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Case Study: Thunderstone Provides a Suite of Flexible Search Solutions for Agency’s Clients

January 9, 2018
Case Study: Thunderstone Provides a Suite of Flexible Search Solutions for Agency’s Clients

Who We Helped

Aztek is a Cleveland-based web design, development, and digital marketing agency with several clients in need of new search software and hardware products.

Their Challenge

As an agency, Aztek works with multiple clients. Each of these clients have different search needs, ranging from basic site keyword search to complicated ecommerce or other custom database solutions. That meant that Aztek needed a partner that was flexible enough to provide search solutions designed for different clients and platforms.

Another key was that these solutions needed to meet each individual client’s expectations and be cost effective. Through Thunderstone, Aztek could achieve these goals and save themselves from having to identify and work with multiple search solution vendors or take on that responsibility themselves.

Our Solution

The short answer is simple; we provided Aztek’s customers with the wide range of quality search solutions that we’re known for. For example, we used Parametric Search Appliance because it has all the everything that 95 percent of clients would need in a search solution, whereas Texis is used where fully-customized solutions are needed.

Since each client is different, we developed a template to determine a client’s search needs and simplify the implementation process. This process identifies the site, applicable domains, and how the results need to be organized. These details allow us to follow up with any additional questions and determine an appropriate solution. Aztek also doesn’t have to worry about compatibility issues because our search software and hardware works with most major CMS platforms their clients use, such as Umbraco, nopCommerce, WordPress, and many others.

Another key part of our solution is hosting and managing the search solution so that Aztek doesn’t have to deal with recreating, reindexing, and rehousing all their clients’ search data. Instead, they receive the final search results directly from us. Aztek also doesn’t have to maintain another server or deal with unfamiliar technology, which is one less thing for them to worry about.

Image of Aztek Web, a company that wanted to partner with a search software and hardware company.

What Happened

Since the partnership began, Thunderstone has helped several of Aztek’s clients, with many more projects currently in process or planned for the future. This has led to clients receiving everything from a new hosted search appliance to a current project involving an extensive database of old catalogs.

Another big advantage of the partnership for Aztek is how it frees them from the responsibility of having to deal with new technology. With Thunderstone, Aztek doesn’t have to worry if software is being updated or who to turn to if there’s an issue. They can share any concerns with us and we can work with them to fix problems or work through new client scenarios. We don’t just supply them with a solution; we work with them to ensure that their clients’ needs are met long after initial implementation.

What Aztek Says About Us

“There’s no ‘it is what it is’ with Thunderstone. Some of the other search solutions we looked at had issues indexing PDFs or issues due to outdated technology, or platform compatibility problems. Working with developers who aren’t familiar with the intricacies of many platforms or who don’t actively update software can be challenging. With Thunderstone, it’s the complete opposite end of the spectrum. We have someone who we can work with, share concerns with, make customizations and is completely invested in the success of our work.” – Keith Rowe, Chief Technology Officer

Work with Us Today

If your company needs proven search solutions for you or your clients, we can help. Learn more about our search engine software and appliances and contact us today to talk to one of our experts about what we can do for your business.

Integrating Advanced Search on your Website

September 20, 2017
Integrating Advanced Search on your Website

Is your search solution actually doing its job? Some common problems caused by inadequate search software includes:

  • Search results aren’t showing in the right order of importance or value
  • Search results can’t show mixed content like products, blog content and page content
  • Search results don’t have the appearance you’d like them to have

So why would you like a better search solution? It helps educate you users with the right information. It directs them towards products that they want to buy. It ultimately provides a better user experience for them. With simple search solutions like Google’s soon-to-be-discontinued Google Site Search, there is very limited customization that you can make to deliver the best results to your users. The solution to this challenge is implemented a smarter, more customizable custom search appliance on your website.

Sound complicated? It’s actually easier than you think when you have an expert like Thunderstone walking you through the process. Based on our 30-plus years of experience with search solutions, the typical steps involved with integrating an advanced search appliance within your website are:

Identify What Should Be Included in Search Results

The benefit of a more advanced search box like Thunderstone’s Search Appliance is that you’re able to customize what should be indexed in search results. Thus, you can include things like

  • page content
  • blog posts
  • products
  • documentation pages
  • media like images and videos
  • FAQ’s
  • data from other database sources

Determine Search Results Appearance

Consider how you’d like the search results to appear to users. With a basic website search engine, results are pulled purely by keyword relevancy, and the results can’t be styled. With an advanced website search engine like Thunderstone’s Search Appliance, search results can be customized in terms of order and design of appearance.

Website Search Results Customization

For websites that feature multiple types of content, multiple subdomains, e-commerce and many other unique website setups, basic website search is not ideal. Some examples of customizations that you may want to make to search results include:

  • Selecting only specific pages or types of content/data that you would like to be indexed and shown to users
  • Ranking pages based on their importance to your organization, and their relevancy to the user
  • Sorting and separating different pieces of content in search rankings
  • Leveraging a thesaurus function to group similar results together

Website Search Results Design

Once again, with a basic website search engine, the appearance of the search results are going to likely include the title of the page, a short description, and potentially an image. But for more advanced websites, this can be very limiting in delivering the right results to the user. Customizing search results design can be useful when:

  • Delivering product or e-commerce results to the user, including images, pricing, and product options
  • Showing search results for media, including photos and videos
  • Showing more in-depth documentation that may include technical files, publish dates, etc.
  • Delivering autocomplete results in a search box for a better user experience

Embed a Search Box on Your Site

Embedding a search box on your website is simple for any web designer or developer to achieve. Whether you have an existing search box that needs to be replaced, or need to integrate a brand-new search box within your site, Thunderstone’s implementation is simple.

When it comes to search box design considerations, UX Planet has a few recommendations:

  • Display the search field prominently, including on mobile devices
  • Provide a button for the search box rather than an icon that may be confusing
  • Put the search box on every page
  • Put the search box where users expect to find it, typically in the top righthand corner of the page
  • Size the search box appropriately, usually allowing at least 27 characters of text input

Thunderstone for Better Site Search

The Thunderstone Search Appliance is a web indexing device that allows a web site administrator to provide a high quality search results for a number of different file types with a customized search results appearance. If your current website search engine isn’t delivering the results you want (or your users need), then check out Thunderstone’s Search Appliance, or contact us today for a demo.