Last Updated 18th DECEMBER 2018
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.
#1 Basic Set Up & Store Management
In this section
- Guide #1.1: Adding a Magento category
- Guide #1.2: Products in Magento:
- Guide #1.3: Creating attributes and sets
- Guide #1.4: Setting up tax zones and rules
#1.1 Setting up your 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.
#1.2 Magento products (what they are and adding)
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.
- #1.2.1 Magento product types explained: this talks more in depth about what each product type does and how they can be used.
- #1.2.2 Simple product: this is your basic product. Single standalone, such as a belt or a pair of gloves.
- #1.2.3 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.
- #1.2.4 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)
- #1.2.5 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.
#1.3 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. They can also be used to create additional, specific field such as screen resolution, manufacturer and dimensions to name a few.
In this guide, we’ll look at how to create attributes and attribute sets, and what they can be used for, from creating configurable products to custom product fields and even category product filtering.
After you’ve done this, you now understand the basics of setting up and managing a Magento 2 website!
#1.4 Setting up tax zones and rules
Having the correct tax settings in place is critical in terms of showing the taxes on the website, it applying the correct tax in the shopping cart and on the invoices sent to customers. In Magento, you’re able to set up multiple rules based on country, state, zip/post code, so if you ship internationally, you’re able to show the correct tax for the corresponding location.
Here we’ll see how the tax zones and tax rules work and how to set them up.
#2 Be Search Engine Friendly
In this section
- Guide #2.1: Setting up tracking
- Guide #2.2: Creating & uploading an XML sitemap
- Guide #2.3: Applying the canonical tag
- Guide #2.4: Managing Magento Cache
- Guide #2.5 : Setting up URL Rewrites
#2.1 Setting up tracking
There is no such thing as a perfect eCommerce website, there are always improvements that can be made. But how do we decide what these are? We need to make informed decisions, so that we can track these results, and to do this we need cold, hard data. Tracking is essential on any website, with the most popular website tracking platform being Google Analytics.
Here, we talk about how to set up Google analytics and it’s eCommerce tracking for bot Magento 2 CE and EE. We then go on to look at how Google Ads tracking is set up and global website tags can be easily applied in Magento 2.
#2.2 Creating & uploading an XML sitemap
To make sales on a Magento store, there’s one major thing we need – customers. People need to be able to find your website, and with 93% of online experiences starting with search engines, we need them to know our website exists. The best way for search engines to be aware of you websites existence and for to start looking through your website pages is to create and upload an XML sitemap.
In this guide, we’ll look at how you can easily create an XML sitemap and then upload it to your Google Search Console account.
#2.3 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 we’ll look at why it’s important and how to switch it on.
#2.4 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. We’ll be looking at where you can manage the website cache and what options are available to you.
#2.5 Setting up URL rewrites
We go to a lot of effort to get customers to our Magento stores and make them more popular in search engines, and we want this to be retained and continue. What we don’t want is for an update to a page’s URL key to lose all the work weve put in to that page. What we’ll be looking at here is how to enable and create URL rewrites in Magento 2, why they are important to a websites health, how to enable automatic rewrites and even how to add manual ones.
#3 Optimise & Improve
In this section
- Guide #3.1: An overview to Magento discounts
- Guide #3.1.1: 5 most popular discount types (guide on how to add)
- Guide #3.2: Setting up layered navigation
- Guide #3.3: Using the search term report
- Guide #3.4: Creating and using customer groups
- Guide #3.5: 3 Magento reports with actionable marketing improvements
#3.1 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 different ways to apply discounts in Magento. There are multiple ways of applying lowered prices to products, these include:
- Special price: Adding a discounted 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 how to add the 5 most popular discount types in Magento. This includes applying sitewide discounts, creating coupon codes, hurdle based discounts and more.
#3.2 Setting up layered navigation
One of the most common ways for people to browse your Magento store is through the search bar, this is all well and good if they know what they’re looking for, but if they are just browsing through, the search might not be as useful. A major improvement for eCommerce websites, especially those with a vast catalogue is with layered navigation and filterable results.
This is another way for people to more easily find the products they’re looking for, we’ll look at how it works, how to add it to your website and the various options available.
#3.3 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.
We’ll be looking at the benefits of the search term report, how to find and utilise it to improve the customer experience, including how to direct certain searches to specific landing pages (rather than the search results).
#3.4 Creating and using customer groups
There are many times we wish we could do more, especially when it comes to eCommerce websites such as, have seperate pricing for retail and wholesale customers, give create discounts for loyal customers and even segragating our customers to better personalise to them.
The use of customer groups can help with this, letting you define numerous elements of your website so that they are only seen by certain customers. This includes things such as discounts and codes, product pricing and more.
Here we’ll look at how to set up a customer group, apply the group to customers, then how you can set up alternative pricing on products depending on customer group and how to have cart and catalogue price rules for only certain customer groups.
#3.5 Three Magento reports with actionable marketing improvements
We always wanting to be looking at ways to improve our Magento websites, this can be done in multiple ways, but we want to be basing this on data, so our improvements are informed. One of the ways we can get data is by studying our analytics, however, another place we can look is at something our Magento store offers – the Magneto reports.
We’ll look at a couple of these reports, what insights can be gleamed from looking at them and how we can then look to make improvements to our Magento website.