Thursday, July 24, 2014

Searching for Sermons has been live on the Internet for eleven years.  We had a presence on the web under another name for four years prior to that.  You would think everything would be running smoothly after fifteen years.  One thing I have learned about the Internet is that just when you think you have everything just the way you want it, something changes.  Eight years ago, we added a site search tool to our web site to help people find a sermon on a specific subject or Scripture reference. We used a company called PicoSearch to provide the search engine.  For the past eight years, it has worked without a problem.

Several weeks ago, I was looking for a sermon on a specific Scripture reference and when I hit the search button, a page opened with the dreaded "page not found" message.  After several attempts with the same results, I went to the PicoSearch home page and was greeted with the message, "PicoSearch web service ended on July 1, 2014."

Oh how I wish I had an in-house web master to turn to in situations such as this.  Unfortunately, our web master is me and everything I know is what I have learned through reading books, tutorials, and by trial and error.  I began to scour the Internet to see what was out there.  It appeared to me that most web sites were using Google Custom Search as their site search tool.  That makes sense—Google pretty well owns the market on web searches.  So, I went to Google and began setting up my site search.  I must say, that I felt like a first year seminary student in Greek class!

Well, after struggling with this project for almost a month, it all seems to have come together.  We now have a site search tool that seems to be working the way I want it to work.  Below you will see two images.  The first image will show you where to find the search tool.  It is at the very top of the page.  The second will show a partial page of the search results for "love one another."  Please notice that I have placed my search query in quotation marks.  The reason for that is that without the quotation marks, the search engine will find all pages which contain the words love, one, and another.  Within quotes, it only finds pages with the exact phrase "love one another."

One thing that I have noticed that is a distinct improvement over our previous site search tool is that the results do not take you away from our site.  You remain on our site and all of the links and menus are functional.  This was not the case in our previous site search tool.

I hope you will make use of this tool in your search for children's sermons on our web site.  Visit our web site and leave your  comments and suggestions on our "Contact Us" page.