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13 Magento Experts Share Their Most Valuable Tips

We asked some of the leading retailers in the Magento community how they build and manage successful Magento stores, and we’ve collected the best answers together in 13 Magento Experts Share Their Most Valuable Tips.

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13 Magento Experts Share Their Most Valuable Tips

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  1. Share Their Most Valuable Tips

  2. How can Magento administrators make their sites faster? Magento can be daunting to eCommerce newbies and experts alike. ... 3 We’re constantly on the lookout for ways to improve our website and give our customers the best experience possible. We asked a dozen experts to answer a few questions that pop up frequently and are constantly debated. What lesser-known feature should every Magento user be aware of? ... 4 What’s the the most common mistake when working with Magento (and how can it be avoided)? They came up with some in-depth answers and opinions to give you some ideas about how you can get the best performance for your website. From security to increasing eCommerce sales, check out what these experts have to say about all things Magento. ... 5 How can Magento store owners make their sites more secure? ... 8 If you had to choose only one Magento extension for your site, what would it be (and why)? ... 9 What’s your biggest secret for increasing e-commerce sales? Nexcess is a global provider of performance- optimized Magento solutions, with data centers throughout the United States, Europe, and Australia. Nexcess offers a variety of Magento server configurations that are massively scalable and universally compliant. For more information, visit https://www.nexcess.net/. ... 10 p.2 For more information, contact:

  3. Q. How can Magento administrators make their sites faster? “Improving performance in Magento is a really broad topic, but here are a few quick wins to try and improve the performance” Improving performance in Magento is a really broad topic, but here are a few quick wins to try and improve the performance of your store with little effort: • Compress your images - If you’re uploading images to your site, ensure you compress them using lossless compression. You can do this with server scripts, or using extensions such as SmushIt. You should always check they’re the right size when uploading to CMS pages to avoid scaling down. • Reduce the number displayed in the grid - On category pages, don’t show huge numbers of products all at once. You can change this setting from the admin panel and it’s always worth seeing the effect on performance as it can vastly improve loads times. • Don’t install too many extensions - Keep your site lean and avoid unnecessary extensions. Ultimately, they’ll cause your site to run slower and slower. • Disable Price Sliders - If you’re using layered navigation, disable the price slider functionality. There are lots of case studies to suggest this can affect load time dramatically and by replacing these for checkboxes, your load time will increase. • As always, make sure your caches are all enabled and work with your hosting companies and agency for further advice. Solutions such as Varnish are fantastic at serving websites quickly to users, but require setup and configuration from an experienced developer. Lewis Sellers, Pinpoint Designs p.3 To learn more:

  4. Q. What lesser known feature should every Magento user be aware of? The most overlooked feature of Magento is that you can add any HTML content to the entire site from the admin panel! To do this, go to System > Configuration > Design > HTML Head > Miscellaneous Scripts. You can put all kinds of content in here – scripts, meta tags, or CSS – this is useful for Google Webmaster Tools site ownership tags as well as analytics and tracking pixels. Phillip Jackson, Something Digital The Inline Translate tool allows store managers to edit portions of their store from the front of the website. The tool, located under Store > Configuration > Advanced > Developer > Translate Inline is powerful in that it allows store managers to make edits to their site that many people normally think require a developer. Simply enable this feature when making changes and disable this feature when changes are complete (remember that you may need to clear cache or reindex after your edits to see them on the front of the site). The Global record search in the admin is a standard Magento feature that is in the header of every page in Magento admin. However, it is underutilised or not used at all by many merchants who attend our courses with the main reason being that it is hidden in plain sight. Its purpose is to help you find products, orders, or customer records quickly. It is best used when you know what you are looking for. For example, if I know I want to edit a product called ‘Widget,’ I type part of the product name into the Global Record Search and matched results are displayed in the drop-down. One important caveat with this tool: be sure specify your IP address in the System > Configuration > Advanced > Developer > Developer Client Restrictions tab. If you fail to restrict the IP address, anyone could potentially make edits to your site. It may not be the most groundbreaking piece of functionality, but used properly it will save you a lot of time in the long run. Deryck Harlick, Mage Training Matt Harrington, Mage Training p.4 To find out more:

  5. Q. What’s the the most common mistake when working with Magento (and how can it be avoided)? “One of the most common (and frustrating) errors I see from Magento merchants is around their site search” One of the most common issues I see with Magento stores is around their site search, in that they use the standard, out of the box solution without any manual optimisation. Magento’s OOTB search function is fairly basic, but it can be improved greatly by switching from “like” to “FullText” and also applying more manual improvements (via the use of meta data and by redirecting users for specific queries in the catalog > search terms section). Magento1 EE has Solr, which has the potential to be much better, and Magento2 EE has ElasticSearch, which is also stronger, but overall I’d suggest larger stores should be using a third-party solution. Utilising more modern features such as self-learning technology, product data enrichment, natural language processing and query-level boosting rules will help to improve the performance of search results considerably, especially for stores with larger or more complex catalogs. Premium search solutions, like Klevu (who I work with as a consultant), can provide these features and also make it very easy to customise the results. Working on things like changing how products, categories, and attributes are weighted can make a really big difference, and using a solution with self-learning capabilities adds an additional layer of evidence-based boosting on top. Search is often very under-valued by merchants, but it can deliver big improvements in conversion rates and overall user experience with the right optimisation. Part of this is looking at more advanced or enterprise-level technology and part of it is around developing the right merchandising / maintenance processes internally. Paul Rogers, paulnrogers.com p.5 For a consultation, contact:

  6. Q. What’s the the most common mistake when working with Magento (and how can it be avoided)? “It’s so simple, but my best advice is to always use a test site before making any changes to your live site” It’s so simple, but my best advice is to always use a test site before making any changes to your live site, including installing new extensions or themes, making template changes, and applying patches. Of course you don’t intend for any issues to arise on your live site. It’s difficult – often impossible – to predict potential issues in advance. Themes, patches, and extensions which work perfectly fine independently can sometimes cause code compatibility issues when combined. If you discover an issue for the first time on your live site (argh!), you’ll be in a panic scrambling to fix it, while inconveniencing customers who may suddenly have trouble placing orders, browsing, and making enquiries. Using a test site allows you to discover and fix potential issues ahead of time – without impacting on your live site, infuriating your boss, or frustrating potential customers. Kristof Ringleff, Fooman p.6 To find out more:

  7. Q. What’s the the most common mistake when working with Magento (and how can it be avoided)? “The biggest mistake I see repeated over and over again is having too ambitious of a scope” The biggest mistake I see repeated over and over again is having too ambitious of a scope for an initial launch. Real progress is iterative – and eCommerce is such a complex space that it benefits from building upon successes. When replatforming to Magento from elsewhere, you should expect to take a bit of a step back in terms of breadth of features – instead of wide, we’re going deep. This is why I advocate for a data-driven approach; let’s meet the majority of shoppers’ needs on day 1 and build on that success. I don’t want to make any assumptions about what a shopper wants unless I can prove it with data and analytics from their real world behavior or if we ask them directly. Second, I see so many failed Magento integrations due to implementation constraints – whether it be time, budget, or experience of the integrator. If you have no time to implement a complex solution, you’ll usually wind up with a thoughtless implementation that is fragile or costly when making changes. If you have little to no budget, you usually find yourself working with cheaper resources who create ill-performing sites or modules that have negative side effects. In my experience, a dollar saved amounts to ten dollars more spent in total cost of ownership. Phillip Jackson, Something Digital p.7 To learn more:

  8. Q. How can Magento store owners make their sites more secure? There are a number of things that can be done to make a store more secure, like changing the admin login URL and restricting access to only certain IP addresses. One important security step is to also carefully manage the permissions of those that have access to the admin. This is done by setting up different admin user Roles. For example, someone on the Marketing team will likely need different access to parts of the admin than someone on the Customer Service team. With Magento, you are able to create different roles and assign users to them based on their access needs. An IT Director will need access to all parts of the Magento admin, but someone in the customer service department probably shouldn’t have access to System Configuration settings. Matt Harrington, Mage Training • Strong passwords • Block access to Admin URLs, except for whitelist • Reduce the level of third-party extensions • Keep up on all security patches • Verify your web server is configured correctly • Set files to be Immutable • Don’t use WordPress on the same server Brent Peterson, WagentoCommerce p.8 To find out more:

  9. Q. If you had to choose only one Magento extension for your site, what would it be and why? There are many excellent extensions for Magento 2, but the Adyen Payment Plugin is one of the best I've come across: they use a very wide range of tools to provide the integration, including custom XSDs, and they even expose useful Service Contracts for further customisation. Unfortunately they don't provide automated tests, but everything else is very well executed in my opinion. Gabriel Somoza, somoza.be/about If you were going to strand me on a desert island with a single Magento extension, it would have to be Commerce Bug, from Pulse Storm. Commerce Bug is the original Magento developer’s toolbar, and the only one that spans both Magento 1 and Magento 2. If you’re using Magento, it’s because of the powerful-but-complex extensibility; Commerce Bug is the extension that helps you, your developers, your designers, and your system administrators make sense of this complexity. With Commerce Bug, diagnostics and troubleshooting that used to take hours or days will only take minutes, and that means your team can focus on their business objectives instead of tracing out Magento code. It’s a must-have extension for anyone doing serious Magento development work. Alan Storm, alanstorm.com p.9 For a consultation, contact:

  10. Q. What’s your biggest secret for increasing eCommerce sales? The number one opportunity to increase sales for 99.99% of merchants is to improve the checkout. Everyone who buys has to go checkout, so it’s unique in that it has a bigger impact on the site than improving any traffic campaign, single page, or set of pages on the site. Here’s how to improve the checkout: • Remove navigation, so visitors don’t get distracted and abandon carts • Autofill address and credit card type • Default to guest checkout with a prominent login option for registered users • Group credit card digits 4 x 4 to make it more legible and avoid typos • Show a security seal prominently above the fold (Norton or McAffee work best) • For high-ticket items with a fear for authenticity (jewelry and so on), offer escrow or payment in installments • Make the credit card and CVV fields bring up the dialing keypad, not QWERTY keyboard, to avoid typos on mobile • Make the shipping options large-tap targets on mobile • Skip the cart page and go straight to checkout • Show contents at the top of checkout, along with shipping costs Gabriel Goldenberg, ConversionRateOptimization.co Increasing sales is not easy, but acquiring customers from organic search and paid search can produce high ROIs because they are already looking for your products. A big pitfall is giving up on search marketing early. It is not easy and the returns are poor at the beginning, but after a period of 4-12 months of hard work you can create a good acquisition channel for your store. Ronald L. Dod, Visiture.com p.10 To find out more:

  11. Q. What’s your biggest secret for increasing e-commerce sales? “Recognize that CX will be the key differentiator by 2020, which will directly impact online retailers’ ability to sell more” Recognize that CX will be the key differentiator by 2020 (Walker, Customers 2020), which will directly impact online retailers’ ability to sell more. In order to provide your customers with a positive experience that brings them back to the checkout again and again, you need to build a series of positive interactions over the customer lifetime. To this, you can add the complication that there are now more touchpoints for them to interact with your brand – from your website and social channels to emails and support centers. But at the heart of your customer experience (CX) strategy will be your email marketing platform, which empowers your marketing team to be masters of building and nurturing relationships with customers. Because a positive CX lies in real-time data, connecting your email platform to your eCommerce software means much of the heavy lifting is done. Using this information to create well-defined segments based on behaviours, as well as more basic demographic and geographical information, means you can track customer interaction to a superior level. 1 Email marketing automation allows you to target these segments with content that’s relevant to them and analyze which segments are converting from these emails – and do all of this at scale while your business grows. Tink Taylor, President of dotmailer p.11 To learn more:

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