Optimize Your E-Commerce Store For Cyber Monday and Black Friday 2017!

Its that time of year again!

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a great opportunity for online retailers and e-commerce businesses to drastically increase their sales with discounts and sales. 

Have you prepared your Magento store  the millions of shoppers, amped up to spend money for Black Friday and Cyber Monday? We have some tips that may help you and your store prepare!

Promote Promote Promote!

People can’t find you if you don’t tell them.  Send out dedicated newsletters to your subscribers by creating coupon codes and send them to customers in newsletters. Try conversion rate optimization software to track your customers conversions and promote specials via pop up ads or banners on your site! We love Picreel as they use the ReelOverlay feature where you can capture a new lead, gain a sale, or simply keep a visitor on your website longer with a pop-up that is customized according to your needs.

Add social media buttons to your product pages to encourage visitors to share your offers or post on blogs, community forums etc. Don’t be shy!

Give Your Store a Makeover

If you want your products to jump off the shelves during the campaign, you need to change the look of your website. Turn headers into banners to promote discounts. You can use several tools to do so. Check out our User Experience Extensions to help with things like search engines, product sorting, frequently viewed items and more!

Optimize Your Site

A holiday campaign performs best with seasonal landing pages. You can SEO-optimize  pages by using Black Friday- and Cyber Monday-related keywords. Use captivating images, write great content to allure shoppers. Try Image Optimization for faster load speed on images or Minify Js/Css/HTML to reduce page size, bandwidth and server load. 

You can also add temporarily SEO keywords to existing product pages to enhance your chances of getting new customers who utilize search engines to find discounts on the Internet.

Having an SSL certificate is also essential: shoppers may abandon the shopping cart if they see that the connection is not secure and they may be at risk of losing credit card data.

Make Sure Your Shopping Cart is Prepared

One of the most frustrating things for customers can be the checkout process. How many times have you seen your potential buyers just leave everything in the cart and bail? Its not a fun feeling. Abandoned Cart Modules have been extremely popular, allowing the system to inform your runaway customers that they have some good stuff waiting to be purchased! Check out Abandoned Cart Reminder or Follow Up Email for more info!

Give Your Customers a Reward or Discount

Everyone loves a good deal, and thats the main idea behind Cyber Monday and Black Friday. The great thing is, being an E-Commerce store, your customers can avoid the hassle of getting dressed and perhaps trampled by the deal seekers! Try Shopping Cart Price Rules to enable custom discounts for the Holidays or Free Gift to spread some love to those good customers you want to thank or introduce to your products. 

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the best time of the year for ecommerce businesses to take sales to the next level. Some businesses miss the opportunity by failing to prepare their Magento store for the holidays. Stand out from the competition and see how Extendware Extensions can help you get on track. We offer 7 day free trials and 30 day money back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose!

Have fun and Happy Holidays from Extendware!
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PHP 7 Why It’s Great and Our Compatible Extensions

We have great news at Extendware. Not only are we adding new Magento 2.0 extensions weekly, but we are also updating our extensions to PHP7. Many of them are available now so we thought we would share a little bit about PHP7 here in our blog!

Much Faster Speed

A great advantage of the new PHPNG engine is the significant performance improvement. The development team of PHPNG refactored the Zend Engine, and remarkably optimized memory usage. With PHP 7, not only your code will be executed faster, but you will also need fewer servers to serve the same number of users.

64-Bit Windows Systems Support

PHP is a prominent member of the LAMP stack which means its native environment is Linux, but it’s also possible to run it on a Windows system. PHP 7 introduces consistent 64-bit support which means both native 64-bit integers and large files will be supported, allowing you to confidently run the language on your 64-bit Windows system in the future.

The New Zend Engine

The Zend engine has been powering PHP since 1999 when it was introduced with the PHP 4 release. Zend PHP#NG-01-01(not to be confused with the Zend Framework) is an open source execution engine written in C that interprets the PHP language. PHP 7 receives an entirely new version of the engine coming under the code name of PHP#NG (Next Generation). The enhanced functionality of the initial engine and adds an extensible object model and a significant performance enhancement to the language.

Anonymous Classes

PHP 7 enables you to use anonymous classes, already a well-established practice in other object-oriented languages like C# and Java. An anonymous class is a class without a name. The object it instantiates has the same functionality as an object of a named class.

The syntax is the same as what we are used to in traditional PHP classes, only the name is missing. If anonymous classes are used well, they can speed up coding as well execution time. Anonymous classes are excellent when a class is used only once during execution and in cases when a class doesn’t need to be documented.

Error Handling

Handling fatal and catchable fatal errors have never been an easy task for PHP coders. The new Engine PhP image 2-01Exceptions will allow you to replace these types of errors with exceptions. If the exception is not caught, PHP will continue to return the same fatal errors as it does in the 5.X series.

The new Engine Exception objects don’t extend the Exception Base Class. This ensures backward compatibility and results in two different kinds of exceptions in error handling: traditional and engine exceptions. To enable programmers to catch both, PHP 7 introduces a new shared Parent Class under the name of Base Exception.

New Spaceship and Null Coalescing Operators

The Spaceship operator runs under the official name of Combined Comparison Operator. The notation of the new operator looks like this: <=> (kind of like a simplified spaceship, if you imagine it right). The Spaceship Operator returns 0 if both operands are equal, 1 if the left is greater, and -1 if the right is greater. It’s also called a three-way comparison operator, and it already exists in other popular programming languages like Perl and Ruby.

The Null Coalescing operator is denoted with two question marks ( ?? ). You can use it when you want to check if something exists and return a default value, in case it doesn’t. The coalesce operator returns the result of its first operand if it exists and is not null, and the second operand in any other cases

Enables Accurate Type Declarations

Have you ever wanted to prevent unintended return values by declaring the return type of a function? PHP 7 enables developers to enhance the quality of their code with the help of return type declarations.

Imports from the Same Namespace

The new Group Use Declarations feature will be crucial for those who want to import many classes from the same namespace. The new syntax cuts verbosity, makes your code tidier and easier on the eyes, and saves you a lot of typing time. It will also be easier to read through and debug codes, as group use declarations help you identify the imports that belong to the same module.

Frees Up Space

The goal of PHP 7 was to free up the space to enable improvement, so it was necessary to get rid of many deprecated functionalities and old and unsupported Server APIs and extensions.  All the removed items have been deprecated for a while in PHP 5 so most likely you haven’t used them for a long time. However please note if you have a legacy app running on older PHP versions the new PHP 7 can potentially break the code.

Check out some of our updated PHP7 compatible extensions!

LLucene-Searchucene Search

Increase revenue and customer satisfaction with faster, more relevant search results. Lucene Search is a powerful and flexible search solution that helps ensure your customers can always find the products they want.

 

Full Page CacheFull-Page-Cache-(Web)

Full Page Cache reduces your Magento store’s First Byte Time, Increases your web server request rate, reduces database load, and makes your store much more responsive

 

 

CacCache-Crawlerhe Warmer

The Magento Full Page Cache Crawler / Warmer will ensure your Full Page Cache solution is always “warmed” and ready to serve your store pages at the fastest speed possible. The extension is efficiently coded to reduce bandwidth, CPU, and crawling time.

 

 Image OptimizationImage-Optimization-(Web)

Images are very important for online stores, but unnecessarily large images can slow down the user experience and reduce search engine rankings. Image Optimization will optimize your images and reduce their size without sacrificing image quality, so that your site images are faster loading.

 

Auto-Translate-(for-web)Auto Translate

Increase your stores potential customer base by allowing users to translate the page to their preferred language. Ensure advertising campaigns and feeds targeting certain languages will automatically translate to that languageMinify 1.0

 

Product-Labels-(For-web)

Product Labels

Automatically highlight your special offers, featured products, sales, and more. Multiple images / labels per products supported, flexible rules, and many, many options to empower you to market your products the best way possible.

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How To Fix Common Magento SEO Mistakes

SEO is the key to running a good online store. If you’re doing Magento search engine optimization yourself without issues, then you are in great shape! It can certainly be a challenge for those who have less SEO experience. Kind of like myself! When I first started my online clothing shop, I was struggling to get my store to a higher than 50 position.  I was goof with blogs and keywords so I wasn’t sure why I wasn’t in a better spot! I then realized my low traffic and low rankings were due to issues in my Magento SEO settings. After identifying this, I took some action to fix these issues and I want to share them with you!

Default Settings

The main thing you need to do is go through all configuration points and change every single default setting. The default Magento installation is pretty useless when it comes to SEO. It has certain settings, but they are insufficient for proper search engine optimization and fighting competition.

You can’t leave the default settings as they are and you will still need to go through them and tune everything up before installing any third-party SEO extensions.

Changing URLs/Deleting Pages

If you change URLs or delete pages and don’t set up a proper redirect, it will cause more 404 mistakes on your website. Google says it’s okay to have some URLs returning 404 pages, but still they want you to fix them. Just go to System, then Configuration, then Catalog, and Create Permanent Redirect for old URLs. Its good to eliminate these as nothing scares a customer off more than a 404 message!

Image OptimizationImage-Optimization

Magento doesn’t change the name of the product image or add an alt tag so you will have to do this yourself if you want your images bring you passive traffic from search engines, and SEO friendly name tags. Try Extendware’s Image Optimization  extension to optimize your images and reduce their size without sacrificing image quality!

Default Descriptions

If you go to System, then Configuration, Design, HTML Head and finally Default description and enter it, Magento will put this description to all pages without a custom description. Remember that each of your pages is considered to be unique, including meta tags.

Translated Page URL’S

If your product is site.com/product.html for the English language, you should have different URLs for the same product in other languages as well. I learned that you have to change it for each language your store is geared towards. Make sure to do it on all pages too not just home page, which means all product pages!

Rich Snippets

Rich Snippets are a great way to have more exposure and attention without necessarily being in top 3. Results in Google with rich snippets have higher CTR and more clicks. Implementing rich data is pretty easy and should be only be made once.

rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x”

rel=”alternate” connects pages with the same content, but in different languages so don’t ignore it! You might even want to use another tool – “x-default hreflang” for international landing pages. Make sure to link translated pages with each other. It is usually done through country flags or links with language names’.

Layered Navigation/SEO Optimization

Layered-NavigationLeaving Magento layered navigation as the default or third-party, without tuning SEO settings is an important mistake which may lead to hundreds of pages with messy URLs and duplicate content. Check out Extendware’s Layered Navigation extension to increase sales by making your catalog more filterable, aesthetically appealing, and faster for your customers to find the products they want!

XML sitemap

To make sure all of your store pages are indexed and re indexed properly and fast, you will need to upgrade your XML sitemap. Make sure to check the content before submitting it to Google Webmaster Tools. Default Magento XML sitemap only includes products and category pages and doesn’t contain images.

Duplicate IssuesProduct-Sorting

Ok so Magento is a culprit of duplicate content, which Google hates! Product Sorting can increase the effectiveness of your online product catalog and can increase your conversion rates. Sort products on your sales page by Best Sellers, Top Performers, Most Viewed, Number of Reviews, and more. Easily cascade your sorting options – such as always showing in stock items first. For more info check out Extendware’s Product Sorting extension.

Load Speed

Full-Page-CacheLoad speed on any website is an official Google ranking factor. An e-commerce store’s speed influences bounce rate and customer’s likeliness to return. Magento itself is very slow in terns of site speed and SEO. So it is recommended to use a cache service such as Extendware’s Full Page Cache extension. This will reduce your Magento store’s First Byte Time, increase your web server request rate, reduce database load, and make your store much more responsive!

All in all, Magento is a great platform for my business, but like anything, it takes time and investment in the right tools to make it run fast and efficient. For more tools that focus on SEO and performance, visit Extendware’s Performance Extensions. They are sure to help you like they did me!

Have questions on the spot? Extendware now has a live chat!

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Reduce The Size Of Your Images And Help Your Sites Load Faster With Image Optimization

“What’s the hold up?” You might ask yourself while waiting for your page to load. After trying every solution to fix this issue, you might be surprised to realize its something as simple as a photo! Images, although very important in communicating your products, can sometimes be too large and slow up your customer browser cache. With Image Optimization you can alleviate this issue and improve search engine ranking.

Speed Up Downloads With Hostnames
Speed Up Downloads With Hostnames

Here are some other great perks you will gain with this Extension 

Optimize Images Without Losing Image Quality
Image quality is very important in order to sell products online. As a result, all image optimization will ensure no image quality is lost.

No Need to Install Server Software 
The smushit online API is used (not yahoo which is shutdown, but resmushit which is available) so you do not need to install any server software. You can of course continue to optimize on your server if you want or need to.

Optimize Catalog Product Images
Optimize product images and add forever expiries to them to better use the browser cache.

Search Engine Optimize Catalog Product Images 
Make the name of the product image the same as the product name to improve search engine rank.

Optimize-Catalog-Product-Images
Optimize Catalog Product Images

Optimize Skin Images
Optimize skin images and add forever expiries to them to better use the browser cache.

Optimize Media Images
Optimize media images and add forever expiries to them to better use the browser cache.

Optimize Images in Any Directory 
Easily add any directory of images you want to optimize and all the images in the directory will be optimized.

Optimize Images In Any Directory
Optimize Images In Any Directory

Compatible With Almost All CDNs
Image optimization is compatible even if you use a content delivery network.

Improve the Browser Cache Management of Images Files
Your catalog and CSS images will be rewritten and cached in a similar way as the Javascript and CSS. This means that once a user downloads an image, they never have to request that image on your server again. This can save dozens of server requests per page load and save hundreds of kilobytes per page load. On a default Magento Commerce install, this saves 20 web requests per page load just for the CSS images alone.

Reduce Bandwidth
Image optimization will reduce bandwidth requirements for your store which can save money.

Speed Up Downloads With Hostnames
Speed Up Downloads With Hostnames

 

If you can believe it, the above list is not a complete list of features. Please try the online demo or install as a risk free trial and take advantage of our risk-free 30 day refund guarantee to fully see the power and elegance of the Image Optimization extension.

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Improving Magento Store Speed

Let me guess. You were browsing your own Magento store and found the experience frustrating. You thought to yourself “should I be worried about this?” and started Googling and landed on this page. Well, let me tell you, you should be worried about your store speed and how to increasing Magneto store optimization. If you are frustrated with the speed of your store, imagine how much frustration your customers are feeling. Unfortunately, Magento performance is not good without tweaks, configuration, and testing.

Why is a Fast Store Important?

The answer is simple: Money. Yes, I said it. You are in business to make a living as well as provide a valuable service to people. Both of those things are helped by having a faster Magento store. Here, let me explain:

  1. Increase conversion rates – There has been a lot of research into store speed and conversion rates from Amazon, Walmart, and other big retailers. It has been discovered that there is a direct correlation between speed and sales. Conceptually it is easy to understand… If you provide a better experience, then people will order more.
  2. Increase search engine rankings – Google caught onto the whole Speed == Quality. If customers purchase more and have a better experience on faster stores, then it only makes sense that Google will be providing a better service by to its customers by redirecting them to higher quality stores. As a result, Google now makes store speed as a ranking faster. The math is simple: The faster your store, the higher your search engine rankings.
  3. Provide a better experience – Ultimately, it comes down to the experience and value you want to provide your customers. If you provide a fast experience they will be less irritated and find you store easier to use. This builds loyalty and reduces friction to order from your store.

What are the Components of Store Speed?

It’s really quite. There are only two aspects of Magento speed that are relevant:

Generation time

This is how fast your server can put together your page and serve it up to the user. There are some other factors that can influence this such as network latency, but in general, the dominant factor is your servers ability to serve pages. This aspect of store performance is crucial as it affects every page and it is very important for SEO.

Download time

Once your base HTML page is generated and served, then the client browser must begin to download all the resources it references. This is your Javascript, CSS, and Images. The process of downloading these resources can take a while depending on their size and structure.

The Solution

I get it. You have a business to run. You don’t want to know about all this technical stuff. What you want is an awesome solution to speed up your Magento store in an easy way. The solution is very simple and it will speed up both generation time and download time:

Generation Time Enhancers

  1. Full Page Cache – Cache your HTML pages so they can generate very, very fast.
  2. Cache Warmer – Crawler your store to ensure the pages are cached.

Download time enhancers

  1. Minify Javascript / Css – Make your javascript / css/ HTML smaller and faster to download.
  2. Image Optimization – Optimize store images so they can be downloaded faster and reduce bandwidth.

It’s that simple. Speed up both aspects of slowdowns and have the fastest store possible. Contact us for any questions!

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10 Steps to Make Magento Speed Faster

At Extendware we specialize in Magento performance extensions and as a result we have learned some things about speeding up Magento along the way. These are 10 easy steps to make Magento faster. The list is not comprehensive of course, but it is applicable to most Magento stores.

Use Extendware Page Cache

The Magento Full Page Cache extension by Extendware will reduce load on the database and server load and improve First Byte Time. The result is a much faster and more stable store. For most Magento stores this speed tip will provide the single fastest improvement in Magento speed.

Minify Javascript / CSS / HTML

Once the First Byte Time is super fast you will want to ensure the Download Time is fast. This is another component of Magento page load. To do this you will want to use the Minify JS / CSS extension which will reduce the size of javascript / css and HTML pages. In addition, it can improve browser caching, do pre-compression and a lot more.

Optimize Images

Very few stores are optimizing images which is quite important considering that images change on every page load. This means that the browser cache is not effectively used. So, though a small improvement on a per-page basis it produces a large speed benefit in aggregate. The easiest way to optimize images is with the Image Optimizatoin extension.

Enable Flat Catalog in Magento

The bottleneck of Magento is almost always the database. To improve the speed of database reads you should use enable Flat Catalog in magento under System -> Configuration -> Catalog -> Frontend. This will reduce the number of database joins done when showing products and as a result reduce MySQL query complexity. The end result is more speed.

Optimize MySQL Configuration

Many stores run MySQL configurations that are not optimized for Magento. Magento use a lot of indexes and a lot of joins. As a result, it will need adequate memory for both of these activities.

Enable Magento Cache

Magento has an internal cache for its configuration, layouts, and blocks. Some stores forget to enable this, so ensure that this is enabled in System -> Cache Management.

Remove 3rd Party Extensions

If you are using extensions that were not created by Extendware, then you will want to disable them. About 50% of all store performance issues are caused by poorly created extensions. When possible you will want to use Extendware extensions as they created with performance in mind.

Enable System Compilation

Magento can combine the PHP files of your store, so that it uses less disk access. This is called System Compilation and can be important if you do not use an opcode cache or you are not on SSD disks. To enable this you can go to System -> Tools -> Compilation.

Review your Hosting Provider

Many hosting companies are oversold and do not offer good performance for the money. In addition, some are just not compatible with Magento. For example, Siteground is a poor choice for Magento hosting as its limitations are too restrictive to run a well-run Magento store. Choosing a better host will help your business reach the next level.

Use a PHP OpCode Cache

A PHP OpCode Cache such as APC can speed up the loading of the PHP files which results in an improved Magento Store speed. This is especially important if you are not using hosting with SSD disks.

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How to Minify Javascript in Magento

Minify-Js--Css-(Web)Minifying javascript is a very important aspect of a faster Magento store. For many stores, it is their greatest weakness on their Google page speed tests.

Why should I minify javascript?

It is important to minify your javascript because it slows down the page load of your Magento store. Many stores can save 500KB off their download size simply by minifying javascript. The less your customers need to download to view your store the faster they can start shopping and purchasing products!

How do I minify javascript in Magento?

It is simple. Follow these steps:

  1. Purchase Minify javascript / css for Magento and install it in your store
  2. In your store backend go to Extendware -> Manage Extensions -> Minify JS / CSS -> Configure -> Files and click the “Auto Configure” button

It is really that easy!


Quick Extension Overview

Speed up your site, improve your search engine site rankings and conversion rate, and improve your user experience in the process. Minify Js / CSS extension reduces page size, bandwidth, request count, and server load without anything more than installing this easy to use and feature-full extension.


 

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Magento Image Optimization

Image-OptimizationMagento Image Optimization is an important performance enhancement that will speed up your Magento page load time. The easiest way to optimize all your Magento images without affecting your existing images is to use the Magento Image Optimization extension for Magento.

Why and when is image optimization important in Magento?

Image optimization affects every single page load. The reason for this is that each page includes unique images and as a result it cannot be cached by the browser well. In addition, low bandwidth and high latency connections such as those used by mobile devices will be benefited a lot from image optimization.

How do I enable image optimization in Magento?

It is simple. Follow these steps:

  1. Purchase Magento Image Optimization for Magento and install it in your store
  2. In your store backend go to Extendware -> Manage Extensions -> Image Optimization -> Configure and click the “Auto Configure” button. That’s it!

Quick Overview

Images are very important for online stores, but unnecessarily large images can slow down the user experience and reduce search engine rankings. Image Optimization will optimize your images and reduce their size without sacrificing image quality, so that your site images are faster loading.


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Magento Image Optimization Extension

Extendware’s Magento Image Optimization is very important when trying to improve your Google page speed. This is especially true because Magento will auto-resize your catalog product images and when it does this they are not in their most optimal form. Previously, having an magento image optimized store was impossible.

That has all changed! Now Magento Image Optimization will optimize your jpeg, gif, and png files so that they are as efficient and fast to download as possible. Some stores are seeing up to a 30% reduction in total page weight and nearly every store will see some reduction. Images are optimized efficiently in the background so that your site speed is not affected. If you are running an older version of Site Optimizer, then we highly recommend upgrading. Refer to the demo at the Magento Image Optimization product page.

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