Overview – Search Form Tab

Today we’ll be taking a look at WPSuperDealer and the Search Form tab on the settings page.

Here's a quick video to get you started.

Please take some time to read over the Tips & Tricks section

Vehicle search forms can become overly complicated and it has been our experience that keeping things simple will result in higher conversion rates

If you have a small inventory, then we suggest using a minimal number of search fields

The last thing you want a visitor to see is, no results found

When adding vehicle search forms to your site its a good idea to think of less as more

With that being said, WPSuperDealer allows you to add any vehicle specification field to your search forms

Now you might understand why we urge restraint in the number of fields you allow to become searchable

There’s a temptation to let visitors search on any, and every field, but if you do that, people are going to be overwhelmed by choices, and even if they do search, the criteria could be so narrow that they may only see a single result, if any at all

Let’s briefly discuss how the search form works, and special considerations that need to be taken into place when using different cache tools on your site

The search form is powered by a static json file. 

Think of it as a file that has a miniature version of your inventory, with all the searchable fields in it.

You don’t want that file to be too big, so if you have a large inventory, say over a thousand vehicles, make sure you test things from a user perspective to make sure it flows quickly and smoothly.

The file is named search dash json one dot text

The one refers to the blog id, if you’ve installed this on a multi site then that number would be the blog id of the site the inventory is on

The file will be saved in your uploads folder

You can click on the build json file button to regenerate your json file at anytime.

There is also a setting to schedule a daily update of the json file.

Don’t forget to setup your schedule

Your search form needs to update daily to correctly reflect your inventory.

It is suggested that you setup the schedule for early in the morning.

Anytime you make significant changes to your inventory you can manually build the json file to keep your search form up to date

If you use any type of cache on your site, or on your server, then you need to make sure this file is cleared at least once a day

Your form can be displayed with the block, the widget, or the shortcode

Each of the general settings for your search forms, is fairly self explanatory

You can update the json file

Schedule it to be updated

Set it to not cache in a visitors browser

Turn on or off the numbers next to each search item denoting how many of that type is in stock

There is also an option to autoload the inventory when an item is selected, or have users select all criteria before click a button to submit

Lastly there is an option to change the mobile event that equates to a click

This last option was added for certain edge cases where the tap event may not be available or working as expected

One item of note, if you run into issues where your search form should be dynamically loading selections, then you may have the form accidentally pointing at the wrong page to find your inventory

If we look at the search form tab we’ll notice there is a sub tab called, search fields

Clicking on this gives us the ability to select which vehicle specification fields to include as potential form fields

All of your specification fields, for all vehicle types, are listed here

You’ll see a few items are already checked

You’ll also notice you can click on each field to access controls specific to each field

Let’s look at the body style field

We can change its label, choose if its a select box, checkboxes or a range field

Obviously if you choose range then you’ll need to make sure the values only contains numbers

No commas, no currency symbols, only numbers

You can also enter a default search value

Keep in mind that if you enter a default value and you have it set to autoload the inventory on search, then the form will automatically filter the inventory by that value when the page loads

Next you can select if it’s dynamic, meaning the values available in the field are filtered when a value in another field, that has the last checkbox here checked, is selected by a user

This means the last checkbox determines if selecting a value in this field changes the values in the other fields.

Let’s look at this in a simple checkbox form

This field has filter by checked, checking one of the options will filter the other fields if they themselves have dynamic checked

Typically range fields, like price or mileage, don’t filter the other form fields

You have the ability to make them dynamic, but its not a supported feature at this time, and may produce some, shall we say interesting, results

All of these options and settings, are global settings that are used by defaults if a field is added to a search form.

When we save these settings it automatically generates our json file

If you have a very large inventory then this process may time out

If this occurs then please insure your server is allowing enough time on the server to process you inventory

The more fields you select, and the larger your inventory, the longer this process may take

With the proper considerations, including server size, you could potentially process tens of thousands of vehicles

But this may create a json file that is too large to be considerate of your visitors

If you have a large scale inventory and need commercial assistance, then please visit our website, WPSuperDealer.com and contact us

Now that we’ve seen the basic behind setting up the fields for our forms we still need to look at the different ways it can be added to a page

Let’s start a new page, and drop a vehicle search form into the page

You can see the block settings that can override some of our global settings

But you can also pick a different style, add the vehicle sort to the form, show or hide the submit button, change what the button says, choose which available fields are active, and change some of the settings for the fields themselves

If you have an inventory block on the same page, and you’ve selected to have your forms dynamically filter the inventory in the page, and its not working, then you probably need to change the search results page setting to the url for this page

Let’s take a brief look at the widget settings

The new default WordPress theme doesn’t really have an appropriate sidebar area to put a search form, but since we just need to look at the settings real quick we can just drop it in any of them

You can change it to any of the four style by changing the number in the custom css class name from one to two, three or four

There is also a way to select specific fields and even reorder them, by entering a pipe delimited list of field slugs

Just FYI, field slugs are a lower case version of the field name with space replaced by underscores

Entering body_style, pipe, make, pipe, model, would create a form with only those three fields in the order given

Let’s take a few quick looks at what you can do with your search forms

Now that we’ve seen a small sample of what can be done, we’ve reached the end of our video

We want to thank you for joining us and hope to see you in the next video, where we’ll take a look at sorting our vehicles