.Lijit is a search tool that offers a lot more features than the run of the mill default blog searches. I have just installed the Lijit Widget (Wijit) in my sidebar. Automatic installation is available for Blogger and Typepad via the widget setup and there is a brand new Lijit WordPress plugin that gives you the option of using Lijit as a stand alone search or incorporating it into the default WordPress search widget.
- Optional addition of some or all of your bookmarking, social networking and photo sites to Lijit will allow search of not only your blog posts but of sites you have bookmarked, your blogroll sites and your social networking contact’s posts and their contacts and bookmarks. Most of the popular sites are included although my favorite bookmarking site, diigo, is as usual not included. There is also a feature to add feeds and site url’s so adding my diigo bookmarks feed solved this problem for me.
The search result window shows tabs for results from your blog, your network, your content (on any site), and the web. You set your widget’s default search to show one of these tabs as the front page of the results. I have set mine up to show search results from my blog first. I recommend this as you will keep searchers on your own site longer if the search term brings up satisfactory results in your blog (in terms of what the user wishes).
- Choose to have your search results show up only on the Lijit site or in your blog window via a pop up screen.
- Statistics available on your Lijit page will give you information about:
- the number of times you have been searched,
- the results that have been clicked,
- information sources that have provided the most clicked results,
- blogs that have linked to you,
- searches that have brought people to your blog .
You can choose to make your statistics publicly viewable.
Widgets can be created to display some recent reader stats on your blog via a list or map:
- An optional “Surprise me!” button produces a list of random content from your blogs and added services – and the results did surprise me as MyBlogLog blogs, that I was not even aware of, showed up there. (MBL automatically adds blogs that you have visited a certain number of times) I may remove MyBlogLog from my options so that results are more relevant to my blog topics.
- A feature named ‘Re-search’ displays extra information for those reaching your blog via a Google search. Here are the results which showed up after I had done a Google Search for “blogging sueblimely images”.For this example, I had to use my blog name in the search terms so that I guaranteed that one of my posts came up in a google search! Options allow you to either display these results below your widget or across the top of your blog.
Below Lijit Wijit
Top Placement – this image was created by a Lijit preview feature
- The widget can be configured to show ‘Popular Searches’ and ‘content’ icons’ I chose not to include these features on mine, being mindful of above the fold sidebar space and page load time, but this is what they would have looked like had I installed them:
- Along with search results comes an option to add a search of the blog you are searching to your browser search engines.
- Lijit uses Google search but also has its own search infrastructure. Om Malik reports that there are plans to add an opt-in ad network to search results and to allow publishers to sell their own keyword inventory in as well as giving them the opportunity to “use Lijit to back-fill the advertising spots”
Advantages of using Lijit Search on your blog:
- Lijit search stats are very useful and are displayed in a simple to understand way.
- The browser search engines feature is useful for yourself to add for a quick search of your own blog as well for others to add to encourage others to revisit your content..
- Searching of your blogroll and social networking contact sites. This could be seen as a resource for your readers as well as a way of recognizing your blogging contacts – another form of link love.
- When results
- Search of your bookmarking sites is another resource for your readers to tap into. I consider my online bookmarking sites a research tool for you, adding links that I think you would find useful relating to topics I cover here, rather than using them for personal purposes. I already display my diigo bookmarks so for me the Lijit search is an extension of this principle. As you will know, if you read this blog often, I tend to ignore SEO recommendations for more incoming links than outgoing as I wish to provide useful information, whether written by myself or others, and to give recognition to the good blog content of my contacts. .
- Keeping the search result window on your blog, rather than purely on the Lijit site, will retain your readers on your site for longer.
Setup was simple and, if you change your preferences, you do not have to alter the widget code as new or changed features are automatically added. The widget itself did not seem to impact my page load time although the search results are a little slow to show up. Disadvantages – yet another widget added to your sidebar and for me another tool to divert me away from my tasks at hand today – my (semi) regular news post and a tutorial on Yahoo Buzz – which now allows anyone to add content a la Digg but with some different and useful features.