How much do you really blog on your Magento shop?

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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 :)).

download screenshots

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.

Cheers.


49 comments

  1. Awesome, Thanks for sharing this great usefull Article, I have read out all your articles here……,

  2. Thanks for the sharing your opinion, and I also agree with your article. In eCommerce site , blog is an mandatory field where viewers can give their opinion.

  3. Thanks Branko article.

    In fact, I prefer WordPress before because I think WordPress is the best blog CMS. But I will try aheadWorks Blog because you are right “Time equals money!” and I trust your guys. Thanks!

  4. How much do i really blog on my store? I got used of it. I’m so happy that my themes i use support a blog out of the box. But i still prefer to install a seperate WordPress blog because SEO is much more easy. If you want you can take a look at this customized Avada theme at http://www.stainer-online.com

  5. I think blog is very essential tool for any business to update their users about their services and products. Even for ecommerce store it’s good for the business to post a blog post on regular basis regarding your products, schemes, discounts, offers etc. You can reach to huge audience via your blog subscriber list. It can help users to find your deals and offers fast and thus you can get more repeated clients as well.

  6. For any website, the blog is definitely an important part to get more customer’s attraction towards your content.Because In SEO point content is king. Instead, this is difficult to add wp blog with Magento shop but the blog existence is necessary for your website as it shows your business’s crdeibility.

  7. having fresh content on the website is very important and using blog section we can stay engage to our audience. As per the SEO industry content is king. so sharing content will be always good for your overall site health.

  8. When i was starting a blog on my website i was told that wordpress integration is complicated and can cause problems, this was the reason i did not use wordpress on my magento site, but on the other hand i was not aware of ah blog module, instead i used FMEExtensions blog extension. The extension is doing good job but when it comes to scalability, i think wp offers is whole platform so it will definatly offer more features.

  9. That’s one of the most valid and important point which are making right now. Even we have noticed a lot of customers complaining about not getting the kind of response they expect. We always tell them to blog since that’s a pretty genuine way of having fresh content, connect with the customers and above all informing the world about what’s going on.

    That doesn’t mean they should post announcements all the time or write about latest product(s) which are recently added to the catalog. There are numerous way to write wonderful and read worthy content which really makes sense.

  10. I use Magento and WordPress blog with wordPress Integration. This extension is always has good support. From my point of view, wordpress and magento both are good but as a marketing purpose wordpress is best one.

  11. I am just about to install the Ahead works blog alongside the WordPress integration as i am going to be using 2 blogs on our site 🙂

  12. I use Aheadworks for the blog on a client website: http://www.showfront.com.au/blog and I consistantly get top organic rankings with it, so regarding SEO, it can work really well.

    HOWEVER, there is a major issue with duplicate content with the Aheadworks extension and I’ve had my developer insert a rel=canonical widget which gets around the problem nicely.

    The biggest issue I have with the Aheadworks extension is that it just doesn’t really have the same cool features that you get as standard with WordPress. I also haven’t seen too many well styled aheadworks blogs – would love someone to show me some if anyone knows of a few?

    I use WordPress for other clients who don’t have e-commerce sites, and honestly I prefer it, but the extra hassle and money for integration isn’t worth it. Aheadworks does a fine job if you can get around the duplicate content issue and don’t mind sacrificing a little bit of style.

  13. I must say I have never been a fan of WP, for me personally and this is personal I find it too difficult to use manually i.e I don’t want all the automation of image processing, stripping out of my own styling in posts it is just too much like an automatic car when you just want to drive it has its own ideas.

    I use the aheadworks extension in fact I find I own most of their extensions due to their working together and if you do have an issue their support is very good.

    I would like to see a bit of basic functionality just a related posts at the bottom of a post, I am sure it would not be difficult to throw together.

    For me I like to upload my images via FTP and I tend to use a splattering of custom div’s and spans so for me I find the extension suits my needs hands down.

  14. Go with WordPress – no extension, no integration. It is the best choice and you will feel regret for using a blog Extension.
    1. Why you need to match theme between Magento store and blog? Leave them stay standalone.
    2. WordPress is better? Yes of course, no Blog extension can reach to what WordPress did. Auto ping, SEO,…. please remember that a Blog always have higher rank than normal software 🙂
    3. All Magento Extensions Companies now use WordPress (event aheadWork use WordPress now).

  15. “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.”—— well said dear Branko.. you fingure out the main defects which are commonly faced and to be detected by every one..thank you for the share…..

  16. I found this article while searching for a solution to the unique identifier issue and a lead on a more advanced blog extension that supports multilingual sites. Since identifiers must be unique, even with “Add Store Code to Urls” set to yes, users on the frontend will get an error when switching languages while viewing a blog entry. I’m hoping there’s another solution besides bridging two platforms, which I agree would be more trouble than it’s worth considering Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have replaced my “blog”. Perhaps CMS blocks are the way to go. Just hope there is something else out there.

  17. Aheadworks blog extension does NOT let people who post get notified of new comments by email….

    which is a MUST to have people coming back to your site….

    I have the Aheadworks blog now, but I am looking to switch because that functionality is critical.

  18. How 2 different sub-domain can have same shopping cart (i.e) Items purchased from one Sub-domain should reflect when went to another sub-domain and vice-verse in magento. Please suggest ……

    Thanks,
    Anir

  19. Version :magento.1.4.x.

    It will have default order export functionality compare to older version. With present version we need to download extension to do order export.

    Therefore Its better to use magento 1.4.x for new features.

  20. “if say WordPress can load your blog pages a little bit faster than your Magento blog then perhaps having them on two systems would give a slight edge.”

    that’s a good question….anyone have any feedback on which does load quicker? Our testing (even though the testing has not been extensive) shows that the AW Blog loads a bit quicker. but maybe that would boil down to how well optimized and/or heavy each install is…

  21. Hello! can anyone show me an AW Blog that is well customized / developed?

    we have a working test version that seems to run good but I have never seen one integrated into a theme or beyond default

  22. I have to agree with Laurence Bunker here.

    It really doesn’t matter if you’ll use one or two different CMSs from the SEO point of view. The only difference is how these CMSs will structure the on site SEO ranking factors, which we can manipulate and make them the same.

  23. Dividing up your content between two systems is largely irrelevant. Each page has ranking based on incoming links, age, load time, and a lot of other factors. Which system generates a page doesn’t matter other than perhaps how long it takes each system to do so (as Google does now base part of their ranking on site speed).

    Another thought though is thatt, if say WordPress can load your blog pages a little bit faster than your Magento blog then perhaps having them on two systems would give a slight edge.

  24. @Jon Reist – I am with you Jon, I would also like to know how the two compare in terms of SEO.

    Branko would you mind answering that?

    I imagine that running two separate systems (WP and Magento) would divide up your content, thus divide your rankings; as opposed to keeping all content on one system. Just my thought.

  25. To: Mr. Fraiser,

    You deserve the flame you got from Branko!

    Branko is well respected by many in the Magento community myself included. When I started developing my first shop in Magento Branko was one of the only people out there who was kind enough to post solutions.

    Do some research. Branko has more how to articles on Magento than probably anyone else out there. He posts quality code and is very helpful to those who are just starting out.

    Have some respect for those who are trying to help others! Branko doesn’t have to do what he does.

  26. @David Fraiser

    Hi David. Not sure how I should react to your statement “…you consider yourself a developer”. I don’t consider my self a developer. I know I am one!!!

    First, this is not my personal blog. I just write articles here, that is when I make my self write one.

    Second, my schedule is such that I don’t have time to play with irrelevant things such as fixing the side-by things broken as a result of small amount of accessible memory on hosting (thus it was easier for me to .zip the files, upload them them and move on with my life and more important things related to true development).

    Third, I usually do not write these kind of articles but more developer oriented. If you had the decency to check the amount and quality of my articles here and on ActiveCodeline.com I’m sure you would not have such a stupid comment as you did.

  27. So…you consider yourself a developer, yet can’t post screenshots to a WordPress blog (blaming your hosting), and use a WordPress blog as a site?
    Sorry, nothing you say holds any validity with me.

  28. Thank you again for your views on the aheadworks blog.
    I understand that integrating a blog as part of a Magento store and regularly blogging will help with SE rankings. How does the aheadworks module compare with a wordpress integration in this respect?

  29. yeah, aw_blog works great on magento. i agree with the general consensus. forums….. now theres a thing…. where is the forum extention???

  30. True but not true. Some of our clients don’t even have a clue about what’s going on, but do want to post their articles / news / announcements.

    “Those who know how to write and are willing…” => depends on client.

  31. @Avi

    “… store owners usability is also a factor in determining which blog solution is best …” => I would disagree. I don’t see my blogging skills diminished when using less blogger tool. Those who know how to write and are willing will most certainly not be discouraged by less user friendly text box in which they dump their text.

  32. Hi,
    I would just like to add a different perspective to this discussion:
    Most store owners tend be less technically-oriented. Therefore their understanding of the technical issues is much less than those who build their store. An immediate effect of this is the way the store owner sees how he interacts with the blog, rather how the blog functions, or which plugins does it have.

    Therefore store owners usability is also a factor in determining which blog solution is best. I personally haven’t tested ahead’s Blog extension, would love to hear someone comment on it here.

  33. @Josh

    Nice to hear form you Josh. Thanks for the input.

    To reply on the “What about other CMS platforms?”. Its a crowded world out there 🙂 -Personally, I would take Drupal and day before WordPress. Strangely to say because I am running ActiveCodeline on WordPress (only because I did not worked with Drupal before). Somehow I see Drupal far more developer friendly, and more important I see its logic better fitted for integrating with Magento. Marketing “experts” will say Drupal is less SEO, bla bla… Sure it is, out of the box, but give it some attention, do your SEO magic and you will end up with far more flexible system then WordPress. I dislike Joomla since I see it as a bloated mix of WordPress and Drupal, but thats just my personal opinion 🙂

    Also, when I say developer friendly for Drupal, it does not mean that with little admin css it cant get more user friendly as well 🙂

  34. I agree with Tony. Before a client invests time & money integrating WordPress, they first need to take a serious look at the purpose behind the blog and resource allocation to maintain it. Who will be writing the content? How often will they commit to posting? What keywords are they targeting? etc… It is far too common to see a retailer try to implement a blog “because this store over here has a blog and it’s cool.”

    That being said, thank you for articulating a few of the viable integration options for Magento + WordPress. What about other CMS platforms? What has your experience been with systems like Drupal, Joomla, and ExpressionEngine?

  35. This is one of our most common office discussions “WordPress vs. Blog extension” a.k.a. “Marketers vs. Developers”.

    From the marketing point of view, I’d always go with WordPress, however, benefit of WordPress often don’t justify the cost of proper implementation or “integration” of WordPress and Magento.

    I think the crucial question here is the question from the title of the post – how much do you really intend to use that blog? If you’re building a big content marketing strategy and plan to invest loads of time and effort daily into that blog, I’d advise you to go with WordPress.

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