Back in June, when I laid healing hands on the Redland Baptist web site, I used MovableType because it could be easily customized to work like a Content Management System, yet still retain its blogging capabilities. I did this because I wanted a system where I didn’t have to go through a bunch of flaming hoops whenever someone in the church office needed to post something. What I didn’t realize until this past weekend was that this also gave me the ability to track internal search queries.
What I mean by internal search queries are those keywords and phrased individuals input using the search form that is plastered onto the left menu column of the RBC website. MovableType logs each search in a MySQL table, which means I can use a simple SQL query to find out what people are looking for once they get to our website.
For those of you not afraid of shooting your foot clean off, here it is:
WHERE log_message regexp ‘^Search’ group by log_message
ORDER by 1 DESC LIMIT 0, 200
Why is this important? Well, if you’re interested in attracting “seekers” and serving “members” then it might be helpful to give them what they’re looking for. Remember, as Vincent Flanders puts it, “Don’t confuse web design with sex.” In other words, take a cue from Jakob Neilsen and the good folks at Pew Research, users are purpose driven. Solve their problems, meet their needs, or in this particular case, answer their questions.
So if you see several queries for “Vacation Bible School” then make sure you site has something they’ll find.
What about you? Is your site equipped to track internal searches? Does your church website site even have an internal search engine? If not, why not? … More on that topic next week.