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March 17, 2015

The finishing touches for your Magento website

Shiny new website?

As we all know, building a new website is a costly affair however the gains that it can deliver will often far out-strip the initial costs. The cost of a new site can also pale into insignificance versus the cost of setting up a physical retail store so it is always wise to keep this in perspective.

Don’t forget the sparkling fixtures!

So with a costly investment like a new site, it is always frustrating to us as eCommerce professionals when we see the little touches, which can make a huge difference to user experience and engagement with the retailer, have been overlooked. This is why we decided to highlight a quick check-list of some of those finishing touches which just add that veneer to your site to really set it off.

Site checklist:

  • Favicon. Starting at the top of the page, the Favicon is the little icon that displays next to your URL in at the top of the page in Explorer or above it in chrome. While it is a little touch, it is a nice one and sometimes if missed, a generic platform one might appear such as Magento.
  • Apple icon. Your site doesn’t have to be in an application form for someone to be able to save it on their home screen nowadays. iPhones allow any user to bookmark a site on their phone, meaning that without an apple icon, your bookmark will appear as a blank space. Make the most of this feature by creating an apple icon for it. Beware, there are many sizes to cover.
  • State your delivery details. Most remember to flag their free delivery threshold but I transacted on a site the other day where I really struggled to establish how long the delivery would take etc. As it turns out it was next day but had I been in a hurry and not known that, I might have moved to another retailer who stated they would deliver within my timescales.
  • Make sure you have your advanced search set up correctly. In Magento Enterprise edition, Solr search is a standard feature but you would be surprised how many times we come across sites where this has not been set up and as we all know, the standard search functionality of Magento could do with a few improvements.
  • Ensure that flat tables are enabled. Flat tables are effectively a table of all products / categories including all of the attributes and fields associated with them. As standard, Magento stores these in a series of tables which it then refers to when the page is loading. By storing in flat tables it makes the process faster as it is referring to the one table. As a default flat tables are disabled but it is quite easy to activate them and offers a simple quick way to speed up page load speed.
  • ‘Sign-up for an e-mail newsletter’. Have you remembered to add this option and if so, have you requested information that will help you segment? Never underestimate the potential value of this. You might not have developed your e-mail strategy yet but this data could be invaluable. The people who sign-up are already warm to your brand and if you can segment this by ‘pet type’ if you are a pet store then you can immediately start targeting your comms to ensure they are relevant to the recipient.
  • Have you used English configuration? It is just a slightly poor experience when you are asked for your state instead of county or zip code instead of post code.
  • Have you changed your logo on the invoice? Magento will leave their logo on as standard and most will think to change this but we happened across a site recently where the logo had not been changed on the print page so when you hit print invoice, it showed one with the Magento logo. This could be quite confusing for those not familiar with the platform.
  • Have you set up brand and category pages? While they might not fit with the menu structure that you have debated over for hours, they might have SEO benefit and more importantly they might offer a better landing page for traffic coming through paid channels or natural search (depending on the terms).
  • Have you considered your delivery charges and stated the T’s and C’s clearly? Flat rate delivery charges are standard but make sure you are going to flag if these will be different in the Highlands and islands.
  • Have you set your tax rules correctly? Multiple tax rules can apply but it is important that you ensure that you have set these correctly. You might want to look at whether they are a trade or consumer customer, what region they reside in, and thus what regional tax rules might apply and even whether that product is taxable.

We could go on and on, talking about ensuring that the pages are SEO Friendly with the H1s and metas properly implemented and ensuring that 404s are in place, but the above gives a few pointers that we hope you will find useful and will just add that extra sheen to your new site.