You can’t but fail to notice that many websites include a Google Search box somewhere on their homepage. Often these only search the website in question, but they don’t have to, they can in fact search the whole web, or just a subset of the web. Moreover, these searches can be customised to undertake a safe search only making it a good way to add a safe search engine to your blog. They can also be set to remove all ads from the search results, another benefit for schools.
Setting up your search engine
Stage 1 in the process is to set up your Google Custom Search Engine. If you already have a Google account then you can use that, failing that, go to the webpage and register (it’s free).
Give your search engine a name (e.g. your school) and a brief description (e.g. Custom search for …) Then tell your search engine what you want to search.
After that, choose the edition (choose the standard free edition even though it says it will display ads – you will remove these later). Tick the Ts and Cs and “Next”, then “Finish” and that’s it, you’ve set up your Google Custom Search Engine. Now all you need to do is tweak it and it to your blog.
Tweaking your search engine and adding it to your blog
There are two things you want to achieve here, and that is removing the ads and secondly, setting it to “Safe Search”. Now that you’ve created your search engine you can click on the “Control Panel” to amend it. There are loads of complex things you can do here, and I’ll avoid nearly all of them. On the first page (Basics) you will find the option to turn off ads. Do this and save the changes. If you want to, go to the “Look and Feel” options and upload your school logo to display on the search results (how cool is that?).
Click on “Get Code” in order to find the necessary code to display the search on your blog. Again. to keep things simple, you need to leave the option for the results to appear on a Google hosted page alone. Simply copy the presented code and go to your blog. Assuming you want the search to appear in the sidebar you will need to go to “Appearance” > “Widgets” and add a text widget to the sidebar of your blog ready to receive the code. Save the changes and then open the text widget by clicking on “Edit”. Now paste the code from Google into the text box.
The last thing to do is to set the search to safe, and you do this by adding a line of code into the text widget. If that sounds scarily geeky, don’t worry, just copy the code below and paste it in to the text widget as shown. Save changes to the widget, and you’re done.
<input type=“hidden” name=“safe” value=“on” />
Here is an example of how it might look on your website. Try it out: