Getting Started with Magento eCommerce Software
Magento is an ecommerce platform very used by sellers, especially big companies that have a lot of products and want a lot of user friendly features.
With Magento you can make a powerful website that has content management system and provides different themes created in PHP, HTML and CSS that can be installed through FTP. Magento also provides modules that extend the number of functions and the installation is the same as in the theme case.
To install Magento on your web server, you need Apache 2.2 or 2.4, PHP 5.6.x or 5.5.x and MySQL 5.6.x.
You can easily install and configure your eCommerce business made with Magento following a couple of steps:
- getting a Magento web hosting
- installing Magento (pre and post installs)
- uploading and managing products
- integrating payment and shipping
Read Also: Get More Customer to Your Online Shop
Finding a Good Magento Host
In order for everything to go right, first you need a proper web host that can provide you with the correct prerequisites (Apache, PHP and MySQL) for Magento. We have already did the research so here are the 3 best hosting for Magento eCommerce shop that we recommend:
|$4.19 / mo|
|$3.95 / mo|
|$4.86 / mo|
Next you need to choose a hosting package from the chosen company and a domain name as well as a domain extension. If you pay in advance for at least a year, you will have big discounts, also some of the companies have special Magento hosting packages where you already have the CMS installed and you can jump to the configuration step.
If you want to install Magento, first you need to choose the type of installation you desire. Starting with the easy installation setup where you have a server for shared hosting where you bought a hosting packages from a company to an integrator/packager installation where you have full control and access to official Magento server or even contributing developer installation where you have your own Magento development servers.
Each of these types of installation have different ways to install Magento and need different levels of technical knowledge and various resources.
For easy and shared installations, you just need to download the Magento archive and unzip the content, after that upload the files through FTP to the server and set the permissions at 770 to all directories and files at 660.
You can make shared installations with the help of your CPanel given by the hosting company and using Fantastico or Softaculous to auto install Magento with a few clicks and completing a form with information such as e-mail, username, and password and so on.
Things become a little complicated when you want to install Magento using Integrator/packager and contributing developer. For the first one, you need to make a Composer project, then you update it and install Magento using a Setup Wizard or a command line. For the second one, you clone the Magento repository and uses Composer to update dependencies and install Magento with the help of a Setup Wizard or a command line in Linux.
Every time you make a task, it is a good idea to verify if you have done correctly the task. So after installation go to the frontend to see if your shop is online and if it has visual or functionality bugs. After that you should also check the backend, so go to your Magento Dashboard to see if you have warnings or errors on your administration pages.
If you have problems regarding installation either at the frontend, backend or both you need to delete the entire installation and the database and to make a new clean installation with a new database, a good solution is to ask help from the hosting company support team.
Additionally, you can install sample data to have a better view of your online shop and to have a template page for your products.
It is a very good idea to start your own eCommerce business with Magento because its frontend has a lot of useful features such as a user friendly menu made from product categories, a primary menu with static pages, thumbnails and gallery images for each products, slideshows, recommended products widget with the possibility to filter products after category, newsletter, featured products of the week, footer menus categorized on different sections, SEO friendly product links, cart, comparison function, wishlist, comments, reviews and technical details tabs and it is also offering the possibility to make an account, to see your guarantees, invoices and order products.
The backend of Magento is easy to use and it has quite a lot of nice features that can help you to start your online shop like the following ones:
With Magento, you can add products from your Dashboard Catalog and Product Manager where you have the Add Product button. Here you have to choose the Product Attribute Set and Product Type, but also other options where you need to write or choose the name, SKU, weight, status, tax class, price and visibility. Other additional settings are optional like the manufacturer, color, setting the product as new from a date and to another date, tier prices, special price from a date to another one and if the product is available for purchase with Google Checkout.
Don’t forget to save every time you make an update and to write the description and the short description, either by using HTML editor or the WYSIWYG editor.
Here is a video tutorial created by Young Cow Ltd, presenting how to add products, create categories and attributes:
Adding images to your products
You can add different images for your products in a very simple way using the Catalog and the Manage Products option from the menu. You select a product from the list and click the Images button and then click Browse Files to select what images you want to upload and click save.
Manage product attributes
If you want to have more attributes to your products, you only need to click the Create New Attribute button and to edit it, after that you should save it and assign the product to a chosen category.
Manage product tags
Clients can tag a product, but you need to approve with them before going public, if you want you can disable this feature in your Dashboard.
You can add a tag, approve and see it if you want with the help of Add Your Tags button where you write the tag and you click the Add Tags. A notification message will appear and you need to go to your Magento Dashboard at Catalog, Tags and Pending Tags to see all your pending tags and to approve them if you want.
To approve a tag you just need to simply click it and change the status of the tag to Approved from Pending and then to Save Tag.
Manage user comments
You can approve, delete and edit user comments from product pages and you can also reply and give users feedback to their review or opinions.
With Magento you can also configure payment methods like PayPal, Authorize.net, check or money order, credit cards like American Express, Master Card, Visa, Visa Electron and so on through your Dashboard at System, Configuration, Sales and Payment Methods where you can enable payment methods, disable them or edit them with options like title, Order Status, types, security code, 3d secure card validation, allowed countries and so on.
You can authorize shipping methods for your products and clients going to System, Configuration, Sales and Shipping Methods and setting up the shipping settings from Shipping Settings where you write Origin: country, region, zip, city, and street address and then choosing a shipping method to edit: flat rate, table rates, free shipping, UPS, USPS, FedEx, DHL.
If you need static pages for contact or about for example, you can create one at the CMS section of Magento Dashboard and Manage Pages where you can edit a page by clicking on it and using Static blocks to edit header or footer parts. Here you can also make Polls and other useful things like tables.
Magento is the best eCommerce web platform, easy to use, intuitive and with a lot of useful features, one out of four business choose Magento and more than 1 million companies use it in 2015 and having more than 5 million downloads in the last year.