Learn How To Search The WordPress Codex More Effectively

Learn How To Search The WordPress Codex More EffectivelyThe WordPress Codex is a wonderful resource for all WordPress users. In true open source style, it was created and is maintained by folk just like you and I. If you have a question about WordPress, your first port of call should always be the Codex. If you want to know more about how you can contribute to the Codex, click here.

But here’s where everything falls down – the Codex’s search engine sucks. And let’s be honest; when you’re looking for help with WordPress, you’d much rather type your query into the search engine than wade through the Codex’s Table of Contents.

Here’s the problem – a search via the WordPress Codex homepage returns results from the support forums, as well as the Codex itself. And whilst the support forums are useful, they are packed full of “junk” posts that are either irrelevant to your query, hopelessly outdated, or simply uninformative. In terms of presenting the most relevant results up front, the Codex search engine simply fails.

For instance, check out this query for “editing images”:

Editing Images
Gah.

Whilst this isn’t actually that bad of an example (there are certainly much worse), you will quickly see the problem. The first two results returned are support forum topics, both of which address specific issues or bugs with editing images. I don’t want to read about someone’s specific issue with the image editor – I want to know how to edit images.

Whilst the Codex does return more relevant results in 3rd and 4th place, the most relevant result isn’t even on the first page.

The Solution

Here is a rule of thumb that if you follow, will leave forum moderators kneeling at your feet in respect and admiration (or something). If you have a problem in WordPress, follow this step-by-step guide:

  1. Search the Codex
  2. If you do not find your answer, search the support forums
  3. If you do not find your answer, post your issue on the support forums

It is a simple process that allows you to resolve your query in the quickest time possible, and yet many people do not follow it.

So how do you obtain the most relevant results by searching the Codex only? Simple – use Google! (Isn’t that the answer to most questions these days?)

In a post I wrote not too long ago, I showed you how you can search your favorite blogs using Google to return far more relevant results. The same principle applies for the WordPress Codex. Just type the following into Google:

inurl:http://codex.wordpress.org/ + your search query

It’s that simple! Let’s see what Google found for our “image editing” query:

Google Search
That's more like it!

The very first result is exactly what we want – it covers using the various editing features of the WordPress Media Uploader. And guess what – that page didn’t even feature on the first page of the Codex’s search engine results (which was made up of two Codex pages and an impressive eight support forum posts).

So do yourself a favor and find the most relevant information to address your query – use Google to search the WordPress Codex!

Creative Commons photos courtesy of IconEden and Mysitemyway