Does it make sense to use aheadWorks Blog extension over WordPress? To newcomers to this site, this article might be a bit strange and confusing. One would surely ask himself, why would do these guys write about using aheadWorks Blog extension over WordPress in Magento, given that they do WordPress and Magento integrations plus all sort of custom Magento development.
Let me try to elaborate on this. First question you, as a site owner, must ask yourself is: How much do you really intend to blog on you Magento powered shop? I don’t mean to be cheeky here, but let me answer that one: A little! I have yet to see the the shop site owner that really regularly blogs (writes articles) on his shop. To those who do, respect. For those who don’t go beyond creating a post or two in a week, I would suggest they consider carefully next time they go for WordPress integration in Magento.
There are several bottlenecks when doing “integration” of WordPress and Magento. One of them is the term of “integration” itself. Mostly these are just visual integrations, meaning we sync the look of WordPress to the one of Magento or vice versa. This leads to whole bunch of later dissatisfaction. Site owner expects them to logically behave as one unit. They expect that whoever logs into Magento as a customer can post comments to WordPress post, write posts, etc. The thing is, that integration is “visual only”, meaning you still have completely two different systems, two different logins etc. Thus, showing latest blog post in some Magento blog on some checkout page is a tedious and time consuming task since you need to work out all sort of tricks to get it up and running. Time equals money, and final costs simply do not justify the investment in such integration given the small amount of blog post content you might actually put on the blog.
By now, few really quality Magento extensions can be found both for free and commercially. One of my favorite Magento extensions is aheadWorks Blog extension.
Below are few screenshots that show extension installation, configuration, process of creating a categories, posts and comments (in zip archive, having issues with file upload and memory on hosting :)).
There are several drawbacks to using blog inside Magento then to use WordPress for your blogging. One of them is a photo upload feature that WordPress handles for you. Inside WordPress post edit area you have a nice button that lets you easily upload the photo and even create a mini gallery from there. Unfortunately, in Magento 1.3 and this blog extension you will not find something like that. You are forced to upload photos manually by FTP then link to them via urls. To me, this kind of approach is something I can live with.
Another thing site owners see as a drawback in not using a WordPress integration are all those fancy WordPress plugins. Well, in respect to few of the WordPress plugin developers all I have to say is: Please stay away from WordPress plugins in web shop business. I cannot stress our how poor the quality of the code is in most of them (at least those which I had the opportunity to check).
To get back to the point of this article, I am merely trying to point out that each and every site owner should think twice before asking for WordPress and Magento integration. Simpler and more stable solution exists. All you need to do is to clear our your own priorities. So, do not go with WordPress and Magento integration unless it is really needed.
Hope this was helpful.