Greenies’ Guide to Faster Search on GovLoop

Not all GovLoop searches are created equal. Some can waste a lot of your time while others cut to the chase. So much good content “hiding out” on the site…it would be a shame to let search issues get in the way. An example and a few tips should help you find good stuff with much less effort.

So, let’s say you want to see what’s been posted on “pay for performance.” Likely you go to the main search box, which sits atop each page/screen on the right. It’s the white box with the words “search social network” in it. You type in the search terms, hit enter and bam! Success. 16 pages of hits as of this writing, over 100 posts that mention pay for performance! Of course, now you have to look at them to see what’s what. Seriously daunting…

In scanning through these 16 pages of hits, I realized most are actually comments, made in response to a much smaller number of original blog and discussion forum posts. What happens, not surprisingly, is that many separate comments often result from one original post. But all this duplication means many separate search hits are leading you back to the same places. And it takes time to go through them. What to do? Don’t use the search box box on the homepage. Instead, it is much faster to search GovLoop’s discussion forums and blogs, as described below.

Here’s how to do it for the pay-for-performance example. To search GovLoop’s blogs, select the “Blogs” tab, which is in the row of navigational buttons near the top of each screen/page. It will take you to the blog search page. At the top it says “All Blog Posts.” In the search box just below this heading, type in your search terms. My search on pay for performance turned up just 2 blog posts. I can handle that! You can follow similar steps to search GovLoop’s “Discussion Forum” posts. Just select the Forum tab from the top row of navigational buttons. It will take you to the discussion forum search page. When I typed pay for performance in the search box just below the Discussion Forum heading, I found about 20 posts…ok, it’s more than 2 but still much easier than trying to find them mixed in with all the comments on the home page! If a topic still pulls up too many hits to scan easily, you can also search forum posts by category. Go to the box that say’s “View,” which is on the right side of the page in the same row as the search box and select “Categories.” On the categories screen, scroll down a little to see the different categories in which you can try your search. Just click the one you want and retry your search in the narrower category of your choice.

So, to recap, you’ll get most of the good content in a fraction of the time if you search the Blogs and Forums sections directly, rather than using GovLoop’s main search box. The one important thing you won’t get this way are discussions and comments posted in any of GovLoop’s 600+ groups. Content within these groups is often very rich for particular subtopics, so it’s well worth checking out. To search across all groups, you’ll need to select the “Groups” tab from the navigational row and it will take you to the groups search page. Enter your search terms in the box just below the “All Groups” heading. I get just a handful more hits on pay for performance, but hits will vary by topic. For example, if you searched for “telework,” you’d get lots of hits pointing to the “Teleworkers and Telework Managers Group.

Hope this is helpful. And if you have other good tips on searching or being found, please share them in a comment. Cheers.

p.s. New to GovLoop or this blog? Backstory on why I started it here. The “greenies” blog will be a regular feature on the Go! GovLoop for New Members group. Would also like to open it up to guest bloggers. So if you have a good idea and want to write an upcoming greenies blog, just let me know.

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Amanda Blount

Great Post! Many new people will need this. Maybe (if there is not one already) you could start a newbie group to guide new people into a good experience here on GOV LOOP. It would be a shame for new people to join, only to leave if they get frustrated. You could start a Welcome Wagon Committee! Ask Steve, I am sure he knows if a group like that has already been formed.

Cindy Lou Baker

Thanks for the post Josh. When we welcome folks, we tell them to check certain areas out. We could easily point them to this. Depending upon what we read in a new person’s info, we’ll tell them about certain groups, ie., mentoring or job search groups. (I like the term “greenies!”)

Andrew Krzmarzick

Josh – EXCELLENT post! In my mind, this post definitely needs to be included as a link in the standard welcome message that every member receives (per Cindy Lou’s comment….which also responds directly to Amanda’s “Welcome Wagon” idea. We have one! And if you want to help in that way, I am sure that we could use more help.)

Joshua joseph

Cindy, Andy — good deal! By all means, please use this as you see fit. Will also look to touch base later in the week on welcome stuff. From what I’ve seen, the initial outreach to new folks is very good. But I would be interested in Amanda’s idea of a group for newbies (if there isn’t one) to help extend the welcome, provide add’l support, encourage more Q&A around using the site, etc.

Maggie Davies

Thanks for the Newbies and Greenies links. I started with govLoop in April – first social networking connection. I wander around and see the same people commenting and blogging so there has to be a lot like me out there just looking. If someone could put together the ABCs of blogging I’d appreciate it.

Maggie Davies

Thanks Joshua. As you can tell by the drag time I’m not very good at this Social thing. I think the Problogger might help us decide if a Blog is right for our Center.