. The WordPress search is raised to a new level here.

The documentation is also very detailed.

With the Ivory Search you can in particular use the input field in the navigation show on your website.

To set the menu in which to display the search form, open wp-admin > Ivory Search > Preferences > Menu Search and click the “Choose Menu” accordion.

A search field in the header, footer or any other area of ​​the website is also possible.

For me, one of the highlights is that you can highlight the search term in the results display.

Set a highlighter for the search results with the WordPress plugin Ivory Search

3. Ajax search with Ivory Search

Ivory Search enables a real-time – or Ajax – search where the results are displayed interactively immediately. A list of results opens up below the input field, from which you can immediately select the desired contribution.

Ajax search results windowSearching for “Twenty” opens a dialog with search results.

You probably know Ajax searches from web shops. Here, too, Ivory Search would be excellently used.

4. “Authors List” plugin

Plugin Author ListAuthors List plugin

“Author List” is a plugin with which you can display the contributions of different authors in a very differentiated way. The display is z. B. as a list or in columns, optionally with pictures or with a biography. It works with shortcodes, which can be inserted almost anywhere in a theme using the /Shortcodes block.

A simple alphabetical display of authors might look like this:

Simple display of three authors

The shortcode in this case is:

[authors_list columns="3" show_count="yes" show_link="no" orderby="display_name" order="ASC"]

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