Feedback 3: Magento Extensions

Written by Guido Jansen in
October 2010

So here it is: Before choosing an extension it’s important to think about the present processes you’re shop will contain. The best way to do that is making of a flowchart where you step by step can write the processes and the possibilities in your shop. As I want to inform more types of shops in my post, I will not show an example of a method for choosing the right extensions, but will write a step by step guide that will involve the most types of shops.

This assignment for week 3 of the Magento Course was:

Make a whitepaper ‘Choosing a Magento extension’ for clients. Make it a step-by-step process for (new) Magento webshop owners on how to choose an extension, what to look for, and what the things are that they need to take into account for implementation (including costs).

Step 1

Make a wish list of tasks you would like to do by your customers. As you've read in Guido’s post, the only way to know which extensions you really need is thinking about the features and comparing them with the present features of Magento. So if you want to know which extensions you need, you’ll first ask which possibilities are standard Magento. The list below will help you to exclude many extensions, because they are just part standard Magento installation. In standard Magento frontend your customers can online:

  • Look, compare, review, email products & add to wish list
  • Add products to cart, fill in the discount codes, choose shipment methods
  • Register, edit their account details, choose their language & subscribe for newsletter
  • Search in the website, look for (popular) tags, choose options in community poll

In standard Magento backend you (as a shop owner) can:

  • Manage orders, taxes, look at invoices, shipments, transactions
  • Manage products, categories, subcategories, attributes, attribute sets, search tags, product URL’s
  • Manage customers, groups
  • Create shopping cart & catalog price rules
  • Basic newsletter options, basic CMS
  • Extended reports by customers/products/search tags/reviews
  • Customer segmentation (Enterprise users)

Step 2

Go to http://www.magentocommerce.com/magento-connect and search at the right panel named ‘By Categories’ for an additional features you would like to install & use in your shop. Here are two examples:

Canonical URL for Magento

FREE

This extension adds the new canonical links to the head of your Magento pages, for a more in-depth explanation. It makes for search engines easier connect your shop with social media, make your shop better accessible via Google. 13466 downloads, 50 reviews.

Advanced Reports

$129.00 (CE), $489.00 (EE)

Advanced Reports extension for Magento helps you to improve the functionality of native Magento reports and create a complete picture of your business situation.

Step 3

Contact your shop developer to ask the consequences of installing the extension into your shop. Some extensions can cause problems in compilation with another extensions, Magento versions and hosting providers. The last one is one of the important things you have to think about. The hosting provider. Should you get enough support, is the up time high and are the specialized (experienced) in Magento? You will also have to ask the price of implementation (how many hours) your developer will spend during installing and configuring the extension.

  • So collect as many information you can about the extension before using it.
  • Also don’t bother to take a look on the extension owner’s website to read more about him, his extensions and read the FAQs on his webpage.
  • After installing the extension you will need some support (including user guide) to use it.
  • Check the availability of support before choosing it.

Step 4

If you are done with the first 3 steps, it’s time to contact your developer to purchase (if it’s not free) the extension and begin with implementation on your development environment.

  • Read the user guide before using the extension in Magento
  • Contact your developer to fix some bugs or errors you found in the extension (if any).
  • Place a review on Magento Connect website to help another shop owners & developers make a choice.
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