Category Archives: Tips

Infographic: Magento History and Evolution

History of Magento ( creation date, founder/s)

- Started in Los Angeles
- Magento’s Founders, Roy Rubin and Yoav Kutner
- Started development in 2007
- August 31, 2007, the first public beta version was released
- launched on March 31, 2008 under the name Bento
- developed by Varien (now Magento, a division of eBay)
- eBay announced it had made an investment in Magento in 2010, worth a 49% ownership share of the company.

 
Magento Infographic - Magento's History and Evolution

Magento Evolution ( initial version and then all the new versions released)

- Started as Bento
- Magento, Bento and Mage. Mage, wizard of D&D style role playing games.
- March 31, 2008, first stable release of 1.0 Magento Community Edition
- June 24, 2008, Magento CE released
- December 29, 2008, Magento CE 1.2 released
- January 7th – February 5, 2009, 1st european tour: Netherlands, France, Germany
- March 1, 2009, more popular than osCommerce and ecommerce itself
- March 30, 2009, Magento CE 1.3 released
- April 15, 2009, Magento Enterprise Launched
- October 20 2009, Magento EE 1.6 released
- January 19, 2010 Magento EE 1.7 released
- January 26, 2010 1.5 million downloads
- February 12, 2010, Magento CE 1.4 released
- April 14, 2010 Magento EE 1.8 released
- May 1, 2010 Magento Professional edition released
- May 28, 2010, Magento Mobile Launched
- July 19, 2010, Magento EE 1.9 released
- February 7, 2011, Magento U announced
- February 7, 2011, Magento Go announced
- February 8, 2011, Magento CE 1.5 and EE 1.10 released
- February 8, 2011, iPad and Android added to Magento Mobile
- February 11, 2011, eBay announced as investor
- June 6, 2011, eBay owns 100% of Magento
- August 8, 2011, Magento CE 1.6, PE 1.11, and EE 1.11 released
- September 28, 2011, Magento Developer Certification announced
- October 12, 2011, Free Magento U Courses
- November 30, 2011, Magento 2.0 development starts
- February 1, 2012, 4 Million Downloads
- February 4, 2012, co-founder Yoav Kutner leaves Magento
- April 24, 2012, Magento CE 1.7 and EE 1.12 released
- May 1, 2012, Magento Professional edition canceled
- September 24, 2012, over 150,000 sites using Magento
- October 11th, 2013 Magento EE 1.13 Released
- November 21st, 2013 Magento and eBay Enterprise join together
- December 11th, 2013 Magento CE 1.8 released
- April 8th, 2013 selected rackspace at it platinum level hosting partner
- January 10th, 2014, new retail enterprise solution while maintaining a low total cost
- January 21st, 2014 Magento now supports php 5.4
- February 25th, 2014 german-language site developed

Magento Statistics (percentage of online stores running on Magento)

- RosettaStone, Bazaar, Nike, Zumiez, OfficeMax, FIJI Water, Vizio, Men’s Health
- 150,000 online stores
- 500,000+ downloads in 2008
- 60,000 members by the end of 2008
- 26% of sites were powered by Magento

Acquisition by Ebay (year, date)

- June 6, 2011 eBay owns 100% of Magento
- eBay offered Magento $180 Million

Other Magento Milestones

- In April 2014, W3Techs estimated that Magento was used by 1.0% of all websites
- 115+ employees in Los Angeles and the Ukraine
- The term “Magento” is now Googled more often than “eCommerce”

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Magento Free Module – Improve The Order Export Process

There comes a point, as a store owner, where you want to be able to export your orders and keep track of them separately from the Magento admin interface. Unfortunately, Magento only offers the option to export all orders at once which means you are not able to select random orders for export.

Thankfully there is a free module that allows you to select which orders you want to export. It is titled Blue Jalappeño Order Export:

This module requires understanding of how to use Magento Connect in order to install modules quickly and easily through your Magento admin. Click on the link to the tutorial and follow the instructions because that tutorial actually uses this module as a demonstration and will allow you to install it and configure it properly. When you are done come back to this article to learn how to use it.

After Installation Is Successful – Configure It Properly

When you are logged back into your admin panel be sure to enable the module. You can do this by clicking on ‘System –> Configuration’ in the top navigation menu and then scroll down and look towards the left for a link titled “Blue Jalappeño Order Export”. It is located below the “Sales” tab.

Click on the Blue Jalappeño Order Export link and you will see an option to enable the module:

Once you choose ‘yes’ and click ‘save’ you will see a confirmation message indicating that you have successfully installed your module.

Now that you have successfully installed and enabled this module, go ahead and visit the orders page by choosing ‘Sales’ –> ‘Orders’ link in the top left section of the navigation menu. You will notice the sales page looks the same as it always does with one exception. Towards the right side next to a drop-down menu you will see the label ‘actions’. Originally, before your installation of this new module, the pull-down options would have looked like this:

As you can see, there is no option to export orders. This would mean that your only hope to export orders is to do it in bulk by using the ‘Export to’ option at the top of the page. That option only allows you to download all orders at once, you cannot choose which orders you wish to download.

So take a look at your ‘actions’ drop-down menu, now that your module is installed, and you will see a new option titled ‘Export Orders’ (See below):

The “Export Orders” shows you have, in fact, properly installed and configured this module. Now, all you have to do is use the checkbox/select option for the individual orders you want to export and choose “Export Orders” in the drop-down menu and click on the orange ‘submit’ button.

Conclusion

This is one of many free modules that can make life a bit easier for you. Take some time to go through the Magento Connect marketplace and see what else is available for you. Make sure to get comfortable using Magento Connect and consider backing up your files and database before each attempt. If you have any questions or need assistance with finding other suitable modules, please contact us.

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How to Best Optimize Magento Products: Magento On-Page Product Optimization

One of the most overlooked parts of Magento SEO is on-page product optimization. Online retailers using Magento often neglect the aspect of optimizing each product, especially those that have 500 products or more. This problem arises when retailers use generic product descriptions and images provided by the manufacturer. Other times, online retailers are, lets accept it, lazy or don’t have the time or resources to invest into writing long product descriptions that are unique, relevant, and products that sell themselves.

Why is this a problem? In order to maximize sales on the web, visitors need to have an abundant amount of information which serves as a selling, advertising, and educational point.

Moreover, manufacturers (e.g. Nike, Garmin, Sony) offer their products en masse to whoever has an online store that can sell them. It doesn’t matter if an online retailer has the product in stock or is drop-shipping it. As a result, the web gets flooded with multiple websites who are using the same product titles, descriptions, and images. Other than the regular CMS pages that are unique, the copy of the website ends up being the same as a hundred other websites and are treated by search engines as not providing any particular value. In the meantime, the website owner wonders why isn’t their website ranking well or even showing up on SE results. Here are some tips on how to optimize each product on your Magento store to set your self apart from the crowd. Of course, this techniques can apply to other eCommerce platforms as well.

Magento Product Names - Your product name should be short yet descriptive. Most search engines will display up to 71 characters.  The URL Key of the product page should reflect the product name, it’s category or anything else that is important depending on what you’re selling.  When stuck, it’s not a bad idea to use your page titles as, essentially, your URLs.

Magento Product Description SEO

Magento Product Description Optimization

Product Meta Tags – Your product Meta description will appear in search results, so you’ll want to make it short and concise, and remember that it’s purpose is to encourage people who are querying search engines to click on your product link.

 

Magento Product Metatag Optimization

Magento Product Metatag Optimization

 

Magento Product Descriptions - When writing product descriptions you are making a sales pitch to the potential customer.  Don’t copy the product description directly from the manufacturer. There are possibly hundreds of other vendors who have access to this description, so using it won’t give you the unique original content that search engines are looking for. Try to humanize the language by including all the product specs, warrantees, features etc. The longer the description, the better informed the buyer will be. Where possible, it is a good practice to include PDF product manuals. Be careful to not over do it  and try to avoid “keyword stuffing” — the practice of using a particular keyword too often to trick a search engine. Provide value and stay within context.

Add Videos to Product Description – Using video for product overviews or reviews can greatly increase conversions and assist with SEO. Magento allows for video embedding directly on the product page. We highly recommend that you use YouTube to host your videos as  they are the 2nd biggest search engine after Google and you’ll save on hosting (bandwidth and quota). Quite often online shoppers will turn to Youtube for their research.  If a visitor lands on your website they can see the video directly on the product page and vise-versa. If you don’t have the time or resources to do product reviews look at the manufacturer’s website or Youtube Channel. Most manufactures  have overview videos of their products. Provided that you are an authorized reseller of Garmin, for example, you can search for a product video on Youtube and embed the video directly on the product page. To embed a video in the product description go to: Product Information –> General –> WISYWYG –> Show/Hide Editor  –> Insert/Edit Embedded Media (vertical film icon) –> Source –> Paste embed code –> Insert.

Magento Product Images – Great images vs bad images will certainly make a difference on your online store’s revenue. Search engines, however, can not read images and only crawl the alt tags.  Write strong alt tags and name the image files appropriately. Remember that some people search for product images, which can lead them to your website and products. Alt tags also allow those who cannot read your website to understand what an image is depicting.

Product Reviews – Product reviews are one of the top motivators for conversions and they add free, relevant content to your website.  Out of the box, Magento comes with product review functionality. Fist thing first, you need to enable reviews on your store and continuously monitor and approve the reviews that come in through the Magento Admin.  Sometimes the problem is that most of the reviews are spam and submitted by spam boots.  To prevent this from happening you’ll need to install an extension for your product reviews to be SEO friendly/bot crawlable. Reviews will add product-related content to your website which will be great for SEO.

Product PDF Owner’s Manuals – Having publicly available PDF Owner’s Manuals on your website not only offers additional information to the buyer but also serves as a point for reference for others and a way for past clients to come back to your website. The same way as with the videos, ask the manufacturer for a PDF manual so that you can display it on the website. If you can not find one, make the effort to even scan an owners manual and upload it on your website (as long as it is ok with the manufacturer).

The list can go on and on since no online store is virtually the same and business models and strategies vary greatly. I have seen solid businesses running on Yahoo stores where the user experience and website layout/architecture is the worst but they offer a ton of information under each product and rank very high on SE. With Magento you have the latest and best SEO technology. The basic idea here is to provide the visitor with as much information as possible on the product they are shopping for. If you follow the steps discussed above your store will stand out from the competition and consecutively increase sales.

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What’s Trending: 2014 eCommerce Website Design

As you know, trends in web design are always changing. Ecommerce design is no exception to the rule. Ecommerce design, however, is slightly different because the changes are usually more functional than simply visual or trend based. Ecommerce websites have a simple goal in mind: to make it as easy as possible for users to find and purchase products. Trends in eCommerce, therefore, usually function around trial and error findings about what attracts shoppers and what makes them feel safe and secure. With each example I’ve posted, I have included a link to the original website so you can see it in action.

LARGE, VIBRANT IMAGES

This is probably my favorite trend in eCommerce right now. When a client provides large and clear original images, it opens the door to a new world of design possibilities. I love experimenting with different photo editing techniques (think Instagram) and keeping it simple to make the product shine. Blurred background images make for great graphics when overlaid with text. Products always look better with large, detailed images that can give shoppers more in-depth looks in to texture and color.  

MINIMALISTIC, SIMPLE DESIGNS

Keeping it simple is a big trend in eCommerce sites. Since the goal is to encourage shoppers to find exactly what they want and to buy it, designers are realizing that anything that could cause a distraction might not be a good idea. Minimalistic designs utilize white backgrounds with black or dark grey text that are simple to navigate. They also allow the product images to stand out drastically, drawing the eye directly to the product itself, as seen above with the bags for sale.

LONG SCROLLING

Long Scrolling is popular right now as a way to present tons of information immediately. Scrolling also works well with mobile devices, as it is easier to get new information with the flick of a finger than with the push of a button (and the loading of a new page). Parallax scrolling in my opinion is a passing trend, but long scrolling is here to stay as website performance gets better.

Another common way eCommerce sites use long scrolling is the infinite scroll. If you’ve ever used twitter,  pinterest, or google images, you know what it’s like to get to the bottom of a page to prompt the loading of a new set of products or information. eCommerce sites utilize this technique on pages where there might be dozens of products or more. Instead of having visitors click through the pagination to get to the next set, they simply continue to scroll as more and more products are loaded into their current page.

FLAT UI

Flat UI is a design sprawling across the web but I really like it for eCommerce. Anything that makes your shopping experience more easy and more beautiful is good in my book! Flat UI means that the buttons and graphics you use to navigate the site are easier to see, read, and understand because they are simple and flat. No more fancy bells and whistles and unnecessary gradients, shine, or shadow. Flat UI icons are trendy and simple , clean and easy to understand.

VIDEOS

This trend is one of my favorites, not only as a designer but as a consumer. Zappos and Amazon use videos on the regular and I’m sure other companies will be doing the same soon. Videos in the product view show the consumer exactly how their selection looks on a model. While most product images are re-touched and can be untrustworthy at times, videos can show us exactly how a shirt fits or how the leather of a shoe reflects light at different angles. Videos are yet another way to instill trust into your customers and to make them sure they are getting exactly what they are looking for.

MIX AND MATCH TYPOGRAPHY

Mix and Match Typography has always been useful if done right, but It’s becoming especially prevalent. Mix and match typography works well when two or more different fonts each retain brand consistency, yet are distinct from one another. This technique makes a page more visually interesting, drawing the eye to certain headlines with one font, and then down to a longer paragraph with a different font. 

While many trends come and go, I believe that the trends I have discussed here will be prevalent for a long time. This is because they not only make your website look better, but they also make it easier to use and navigate, which makes it easier for shoppers to find what they are looking for, trust that they understand the product, and buy it. This is our goal as eCommerce designers.

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Magento Connect Tutorial – DIY Magento Extension Installation

One of the most valuable features of Magento is the ability to install both free and paid modules / extensions without having to use FTP and without having to have any experience working with modules. The feature that makes this possible is called Magento Connect. Please note, in order to use this, you will have to sign up for an account at Magento because all modules that use Magento Connect offer a license key that is available only to logged in members. To create a free account, which only takes a few seconds, visit this page:

When you have registered and logged in, you want to visit this page and view all of the available modules:

For this tutorial, we are going to install a free module titled Blue Jalappeño Order Export:

For the rest of the article I will assume you have read the description and have created an account or already have one.

Installing The Module

One of the most exciting features of Magento is the Magento Connect module installer. This allows you to copy the link of a ‘key’, provided by the developer of the module, which you enter into a form and all you do is submit a button and Magento will take care of the rest. Here is how you get started:

Connect To Your Magento Connect Admin Interface

First thing you want to do is log into your Magento admin interface. Once you are logged in,  go to  System—>Magento Connect—>Magento Connect Manager.

You will have to use the same log in credentials that you use to enter your Magento admin panel. When you are logged in you will see this page:

Now that you are logged into the Magento connect you want to grab the license key associated with the export order module. Sign into your Magento account and make sure to visit the Blue Jalappeño Export Order module:

If you look towards the right side of the page you will see a blue ‘install now’ button:

Click on the blue ‘install now’ button and you will see a drop-down menu asking you to select from “Magento Connect 1.0″ and “Magento Connect 2.0″. If your Magento version is 1.5 or later you can select “Magento Connect 2.0″. To learn more about how to determine which option to choose, click on the blue question mark icon next to the drop-down menu to learn more.

After you make your selection you will see a url, which is the Magento connect license key, and you want to copy that url and place it in the text field with the label ” ” (See below)

Once you have pasted the license key url all you have to do is click the orange ‘install’ button. You will notice a confirmation will appear to confirm that you want to install this module:

Click on the orange ‘Proceed’ button and the script will install and a black screen with green text will appear that shows you the progress of this installation. Just wait for it to complete and you can then exit out of the Magento Connect area. Once you return to the admin, it is best to log out and log back in to ensure when you log in you will see the configuration area for the new module.

Conclusion

Any time you wish to install a new module, always feel free to reference this article. Practice this a few times until you get the hang of it. One tip to remember is that sometimes it is best to log out of your admin after using Magento Connect. Then log in again and look for the configuration settings for the new module. Usually you find them by choosing “System –> Configuration” in the menu and then look for it on the left. Sometimes you also will see a new tab in the menu navigation at the top of the page. Look in both areas and eventually you will see it and can start modifying it accordingly.

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