Magento Themes and Magento Extensions

When less is more in eCommerce

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Posted on June 16th, 2011 | Posted by admin

This post will explain the situations in which removing certain elements of your online store might give you better conversions or improve your search engine rankings. There are lots of online stores out there that tend to add too much stuff to their store in hope of improving their income, not realizing that these things might actually create a completely opposite result from the one they hoped to achieve.

Let’s start with the one I encounter a lot lately: Social Sharing and Bookmarking Icons

On many online stores nowadays you will see a “Share to any” or similar widget that looks something like this:

A new WordPress Members Plugin blows away its predecessors

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Posted on May 27th, 2011 | Posted by admin

The Members plug-in by Justin Tadlock is a very young plug-in (0.1) and is compatible with WordPress 2.8. This new Membership Plug-in adds a series of components that you can activate based on your needs. The Members plugin is meant to be a complete user, role, and content management plugin for WordPress. Its purpose is to give you fine-grained control over who has access to what. Right now, it’s in the early stages of development.

I’ll be testing it on a new personal project here. The basic modules are WordPress Roles Manager (Edit Roles and New Roles) that allow to create and assign WordPress capabilities to existing Roles and to create new Roles.

The Content Permissions module adds a meta box for the post/page editor that allows you to grant permissions for who can read the content based on the the user’s capabilities or role.

The Shortcodes modules rovides a set of shortcodes that may be used to restrict or provide access to certain areas of your site from within the post editor (or other areas where shortcodes are allowed).

Two more modules compelte the plug-in arsenal: Template Tags adds new functions for use within your WordPress theme for various things and Private Blog will create a blog that can only be accessed by users that are logged in (redirects them to the login page).

At a glance, the plug-in is very well documented so be sure to check /wp-content/plugins/members/readme.html after you install the plug-in (the documentation is not easily accessible from the plug-in’s website).

The plug-in was released on September 17, 2009 and the great news is it’s open source: it’s not a commercial product like most of its competitors… Check it out on Justin Tadlock website.

Do you want more from your website?

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Posted on May 27th, 2011 | Posted by admin

Do you want more from your website

“Will my search engine rankings drop after the switch to Magento?” is one of the most often asked SEO questions I see regarding Magento. Unfortunately, there is no “Yes/No” answer. No matter which e-commerce solution you were using prior to switch, your rankings might get effected. Switching to Magento might change some of your on-site optimization elements including:

  • URL structure
  • Meta data
  • On-site elements structure
  • Internal linking
  • Distance of deep links from the homepage

All of these might influence your rankings in negative but also as likely in positive way. If you are attempting to move to Magento platform, I strongly advise you to seek for a Magento SEO expert first, to make sure your move is as smooth and as painless as possible for your rankings.

The most important thing to do when making a switch is to 301 redirect the old URLs to your new URLs, which will allow you to keep the link juice you collected so far. For everything else, consult with your Magento SEO professional.

Adding and removing javascript / css when and where you need it

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Posted on May 9th, 2011 | Posted by admin

Adding and removing javascript and css is handled separately within Magento. CSS is added in the usual fashion, where you have a <link rel=”stylesheet”… />. However, any included javascript (unless linked to “by hand” from a theme’s skin) is pulled via a php files which reads through the “js” folder in the root directory (root/js/index.php is responsible for this).

That is all well and good for Magento. The real question is how we, as developers, add these items when we need them. How you as a developer add css or javascript is, luckily, handled the same.

In this post, we will show how to add and remove javascript and css to a CMS page (and anywhere else) that you may need.

Affiliates for all – Magento integration

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Posted on May 8th, 2011 | Posted by admin

Magento integration

Recently one of our clients needed and info on Affiliate module for Magento. When it comes to Magento, word “module” is loosely related. Sure, every module needs config files in order to report it’s “connection” to Magento core. Modules like this, Affiliates for all, are modules I consider loosely related to core. They are in one or another way connected to Magento but they are self standing, independent, applications.

Installation of Affiliate module is a trivial task. It mostly comes down to extracting downloaded archive file to a web accessible directory (to your server, hosting) and configuring the config.inc file. (For security reasons, try renaming the config.inc to config.inc.php, plus changing the /lib/bootstrap.php on line 23 to include config.inc.php). After importing affiliates.sql into the database our installation is done.

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