How SEO Will Change in 2015 for Large eCommerce Companies

how seo will change

SEO is a constantly changing force. You never truly know where it’s going to go in the next few years.

Forbes recently reported the four main ways that SEO is soon going to change for large e-commerce businesses. This is how SEO will change in the future.

1. How SEO will change for mobile devices

Okay, so it doesn’t really take a genius to know that the world is increasingly going mobile. With smartphones now becoming a commonplace thing (I mean, even your poor best friend Ricky has one…), you know that the next logical step is to expand your SEO strategies on these devices.

Page load speeds are a large part in determining a site’s ranking. Because it’s more common for sites to load slower on mobile devices compared to desktops, it’s always smart to prioritize page load speeds in both desktop and mobile realms to keep your SEO game fresh.

2. Go local

LSEO, or local SEO, helps search engines find local businesses that can best satisfy their needs and display listings for them in the search engine results pages. Big eCommerce businesses think they don’t need LSEO, but the big news is that people enjoy supporting local—particularly when it’s cheaper, easier and faster than buying from some huge corporation.

One sure way to pepper LSEO into your website is by checking Facebook in the last few looks and look at how many posts are telling their friends to buy from local businesses rather than the big businesses.

3. Get rid of black hat SEO

Black hat SEO refers to “the use of aggressive SEO strategies, techniques and tactics that focus only on search engines and not a human audience, and usually does not obey search engines guidelines.”

Some examples of black hat SEO techniques include keyword stuffing, invisible text, doorway pages, adding unrelated keywords to the page content or page swapping (changing the webpage entirely after it has been ranked by search engines).

Though you may not even be aware when you’re engaging in black hat tricks, you should definitely consider hiring a reputable SEO agency to comb through your site and sniff out any potential black hat methods that you might be unknowingly unemploying.

As algothorisms become more sophisticated next year, the fallout from these methods will become much more severe.

4. Content really is king

Some big e-commerce companies can really underestimate content—that’s why you should never do the same. Even a small e-commerce company can’t afford not to put some great content on their website—so if you’re a big e-commerce company, you definitely can’t afford not to.

Uploading Product Images in Magento – A Brief Guide

Uploading product images is realistically one of the least complicated processes in Magento; however, for those who are still new to the Magento Madness, we’re here to clarify any questions you might have with this simple guide.

We will also cover some of the more complex facets of image uploads once we introduce the basic steps.

Step One

The first thing that you are going to want to do is go to Catalog, and then Manage Products. Once you’re there, you’re going to want to go ahead and select a product from the screen.

images in magento

After you’ve selected the product, let’s go ahead and go to ‘Images.’ You should see a screen like this.

images in magento

Okay, you’re on the images tab. Now time for the most critical step: uploading the images.

Select ‘Browse Files,’ and then find the image that you want to upload. Once you find it, go ahead and upload it. Your screen should now look like this.

images in magento

Adjusting Settings for Product Images in Magento

Once the image is in, you might probably want to know what the other settings mean.

  • Label

Label will provide a name for your image. Similar to the ‘alt text’ field                   in images for blog posts, this is done mostly for SEO purposes. People                 will be able to find your image much faster than they otherwise would                 if the label wasn’t there.

  • Sort Order

If you have multiple images, you can change the order that they appear in by modifying the sort order. Highlight the field and change one image to ‘1’ or ‘2’ or ‘3’ and so forth.

  • Base Image, Small Image, and Thumbnail

You can also change where your images appear on the front-end. So let’s say if you have two images, you can select one to appear as a thumbnail on the product page, and the other—say, base image—to appear as the main image on the product detail page.

The small image is used for the product images in listings on category and search results pages.

Magento Requirements: Steps Required for an Upgrade

magento requirementsEvery open source or paid software and application have its own compatibility and system requirement to run the application smooth and efficiently over internet or at its targeted area.

Here Magento is also like that its built on PHP technologies using Zend Framework with well manner modular structure to make the things easier. Its vast and huge application to make the ecommerce merchants life easier.

Magento Requirements

Here are the system requirement which can guide you how you have to configure your system to run Magento eCommerce website.

Operating System Support for Magento
1. Linux x86, x86-64
2. Windows server on WAMP and XAMPP

Magento supported Web Servers
Apache 1.3x to Apache Latest 2.2x
Magento runs well on nginx for Magento 1.7 to Enterprise latest version

Magento PHP Compatibility
5.2.13 to latest PHP version

PHP Extension Required to be enabled on web server
Below php extension must have to be installed and enabled with php.ini in order to run Magento, if below extension are not enabled then there are chances Magento will not allow you to install on web server.
php_curl
simplexml
mcrypt
hash
PDO_MySql
GD
DOM
iconv
SOAP – To integrate your web store with third party applications
Safe_Mode = off
Memory Limit = 256MB minimum

Magento MySQL Requirement
MySQL 5.0.2 and newer for Enterprise Edition 1.13
MySQL 4.1.20 or newer for Enterprise Edition 1.12 and Magento Community Edition

SSL- Secure Socket Layer
SSL is required for any eCommerce stores also if you want https to be enabled for the admin and with customer and checkout in frontend then it’s required to have verified SSL configured on your web server for your website. Also self-signed SSL certificates not support with Magento.

Your Web Server Hosting Setup

  • Your hosting must have facility to run and schedule cron script to update currencies and taxes automatically also its help to run some schedule job for log cleaning and other stuffs periodically.
  • Also you must have read and write permission to override .htaccess rules.

Preferable Hosting Environment

  • Nexcess.Com – Dedicated and Shared Server both are compatible with Magento – SSH supported for the dedicated server on request.
  • Rackspace.Com is dedicated cloud support run well for Magento – SSH supported
  • Amazon EC2 – is the best could server for Magento with dedicated access to perform all kind of activities using SSHAbove are the configuration which will run your Magento eCommerce Website smoothly and rapidly to give better user experience with faster page loading.If you are still not clear that our Expert Magento Consultant available to provide you better idea related to your server and Magento setup.

Enabling a Theme in Magento Mobile

magento mobile

Those browsing on mobile devices currently account for at least 10% of all web traffic, which means that e-commerce retailers need to accommodate these users sooner rather than later.

How It Works

A mobile device is detected in the same way that your store detects different browsers. When someone visits your site from a mobile phone, your store detects the mobile browser and serves up the mobile theme, rather than your standard desktop theme. It all happens behind the scenes and is transparent to the user.

Setting Up Your Magento Mobile Theme

The Magento Go Mobile theme is easy to set up. Before you begin, take a few moments to explore the sample mobile theme to become familiar with the layout. The next step is to brand the theme for your store by choosing your colors, and adding your logo, background image, and banner. Finally, the last step is to click a checkbox to go mobile. That’s all there is to it!

Benefits of Magento Mobile

Quickly and easily create a storefront optimized for mobile devices so customers can shop even when they’re on the go. This mobile interface uses HTML5 technology and supports iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. It includes out-of-the-box features such as:

– Device-specific media capabilities for audio and video
– User-friendly search and results display
– Clean display of product detail pages
– Pinch, multi-touch and scaling images
– Easy swipe between product images
– Zoom capabilities
– Cross-sell and up-sell capabilities
– Drag-and-drop of products to the shopping cart

Magento Mobile for HTML5

The new compatibility with HTML5, which comes with Magento’s free Community edition e-commerce platform and its licensed Enterprise edition, is designed to help retailers drive up mobile commerce conversion rates and sales, says Roy Rubin, founder and general manager of Magento.

Magento says the HTML5 version of Magento Mobile includes:

– Image scaling and device-specific video and audio capabilities;

– New “user-friendly” search and results display;

– Drag and drop of products into a shopping cart;

– Cross-sell and upsell options;

– Swiping between product images, and product image zooming;

– Support for iPhone, Android and Mobile Opera browsers.

Inbound Marketing Vs. Outbound Marketing

Remember when the term ‘marketing’ used to mean annoying telemarketers calling you at weird hours in the night to tell you about their product? Most know-hows in the biz today refer to that strategy as ‘outbound marketing.’ And even a novice can guess that this is the less popular method of reaching people. Most marketing has now gone online—which is also known as ‘inbound marketing.’ But what is the difference between the two?

The Core Differences Between Inbound Marketing and Outbound Marketing

 

Outbound marketing entails traditional methods such as cold calling, outsourced telemarketing, and advertising. So if you ever had a stranger ring your doorbell in the middle of the night to tell you about Verizon, we guarantee you that this was an outbound marketer.

Outbound marketing techniques are becoming less effective because people have found ways to avoid their techniques by blocking their caller IDs.

Unlike outbound marketing, inbound marketing is two-way. You can bring customers to you via the Internet instead of having to seek them out. Inbound marketing is also known as ‘new marketing’ because a huge part of it is providing content for informational purposes rather than trying to sell you something—which, in fact, is the purpose of the Hara Partners blog.

Which Way is the Future Headed?

 

Different sources will provide you with different data regarding the strengths of both kinds of marketing. As an online blog, we would clearly advocate inbound marketing, as we believe that’s where the future is headed. But does this mean that’s the only kind of marketing that we practice? Of course not.

At Hara Partners know all about cold calling and the traditional methods which pertain to outbound marketing. We have an excellent sales guy here who can knock you off your feet with his outbound skills… But at the end of the way, as the Internet expands, inbound marketing is where the future is headed—at least according to us.

 

inbound marketing

10 Easy Fixes to Common Magento Mistakes

common magento mistakes

10 Easy Fixes to Common Magento Mistakes

When working in Magento, it’s always good practice to heed caution and think twice, because Magento can be quite unforgiving when it comes to the smallest mistakes.

We’ve compiled a list of ten easy fixes to some of the most common Magento mistakes below.

1. Configuring Magento to Work with a New Domain

There are two things you should do in order to configure Magento to work with a new domain:

  • Edit the Magento database

Go to your cPanel > phpMyAdmin. Select your Magento database from the  left menu, find the table called core_config_data and click on it. Click the Browse tab and edit the first two fields:

web/unsecure/base_urlweb/secure/base_url

by clicking the pen icon in front of each of them. Replace your old domain name with your new one and click the Go button to save the change.

  • Clear the Magento cache.

The Magento cache folder is located in your Magento installation directory > /var/cache. To clear the cache, simply delete the folder.

Many Magento issues can be fixed just by deleting the cache.

2. Resetting the Magento Admin Password

To change your Magento admin password, go to your cPanel > phpMyAdmin, select your Magento database, click the SQL tab and paste this query:

UPDATE admin_user SET password=CONCAT(MD5('sGnewpass'), ':sG') WHERE username='AdminUsername';

Note: You have to change newpass in the MD5(‘sGnewpass’) with your new password, and change *AdminUsername* to your Magento admin username.

Execute the query by clicking the Go button and your password will be changed.

3. Enabling Seaarch Engine Friendly URLs in Magento

To enable Search Engine Friendly URLs in Magento, you have to log in to the Magento administration area and click on the Configuration button. Under the System navigation menu, switch to Web page from the sub-navigation panel on the left.

When the page loads, you will see blue lines which represent closed options tablets. Click on the Search Engines Optimization tab and turn on the Use Web Server Rewrites (mark as Yes). Click on the Save Config button and your Magento SEF URLs will be enabled.

4. Speeding Up Magento

Many Magento issues are caused by slow performance. The recommended way to speed up Magento’s performance is to enable its Compilation function. The performance increase is between 25%-50% on page loads.

You can enable Magento Compilation from your Magento admin panel > System > Tools > Compilation.

5. Redirecting Magento to Open Through WWW

For SEO and usability purposes you may want to redirect your visitors to open your site only through www (http://www.yourdomain.com).

To do this in Magento, you should open the .htaccess file in the folder where your Magento is installed. In it locate the RewriteEngine on line and right after it add the following lines:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^yourdomain.com$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.yourdomain.com/$1 [R=301,L]

Once you do this, save the .htaccess file and log in to the Magento admin area > System > Configuration menu and from the left panel click the Web button.

Unfold the Unsecured set of options and change the Base URL option from http://yourdomain.com to http://www.yourdomain.com.

Save the changes and your Magento will start working through www.yourdomain.com only! 

6. How to Disable the Compare Products Functionality

You can disable the Compare products functionality in Magento by following these steps:

  • Edit app/code/core/Mage/Catalog/Helper/Product/Compare.php and change the following code: 
public function getAddUrl($product){return $this->_getUrl(’catalog/product_compare/add’, $this->_getUrlParams($product));}

to

public function getAddUrl($product){//return $this->_getUrl(’catalog/product_compare/add’, $this->_getUrlParams($product)); return false;}
  • Edit ./app/design/frontend/base/default/layout/catalog.xml (if you are using a different Magento theme, enter its name instead of default) and change the following code:
<block type="catalog/product_compare_sidebar" before="cart_sidebar" name="catalog.compare.sidebar" template="catalog/product/compare/sidebar.phtml"/>

to

<!-- <block type="catalog/product_compare_sidebar" before="cart_sidebar" name="catalog.compare.sidebar" template="catalog/product/compare/sidebar.phtml"/> -->

 

  • Flush the Magento cache from your Magento admin area > System > Cache Management.

7. How to Set Up a Blog in Magento

It is not difficult to set up a blog in Magento. However, note that this functionality is not included by default and you will have to use a custom extension to add it.

You can search Magento Connect for an extension that will fully suit your needs. One of the popular free extensions that you can use is the Magento Blog – Community Edition.

All Magento extensions are installed in a similar way that is thoroughly explained in our Magento Connect Tutorial.

Once the extension is installed, you will have one additional section in the top menu of your Magento admin area called Blog. From there you can adjust the newly-installed Blog settings, add posts, etc.

8. How to Add a Contact Us Form in Magento

Magento includes contact form functionality by default. A link to a contact form can usually be found in the footer of your Magento installation.

Of course, you can add a contact form on any page. All you need to do is:

  • Log in to the administrator area.
  • Go to CMS > Pages.
  • Select the page you want to edit or create a new page.

Paste the following code using the HTML option of the WYSIWYG editor:

<!– CONTACT FORM CODE BEGIN–>{{block type='core/template' name='contactForm' template='contacts/form.phtml'}}<!– CONTACT FORM CODE END–>

Save the changes and the contact form will appear on the desired page.

9. “Access Denied” Issue

As a solution to the “Access denied” issue, you should log out from the Magento admin area and then log in again.

If the above does not help, you should reset the admin privileges. This can be done through the Magento admin area > System > Permissions > Roles > Administrators.

Click on the Role Resources option from the left menu and make sure that Resource Access is set to All.

Click on the Save Role button and the permissions will be reset.

10. How to Set a Custom Group of Users

You can add a new group from the Magento admin area > Customers > Customer Groups > Add New Customer Group.

Once a customer registers, you can change the group he/she belongs to from the Magento admin area > Customers > Manage Customers. Click on the Edit link next to the customer and change the group from the Account Information > Customer Group. Click Save Customer.

Set the discount from Promotions > Catalog Price Rules > Add New Rule.

In the Customer Groups select the customers’ groups for which the promotion is valid. Enter the other details, set the rule actions and conditions. Finally, click Save Rule.

The above ten tips will hopefully help you resolve at least some of the Magento issues you have faced or are about to face.

Magento Performance Optimization – A Brief Rundown

 

magento performance optimization

Magento Performance Optimization

If you’re looking to upgrade Magento with a few useful extensions, we can provide a rundown for you in terms of which ones might be useful for Magento performance optimization. All of the software mentioned below can be set up to work concurrently on a Magento installation.

Using APC as an OPCode Cache Module

Starting with the PHP 5.5 branch, Zend Optimizer+ is directly built into Magento. However, if you’re running an earlier version, you’ll want to install an OPCode Caching module. Our favourite is Alternative PHP Cache – APC.

PHP is an interpreted language. This means that each time a PHP snippet is requested, it reads all of the files and “compiles” them into something that the server can execute: OpCode. OpCode caching caches this generated OpCode, leading to decreased timings when repeat requests are made.

Magento often has hundreds of included files in a single request meaning some real savings can be made, which can mean great things for

OpCaching with APC is system-wide. There is no need to set up Magento to use it—PHP will use it by default.

Memcached

magento performance optimization

Memcached is a high-performance, distributed memory object caching system, generic in nature, but originally intended for use in speeding up dynamic web applications by alleviating database load. Simply put, Memcached alleviates Magento’s heavy hits on your database by caching data away from it.

You’ll need to install Memcache (a PHP extension), and install Memcached – the Memcache Daemon on your server. Across a load balanced / multi server solution, Memcached only has to reside on one server, and the others can all use it. This provides a centralised source for cache management.

Varnish

magento performance optimization

Varnish is a caching reverse proxy. It’s actually also a http accelerator, it can act as a load balancer and a fail-over system. As a basic concept, it will cache the generated HTML from a page, and serve that to a user rather than making a call to the Magento Framework. This leads to some pretty speedy load times. Magento is very slow to initialise, and if you want your first byte speed down to anything under one second, let alone under half a second – then full page caching is the only way to achieve this.

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, your store should already be fast and you should be looking to reduce server resource—however, Varnish is a great way to reduce your speed to < 300ms.

Varnish requires at least a single page view in order to prime the cache, so it means that your un-cached performance still needs to be high. There are cache-warmers out there (crawlers that will run over your site and prime the cache ready for customer visits) – but we’ve not found any we’d recommend thus far.

Usually, Magento stores fall into two categories, and these will give you an idea of how to configure Varnish.

If your site has relatively low traffic, then you’re going to have a bigger trade-off. Either your TTLs need to be high to ensure a greater hit-rate, or you get up-to-date content. It’s a fine line between them – obviously you can’t have aggressive caching, but frequent changes to content. They don’t play well together. You could, in theory run some sort of cache primer, but I’d expect that it wouldn’t be worth it due to having potentially thousands of URLs.

E-commerce Meet Up Review October 2014, with Ali Hodroj

Hello e-Commerce fans,

We recently had an e-commerce meet up on October 29, which focused on the back-end of running e-commernce. Since there were many High Holidays, we decided to push the date back to accommodate. As always, we had plenty of food and drinks for everyone!

Once again for this e-commerce meet up, we moved the location to another Jay Suites location on 34th street. We had an amazing conference room with a beautiful terrace view of the Empire State Building. There was just enough space for all of our guests.

e-commerce meet up

Key Point from Our E-Commerce Meet Up

Ali Hodroj, Director of Solution Architecture and Technology Evangelist for Gigaspace, spoke about scaling e-commerce with in-memory computing. The company works with small and large organizations within financial services, retail, telecommunications, and internet media on Cloud Computing, In-Memory Computing and Scalability use cases.

When businesses get over loaded with customers, like on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, it’s generally because their websites are unable to hold the capacity needed. Gigaspaces help turn traffic into buying customers at a much quicker rate. They also help the webpage expand their capacity to handle the excessive traffic.

Gigaspace helps by controlling and optimizing the Omni-Channel. That way, different interfaces, like smart phones and tablets, are accounted for when moderating traffic. They streamline content and data to ensure fast check out speeds, especially during holiday seasons.

Gigaspace also focuses on personalization and analytics to improve your business and check out speeds. Most importantly, businesses can focus on their legacy integration to help their business grow.

Many times businesses will loose money because their website can’t handle high traffic and crash. Gigaspace helps reduce cost by keeping website functioning and helping consumers quickly check out.

You can watch the entire presentation on our YouTube page.

Overall, this was a very insightful and engaging e-commerce meet up. Hopefully you are aware of your upcoming e-commerce meet up on wednesday, November 12th. If you haven’t given us your rsvp, please sign up on our page on Meetup.com.

EDI for Microsoft Dynamics: Available for All Your Solution Needs

 

edi for microsoft dynamics

EDI, or electronic data interchange, is an electronic communication system that provides standards for exchanging data via any electronic means. It allows two different companies across the globe to electronically exchange documents such as purchase orders, invoices, shipping notices, and many others.

EDI for Microsoft Dynamics

 

EDI for Microsoft Dynamics allows companies to have it all when dealing with trading partners. Whether it’s the flexibility to adapt to trading partner requirements or simply the ability to quickly and efficiently implement new trading partners, Dynamics EDI and BMIwill allow you to make the most of your partnerships.

Our EDI solution is unique in that it includes a logical mapping tool, built inside Microsoft Dynamics NAV, to allow the seamless mapping of EDI transactions within the business system. Perhaps the most important part of an EDI solution is the integration with your internal business processes, yet many companies use a number of software packages, often not integrated, to try to accomplish this task.

Historically, EDI translation has been handled outside the business system, leaving the final linkage into the business system database to programmers, hard-coded programs, or even manual entry.

Our EDI solution takes a more efficient approach by incorporating the mapping and cross-reference process inside NAV. This provides a single mapping process between the EDI documents and the business system database, a consistent user interface, NAV native drill down from either a business document or an EDI document to the related transaction detail, and a logical place for EDI archives.

Cross-Reference Engine

 

Often the most difficult part of the EDI translation process is the cross-referencing of incoming data to the business system data. For example, a trading partner typically orders an inventory item using one of several numbers, none of which may be the number you use to identify that item in your system.

Because the EDI product is built inside Dynamics NAV, it handles the cross-referencing and mapping in a single step inside your business system. Standard Cross References Include:

    • —Items
    • —Units of Measure
    • —Sell-To
    • —Ship-To
    • —Ship-For
    • —Distribution Centers
    • —Shipping Agent
    • —Payment Terms
    • —Shipping Payment Type
    • —Shipment Method Code
    • —Tax Area Code
    • —And Others

If EDI is something that interests you, do not hesitate, and please give us a call.

7 Most Common E-Commerce Design Mistakes

E-Commerce Design

7 Most Common E-Commerce Design Mistakes

 

In the world of e-commerce design, there are many ways to maximize your e-commerce business. But there are also ways to miss a lot of important opportunities.

Selling goods online can be a great way to expand your business. Here are a few ways to make sure you don’t over-look some of the basics of e-commerce design when moving your business into the next step of technology.

1. Detailed product descriptions

 

If you’re trying to compete with brick and mortar businesses, you should be mindful that you’re trying to make the consumer aware of your product with words.

In the real world, a consumer can pick up and interact with the product. However, when the product is online, all of the information is viewed virtually. This is why we have to use descriptions that accurately portray the details of all of our products in e-commerce design.

Sizes, materials, weight, dimensions, and any other pertinent information, are all important factors for getting the message across.

2. Cumbersome or long checkout.

 

In e-commerce design the obvious goal is conversion.  Such a simple concept, yet so many retailers fail to provide consumers with an easy checkout process.

Ideally, you will want a short and clear method of purchase. The shortest and easiest path to entry of payment information will yield higher conversions. Having too many steps to finish at checkout only gives the consumer more chances to navigate away.

The best solution is single page checkout.  This allows the customer to review the cart and enter information, and then confirm the purchase.

3. Registration or account requirement.

 

Making the sale is obviously more important then data collection in e-commerce design. Offer to save or create the account after the purchase.  All the information has already been entered and you can entice them to register by indication order tracking and other options are available when you register.  The consumer will be less resistant since the order is complete, the information is already entered, and there is now a perceived value.

4. Shipping information.

 

Not understanding how much shipping is going to cost can be a huge deterrent. You might have found that the product you found for dirt cheap has a $400 shipping charge. Imagine how frustrating that would be to find out when you have to confirm the order.

Too many sites do not show shipping until you are checking out. This withholding of information is not useful at all to anyone.

Give the consumer all the info they need to proceed with the order. Explain shipping rates, have shipping calculators, and show any shipping based deals.

5. Site product searching ability.

 

Sadly it’s the case that most sites do not provide a useful enough search method.

The use of filters and categories can help the consumer refine their search to their needs. A search that either returns either too much data or data that is irrelevant can be frustrating for the consumer. 

Your e-commerce design platform should have a solid search engine. Plugins are also available for many platforms to extend the search capability. Results should be sortable as well. This gives the consumer as many tools to make a decision as they need.

6. Hard to find store policies.

 

It is helpful for the consumer to know what the shipping, returns, and other rules are for your business. While a lot of this can be covered in an FAQ its still important to be as clear with this as you can. Restating it in another location is a good idea too. Transparency is reassuring to the consumer.

7. Shopping cart layout.

 

The presentation and features of your cart are vital to the shopping experience. The ability to have multiple items in the cart and manipulate quantities are essential.

The path of progress from adding an item is important too. Ideally you want to have the consumer add the item to the cart and either return them to the last page they were on, or never leave that page to begin with.

Another great idea is to have the items in the cart be links. That way if the customer wants to recheck something they can easily go to the product info.

If you can make a pop-up that covers this, it will keep you customer in the cart and closer to check out.