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how to add search bar to WordPress

How to Add a Custom Search Bar to WordPress (Easy Steps) 

Written By: author image Stacey Corrin
author image Stacey Corrin
Stacey has been writing about WordPress and digital marketing for over 10 years and on other topics for much longer. Alongside this, she's fascinated with web design, user experience, and SEO.
     Reviewed By: John Turner
reviewer image John Turner
John Turner is the co-founder of SeedProd. He has over 20+ years of business and development experience and his plugins have been downloaded over 25 million times.

Are you wondering how to add a search bar to WordPress? You’re not alone.

A search bar is more than just a convenient feature; it’s necessary for enhancing user experience and navigation on your website. In this guide, we’ll explain the importance of having a search bar and walk you through two simple methods to add one to your WordPress site.

Whether you’re a beginner or have more WordPress experience, this article has got you covered.

Why Add a Search Bar to WordPress?

Imagine this: You’ve just landed on a website looking for specific information. You scroll through the homepage and click on a couple of tabs, but you can’t find what you’re searching for.

Frustrating, isn’t it? Now, think about your own WordPress website. Your visitors are no different; they want information, and they want it fast. This is where the magic of a search bar comes into play.

Adding a search bar to your WordPress site isn’t just about aesthetics or filling up space; it’s about providing a seamless and efficient user experience. When website visitors can quickly find what they’re looking for, they’re more likely to stay, explore, and even convert into loyal customers or subscribers.

Example of using a search bar in WordPress

It’s like having a personal guide that directs them exactly where they want to go without the hassle of aimless clicking and scrolling. Even better, if users stay longer on your site, it can lower your bounce rate, a ranking factor in SEO.

However, the benefits continue beyond user experience. A well-implemented search bar or search widget can also give you valuable insights into what your audience is interested in. By analyzing search queries, you can tailor your content strategy to meet your visitors’ demands and questions.

So, if you’re still on the fence about adding a search bar to your WordPress site, consider this your sign to go ahead and make that addition. It’s a small change that can make a world of difference.

How to Add a Search Bar to WordPress: 2 Easy Methods

While the default WordPress search function is suitable for simple situations, it’s hard to customize without writing CSS code or hiring a developer. A more customized approach allows you to add a WordPress search bar to widget areas, menus, and WooCommerce pages. In some cases, you can include custom fields, tailored search results, and more.

With this in mind, let’s look at ways to add search bars to WordPress step-by-step:

The first method we’ll explore is using a page builder to seamlessly integrate a search bar into your website. It’s simpler than you might think, and you don’t need to be a tech wizard to pull it off.

Let’s dive in!

1. Using a Page Builder to Add a Search Bar to WordPress

First things first, let’s talk about SeedProd.

SeedProd Drag and Drop WordPress website builder

If you’re unfamiliar with it, SeedProd is one of the best WordPress page builders, allowing you to customize your website without touching a single line of code. From drag-and-drop functionality to pre-made templates, SeedProd makes it incredibly easy to design your site just the way you want it.

And yes, that includes adding a search bar.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, you’ll need to install SeedProd. While it offers a free version and several premium options, we’ll use SeedProd Pro for this guide. So go ahead and choose your plan and download the plugin.

After downloading it, you can follow these steps to install the SeedProd plugin on your WordPress site.

With SeedProd activated, your next step is choosing where to add the search bar. With SeedProd, you can customize virtually any part of your website, whether it’s a custom WordPress theme or a specific landing page.

The landing page builder is best for creating standalone pages to boost leads and conversions.

SeedProd landing page builder dashboard

Alternatively, the Theme Builder is perfect for building a custom WordPress theme without hiring a developer.

SeedProd theme builder dashboard

To find these options, navigate to SeedProd in your WordPress dashboard and choose either Theme Builder or Landing Pages, depending on your needs. From there, you can select a pre-made landing page template or a full website kit that aligns with your vision and start customizing your site.

seedprod website kits

Need all the steps? Here’s a guide on how to create a custom WordPress theme and how to create a landing page in WordPress, which should make things easier.

Adding a Search Bar to WordPress Page

Now comes the fun part—adding the search bar.

Inside the SeedProd page builder, you’ll find a panel on the left with various blocks to add to your page. Scroll down until you find the Search Form block. 

SeedProd search form block

Next, drag and drop the block where you want the search bar to appear on your page.

Drag and drop the search form block

Inside the block settings, you can customize its appearance, size, and search icon and even add a placeholder text like ‘Search here…’ to guide your visitors.

Search form block customization options

In the ‘Advanced’ tab of the search form, you have a wealth of customization options at your fingertips. You can change the search button and search box colors to match your site’s theme, adjust the spacing for optimal layout, control device visibility, and even add animations for that extra flair.

Search form block advanced customization options

When you’re happy with your changes, click the Save and Publish button, then visit your page to see your new search bar.

Example search bar on WordPress page

Adding a Search Bar to WordPress Header

Maybe you’re thinking a search bar would be most effective in the header, where it’s easily accessible on every page. You’re absolutely right, and with SeedProd, adding a search bar to your WordPress header is a breeze.

For this, you’ll need to use the Theme Builder feature, which allows you to customize various parts of your website, including the header, footer, sidebar, archives, and more. 

If you haven’t already set up your WordPress theme using SeedProd, you can follow these steps to customize your WordPress header.

edit your SeedProd header template

Once you’re in the editing mode for your header, you’ll see the familiar SeedProd page builder interface. Like before, find the Search Form block in the left-hand panel and drag it to your desired location in the header.

Add search form block to WordPress header

​​Don’t forget to fine-tune the search bar to fit seamlessly into your header design. Head over to the ‘Advanced’ tab in the search form settings. Here, you can adjust the styling and set the search bar to appear differently on various devices.

Once you’ve saved your changes, you can check out your website to see your header search bar live and kicking.

how to add search bar to WordPress header

Adding a Search Bar to WordPress Sidebar

Sometimes, the sidebar is the perfect spot for a search bar—especially if you want it to be accessible but not too in-your-face. With SeedProd, adding a search bar to your WordPress sidebar is just as straightforward as adding it to the header.

Let’s walk through the steps.

Like before, navigate to your WordPress dashboard and click SeedProd, then Theme Builder. From there, click the “Edit Design” link on your sidebar template to open the page builder.

Edit SeedProd sidebar template

If you don’t have this template yet, follow these steps to create a custom sidebar in WordPress.

Once you’re in the page builder for your sidebar, find the Search block in the left-hand panel and drag it to where you’d like the search bar to be in your sidebar.

Add search bar to WordPress sidebar

Now, all that’s left is to customize its appearance and click the Save button to make your changes live.

Example of search bar in WordPress sidebar

2. Using a Search Plugin to Add a Search Bar to WordPress

If you’re looking for a dedicated solution for adding a search bar to your WordPress site, a WordPress search plugin like SearchWP is an excellent choice.

searchwp best WordPress eCommerce plugin for digital downloads

Not only does it allow you to add a search bar easily, but it also offers advanced features like Ajax-powered live search and customizable search results.

Let’s dive into the details.

Adding a Search Bar to WordPress Navigation Menu

First, navigate to your WordPress dashboard, go to Plugins, and click Add New. Search for the ‘SearchWP Modal Search Form‘ and install and activate the plugin. Alternatively, you can download the plugin from and upload it manually.

SearchWP Modal Search Form plugin

After activation, go to Appearance and Menus from your dashboard and select a menu to edit from the dropdown.

modal search form in WordPress menu

Next, find the ‘SearchWP Modal Search Forms’ box on the left side of the screen and click it to expand its options. Check the ‘Native WordPress’ box option and click the Add to menu button.

Native WordPress modal search form checkbox

You’ll now see a ‘Native WordPress’ item in your menu, which you can click to customize. For example, you can change the navigation label to ‘Search’ for better clarity.

Customize modal search form navigation label

After that, click the Save Changes button to save your menu and visit your website to see the menu search function in action.

Example of search bar in the WordPress menu

For a more interactive search experience, you can add live search results using Ajax technology. This allows you to display relevant search results as users type their queries, similar to Google Search and other search engines.

To do this, Install and activate the ‘SearchWP Live Ajax Search‘ plugin. It works seamlessly with the SearchWP Modal Search Form and has no settings to configure.

SearchWP Live Ajax Search plugin

Once activated, the plugin will automatically add live search to all your forms. You can see it in action by visiting your search form on the front end of your site and typing in a query.

Example of live ajax search in WordPress

Customizing Your WordPress Search Results

Adding a live search bar to your WordPress menu is a great start, but you can go a lot further with the premium SearchWP plugin. The premium plugin has advanced search features, allowing you to customize search results and highlight promoted items like eCommerce products.

SearchWP advanced search bar features and customization options

For a complete guide, see these tips on how to improve WordPress search with SearchWP.

There you have it!

Adding a search bar to your WordPress site is a smart move. It makes your website easier to use and helps visitors find what they’re looking for. Whether you use SeedProd or SearchWP, both methods are simple and effective.

So go ahead and add that search bar—your visitors will appreciate it!

If you’re looking for more easy WordPress tutorials, please check out the following guides:

Thanks for reading! We’d love to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to leave a comment with any questions and feedback.

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author avatar
Stacey Corrin Writer
Stacey has been writing about WordPress and digital marketing for over 10 years and on other topics for much longer. Alongside this, she's fascinated with web design, user experience, and SEO.

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