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Latest Magento Headlines, GoMage Updates and eCommerce Best Practices

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  • GoMage FeedPro

    GoMage FeedPro is designed to generate Magento product feeds and export them to the shopping engines like Google Shopping, Amazon, eBay, etc. The feeds contain Magento product catalogs with the values for all necessary attributes which are required by the shopping engines. Each shopping system usually has a template according to which the feed should be created. The template indicates the mandatory attributes each product should have in order to be accepted by the system (e.g. name, brand, size, color, product_ID, SKU, etc). If some of those attribute values are missing in the catalog the store admin must fill them in before exporting the feed, otherwise it will be rejected by the shopping system.

    The feeds can be configured in CSV, TXT or XML format. The options of FeedPro extension allow the store admin to configure the feed file, that is, to create the list of attributes according to which the product information will be exported. The attributes should be mapped to the corresponding fields in the feed template provided by the shopping system (e.g. the field ‘brand’ usually contains the value of ‘manufacturer’ Magento attribute). There is no limit to the number of fields/attributes in the feed file, nor is there one for the number of feed files. Once an extension is installed the store admin can create as many feed files as they wish.

    A very important feature of FeedPro extension is a possibility to apply various filtering options to organize the products in the feed. For example, if the store admin only wants to export the products which belong to a specific category, all they need to do is create the necessary filtering condition in the feed settings. Any attribute can be used to include or exclude products in the feed. File creation settings in the feed determine whether or not ‘disabled’ and ‘out of stock’ products need to be exported. The option ‘Visibility’ is also taken into account unless it is disabled. If the settings state that only products with ‘catalog, search’ visibility should be exported, then the products set as ‘not visible individually’ will not be included in the feed.

    Another peculiarity of the extension is a possibility to create dynamic filters called ‘Dynamic attributes’. These filters are applied depending on specific conditions configured in the feed. The conditions are created according to ‘if – then’ pattern. For example, if the price is over $100 – then 10% discount is applied. Such filters are very convenient for setting up discounts or price rules.

    As soon as the template configuration is complete the feed can be generated and then uploaded to the shopping engine server. The upload can be done manually through the corresponding Merchant center, or automatically by FTP/SFTP. FeedPro extension settings allow the store admin to setup the time interval for automatic feed generation and upload. It is recommended to schedule the feed generation procedure for the time when the site load is the least (e.g. at night). Successful completion of the feed generation depends on the server capabilities and load level at the time of generation, as well as on the amount of products that need to be exported.

    GoMage company offers the service of feed configuration for additional cost. Their support team can configure the feeds for desired shopping engines ordered by the customer.

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  • GoMage LightCheckout 5.9 is released!

    GoMage LightCheckout 5.9 is released! This update includes the following bug fixes:

    • Fixed a minor bug with delivery date;
    • Fixed a bug with Tax/VAT functionality;
    • Fixed a bug with USPS shipping service;
    • Fixed an issue with user account login;
    • Fixed an issue with Gift Wrapping price functionality;
    • Fixed an issue with CraftyClicks UK Postcode Lookup / Address Finder extension;
    • Fixed an issue with Ebizmarts SagePay SuitePro extension.
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  • GoMage Product Designer 2.1 has been released!

    Product Designer 2.1 has been released! We have done some minor updates and bug fixes.
    We
     are doing our best to keep our quality high, and fix all bugs that we can find out.

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  • Removing a warning message about {{base url}}

    Removing a warning message about {{base url}}

    As a rule, after Magento is installed the admin panel displays a warning message about {{base url}} which must be removed, otherwise the store website will be inaccessible. This usually happens after the primary system installation.

    In order to remove the warning, go to System – Configuration – Web - General. There will be two tabs – unsecure and secure. In these fields, the value for the “base_url” should be set. Usually, the web store URL is set as a base URL, although sometimes an IP address or a development site URL is used at the stage of web store development. It is important that the URL ends with a slash ‘/’, and the URL in secure base_url value must begin with https://. Note that using secure URL is only possible if you have an SSL certificate for your site. In order to verify how you can order an SSL certificate please contact your hosting provider.

    After all changes are done click ‘Save Config’ and check the system functionality. You can find the information about other basic settings, GoMage modules installation or selection Magento themes in the articles of our blog.

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  • Disabling of product compare option

    Disabling of product compare option

    In one of the previous articles of our blog we discussed how to add products to compare. Now we will review how to disable that option if it is not needed.

    First of all, open file list.phtml in folder app/design/frontend/default/themeXXX/template/catalog/product on your server. You can do that with the help of FTP client.

    Then, remove the function ‘add to compare’ from the product listing page. Using CTRL+F hotkeys locate and remove the following code

    <?php if($_compareUrl=$this-getAddToCompareUrl($_product)): ?>
      <li><span class="separator">|</span>
      <a  title="<?php echo $this->__('Add to Compare') ?> " href="<?php echo $_compareUrl ?>" 
      rel="tooltip" class="link-compare "><?php echo $this->__('Add toCompare') ?></a></li>
    <?php endif; ?>
    

    If you plan to disable the option temporarily you may not remove the code but comment it out with double slash for PHP: //. For HTML code use symbols <!— comment —>. Then repeat these steps to remove the option in the products grade.

    In order to disable ‘Add To Compare’ option on the product page copy the file addto.phtml which is located in app/design/frontend/base/default/template/catalog/product/view folder into app/design/frontend/default/themeXXX/template/catalog/product/view folder, then remove or comment out the following code:

    <?php
    $_compareUrl = $this->helper('catalog/product_compare')->getAddUrl($_product);
    ?>
    <?php if($_compareUrl) : ?>
    <li><span class="separator">|</span> <a href="<?php echo $_compareUrl ?>" 
    class="link-compare"><?php echo $this->__('Add to Compare') ?></a></li>-->
    <?php endif; ?>
    

    If you wish to remove the compare option from the sidebar you need to edit the file catalog.xml in folder app/design/frontend/default/themeXXX/layout and then remove or comment out the following code:

    <block type="catalog/product_compare_sidebar" after="cart_sidebar" name="catalog.compare
    .sidebar" template="catalog/product/compare/sidebar.phtml"/>
    

    As soon as the changes are saved upload modified files on the server. If the changes are not applied on the site, you should clean Magento and browser cache. If you have any questions please feel free to leave comments to this article or email GoMage team directly.

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  • Output of new products on the home page through XML

    Output of new products on the home page through XML

    In this article we will review how to output a new product on a home page using XML layout in any of Gomage templates. First of all, you should go to CMS > Pages > Home Page and choose Design tab. Then, you should add the following code into ‘Layout Update XML’ field that will allow you add the content blocks to the home page:

    <reference  name="content">
    </reference>
    

    Between ‘reference’ tags you should insert the code of new product blocks:

    <block  type="catalog/product_new" name="product_new"  template="catalog/product/list.phtml
    "></block>
    

    The next step is selecting the number of columns. This can be done through the following code which should be added between ‘block’ tags:

    <action  method="setColumnCount"><column_count>6</column_count></action>
    

    Then, you should set the number of products that will be displayed in the new products block:

    <action  method="setProductsCount"><count>0</count></action>
    

    The complete XML layout will look like this:

    <reference  name="content">
        <block  type="catalog/product_new" name="product_new"  template="catalog/product/list
        .phtml">
            <action  method="setColumnCount"><column_count>6</column_count></action>
            <action  method="setProductsCount"><count>0</count></action>
        </block>
    </reference>
    

    If it is necessary to display products of a certain category you should add the following code:

     
    <action  method="setCategoryId"><category_id>10</category_id></action>
    

    Here, it is important to make sure that correct category ID is set. You can verify the ID in your admin panel at Catalog > Manage categories.

    Please follow our updates and you will learn other possibilities of Magento stores optimizations in the articles in our blog.

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  • Product Designer 2.0 is released!

    Product Designer 2.0 is released! Several new features have been added to make the process of designing products faster and easier. The text and images can now be moved to front or back, changes can be cancelled on each product side separately, the text can be edited after it has been added on the image. Also, a ‘clock ’indicator has been added to display the progress of image loading. All known issues have been fixed. Install Product Designer 2.0 and enjoy improved extension functionality right now!

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  • Basic enhancement of Magento performance

    Basic enhancement of Magento performance

    In the previous article we have discussed the possibilities of speeding up the process of filling Magento catalog by beginners. Now we will review the ways of basic acceleration of the system work in general.

    The first thing experts recommend is enable cache. This can be done in System – Cache management on your backend. In order to optimize the site page loading time it is necessary to choose all cache types, set ‘Enable’ in Action and save the changes. Do not forget to refresh the cache after new themes or Gomage modules are installed.

    The next step would be to enable compilation. Go to System – Tools – Compilation, launch the compilation process and click ‘Enable’. There is a point you should be aware of. In order to ensure correct system functionality it is necessary to disable compilation before a new extension is installed, and then enable it after the extension is installed and cache cleaned.

    The third step is to enable Flat Catalog structure. It can be done in System – Configuration. In Catalog tab on the left choose ‘Catalog’ and set Use Flat Catalog Category to ‘Yes’. After that, save the changes and re-index Product Flat Data and Category Flat Data.

    The last step recommended by Magento experts is combination of CSS and JavaScript files. This can be done in System – Configuration. In ‘Advanced’ tab choose ‘Developer’, go to ‘JavaScript Settings’, set Combine JavaScript files to ‘Yes’. Then go to CSS settings and set Combine CSS files to ‘Yes’.

    As soon as all modifications are complete the site pages will start loading quicker and the system will react to users’ actions faster. In order to maintain good speed of the system performance, do not forget to make re-index and flush the cache regularly.

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  • How to fill in your catalog faster

    How to fill in your catalog faster

    Magento is a large and scalable system which includes a lot of plugins and functions by default. In order to help beginners fill in their catalog faster and launch their online store, Magento experts recommend the following steps.

    Use product duplicating option

    First, you need to create a basic product. Then you can duplicate it by pressing the corresponding button which is located next to ‘Save’. But remember that SKU and status need to be added manually for duplicated products. Also, it is necessary to insert a new picture. Other fields will be filled in automatically. This option is very convenient for products which differ only in color (clothes) or manufacturer (equipment).

    Disable stock option

    In the first stage of your store development it is recommended to disable stock counting option which requires regular manual update and, therefore, takes precious time. You can disable it by going to System – Configuration – Catalog – Stock. In ‘Parameters’ tab choose ‘Stock management’ field and set it to ‘No’. Then save the changes.

    Make secondary fields not mandatory in the product settings

    Go to Catalog – Attributes – Manage Attributes. Choose ‘Yes’ in the table filter and click ‘Search’. This will show you all mandatory attributes. After that you can choose the attributes which are unnecessary, in your opinion, set the option ‘No’ for ‘Mandatory’ field and save the changes. For example, you can disable Tax Class (tax_class_id), weight, short description, etc.

    Please read other articles in our blоg and you will learn other ways of Magento CMS functionality optimization.

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  • Displaying new products through widgets

    Displaying new products through widgets

    As we know, Magento offers a feature of inserting blocks with the necessary content on any website page. In this article we will review how to place new products on the main page of any Gomage Magento theme with the help of widgets.

    The first thing to do is go to CMS > Pages > Home page. Here, open Content tab. Press the button Insert Widget at the top.

    Then, choose ‘Catalog New Products List’ in Widget type. Here you can set the desired quantity of displayed products and the layout type. Once the changes are done, click Insert Widget. The last step is clicking ‘Save’ button to save the changes.

    If you have any other questions or issues, Gomage experts will be glad to help you. Please feel free to contact us directly or leave your comments to this article. Follow our updates and in the next article you will learn how to display a new product using blocks.

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