Magento is one of the world’s most renowned shopping cart solution with an overall 26% e-commerce market monopoly. It powers more than 1,50,000 Magento stores across businesses and is a clear winner when it comes to e-commerce platforms. And countless Magento development agencies are working on the platform armed with highly proficient teams of Magento developers and Magento experts. They are adept at Magento development, designing and customization services. But all these are performed by humans. That means even if you engage Magento certified developers to do your job, there is always a chance of human errors or process mistakes.
Most times these mistakes cost you severely. For example, it can compare to your buying a Formula One car with the dream of participating in the prestigious Formula One racing events. And you customize it with the cheapest of accessories available. How will that look and feel? That is how badly your simple mistakes can affect your e-commerce store and business.
Let us delve into some of these common mistakes made and tips on how to improve/prevent them from happening to you or your clientele:
I. Common Mistakes from the Front-End (Developers and Designers):
1. Problem: Modifying Core Magento Themes is generally not recommended by experts.
Solution: Create a custom theme instead to build an appealing platform for yourself or your client.
2. Problem: Not Understanding Package/Theme Relationships
Solution: Ingenious Usage of Package/Theme Relationships could help customization matching the client needs.
3. Problem: Using Wrong Starting Theme necessitates packing in a lot of unnecessary codes, slowing the developmental process
Solution: Use ‘blank theme’ instead to evade unnecessary CSS styling, which in turn aids in speeding up development.
4. Problem: Not Building CSS Specific to Magento
Solution: Using a demo site for viewing the source and cloning the source as HTML when building your CSS could help in refinement as per Magento attributes.
II.Common Mistakes from the Back-End (Programmers and Engineers):
1. Problem: FTP Installation of Magento – This is considered one of the most common mistakes and ends up in giving you an unstable version of Magento.
Solution: Instead of downloading the full version and installing via FTP, you need to use the Magento downloader option to get yourself a stable Magento platform.
2. Problem: Not Backing Up the Data – No backup on your client’s sites means your data could be lost at any time due to cyber attacks, IT infrastructure failures, accident deletions, hacking and system breach which would ruin your client’s business completely.
Solution: Make backup a part of the site’s regular maintenance task so that it is never missed out.
3. Problem: Overwriting the Core Class While Extending its Functionality – most developers do the overwriting by placing the file in the same relative path on the local code pool, app/code/local/Path to core class/ (i.e., app/code/local/Mage/Checkout/Block/Onepage.php). This may cause compatibility issues and breaking up when upgrading to a new Magento version.
Solution: Use class rewriting while overwriting, with the new class inheriting from the class you wish to extend and not by just copying and pasting the original code in the new class. This facilitates an easier upgrade to new versions and resolves module conflicts when third-party modules rewrite the same class.
4. Problem: Nested Collections – This will slow down the speed considerably
Solution: Need to be wary of the nested collections as every collection is a query, meaning if you have a collection inside a loop, it effectively means you have a query inside that loop.
5. Problem: Not Testing a Newly Written Module with hole-punching and full page caching on.
Solution: Make sure that after writing a module, it is checked with full page caching on and see if it is compatible with an FPC enabled staging environment.
6. Problem: Namespaces Used for Custom Modules
Solution: If you are not careful about the namespaces used for the custom modules, they may conflict with the core Magento modules.
III. Common Magento SEO Mistakes
1. Problem: Not Optimizing Title Tags – Not changing the default settings for title tags or doing it in a completely wrong way would bring your site’s ranking down on SERPs.
The top blunders committed on title tags are :
- Not creating a relevant title tag instead of the generic ‘Home’ tag
- Not altering the alt title text on images and logo
- Not modifying the default Homepage Title ‘Magento commerce.’
- Title duplication created by same titles for multiple pages
- Long titles omitting search keywords
Solution: Open Admin Area → Go to System → Configuration → Design → HTML Head → enter an optimized, keyworded, unique themed title reflecting your business goals in the “Default Title” field. Ensure to limit the title to 60 characters and descriptions to 160 characters.
For changing the alt text of the logo, Go to System → Configuration → Design → Click on ‘Header tab’ and change the logo source to your respective filename or path and change the alternate text to a keyworded relevant title.
2. Problem: Not Changing the Default Keywords – though Google Search Engine tend to ignore keyword meta tags, the phrases you create should be logical, unique and in level with your business goals.
Solution: Go to System → Configuration → Design → HTML Head → Default Keywords and change the default keyword setting. You can leave the space blank instead of the default keywords, because if the space contains words not precisely reflecting your business needs, it may impact your Magento store negatively.
3. Problem: Duplication of URLs – Having redundant URLs in the webpages will affect your SEO.
Solution: To avoid this, Go to System → Configuration → Catalog → Search Engine Optimization and assign ‘No’ to the field ‘Use Categories Path for Product URLs.’
4. Problem: Canonicalization Issues – not handling canonicalization would end up being detrimental to your SEO.
Solution: Go to System → Configuration → Catalog → Search Engine Optimization and set the fields ‘Canonical Link Meta Tag For Categories’ and ‘Canonical Link Meta Tag for Products’ as ‘Yes.’
5. Problem: URL Rewrites Not Implemented – URL rewrites are search engine friendly and makes URLs easier to read.
Solution: Go to Admin Panel → URL Options → Add Store Code to URLs → No and Auto-redirect to Base URL → Yes. Also, Go to System → Configuration → Catalog → Search Engine Optimization → Use web server rewrites
6. Problem: Layered Navigation – Layered navigation widget filters the products by price, category, size or color and is a very handy tool for customers. But it also creates a lot of identical content, and confused page titles, URLs and descriptions.
Solution: Hire experienced Magento Developers to prevent your layered navigation pages getting indexed by Google. They will accomplish this through cookies or by sending fast Ajax Requests.
7. Problem: Not Switching on Indexation of Website when moving from developmental stage to live server results in the page losing out on searches.
Solution: Admin Panel → System → Configuration → General → Design → HTML Head → Default robots ‘INDEX, FOLLOW’. This task has to be executed when you are ready to go live with your server.
8. Problem: Missing on Creating Google Sitemap – Creating and refreshing a sitemap at regular intervals is imperative to a Magento store.
Solution: Go to System → Configuration → Catalog → Google Sitemap and create one for your site. You can also set up in a way that your google store automatically refreshes the sitemaps periodically.
Hope this article was comprehensive enough for you to understand and fix your Magento store and get it to function seamlessly. These fixes should be part of every Magento checklist to build yourself a high-performance Magento store.