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Category Archives: Tips

5 Best Ways To Configure Magento & Google Analytics Reporting

A large number of Magento store owners do not utilize all the wonderful eCommerce features that come built-in with Goggle Analytics. These features include eCommerce tracking, conversion and goal related tracking, demographics, visitor segmentation, and funnel visualization. All of them can help a business truly understand its market.

Ensuring that Google Analytics is set up correctly on your website can be daunting at a first glance due to the complex functionality it maintains. Since the change to Universal code, there is not much clear information written about it. Installing Google Analytics can be frustrating, particularly when you run into a problem or your website is not tracking the way it used to or the way you had planned it to. The three most common challenges for installation are also the three most critical components for any any Magento eCommerce business: tracking demographics, eCommerce statistics and conversions.

Below are five tips that will help you overcome these challenges, and ensure that your Google Analytics functionality is working to the best of its ability.

  1. Implementing the Universal Google Analytics Tracking Code
  2. Your Magento Google Analytics API Configuration
  3. Enabling Google Analytics Demographics
  4. Google Analytics eCommerce Tracking
  5. Google Analytics Conversion Tracking Utilizing Goals

1. Implementing the Universal Google Analytics Tracking Code
Make sure you have the new Universal Google Analytics tracking code implemented on your Magento website. Go to your Google Analytics ACCOUNT and PROPERTY columns, select the property you’re working with. Click Tracking Info > Tracking Code. Follow the directions and copy and paste this into your source code website. This task can be completed a number of ways. For example, you should copy and paste the code into your child theme under the /template/page/html/head.phtml file in Magento which is on every page of the website. Paste it immediately before the closing tag. It is important that the code is on every page of the website so the data can be tracked properly.

// (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){
(i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),
ga('create', 'UA-XXXXXXXX-X', 'auto');
ga('send', 'pageview');
// ]]><-/script->

View the source code of the Magento website to confirm the code has been added properly. You can do this using the Developer tools in your browser. You can use the Real Time tracking in Google Analytics to confirm the information is being tracked.

2. Your Magento Google Analytics API Configuration
Make sure you Google API is enabled and configured in your Magento admin.
You can find it under Configure > Sales > Google API

3. Enabling Google Analytics Demographics
Once you have the standard Universal Google Analytics tracking code implemented, you will not automatically see demographics load. To enable this you need to include the proper code and then verify it under the Audience > Demographics > Overview > tab.

Google Admin Configuration for the Google API

Google Analytics Property Settings – Enable Demographics

Below are two important Google articles that describe this process. You need to use the universal code and include the bold part below in the tracking code:

To enable Display Advertising (Demographics) features for Universal Analytics, insert the bold line into your existing tracking code between the ‘create’ and ‘send’ commands, as seen in this example:

// (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){
(i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),
ga('create', 'UA-XXXXXX-XX', '');
ga(‘require’, ‘displayfeatures’);
ga(‘send’, ‘pageview’);
// ]]><-/script->

If you still do not see this data loading make sure you check the Property settings in your Google Analytics account. Make sure demographics are enabled.

Google Analytics – Loading Demographic Data (Age/Gender)

Once this is completed then you verify the code and the demographics should load.

4. Google Analytics eCommerce Tracking
General eCommerce tracking helps you see your marketing campaigns, coupons, affiliations, average sales, revenue and general conversions. This can go found under your Google Analytics > Conversions > Ecommerce > Overview > tab to see if Ecommerce is being tracked.

Google Analytics – Ecommerce Overview

If you do not see this loading you can troubleshoot the issue through the following steps:

  • Go to your Admin > eCommerce Settings and confirm the eCommerce tracking has been enabled.
  • If this is not enabled it will probably not load this data. Also, remember to double check the steps above to successfully track this data.

Google Analytics – Ecommerce set-up Enabled

5. Google Analytics Conversion Tracking Utilizing Goals
Conversion tracking can vary based on your needs and exact goals. This is just one example to get you started with Goals and Conversion tracking.

Google Analytics Conversion Tracking Utilizing Goals

    • Check the tracking code is correct and implemented properly
      • To get the tracking code, log onto Google Analytics.
      • From the ACCOUNT and PROPERTY columns, select the property you’re working with. Click Tracking Info > Tracking Code.


    • Conversions will not be tracked if the proper code is not added to the success page once someone places an order.
      • Generally, adding the tracking code to the Magento HTML Head through Magento’s configuration (Configuration > Web > HTML Head) should be enough. If for whatever reason it doesn’t seem to be tracking on the success page (sometimes a theme or extension will overwrite parts of Magento’s default functionality), then you might have to add the code in manually.
      • To do this, using your FTP client, navigate to /app/design/frontend/template/checkout/success.phtml
      • Open that file in an editor and add the Google Analytics tracking code to the very bottom of the file. Save it, and reupload it.


    • Confirm your goals are configured properly. Note are the urls correct. If the urls do not match the conversions will not work.
      • A good way to test this is to go under Real Time > Conversions and then go through the process of checking out.
      • You should see your goals loading properly and the active users updating through each goal.
      • If you do not see a particular Goal showing up then it is not configured properly. Go back to your Goals and check them. Purchase Made, Checkout Start & Confirmation
      • Goals – Go to Admin > Goals
        • Check you have the proper URLs that match your website and Verify the Goal
        • Make sure the Destination is set to the final success page and to start the goal on the Shipping part of the checkout.
      • Once everything looks good. Go through the checkout process or wait for an order to confirm the Conversions are being tracked!

Google Analytics Goals – Overview Screen

Google Analytics Goals – Checkout started

Google Analytics Goals – Confirmation

Google Analytics Goals – Purchase Made

After following tips in Steps 1 – 5 you should start to feel more comfortable with Google Analytics. These tips can help you utilize Google Analytics to maximize your marketing, SEO, and conversions on your Magento website through tracking your customer statistics. For additional Magento eCommerce tips, or if you have specific questions, please contact us today to make your Magento eCommerce website a success!

Posted in Magento Conversion Rate, Magento eCommerce Tracking | Leave a comment

Understanding Your Brand Beyond the Desktop Website

A lot of new Magento online store owners make the mistake of assuming that everyone is finding their website and viewing their store the same exact way – on the same device, on the same browser, and with the same viewing pattern. It’s also easy to assume that your only online presence exists only in your website, when in reality, your brand encompasses so much more.

It’s important to understand modern web stores attract customers in many different ways. Building a healthy brand means reinforcing that brand across social media, your Magento store, your blog, advertisements, and your brick and mortar store if you have one.

There are great tools at your disposal to understand who is visiting your website, how they are viewing your it, and how they got there. So, if you are only viewing and understanding your brand identity by viewing your website from the same desktop computer and the same browser – here is our advice.

1. Understand the Analytics

You probably already use Analytics to track visitors coming to your online store. You can use your Analytics to see which devices and browsers visitors are viewing your store from, and you should be sure to test your website across all of these platforms. You might be surprised to find that most of your visitors are not using the same browser or device as you are to test your website, and it’s important to test thoroughly, especially among the most common browsers. Luckily, the most common browsers are usually the best ones, although Internet Explorer can sometimes still cause problems.

You might notice that your bounce rate is higher on mobile devices, but statistics show that many users are researching products on their phones, and then switching to desktop to complete purchases. So, despite a higher bounce rate, your responsive Magento website should look and work great on Desktop, mobile devices, and tablets.

2. Extend your website brand to your social media

Care must be taken to ensure the brand voice across your social media is consistent with that of your website. If you write your social media posts with a sense of humor, while encouraging user participation, you should take the same attitude with your website and blog. If your brand caters to only hard core consumers of a specialty product, try to attract those same visitors to follow you on Twitter by displaying your expertise to those who would be interested.

Your brand is bigger than just your website. Your brand is bigger than your logo, your products, and your color scheme. Your brand is the spirit of your business, and it encompasses the visual elements like your logo and colors as well as the tone and voice with which you create the content for your website and social media presence. Here are some examples of businesses with excellent brand identities that are reinforced across multiple platforms.

Your Tea

Your Tea on Facebook

Your Tea isn’t your typical stuffy English breakfast tea. Your Tea has successfully taken the tired idea of tea and made it modern, trendy, and appealing to young people, all with their excellent branding. Upon visiting Your Tea’s website, you’ll notice the utilization of Instagram style images combined with bright colors and a simple, trendy logo.

Because Your Tea appeals to a younger crowd, they do an excellent job of encouraging use of Social Media promotion. Your Tea re-posts users images and utilizes hashtags to gain attention. Your Tea has a similar approach across all other social media platforms, and successfully creates an audience of trend-conscious, health conscious young people who further the brand by sharing their own experiences.

The most successful part of the Your Tea campaign is that it is consistent. Your Tea’s email blasts, their desktop website, their mobile website, their social media and their blog all reflect the same voice and all encourage sharing and approachability.

3. Exhibit your expertise

Shoppers are not only searching for products, but they are also concerned with buying the best product at the best price. Especially for more expensive or speciality items, shoppers are willing to do research to find the best solution for their needs, and this is another way you can attract visitors and establish trust. We’ve written previously about the importance of integrating a WordPress blog into your Magento website and how. We’ve also written about how to use your blog to reinforce your brand’s voice.

Remember that a blog is another way for your visitors to get to know you. Any trust and loyalty you can build with your visitors will help your sales. Your blog is the perfect place to build this trust, and should also interact with your social media and encourage your users to do the same.

Posted in Branding, Responsive Web Design | Leave a comment

8 Signs It’s Time To Upgrade Your eCommerce Store to Magento

Here at Shero Designs, our area of expertise is in finding new ecommerce solutions for our clients. We feel that Magento is the best ecommerce solution to help your online store grow and modernize. Below I’ve listed some of the reasons why it becomes necessary to upgrade an online store, and have also provided some of the reasons why Magento is the best solutions for common problems that online store owners face.

This post was inspired by Magento’s “seven reasons it’s time to break up with your ecommerce platform”. Since we deal with clients making this change on a daily basis, I feel that we have the experience and expertise to expand upon this concept.

1. You can’t control the content of your site or it is difficult & complicated to do so. 

You should have complete control over the content that your ecommerce site displays. If you need to contact your developer to change a description, informational text, contact information, product information, product images or prices, or images, your website needs an upgrade.

While website building is still a complicated process, modern e-commerce platforms like Magento allow store owners to exhibit control over all of the content that a visitor will see. With only a few hours of training, store owners can easily update product descriptions, meta information, images and image labels, as well as all of the information on the CMS pages,  the official store information and the contact info displayed to visitors. With a little additional training, you can learn how to add and configure product attributes and more complicated elements and extensions.

2. It’s difficult to upgrade & modernize

There are a lot of elements that need to work together to make an ecommerce website work properly. The platform itself, as well as the theme employed, extensions utilized, and more. All of the pieces of the puzzle need to work together to keep the website running smoothly and your shoppers happy. As time goes on, it becomes necessary to make upgrades to all of these elements, and it’s important that the platform and all of the elements are designed to grow and change over time.

This isn’t to say that Magento is easy to upgrade, but if set up and developed properly, using a child theme, upgrading to to latest version is pretty straight forward.

3. You’ve grown too large for your current platform

As an online retailer, it’s possible that you started your website with only a few products in mind, and you were able to manage your sales, shipping, and inventory yourself. As your sales have grown, has your eCommerce platform been able to grow with it? A modern eCommerce platform like Magento should be flexible enough to handle small online shops as well as giant megastores. For example, Magento can allow small store owners to manually control their inventories, but also allows for massive automated inventory control with a POS integration solution.

Obviously POS integration solutions require extra time and budget, but the great thing about Magento is that you can start of with a small store that sells 10 speciality items, and expand to a massive megastore with lots of automation.  A fully automated system is something you might be thinking about in the future, so your eCommerce platform should be just as prepared for the future growth of your business as you are.

4. Your site isn’t responsive

Your e-commerce website should look good on all devices, because many shoppers (especially young ones) will be browsing your products on their iPads, tablets, and smartphones. Magento offers dozens of excellent responsive theme options, which can be customized to match your brand identity.

5. You can’t install any helpful extensions and add-ons

Perhaps you have a special product that features multiple color swatches, sizes, and styles and you want a creative way to show your shoppers the different views. Maybe you want advanced reviews or to prompt new visitors to sign up for your newsletter with a pop-up.

As your online store grows, you’ll have plenty of ideas about how to keep your customers happy and loyal. Magento is an open source platform, so reliable extension companies offer hundreds of solutions that are designed to work seamlessly with the Magento platform and your chosen theme.

6. You can’t easily change the look and feel of your site

Your ecommerce platform should offer options when it comes to the look and feel of your website, and you should be able to update your website’s look as trends are constantly changing.

You have a few options in Magento when it comes to updating the style of your website:

  • You can easily switch out your theme with a new theme, whether this is a permanent fix or a temporary, seasonal change. Changing your theme can be limited to style only, and will therefore not affect your product information or site content.
  • You can choose a theme with styling options, which you can easily control yourself in the admin (things like font, colors, backgrounds)
  • Access your theme’s CSS files, or hire a development company with an experienced Magento front-end developer who can design and style a custom website built just for you.

7. You don’t have an integrated blog

In order to establish the trust of your customers, you need to establish your store as an authority in a specific niche. The best way to do this is with a blog. Your blog should integrate seamlessly with your e-commerce store, so users don’t feel like they are leaving the store to get to the blog. We recommend WordPress blogs, and have a lot of experience successfully implementing WordPress blogs into Magento websites.

8. Your search engine rankings are’t improving

Magento makes it easy for store owners to optimize their own website by making all of the meta information accessible. In Magento, you also have control over the URL’s for categories and pages, as well as cache management to ensure optimal speed.

With the integration of a WordPress blog, you can write about the topic of your expertise and earn the trust of your visitors. You can add meaningful content that contributes to high rankings and encourage other pages to link to your store.


Posted in eCommerce, Magento | Leave a comment

Web Design – How To Use Icons For a Better User Experience (UX)

Visual communication is one of the main aspects of any website. It is important for the user to be able to properly navigate through each web page without frustration. Getting, and keeping, the attention of the user can be difficult, but it’s not hard to achieve. This can be accomplished by the use of clear and functional icons throughout your website. Yes, they are pretty and fun to look at, but they do serve a purpose. Here are some explanations on why:

Why are icons important?

The first thing users do when visiting a website is quickly look through the page for the most visually appealing content. Icons can help out by drawing the user’s attention to what you want to promote. They are recognizable and seen almost everywhere. Icons are useful in way where they can give direction and even separate text to make it less intimidating. The webpage will be more organized and professional. They support the content by summing it up with an image that represents the paragraph. Even though smaller icons are less distracting, they still share the same level of impact as larger icons. Using icons increases readability and makes your website more appealing.

What is considered a well-made icon?

There’s no strict set of rules to making an icon, but there are some things a designer should keep in mind. Icons are used to translate a meaning or to direct an action. Successful icons get right to the point, are easy to understand, and highlight information clearly. Consistency is the most important facet to making a set of icons. It looks unprofessional and sloppy if the icons are mismatched or different in scale. And, if they are all the same size with the same amount of negative space, it shows the user you care about the user’s experience. Icons shouldn’t have a lot of detail or any over the top styling. Sticking with the key elements is always the best idea. Just remember icons must also match your brand.

These icons are a good example of what icons should represent. Each icon is recognizable and easy for the user to comprehend. There are no excessive styling and detail. Basic shapes and silhouettes are really all you need to get your message across.

Adding text can also help your user identify your icons once their eyes are drawn to them. This helps clarify any possible confusion, as well as providing a set definition for that icon. The next time they visit your site, they won’t need to look for the words, just scanning for the image will do.

Here’s an example from our site at Shero Designs.

As you can see our icons are minimalistic and eye-catching. The colors help draw the user’s eye, while also differentiating between each image. The blurb on the side relates to the icon and quickly expresses what the icon’s trying to convey. These eliminate confusion, and increase the user’s ease and navigation of the site.

What can make an icon confusing to the user?

Icons should be simple and easy to comprehend. If a user is having difficulty understanding the meaning of the icon, there is a good chance many others are not as well. Some users are not experienced enough with icons and the metaphors they provide. For example, most users understand that a house icon means that it will redirect to the home page of the site they are browsing. If an icon does not have a real life object (shopping cart, magnifying class, floppy disk, etc.) associated with it, there’s a good chance the user might interpret the icon differently. The designer must be careful not to use too much metaphoric imagery since it might not represent the same thing to everyone. A way to avoid this is to add text next to the icon. It still makes the page interesting, but it’s more functional for the user now.

Shown below are a few examples of icons that could potentially confuse the user. Not everyone will be familiar with the message they are trying to portray. These icons aren’t necessarily designed poorly. The main issue is that they aren’t as functional for the user. Adding a few words next to the icon to provide context can help to make these less confusing, and provide greater understanding in the future.


Icons make your website easier to navigate and look less intimidating. Using icons appropriately will help make your site more visually appealing as well. Stick to easy metaphors that are well known and try to not confuse the user with overly complicated imagery. Always remember icons must match your brand and remain consistent throughout your website.

Posted in Graphic Design, Web Design | Leave a comment

MailChimp vs Constant Contact Review. Which one is better?

Mailchimp VS Constant Contact

Update Oct 6 – 2014

This blogpost, MailChimp vs Constant Contact, was posted for the fist time on August 21, 2012(see old article here). Since then it has been ranking number one on Google search results on reviews of either system or a comparison between the two. As the web changes and improves for the better, so have this two email marketing systems in the past two years. Personally we use MailChimp for our email marketing and have used Constant Contact on multiple occasions. 

Constant Contact and MailChimp are the top two email marketing systems today, but how do you choose? Here is an apples-to-apples comparison:

Deliverability measures what percentage of emails sent from a campaign get into the subscribers’ in-boxes. Constant Contact and MailChimp both have the highest deliverability rates in the industry: 97% and 96%-99% respectively. They use complex techniques to get emails delivered. For example, before the email is sent, these systems have tools to flag the email if it has spam triggers. Also, they both claim to be “whitelisted” by most ISPs to ensure deliverability. Both services have strict policies about list quality, which help ensure the list is truly opt-in and not just scraped or purchased. They are involved with industry groups and standards.

Social media integration means that your email campaign gets attention on Facebook, Twitter, etc. When you are ready to send your email, you get the option of propagating a link to a web-based version of the email on your social media accounts. Constant Contact posts to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn MailChimp lets you auto-tweet to Twitter and auto-post to Facebook, and allows your subscribers to comment about your email on Facebook.

MailChimp’s campaign archive toolbar also provides a permanent, free link to your email campaign on its server. Constant Contact will host a webpage version of your email free for 30 days, but permanent archiving costs $5/month. MailChimp’s archive automatically displays a mobile-friendly version of the email to mobile users, but Constant Contact does not. And Constant Contact has no automatic way of archiving emails on your own website, but MailChimp does, and it’s updated automatically whenever you send out an email campaign.

MailChimp was ahead of Constant Contact in terms of usability until 2012, when Constant Contact rolled out a new interface very similar to MailChimp’s. Now they are both easy to use. They are both mobile-friendly with large buttons. They walk new users through the process of creating their first email campaign using prompts, help topics, useful on-screen explanations, and videos.

Constant Contact and MailChimp handle their lists differently. Both have the ability to segregate email lists into groups according to their interests (for example, General Interest, Health, Exercise). However, MailChimp has multiple, separate email lists with segments, while Constant Contact just has segments. Additionally, Constant Contact allows you to “tag” each email address with any number of words, so you can “narrow down” the list directly before sending. These tags are also useful for keeping track of sources and other details without adding too many segments.

Comparing pricing is tricky. Both have a free version: Constant Contact for 60 days under 100 contacts (unlimited email campaigns); MailChimp has a permanently-free option under 2,000 subscribers (maximum 12,000 emails/month). However, the free MailChimp does not give you access to certain tools for increasing your email’s deliverability, it does not have MailChimp’s “SocialPro” to analyze your subscriber’s social media activity, and doesn’t have auto-responders. The Constant Contact free trial ends quickly for many beginners because if they are doing it right, they exceed 99 subscribers before 60 days are up. Constant Contact’s fees start at $15/month <500 subscribers for “Basic” (email marketing only) and more for Essential (email marketing, plus campaigns with end-to-end reporting, surveys, offers & promotions, autoresponders). MailChimp costs $10/month <500 subscribers, and $15/month <1000 subscribers. It’s true that Constant Contact costs more for its “Essential” and most useful package, but it also offers a lot more. Constant Contact wants you to pay monthly and have pre-payment and non-profit discounts. MailChimp offers monthly plans as well as pay-as-you-go plans that act like stamps. (Tip: If you aren’t sending email to your list at least once a month, don’t bother — your subscribers have forgotten about you.)

Having done a great number of newsletters for clients who use both MailChimp and Constant Contant, when we’ve set up accounts for clients with Constant Contact, they have contacted us with follow up calls trying to sell more features from their service. MailChimp has been more laid back. One time they sent us a free MailChimp T-shirt when we used their Delivery Doctor, which costs $10 to have an email analyzed and run dozens of tests until to ensure the email is optimized and will not get blocked by email clients. Nonetheless, even when we used the Delivery Doctor we didn’t see a significant increase in delivered emails. In fairness, Constant Contact has more services to offer so you can’t fault them for offering more – they DO offer more. Also, when you open a new account with them, they assign an account manager to contact you and help you with everything from the day you sign up – not sure if MailChimp does that but our phone hasn’t rung since we signed up for a MailChimp account.

Both Constant Contact and MailChimp have hundreds of built-in, pre-designed, professional-looking templates that set them apart from most of the other email marketing systems. They are beautiful, perfectly programmed in HTML and easy to style. MailChimp even allows you to choose from a list of color schemes. They both use standard email marketing protocols including typical “safe” email widths starting at 600 pixels. MailChimp has a special button called “Get Colors from My Site,” which tries to auto-generate colors and images on your chosen template to match your website. Aligned with the fact that as many as half of your readers open your email from a mobile device, both services have “mobile-friendly” templates.

Constant Contact takes a more sophisticated “campaign” approach with its “Essential” toolkit. The system is set up to help you prepare different types of campaigns: Send an Email, Run a Promotion (similar to “Groupon”), Grow Facebook Fans, Plan an Event, and Create a Survey. Sure, most of the campaigns are propagated via email – but the idea of campaigns is better aligned with basic principles of marketing. You get a free email marketing template called “Campaign Design” that is based on the look-and-feel of your website. It’s handy to be able to track all the email addresses related to your events, surveys and special offers in one place. Constant Contact lets you track the entire campaign from beginning to end, and you don’t have to move data from one system to another. This is the main reason why Constant Contact Essentials costs way more than MailChimp. They also offer an “Ultimate” package that comes with a personal marketing coach.  MailChimp is only email marketing with list management and some social integration at this time.

Consider what you need. If you want to promote events and conduct surveys, Constant Contact is more convenient. Both are quick to start up, but MailChimp’s “Get Colors from My Site” and color scheme features might save you some time. MailChimp has better, free, permanent email archiving versus Constant Contact’s $5/month option. Fully-featured MailChimp is cheaper than Constant Contact, but you don’t get as many services. And MailChimp’s free account can have lasting value if you don’t need all the system’s features. These two companies are constantly adding features, to the point that the differences between their email marketing offerings are difficult to detect.



Posted in Custom Newsletters, Email Blasts, Marketing | Tagged , , , , | 19 Comments