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  • Magento terminology

    Magento terminology

    Magento is one of the most popular platforms for web stores creation. The beginners often feel uncomfortable using it due to lack of theoretical knowledge. Today we will review Magento terminology.

    Magento terms

    There are a lot of terms that have the same meaning in Magento as well as in other platforms. We will discuss the most frequently used ones and explain their meaning in details.

    In order to understand some of the terms it is still necessary to know main principles of Magento functionality, Magento templates, read the user’s guide. First, let us review the difference between the concepts of Websites and Magento Stores.

    Websites. On the Websites platform there can be a certain number of web stores which use the same database, customers’ base and other information sources. You can configure different sites to display the same information.

    Stores. This is the part of site visible to customers. Depending on the configuration you can divide the stores but in most cases the stores that share the same database display the same content.

    Store Views. Store Views are the parts of sites where the products are displayed. One of the most convenient Magento options is that Store Views can be configured to use several languages. This feature is frequently used for Multilanguage stores.

    Magento architecture

    The base of Magento platform is Zend Framework which is considered to guarantee the security of the site code and your personal information.

    What makes Magento so convenient:

    1. High flexibility. If you are a skilled programmer you will not have a problem opening Magento source code. Otherwise we recommend you to ask GoMage Magento experts for assistance;

    2. You can update the system when you need it, you always have a choice and a right to not use updated versions;

    3. Very high performance speed and security of the system are above all competitors. That is why Magento is used by the most popular web stores. Despite that, your site can still be attacked by professional hackers but the probability of their penetration into the site data is very low on this platform.

    The next block of terms will be useful for configuration of any Magento site:

    Core. The core contains absolutely all site functions that is why making any modifications in it is very dangerous for further web store functionality. The source code of the core is a specific set of necessary modules. It is not recommended to change their code because after that you will not be able to install the upgrade and will have to re-install the whole system completely.

    Local. Local is the variant of Magento configuration which is stored in a separate user’s archive. They are used when it is necessary to upgrade the system or some of its functions. The principle of work of the Local is equal to the original source code.

    Community. Community is the configurations of your web store. You can change them according to your needs.

    Extensions. Extensions are the files which serve to improve the functionality of Magento, extend the platform options, etc. GoMage Extensions are known for their wide functionality as well as the guarantee that they will not affect the functionality of updates. The extensions can be installed manually or downloaded through Magento Connect.

    There are several types of extensions:

    1. Modules. They improve the standard properties and functions of Magento, e.g. payment module or translation module.

    2. Interface offers a wide range of visual options. Basically this type of extension influences customers’ interface which is configured in the admin panel.

    3. Themes. They are Magento templates. They help to make your web store design unique and complete the work of the above mentioned extensions. Magento Themes are also divided into two types - Default Themes and Non-Default Themes. The former ones are built in the system while the latter ones need to be bought or ordered from web designers.

    Additional terms

    The following terms are very popular not only with Magento programmers but with other specialists of this sphere:

    Layouts – they are standard XML files which determine the page description, its view, the number of blocks, general functionality.

    Templates – they are PHTML files which include files with (X)HTML extension and various PHP tags for connection of the other files.

    Skins – they are JavaScript blocks, CSS and image files, they serve to make the site pages beautiful.

    Blocks help to create a specific set of functions. They are used for configuration of the page layout on the web stores and other sites. There are Structural Blocks and Content Blocks. Structural are general blocks that form the site, e.g. sidebar, content column, footers, and Content blocks are what the Structural blocks are filled with.

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  • Watermark in Magento

    Watermark in Magento

    For any site on the Internet it is important to have uniqueness and preservation of copyright as in the description of the commodity positions and in the photographs. Let us review how to create a watermark in Magento which will be displayed automatically on the product images.

    What is the purpose of a watermark?

    Of course, its presence is not a perfect guarantee that the attackers will not take advantage of your photos, but you will make their work more difficult if you use this way. Many search engines use the filters of the images plagiarism, thus a criminal will not be able to place his own watermark on yours. He will have to erase it or hide and this is a fairly laborious task.

    The advantages of the watermark use:

    1. Copyright protection on the image;

    2. Additional advertisement. If a customer looks for something concrete in Google Image, for example, then he must pay attention to the image with the logo of your online store;

    3. You add an additional professional feature to your business.

    How to create a watermark

    To create a watermark yourself you can use Photoshop and your skills to work with it or you can slightly adjust the logo of your Magento store. The first variant fits the experienced users of the personal computers and people with the design skills. The second variant is an optimal one for the beginners.

    Let us start working:

    1. You need to go to the directory skin/frontend/base/default/images/catalog/product/placeholder/ because all the images which are necessary for your online store for the work are located here. We do not recommend making changes in the base theme and advising you to use the user’s one. Then you should edit the images’ files in the catalog skin/frontend/default/default/images/catalog/product/placeholder/ of your Magento Installation.

    2. Now you need to develop the image or configure the logo. In any case, put yourself in the customer’s place in order to understand what you would want to see in the online store on a product image. Also pay attention to what targeted audience you have.

    3. When you finish the watermark development, you need to configure its automatic output on the image in the Magento store. To do it you need to go to the admin panel: System – Configuration and chose the Design tab.

    4. You need to find the following category in this section - Product Image Watermarks. You will see the page with the possible Magento settings there. You need to enter a certain data in the following fields:

    4.1. Base Image Watermark Default Size is accordingly the size of the watermark. By the way, about the sizes. Any Magento Themes have several standard sizes which are 262*262, 50*50, 135*135;

    4.2. Base Image Watermark Opacity, Percent. You need to configure the optimal image in this field. It will be a bright sign or slightly prominent. It should be chosen in this line.

    4.3. Base Image Watermark Position. Everything is intuitively clear here. You should find the optimal variant for your Magento store.

    5. After making all the changes please save the configuration page and go to the main one in the online store. If everything is done correctly, then you will see a watermark on the images place if a picture is not placed on the commodity position by default. If the image exists, then it should look like regarding your settings (size, opacity, position).

    Sometimes the display of the watermark in Magento does not work even if you do all the step by step instructions. In this case, you need to clear the cache. Also you can use services of Magento development by GoMage or use special Magento extensions.

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  • Replication in Magento

    Replication in Magento

    Many options which are considered as necessary for a web store are already present in Magento. Let us review how to perform replication in Magento and why it is necessary.

    What is replication?

    Replication is creation of exact copies of certain files which are supposed to exchange the data. Correspondingly, replications are the copies of some system files, the files of Magento themes, extensions, etc.

    Magento platform can properly resist the database replication which is not always necessary for a web store. But if you use it to correct some customers’ data or to manage your database remotely, then it is a very useful option.

    There are several replication types in Magento:

    1. Bag replication;

    2. Programmed replication;

    3. Replication with the help of third party software (this type is almost never used in Magento or used very rarely).

    How to configure replication

    The replication configuration in Magento is performed with the help of an installation Master Slave for a web store. This is very convenient due to easiness of many options performance. Also it is necessary to mention that, when Master Slave is used, Magento system sends waiting queries to all servers while correct queries are sent to the database.

    Database ranging in Magento is quite a difficult task. If you wish to execute it without having corresponding skills and experience it would be better to consult with Magento experts.

    Preparing for replication

    First of all, you need to configure two MySQL servers. You will also need a hostname, IP address, username and password.

    Preparing for configuration:

    1. Open file my.cnf which is in /etc/mysql directory (this only works for those who use Debian distribution, e.g. Ubuntu). In case you work with XAMPP you will need the file my.ini from xampp/bin directory.

    2. Now you need to find the part of code you see below and comment it (put a # sign at the beginning), thus you will open access to your MySQL server for other networks:

    #bind-address =

    3. Paste the following code below [mysqld] section; you can change the parameters to the ones you need:

    server-id = 1
    log_bin = /var/log/mysql/mysql-bin.log
    expire_logs_days = 10
    max_binlog_size = 100M
    binlog_do_db = magentodb


    4. Then re-start MySQL server. For Debian distribution the command looks like this:

    sudo /etc/init.d/mysql restart

    5. After that re-login to MySQL console:

    sudo mysql -u root -p

    6. And now in MySQL shell enter the following commands:

    GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON `magentodb` . * TO 'slave_user’@’%’ WITH
    GRANT OPTION IDENTIFIED BY 'slave_password’;


    7. Re-login to MySQL root shell, enter the following commands and check the work of Master Slave:

    USE magentodb;


    8. You will see a black screen with some white text on it;

    9. Save the data that you see, you will need them to work with Master Slave;

    10. Use the below command in MySQL shell to unlock database tables:



    11. That’s it, the main part of the job is finished.

    Now we configure Master Slave:

    1. Go to the root directory of Master Slave by entering the following command in its interface:

    mysql -u root –p

    2. Now create a new database magentodb and import the database which is being replicated into your new database;

    3. Open file my.cnf or my.ini from folders /etc/mysql or xampp/mysql/bin. Add [mysqld] above the following code. Then you can change the values according to your server requirements:

    server-id = 2
    master-host =
    master-user = slave_user
    master-password = slave_password
    master-connect-retry = 60
    replicate-do-db = magentodb


    4. Re-start MySQL server again:

    /etc/init.d/mysql restart

    5. Go to the root panel of Slave MySQL by entering the following in its interface:

    mysql -u root -p

    6. Now enter the following command in MySQL. You need to use the file master log and the position ‘master log’ in the same way as in the server settings:

    user’, MASTER_PASSWORD=’slave_password’, MASTER_LOG_FILE=’mysqlbin.
    000001’, MASTER_LOG_POS=88;


    7. Now start the server on which the replications will be stored:


    8. Check the status of Slave using the command below:


    9. You will see a black screen with white text again.

    Now your configuration of Magento replication is complete. We will be glad if you share your thoughts about using this option in Magento in the comments. If you have any additional questions please feel free to contact GoMage specialists directly.

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  • How to prevent DDoS attacks

    How to prevent DDoS attacks

    The issue of security has always been the most sensitive for owners of online stores. This topic is rather difficult, but we will try to highlight it. Let us review how to prevent DDoS attacks to your site and what it is.

    What DDoS attack means and what purpose of it

    eCommerce business is one of the most profitable spheres. You have neither a rental fee, nor troubles with the vast rooms’ searches and many other advantages. But some factors are not changed based on the business you have. For example, one of them is competitors.

    If you have a very young, but successful Magento store which is being developed dynamically, provides customers with the different unique products and polite service with the quick delivery, you should be ready to become a victim of your competitors. It was and it will be and it is a wonderful way to keep yourself in a good shape and lead your store to the correct direction for many business men. Unfortunately, the methods of competition in the Internet are no less cruel than in a real life.

    Say, DDoS attack which is done with the purpose to make a certain site or even server down. The easiest scheme looks like this:

    1. An attacker who wants to disrupt the performance of your site infects computers of the potential bots via his computer. These people may not know that their machines are infected at all, thus they will not suspect anything and know that they are the part of one’s scheme.

    2. After this he sends unreal requests which are processed by the online store anyway to your site using these computers. Here the cruelty begins. Many servers have a certain barrier after which they can’t cope with the requests quantity and can be down.

    3. So, it is clear that the site will not be working and the customers will leave it. Moreover, it can be defined as maleficent by antivirus programs. You should agree that it is not a good perspective.

    You can protect your Magento site from this attack.

    Let us consider how to reflect DDoS-attack.

    Fighting DDoS

    Any data which are added to your site whether it is links, requests and so on, passes the filtering using a certain server routers. It can help you to complicate the task for DDoS attackers. You should use not only one filter routing, but several. In this case, the quantity of the bots has to be increased for using and the requests have to be sent oftener. This is a significant material damage to the attacker, and loss of time, which cannot be recouped.

    Also you should discuss what variants of the protection from such attacks your hosting partner has. The Black Holes filtering is often used. It is also a very effective way to stop the attack. While using it the wrong requests are sent by the Null0 address.

    Upon reflection of this attack, it is important to secure yourself; otherwise a second time can be much more complicated. For this, many experts advise to use input filters directly on the site. It can be the line ip verify unicast reverse-path

    This line should be written in the interface of the incoming data stream to an online store.

    Many Magento experts consider that DDoS is a challenge for all the Internet society. Nowadays there are a big number of Magento extensions which allow protecting the site. But you should remember that the attackers do not sit on the ground and come up with new variants of the websites attack every day.

    Please leave your comments how to protect yourself and your site from DDoS attack and also ask GoMage specialists the questions regarding security.

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  • CSRF attacks

    CSRF attacks

    Security of a web store is a very serious matter on which customers' trust depends as well as the whole site operation and your online business itself. Let us discuss what CSRF attacks are and how you can protect your Magento web store.

    What is CSRF

    According to Wikipedia, CSRF (Cross-site request forgery) is a type of malicious exploit of a website through HTTP vulnerabilities. Theoretically, any site on the Internet can be attacked if there are skilled hackers willing to do that. The main purpose of such attacks is usually redirection of user's query from the original site to the one specified by the hacker. This attack is quite similar to a more popular XSS in which the hacker forces a user move to a page or click on a link that will redirect them to a certain page with malicious code.

    Practical usage of CSRF

    It is easy to say that a web browser simply creates an additional query to a different page – this is how the sites earn money and most of web store users are accustomed to such actions. How can this be a threat to a web store owner? The simplest example is an attack on the admin panel. Let's say you are a Magento store owner and your site has an option to create an admin user. This is a very important moment, as it is the registration or a new user creation form with an option to create a new administrator which is most vulnerable for hacker's attack. You just enter your email address, your name and password, then click on 'Create' or 'Sign in'.

    Let's suggest that a user is opening the page http://your_domain/admin/?do=add_admin&new_login=NewAdmin&new_pass=NewPass&new_mail=NewAdmin@Mail.Com

    At the same time, the attacker has already penetrated into the protocol and created a page http://fake/fakepage.html

    <title>usual page</title>



    Looks like the text is quite common but the matter is in the content:

    <img src="http://site/admin/?do=add_admin&new_login=Haker&new_pass=Pass&new_mail=Haker@
    fake.Com" alt="" width="1" height="1" />



    Therefore, by opening a legitimate site with the help of special software, e.g. FireBug, one can see the links to which the site usually sends queries and forge them to the ones the attacker needs. Of course, performing that task would take a lot of experience, but for a skilled hacker it is quite real.

    As a result of that, a store owner has just unintentionally created a new administrator because their action was redirected to a different query. In order to correct that they will need to use specific Magento extensions or ask for programmer's help. You are welcome to consult with GoMage specialists in case you encounter such issues.

    This is only one of hundreds of reasons to protect your site from this harm. Let us review how to do that.

    How to protect your site from CSRF attack

    Locate the file named local.xml in /app/etc/ directory. Open it in the editor.

    Find the part of code which is responsible for the query when a new administrator is created. Try to make it as much complicated and confusing as possible then any intruders will have a hard time hacking your site. For example, offers the following way:

    <!---in my case I changed it from to backend--->



    After that go to the admin panel, move to System - Configuration - Admin – Security. Set the following values in the lines:

    Add Secret Key to URLs – set to Yes;

    Login is Case Sensitive – set to Yes;

    Session Lifetime (seconds) – set the time interval to 360.

    Then save all changes.

    We would highly appreciate if you share your ways of protecting your Magento site from CSRF attacks in the comments to this article. If you have any questions you may ask them at or address GoMage team directly via email. We will do our best to help you.

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  • How Magento themes are designed

    How Magento themes are designed

    Magento as well as many other platforms for creating websites has its own features in design and work. Let us review how Magento themes are designed, what they consist of and what terms are used for them.

    Magento theme structure

    Theme is a general view of an online store, its shell and design. They are also called templates. There are two ways to make your site design unique - create your own theme or purchase it.

    Magento themes consist of:

    1. Standard XML template files. The principle theme construction depends on these ‘details’;

    2. Phtml templates. These files are responsible for how specific parts of the general layout would look like, e.g. ‘My account’ page or a checkout page;

    3. Skins or CSS – your store design styles.

    The themes can also be distinguished by the following parameters:

    1. Standard and custom (non-standard);

    2. Multilanguage, regional or designed to work for one country only.

    Let us review their differences, and begin with the standard themes. They are classic variants of a Magento store design. The standard or default theme is visible to both customers and administrators. These templates are the most popular because they do not require any programming skills. They have in-built all pages and options that your customers may need and all you have to do is to enable or disable them when necessary.

    At the same time, custom themes are very convenient if you need to change the store design occasionally. You can configure the style tables according to your wish, add or remove some options without harming your store functionality, change the pages layout according to the season and many other things. Another key feature of these templates is that you can place there some products which cannot be added to the cart by customers, e.g. those out of stock or coming soon.

    Magento themes even have their own hierarchy. Remember that a custom theme will always be higher than a standard one.

    As we have mentioned above, each theme has skins – this is what you see in a web store. They indicate the font and its color, presence of some blocks and options, theme shell, background images, product images and many others. Beside that in some themes skins may include JavaScript files. Thanks to such variety of skins you can even modify a standard theme to look unusual and more convenient from the point of view of usability - you will only need to work on it in the editor.

    Layouts are the most complicated files in Magento themes. They are written in XML which makes them highly flexible when you need to add new functions and styles or remove those unnecessary. Particularly, you can:

    1. Forbid using JavaScript on some web store pages;

    2. Add some CSS templates;

    3. Fully remove certain blocks to free some space for others. For example, if you have a three-column theme you can make it two-column after several manipulations.

    But when you edit separate blocks remember that there are two types of them in Magento:

    1. Content blocks which are fully dependable on Magento theme, they can include product descriptions, images and reviews;

    2. Structural blocks are parts of the page. Header, sidebar and other page zones are in those blocks.

    In many cases, you will not need to edit the whole theme since you can modify some design or functionality of your store using Magento extensions developed by GoMage. But if you do edit your theme, remember about possible consequences. If you choose to modify your Magento theme and do not have enough programming skills, the best decision would be consult with the specialists or use their help for that work.

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  • Magento Store Optimization

    Magento Store Optimization

    Any online store whether it is a usual blog or a big eCommerce site should be optimized for Search Engines. Let us review how to make Magento store optimization for Search Engines and how to create robots.txt correctly for this eCommerce Platform.

    Basic Requirements

    As admitted by many reliable sources, Magento is one of the most open eCommerce systems for quick optimization. That's why the most famous online stores use it for their business. To be able to fully realize their business on the Internet it is very important to pay particular attention to the site optimization. In order to get maximum impact with minimum effort you need to do the following actions:

    1. Configure Magento for work with Search Engines;

    2. Write the file robots.txt;

    3. Optimize the pages with products and sections.

    Magento Optimization

    First of all, you should go to the admin panel of your Magento store and go to the System section. Then you should go to Configuration – Web – Search Engine Optimization subcategory. Please set up ‘Use Web Server’ to ‘Yes’.

    In the section Url Options set the option ‘Add Store Code to Urls’ to ‘No’, and the option ‘Redirect to Base URL if requested URL doesn't match it’ should be set to ‘Yes’. Save the changes. Now you need to configure your store header in Magento. Go back to the main admin page then move to System – Configuration - Design.

    In that section, we need ‘HTML Head’ tab. There you need to add specific text. Do the following:

    • In the line ‘Default Title’ insert: Packt Publishing Technical & IT Book Store;
    • The lines Title Prefix and Title Suffix, Miscellaneous Scripts should be left empty.
    • Default Description text is written according to your web store direction. Here you should specify your business type and description of your work. The text should contain no more than 160 symbols - this is the limit of symbols accepted by the search engines.
    • The line Default Keywords can be filled with your store key words or left empty, since you already use Default Description.
    • In the line Default Robots choose INDEX, FOLLOW.
    • The field Display Demo Store Notice should be set to ‘No’.
    • In the field ‘Logo Image Alt’ add ‘Packt Publishing Technical & IT Book Store’.
    • Fill the line ‘Welcome Text’ if you wish.

    The text we used is a sample, you can replace it with whatever you need.

    Catalog Optimization

    This is another very important point of Magento site optimization. You may change the product paths to avoid creating duplicate content. In other to configure this catalog, go to System – Configuration – Catalog - Search Engine Optimizations. The product catalog configuration page will open. Here you need to choose the following options:

    Autogenerated Site Map – Enable
    Popular Search Terms – Enable
    Product URL Suffix - .html
    Category URL Suffix - .html
    Use categories Path for Product URL’s – No
    Create Permanent Redirect for old URL’s if key changed – Yes
    Page Title Separator – none
    Use canonical Link Meta Tag For Categories – No
    Use canonical Link Meta Tag For Products – No

    Save the changes and go back to Catalog, then to Manage Categories. Here you need to configure the following options:

    Meta Description: add the description that will be displayed by the search engines in the search results;

    Page Title and Keywords – leave blank;

    URL Key: add as many keys as possible in this line. Many professional SEO specialists advise to use such words as "the", "the", "for";

    Product Optimizations: here you can add descriptions for your products;

    Template Optimization: you can leave this line as it is, since it is already fully optimized for being recognized and indexed by various search engines.

    Configuration of robots.txt file

    Now there is the last step to be made for maximum optimization of your Magento web store. We advise you to use the file with the following content:

    User-agent: *
    Disallow: /index.php/
    Disallow: /*?
    Disallow: /*.js$
    Disallow: /*.css$
    Disallow: /checkout/
    Disallow: /tag/
    Disallow: /catalogsearch/advanced/
    Disallow: /review/
    Disallow: /app/
    Disallow: /downloader/
    Disallow: /js/
    Disallow: /lib/
    Disallow: /media/
    Disallow: /*.php$
    Disallow: /pkginfo/
    Disallow: /report/
    Disallow: /skin/
    Disallow: /var/
    Disallow: /customer/
    Disallow: /catalog/
    Allow: /catalogsearch/result/?q


    Naturally, for each web store this file will have a different description, you can change robots.txt any moment you need. After this file is created it should be uploaded to the site root directory on the hosting server.

    Please share your recommendations and feedbacks regarding Magento sites optimization. You may contact GoMage specialists if you need any assistance. Please also review Magento extensions that we offer.

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  • Magento Products Rating

    Magento Products Rating

    How you can attract the customers’ attention to a necessary product quickly – to configure the rating and review of your products in the Magento store. Let us review how to configure Magento products rating and why this function is necessary.

    Say “Yes!” to customers’ opinion

    According to statistics of some well-known marketing agencies, people are more interested in those commodity positions in the online store which have certain reviews and other customers’ estimation. Agree that it gives confidence. You go to the store and see that the necessary product is in front of you at once or it has a good quality and whether the seller is honest or somewhat exaggerates the dignity of the product.

    A customer will see on the main page of the Magento store that some products have the reviews and he need to go to the product page to read them, choose the Reviews item and look through other customers’ opinion.

    Magento is an ideal platform for managing an online store because the majority of the necessary functions are already included in the standard build unlike many competing resources. The same thing is with the products rating extension. You should enable it and configure. This extension is enabled in the standard configuration by default.

    How to configure Magento products rating

    To start doing the extension configuration you need to go to the admin panel and do the following actions:

    1. Go to System – Configuration;

    2. Choose the necessary store and click on it in the dropdown list from the left side menu;

    3. Another menu will be displayed. Please choose the ADVANCED item and find the Advanced subsection there;

    4. You will see the additional functions window where you should find Mage_Rating line and enable the rating extension. You need to put a tick in Enable;

    5. Save the changes and go to the admin panel.

    Besides the fact that you just need to enable the module, you can choose what will be estimated by a buyer. To help the customers to estimate a product by all the possible factors you should go to the Catalog menu – Reviews and Ratings – Manage Ratings. You will see the scales by which you can configure the commodity positions. There is a number of the factors which are set up by default. These are quality, cost and price. If you are interested in other parameters or you want to disable these ones, you need to find the Rating Visibility section. You can disable/enable the certain rating variants here. It is a very useful function.

    Besides it, you can provide your customers with the ability to see the strongest features of this or that product, in other words, for which the product was evaluated with the highest rating. To do it you need to return to the Manage Ratings menu and click on the Add New Rating button. Now you can create a new rating by yourself. You should write the header of your rating in the Default Value line and choose your store in Rating Visibility line. After all the necessary settings, you should save the changes.

    With such a simple algorithm you can create a variety of different classifications of the ratings which will help the customers to have the most extensive survey of the products provided by your Magento store. But please remember that many rating variants can be annoying sometimes. So, you should proceed without fanaticism and try not to impose this function to the buyers.

    If you can’t do something by yourself, you can always contact GoMage specialists and they will help you to configure Magento products rating as soon as possible.

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  • How to create a poll in Magento

    How to create a poll in Magento

    Each web store owner should take into account their customers’ opinion. In order to always be aware of things that need to be changed or improved in the store it is good to use various polls for registered users. Let us review how to create a poll in Magento and why it is necessary.

    Why do we need polls?

    Did you ever answer different questions on some sites, like ‘What our site is missing?’ or ‘What would you change in the store? If your answer is ‘No’ – congratulations, you are one of 20% users who are not interested in such marketing moves. But there are 80% of users who always vote in such polls. The result itself is not so important for them as the fact that they may change something globally.

    You may also create interesting and funny polls, prize voting, various riddles or quizzes. Many famous marketers advise to pay special attention to all customers and each of them separately, since people are more interested to answer questions about things they know, like the process of product choice and ordering, but not about the store functionality.

    So, you as a store owner will achieve several purposes at once:

    1. Show your customers that their opinion is important to you. Customers will be pleased to know that;

    2. Improve the work of your site;

    3. Add the options which are important and necessary in your store, in customers’ opinion;

    4. If you create a funny poll or a quiz you will lift users’ spirits and improve your own karma.

    Many well-known Magento online stores already use this technology and it positively affects their business.

    How to create a poll

    Creation of a poll in Magento is quite easy, but if anything goes wrong on your side, you are welcome to contact GoMage specialists and ask for their assistance. In order to start the work, go to the admin panel, then to CMS section:

    1. Locate the section called ‘Poll Manager’;

    2. Choose Add New Poll, then a new page will open where you can configure the polls;

    3. Thanks to intuitive Magento interface you will quickly configure the necessary settings. In ‘Poll Question’ field write the topic of your voting or the question you want to ask;

    4. Now we need to determine the status of the poll. By default, there are an open and a closed kinds of polls. One of the variants will allow customers see the results of their vote immediately, and the other one will only give you access to the results. Make your choice and set the necessary Status;

    5. Now we work with the field ‘Poll Answers’. Here, you need to write the answers to your question or voting from which your customers will choose their answer. You will need to fill in two fields - Answer Title (answers) and Votes Count (the numbers of votes). You may ask why we need to know the quantity if it clear that a question needs to be answered. The matter is that people are always interested to see the number of votes, they do not usually wish to be the first who answers the question. So, put a number that will show the quantity of users who already answered the question. After a customer chooses their answer and votes, their vote will be added to the number you set there;

    6. After all changes are made, save the poll and monitor how it works.

    We advise you to regularly change the polls and encourage customers to vote. For instance, Tuesday could be a day of technical questions and Friday – a day of prize quizzes. This is an interesting feature that will help you attract more customers to your store and also learn more about your existing customers.

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  • Magento Newsletters

    Magento Newsletters

    The communication with already existed customers’ database and gaining a new one is very important for every Magento store owner. Magento Newsletters are used for this purpose. Let us review it in our article.

    Why Newsletters are important

    To hold the status of your online store and provide the customers with constant information about new products and promotions you can use the communication by emails. It's almost a win-win way because millions of people check their inbox regularly in order to find interesting promotions or emails.

    Besides, newsletter is a good way to get new customers and business partners. To get this method for promoting your business you need not only to think of the email text, but also watch the emails updates, think of the ways how to subscribe the users to receive news of your Magento store.

    How to create subscription

    Initially, subscription to Magento is included in the standard platform build and you need only configure it. It operates on the principle of most social networks, in other words, a potential customer registers on your site and enters his active email address in the email address line. This address is put in your database. After this he will get not only the email about creating his own account, but also different interesting promotions.

    If this function is disabled on your site, you need to make the following actions:

    1. Go to the Magento admin panel: System – Configuration;

    2. In this section you should find the Advanced item and open a new page where you should tick the Mage_Newsletter line in the Enable panel. Please save the changes.

    After these changes, having entered your store, a customer will see the subscription application form on the left side where he will be suggested to subscribe to updates.

    You should remember that when the Mage_Newsletter option is enabled, your potential customer can’t unsubscribe newsletter or choose the item “Do not send emails”. It is very important because many customers do not like this system. If you want to give your customers this opportunity, then you should leave the Mage_Newsletter checkmark disabled.

    How to move block

    As a standard, the block in which a customer can subscribe to your news is located on the left side, but it is not always comfortable or fit the store style. It is great that Magento is open source and you can edit the code according to your needs.

    Please be careful because you can edit the files only if you have a good programming experience. In other case, it would be better to contact GoMage specialists who can configure Magento Newsletter.

    At the beginning of the work with the emails configuration you will see the record on your computer screen in the admin panel. This record will inform you that you are going to make changes in the standard theme. If you are using a bought template, then this window may not open.

    After this you can do your work:

    1. Go to your hosting in order to find the files of your Magento site;

    2. After this please open the file on the following path: app\design\frontend\base\default\layout\newsletter.xml

    3. This file should be downloaded and opened in the editor. You can use a standard Notepad for this work or a special program called DreamWeaver;

    4. You need to find the line where reference name="right" is written and change it with the following one: reference name="left". The quick search can be done with the ctrl + F buttons combination;

    5. Save the file and check whether the editions are working.

    Please leave your comments under this article, your advices and recommendations connected with the Magento Newsletter block creation. Also you are welcome to share your observations on customer interest to this Magento store function.

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