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Intro to Managing Your Magento 2 Website

by: Tim Richardson

on: 1st October, 2018

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Whether you’re just starting out with a Magento website, or if you’ve been using it for years, this is a handy little check sheet in case you need a little help with how to do something with Magento.

For the examples, we’ll be using Magento 2, as this is the latest version, but the details and the processes in some of the guides should match over to Magento 1.

The basics

TL;DR

Setting up your website categories

To begin with, you’ll need to set up your categories. These will be the basis for your website structure and hierarchy. You categories structure will define how you divide and split your products and how people will navigate your website.

Adding your products

When you’ve set up a category, you’ll want it to start adding products to it. Now, Magento has different types of products, which changes how the products are displayed.

The product type you’ll want to use will depend on what the product is how you want to show them, in a nutshell, you have:

  • Simple product: this is your basic product. Single standalone, such as a belt or a pair of gloves.
  • Configurable product: if your product has multiple options, such as a T-shirt in different sizes, this will let you list all the options via a drop-down menu.
  • Grouped product: when you have a range of products you want to sell together, where customers can choose how many they want of each option, before adding to the basket (example)
  • Bundle product: this is where you want to offer a range of products to sell as a set, where you can choose the option the set has, such as a suit, consisting of jacket, shirt and trousers, where there is a choice of three shirts.

After you’ve done this, you now understand the basics of setting up and managing a Magento 2 website!

Optimising and improving

TL;DR

How to create discounts

You can now start to look at some more advanced elements to help you optimise and improve the website. To start with, you’ll want to consider the differnt ways to apply discounts in Magento. There are multiple ways of applying lowered prices to products, these include:

  • Special price: Adding a disocunted price to specific products
  • Shopping cart rules: Discounts applied in the basket including discount codes, free delivery if you spend £50 and more.
  • Catalogue price rules: Discounts applied to your catalogue, where it can be applied to specific products, categories or even sitewide.

You can also check our other guide that looks at the most popular types of Magento discounts and how to apply them to your site. This includes applying sitewide discounts, creating coupon codes, hurdle based discounts and more.

Using the search term report

You’ll also want to understand how people are using your website. One of the ways to do this is reviewing the searches people are using to find products on your website, which you can do via the search term report.

This shows you what searches are conducted on the website, how often, the number of results and so on. This can help you get better insights as to how your customers search, which you can then use to improve your marketing.

You can also use the search term report to direct searches to specific landing pages, rather than the search results.

Applying the canonical tag

One of the things that search engines don’t like, is duplicate content. A problem with Magento and ecommerce websites is that their very structure and set up can create duplication.

This can come from products in multiple categories, filters that create multiple duplicate pages, pagination and so on. A way to deal with this, and make search engines happy is to apply something called a canonical tag.

What the canonical tag does, is say to search engines, ‘this is a duplicate page, the main one is this one we’re referencing’. Thankfully, this functionality is built into Magento 2 and is fairly straightforward to switch on.

Creating attributes and attribute sets

There are some slightly more advanced ways to customise your products via attributes. Attributes are what defines and makes up a product such as the product name, price, weight and so on. If you’ve added a configurable product before, you’ll have some familiarity with attributes and attribute sets.

What you can also do, is use them to create specific products that have unique fields, for example.

If a company sells a range of electronic goods, part of their range will include mobile phones and Televisions. These will have elements that both products types and ones that will be unique to the each, such as both will have:

  • Screen resolution
  • Manufacturer
  • Size
  • Weight

But they will also have ones that are unique, mobile phones will have other attributes Operating system Number of cameras and their resolution, the processor, memory and so on.

Whereas a TV would have whether it is wall mountable, whether it’s a smart TV or not, the connectivity it has (HDMI, VGA, USB), and so on.

So instead of having a convoluted product, filled with lots of redundant fields, what you can do is create a specific mobile phone and TV product that contain these fields. The ones that are the same can be used over both, the ones that are unique will only appear in their respective products.

These additional attributes can then also be used for product filtering, making it easier for customers to find the products they’re looking for.

Managing Magento Cache

You might find that after having added and applying some of the updates above, that you can’t immediately see them on the front end of the website. This is generally down to the cache. Cache is the storage of common files and elements of the Magento website, that helps to improve the load speed of the website, when you make an update, these stored files can become outdated, stopping you from seeing changes you’ve made straight away.

In these situations, you”ll want to flush and refresh Magento’s cache, so that the old, outdated elements are removed, and the cache storage is rebuilt with the changes you’ve made.

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