20 Aug

7 Important Factors for Magento Speed

Once you have set up a Magento-powered e-commerce website, the next step to focus on is how to optimize it. There are many ways to improve the performance of your Magento store, but all of them boil down to a shortlist of factors.

If you are looking to speed up your Magento online store, take note of these important factors for Magento speed:

  1. Use NGINX instead of Apache. NGINX is more lightweight than Apache, so if you’re starting with a simple store that sells a few products, you don’t need the features of the heavier Apache server. NGINX helps you save RAM resources to optimize PHP and MySQL.
  2. Take advantage of multiple CPU cores and fast engines. For this tip, I suggest you use MySQL 5.5 or Percona 5.5, while PHP-FPM 5.3 or 5.4 should address PHP engine speed.
  3. Assess unified backend implementation and site speed for multiple stores. Running many stores on a single unified Magento Backend System could take its toll on the speed of the sites, as they’ll be running on the same set of resources. If speed is being compromised, consider using separate backend systems for each of your stores.
  4. Prioritize shopping cart rules over catalog rules. Let the bulk of server processing run during the shopping cart stage instead of doing everything during catalog browsing.
  5. Don’t use unreliable Magento developers. These developers may come cheap, but don’t expect a smooth-running website. Stick to the big guns when it comes to developers.
  6. Be on top of SEO and search bot behavior. Search engine bots may index your site without rules, which can slow down your store and affect your site’s search engine ranking. If you’re not aware yet, you may customize the bot rules for your website. E-commerce web hosts such as GeeXSE can give you an advanced bot webserver configuration that can help you both prevent misbehaving bots and also create advanced fast cgi caches specifically to improve bots’ access to sites by feeding them all cached content.
  7. Test everything before going live. Always test modules on a developer version of your site before launching it online.

Keeping in mind these seven things will help your Magento-backed store run quickly and smoothly, leading to happy customers.

[Photo courtesy of Jonel Hanopol on Flickr]
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06 Aug

Choosing Correct Software for Your E-commerce Store

Starting a business online is no small feat. If you have decided to put up your own online store to sell your products or services, you should be prepared not only for the eventual sale of your items but also the deluge of preparatory requirements before setting it all up.

One of the first things that any online business owner should decide on is what software to use in running the store. A lot of applications are available for use by anyone interested in starting an online business, and each one has its benefits and pitfalls.

The three most common e-commerce applications are PrestaShop, Magento, and WordPress with an e-commerce plugin. Allow me to discuss the pros and cons of these three popular applications to help you in choosing correct software for your e-commerce store.

PrestaShop

With close to 4 million downloads and counting, PrestaShop remains one of the top e-commerce frameworks available for free download. The developers of PrestaShop assure its clients of fast, efficient, and easy-to-use software to build an online store. It’s easy to install, and its light framework will make your website fast. PrestaShop is also easy to configure and debug, especially if you’re adept at PHP development.

The bad side of PrestaShop is its poor rewrite system. Compared with the other two software applications, PrestaShop has the fewest modules and themes.

Magento

This rich and robust e-commerce platform has become a reliable go-to software for any individual or business wanting to set up an online store. Magento is highly extensible and able to handle large catalogs. Its popularity has spawned thousands of modules, so you can say there’s a module for practically anyone. On its backend, Magento can handle multiple sites in different languages.

On the down side, the rich Magento framework takes its toll on site speed. Magento has the heaviest code of the three software choices in this list, and requires more servers running. It also needs a highly skilled Magento developer to adjust the platform to your business needs. If you want to learn the software yourself, expect a steeper learning curve.

WordPress with e-commerce plugin

The number one blogging platform has evolved into a complete CMS package, thanks to the wide variety of attractive themes and plugins available for convenient installation. WordPress is now able to run an e-commerce website using ready-to-use plugins such as WooCommerce, WP e-Commerce, and Jigoshop. WordPress is also ultra-convenient as it makes content creation and editing easy, and does not need additional blogging software. It is innately SEO-ready, but you can enhance it further using SEO plugins.

Most of the e-commerce plugins running in WordPress have limitations, particularly on the number of catalogs. If you plan to increase your product list to over 20,000, then WordPress might not be the best option for you.


 

Choosing the perfect e-commerce platform for your online store will really depend on your business plans. I recommend that you research more on these three e-commerce software solutions to further cement your decision.

[Photo courtesy of Guiseppe Leto Barone on Flickr]
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