Magento is undoubtedly the most trusted software platform ever developed in the history of technology. And as a result it is currently used by over 240,000 merchants all over the world to showcase their collection. Magento does not believe in limiting its usefulness and hence it has a huge directory of plugins which can be used anytime to extend its functionalities.
Magento – The Favourite eCommerce CMS (Infographic)
What Made Magento The Best Ecommerce Platform
Magento has outlived and obliterated many ecommerce platforms which have come and gone. There are a few very simple and obvious reasons why Magento is considered the best ecommerce platform of today. Let us list a very few obvious and not to obvious reasons for you to consider.
- Magento Extensions and Plugins
- Shipping Extensions
- Shopping Cart Extensions
- Magento Affiliate Extensions
- Admin Management Extensions
- SEO Extensions
- Social Media Extensions
- User Experience Extensions
- Search Extensions
- Gallery and Slider Extensions
- Rich Content Extensions
- Magento Check out Extensions
- Magento Forum Extensions
- Magento Auction Extensions
- Membership Extensions
- Security Extensions
- Payment Extensions
1. Magento is free; what is free and good at the same time always wins out hearts. Although the support is not free, the parent platform is.
2. Magento’s SEO friendly nature is supplemented with tags, descriptions, neat URLs, uncluttered HTML and site navigation options.
3. Searching and sorting of products has never been easier as has been after Magento came into the picture.
4. It has the unique ability to import huge spreadsheets of data and product which is the lifeline of most online businesses.
5. Multi-site functionality is another unique feature of Magento which allows creation of new pages and additional websites on their own unique domains. Each website is independent and can have its own store, template and extensions.
6. Integrated Google analytics give a fair idea about the sites popularity and sales as well. Add to that a no-limit on products or purchases made on the website and you definitely have a winner.
7. Do not forget the limitless Google base formatting and support for downloadable products for Magento users.
Of course, these are just a few from the list of several reasons which are undoubtedly impressive enough to prove that Magento is The best contemporary software platform for webstore development.
Magento Extensions and Plugins
Magento websites are quite awesome as they are, but if you want to experience something more and add some zing to your creation then you must have the world of Magento extensions to explore. The basic templates are simply not enough to cut it these days. One needs SEO-friendly qualities, enhanced security measures, trustworthy multi-faceted payment gateways, gallery and slider options and much more. For that one has to turn to Magento’s plug-in repository.
Baby-steps- to get just the right Magento extensions without squandering your resources and burdening your website(s), you first need to make a list of all the qualities you need in your extensions.
Do not stop searching- First search in Magento’s own repository and if that is not enough then Google the extensions and plugins that you may require.
Do not settle- One plug-in may not be enough to cover all your requirements and for the same reason it may not be wise to settle for just one plug-in. Sometimes two or more plugins may be required to cover the base.
How To Install Magento Extensions Tutorial
1. Once you know what plugins you want, you are faced with the next task, that’s installing the plugins. This may sound like a Sisyphean task to a rookie, but nothing more than a walkthrough is required to declare you a pro.
2. Your first task is to make sure that you are logged in to the administrator area. If so, then go to System> Magento Connect > Magento Connect Manager.
3. After the new page opens provide your administrative credentials once more (this is done for added security).
4. Once logged in you can see two options, Extensions and Settings.
5. Once in Settings it is recommended that you select the Stable option if you have a live website although Beta and Alpha gives you access to the latest extensions and plugins.
6. Next go to the Extensions tab and here you can browse the available extensions. You can view both free and payable extensions which can be categorized by “most popular” and “recent” lists.
7. Check the Feature of each extension before you hit Install to ensure that you have what you are looking for (names can be deceptive). You can compare between two similar extensions from their ratings and reviews.
8. Once you have decided on an extension do not hesitate to click on the Install Now button and then choose your Magento Connect version. Finally click the Get Extension Key button which will provide you with the Extension Key.
9. Simply copy-paste the key in your Magento Connect Area and then click on Install followed by Proceed to activate your new extension.
10. Once this is complete do not forget to go back to your admin’s page and adjust the options according to your requirements.
Shipping Extensions – Be it shipping offers, locality catalogs or shipping modules, starry little shipping modules have it all worked out for you. Shipping extensions have simple initial configuration, shipping calculators and global address verification which makes them quite self-sufficient. The real-time connote generation and tracking make these extensions even more attractive for Magento users. They have the infrastructure to dictate dispatch from multiple warehouses and generate labels and manifests at the same time. They can also take care of international shipping.
Shopping Cart Extensions
Shopping Cart – Your customers now do not have to wait frustrating hours to add their desired products to their shopping cart. These extensions enable one step adding of products without much ado. Customers can then either checkout or continue to shopping. Extensions from shopping cart tools shelves come with many features which allow the buyer to adjust the number of products, pick a size and/or color. They also have the settings to show the total value of the cart considering all the promotional offers and discounts applied on the products. They can be integrated with payment gateways.
Magento Affiliate Extensions
Affiliate- Now, create your own affiliates program with these Magento Affiliate Plugins. You can define your own affiliate programs which can be adjusted and readjusted by the admin of the website. By using these extensions the admin can create unlimited rule-based affiliate campaigns with flexible conditions, manage the already created affiliates, manage the payouts, track history of paid commissions, set holding period of commissions and also manage the withdrawal requests. The affiliates can register the affiliate account along with creation of new tabs in the account dashboard for managing the affiliates.
Admin Management Extensions
Admin- Different themes for the admin, with separate layouts and easy navigation options can be achieved with the help of these Admin plugins. They allow you to clear cache without much hassle, manipulate your website and much more. More importantly you can set how your website will look to the visitors. The differential theme gives more control over the websites layout, design and contents to the Admin. There are separate wishlist modules as well as payment modules which can be roughly classified as Admin extensions which make it easier for the Admin to keep a track of payments and customer activities.
SEO Plugins – Although most of the Magento templates are created to be inherently SEO friendly, some of these extensions help in enhancing the qualities. They can automatically generate Meta tags, H1 headings, search engine friendly description of any category or products along with URL optimization. There can be single product URL for the entire store. The generated URLs are friendly and each product image is endowed with a separate URL. There are 301 redirects for duplicates of the home page as well.
Social Media Extensions
Social media- Socially empowered extensions enable your visitors to share the products or offers they like, on their Facebook wall or through Tweets, with just one click. These Social Plugins bring to your website tiny widgets which enable one step connection to popular social media networks including Flickr and Instagram among the others. These widgets can easily blend in with the layout of your website and come in various sizes and color schemes which help them sync in.
User Experience Extensions
User Experience- When managing an online business one cannot shy away from user reviews based on shopping experience. These Magento User Experienc Plugins make it possible to create review sections, comment boxes and discussion forums which can host your products and offers. As an admin you can set a time period after which these extensions send a request to the buyers for sharing their experience with other visitors/ potential buyers who may be interested in the same product or promotional offers.
Search Add ons – To enhance user experience you as a Magento user should definitely go for cool new age search extensions. These add-ons allow the users to locate their product of choice within your websites repository without having to scroll through your entire collection. The search results are displayed in an order of relevance (default) which can be changed to price, newest or most discounted according to convenience. There are multiple filters which can be applied while conducting a search and this ensures that the customers get what they are looking for within a fraction of a second.
Gallery and Slider Extensions
Gallery and Slider Plugins – for showcasing your latest products and offers your website must have header images. To show more than one products/offer the header must have a slider enabled; this allows the users to view multiple offers one the same page without having to scroll or open different sets of tabs. These images can have their own URLs which can take the guests to the offer pages. The products which are displayed demand high resolution pictures for better viewing. Some of these extensions come with enabled hover zoom which gives a much larger and candid view of the products.
Rich Content Extensions
Rich content- These extensions basically enable video and high resolution images on your website; this may allow you to add reviews and testimonials on your website along with thumbnail picture of products, marketing texts and specs. They have multi-lingual support along with jQuery support which makes it easy to manage content for the admin. It also makes it easier for the users to upload content in the form of video, audio or images in various formats.
Magento Check out Extensions
Checkout Add ons – No more long waiting queues, no more delays, Magento brings to you checkout extensions which will now provide your customers with one step check outs. This will undoubtedly lessen, if not eliminate cart abandonment. They offer fully responsive checkouts for all devices which makes it easy for the customer to operate. Also the coupon code can be applied on the same page. All auto-updates are available for this kind of extensions which makes it extra attractive indeed. It is a must have for all Magento fanatics if you desire happy customers.
Magento Forum Extensions
Forum Plugins – If you want your buyers and guests to communicate with one another and with you then the Forum extension is another must. It allows you to create a platform within your website where your buyers can share their views and opinions about your offers, products and services. But do not worry, nothing goes unmonitored. All the comments will pass through the admin first who can screen the contents for objectionable content. Multi-language support, live search and easy navigation characterize these forums.
Magento Auction Extensions
Auction – Use these extensions to enable bidding on your products online by the buyers. They show all the products available for auction, time left to close bidding, current bid on each product and the bidder’s name. They also enable the selection of starting price, auto and manual bid options for each product, total number of bids and everything else that can be related to online auctioning. They can also be configured to include or exclude the tax amounts and send email notification to the highest bidders. A delight for websites who wish to host auctions.
Membership Plugins – For creating a database of dedicated members one must employ these extensions; these membership extensions can generate forms and based on the information provided by the users it can create a database of user info. The members can be privy to certain offers. Notification emails and newsletters can be sent to the members exclusively. Sometimes payment gateways are integrated to these forms for paid memberships. Each customer can be monitored and tracked by the admin with the help of these extensions.
Security- Get safer credit/ debit card transaction with these simple and light-weight Security plugins which enhance the Magento functionality manifold. Device finger printing, tokenization of cards, multiple currency support, multiple store setups and detailed logging and reporting are other features which are absolutely inherent to the security extensions. Now blacklist offenders, block specific IPs, detect file modifications, scan webserveres and Magento for unpatched security errors with just one extension.
Payment Add ons – The payment extensions ensure that the buyer has the major credit/ debit card options along with other popular transaction methods like PayPal, Ukash, NETeller, Skrill and Net banking while paying for his or her cart contents. These extensions also support multiple currencies along with other languages. The admin can doctor the extension settings to restrict credit and debit card types along with currencies to be used for payment according to priorities and conveniences.
Magento has always ruled the lists of ecommerce software programs. Trust on Magento to grow with you as you take a plunge into the world of marketing and competition with its dynamic extensions. Magento is flexible and at the same time strong enough to provide you with enterprise class experiences.