December 11th, 2014

Editing Magento Top Links – The Better Way

Category:Hara Partners | Posted By Mai Erne on December 11th, 2014

magento top links

In the past, we showed you how to add, edit, and remove Magento top links. But as some of you Magentians know, the programming methods in Magento are constantly being amended and revised…

So now we’re back to show you a better way to edit Magento top links. The trick this time around is to edit your top links without editing core layout files which may change when you update Magento by utilizing a local .xml file. You can even add your own custom links without touching any template files.

Editing Magento Top Links in Local.xml:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<layout version="0.1.0">
    <default>
        <reference name="root">
            <reference name="top.links">
                <!-- Add custom links. Pretty self-explanatory.
                Dig into app/code/core/Mage/Page/Block/Template/Links.php for more info -->
                <action method="addLink" translate="label title">
                    <label>About Us</label>
                    <url>about</url>  <!-- can use full url also -->
                    <title>About Us</title>
                    <prepare>true</prepare> <!-- set true if adding base url param -->
                    <urlParams helper="core/url/getHomeUrl"/> <!-- base url - thanks @Russ! -->
                    <!-- there are a few param you can send to do different things in <urlParams> 
                             dig into app/code/core/Mage/Core/Model/Url.php, around line 803 -->                   

                    <!-- below adds #add-fragment to the end of your url -->
                    <!-- <urlParams><_fragment>add-fragment</_fragment></urlParams> -->

                    <!-- below adds ?add-query to the end of your url -->
                    <!-- <urlParams><_query>add-fragment</_query></urlParams> -->

                    <!-- below gives you a new session id (i think...)-->
                    <!-- <urlParams><_nosid>true</_nosid></urlParams> -->

                    <!-- below replaces double quotes, single quotes, greater than, and less than signs 
                             to their respective url escaped replacements (%22, %27, %3E, %3C) -->
                    <!-- <urlParams><_escape>i'm-a-blog-url</_escape></urlParams> -->

                    <position>1</position>
                    <liParams/>
                    <aParams>class="top-link-about-us"</aParams>
                    <beforeText></beforeText>
                    <afterText></afterText>
                </action>

                <!-- Removes 'My Account' link - Default position: 10 -->
                <action method="removeLinkByUrl"><url helper="customer/getAccountUrl"/></action>

                <!-- Removes 'Wishlist' link - Default position: 20 -->
                <!-- for Magento 1.3.x -->
                <action method="removeLinkByUrl"><url helper="wishlist/"/></action>

                <!-- for Magento 1.4.x -->
                <remove name="wishlist_link"/>

                <!-- Removes 'My Cart' AND 'Checkout' links
                Default position: 40 and 50 respectively -->
                <remove name="checkout_cart_link"/>

                <!-- To re-add 'My Cart' or 'Checkout' after removing both -->
                <block type="checkout/links" name="checkout_cart_link_custom">
                    <action method="addCartLink"></action>
                    <action method="addCheckoutLink"></action>
                </block>
            </reference>
        </reference>
    </default>

    <customer_logged_out>
        <!-- Removes 'Log In' link - Default position: 60 -->
        <reference name="top.links">
            <action method="removeLinkByUrl"><url helper="customer/getLoginUrl"/></action>
        </reference>
    </customer_logged_out>

    <customer_logged_in>
        <!-- Removes 'Log Out' link - Default position: 60 -->
        <reference name="top.links">
            <action method="removeLinkByUrl"><url helper="customer/getLogoutUrl"/></action>
        </reference>
    </customer_logged_in>

</layout>

December 10th, 2014

The Benefits of Hiring a Magento Specialist

Category:Magento | Posted By Mai Erne on December 10th, 2014

magento specialist

You might think you know a lot about Magento—but the truth is, you don’t know jack compared to a real Magento specialist.

Magento Solution Specialists are expert users of the Magento ecommerce platform.

Drawing on a deep background in business and ecommerce, the Magento Solution Specialist can efficiently align business objectives with Magento functionality, optimize use of native features, and avoid unnecessary customization. Whether as a merchant, a manager, a consultant, or an analyst, the Magento Solution Specialist knows how to make the best use of Magento technology.

A Magento Certified Solution Specialist has deep familiarity with the Magento platform, including:

Magento Architecture: layouts, themes, extensions and customizations; Magento data models

Elements of a Magento ecommerce site: catalog, shipping, payment, order processing, promotions, extensions, import/export, etc.

Application of Magento knowledge to business goals: mapping client needs to Magento features, recommending the most effective options for implementing client requirements in Magento

Let’s face it: Magento is a really hard system to manage. Even our experts here in the office are constantly banging their head against the wall when a product isn’t being uploaded properly in Magento, and we have to scan through a gazillion lines of code in Excel just to make the darn thing work.

But we’ll guarantee you one thing: we know far more than most of the online retailers using Magento do. At Hara Partners, we’re certified Magento specialists (and if you read our previous article on trust seals, you should already know how serious we are about certifications).

And you probably wouldn’t even be on our website if you didn’t need our help. We have over ten years experience with Magento, and can help you out with any problem you might be having imaginable. At Hara Partners, we definitely place an emphasis on e-commerce solutions. Give us a call and we’ll hook you up.

December 9th, 2014

Link Building: What It Is and How It Works

Category:Marketing | Posted By Mai Erne on December 9th, 2014


link buildingIn the field of search engine optimization, link building describes actions aimed at increasing the number and quality of inbound links to a webpage.

In SEO, links aren’t everything—but search professionals attribute a large portion of the engines’ algorithms to link-based factors.

Through links, engines can not only analyze the popularity of a website & page based on the number and popularity of pages linking to them, but also metrics like trust, spam, and authority.

Link building is almost always the most challenging part of an SEO’s blog, but also the one most critical to success. It requires creativity, hard work, and often a budget.

No two link building campaigns are the same, and the way you choose to build links depends as much upon your website as it does your personality.

Below are three basic types of link acquisition.

  • “Natural” Editorial Links
  • Links that are given naturally by sites and pages that want to link to your content or company. These links require no specific action from the SEO, other than the creation of worthy material (great content) and the ability to create awareness about it.

  • Manual “Outreach” Link Building
  • The SEO creates these links by emailing bloggers for links, submitting sites to directories, or paying for listings of any kind. The SEO often creates a value proposition by explaining to the link target why creating the link is in their best interest.

    Examples include filling out forms for submissions to a website award program or convincing a professor that your resource is worthy of inclusion on the public syllabus.

  • Self-Created, Non-Editorial
  • Hundreds of thousands of websites offer any visitor the opportunity to create links through guest book signings, forum signatures, blog comments, or user profiles. These links offer the lowest value, but can, in aggregate, still have an impact for some sites.

    In general, search engines continue to devalue most of these types of links, and have been known to penalize sites that pursue these links aggressively. Today, these types of links are often considered spammy and should be pursued with caution.

    Source: Moz

    December 8th, 2014

    Why LinkedIn is an Effective Tool for Businesses

    Category:Social Media | Posted By Mai Erne on December 8th, 2014

    linkedin

    We live in an integrated society. In today’s corporate climate, social media is everything. People don’t want to just log into their computers to check spam from businesses—they actually want to connect to people.

    Now, of course, you’d practically have to be living under a cave to not know what LinkedIn is. It’s currently the #1 social media tool for working professionals. In the third quarter of last year alone, there were 184 milion unique visitors worldwide to LinkedIn.*

    Now, if you’re a business owner or you have some some juice going in your business, you’re probably wondering: what does all this stuff really mean, in terms of cash? Well, the number of B2B and B2C marketers generating sales via LinkedIn is growing at a fairly consistent rate. And 80% of LinkedIn members have been shown to connect with companies, which opens up a vast opportunity for a sophisticated marketer to engage them.

    By using LinkedIn to build relationships with the world’s top professionals, you can achieve a full range of marketing objectives, including:

  • Generating Awareness
  • Increasing Consideration and Preference
  • Driving Traffic and Leads
  • Building Community
  • Creating Advocacy
  • You can also use LinkedIn’s API to create custom branded experiences that allow members to engage using their LinkedIn login. This simplifies the need for them to enter additional data. Even more importantly, by using the API to access LinkedIn’s rich data, you can tailor the user experience based on profile data and encourage virality by triggering your app to publish updates about a user’s activity on site.

    Plus: you can even extend the quality traffic of LinkedIn professionals to your own branded sites. Embedding calls-to-action on LinkedIn will ensure the flow of influential, affluent, and educated professionals to your own online properties.

    So, sure, you may have known about LinkedIn before—but now you also know to never underestimate it.

    * Statistics sourced from The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn

    December 4th, 2014

    Magento Version Control: A Guide Using Git and Beanstalk

    Category:Magento | Posted By Mai Erne on December 4th, 2014

    magento version control

    What’s Version Control?

    Version control is a system that records changes to a file or set of files over time so that you can recall specific versions later. For the examples in this book you will use software source code as the files being version controlled, though in reality you can do this with nearly any type of file on a computer.

    Every change made to the source of the file is tracked in version control, along with who made the change, why they made it, and references to problems fixed, or enhancements introduced by the change.

    You may have already heard of this term before if you’re in anyway familiar with the popular version control systems Subversion, Git, and Mercurial.

    So why do we need version control systems?

    The Necessity of Magento Version Control

    In its very basic essence, version control works like this:

    • The developer makes a file
    • Person A checks that file into a repository
    • Later on, Person A decides to make changes to that file, so they process a checkout.
    • When the changes are done, Person A commits the file to the code repository. The file is then given a new version number.

    Now your old version is kept in history so if you mess something up you can always put it back.

    Other Features of Version Control

    Branching

    Branching allows the user to create new features or versions of a product. You can work in a branch and not affect your stability.

    Merging

    Merging allows you to get code from one place to another. This is often used once a development branch becomes ready for release. You would at that time merge that branch into the trunk. You can also merge revisions.

    Tagging

    Tagging is generally used for creating a snapshot for a release. You may tag releases as 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, etc.

    This is a great way to do it and is easy no matter which version control system you use.