You’ve hired a developer – or maybe you’ve even got some technical skills and you’re planning to be part of the development process for your new Magento site. You’re excited to get to work and build a modern, streamlined, beautiful site on the flexible, powerful Magento 2 framework.
Hold on a sec.
Before you get into full swing, there are a few mistakes you’ll want to avoid. And trust us, we know. At 121eCommerce, we’ve got years of experience in Magento development, and we’ve seen it all – we know the common mistakes stakeholders often make during the development process.
And in this blog, we’ll list the top 10 – and help you avoid costly delays, painful mistakes, and headaches throughout your development process.
Mistake #1: Bringing New People Into The Project Mid-Stream
Bringing new stakeholders into a project in the middle of things rarely goes according to plan, and often throws a wrench into the development process. Why?
Because with new people come new ideas. And new demands. And new requirements. And scope creep. Lots of scope creep. So much that – if you’re not careful – your new site could easily cost you twice as much to build.
Before you begin developing a website, decide who will be involved. And once that’s been set in stone, don’t change it. Don’t bring in new team members, external marketing consultants, or anyone else – usually, it will just make things worse.
Mistake #2: Making Large Changes (Especially Close To Launch)
Again, this mistake is related to scope creep. Any Magento developer will tell you that the best time to make large changes is “before the project starts!” And the worst time is “right before launch.”
Think of your Magento website like a freight train. Changing the railroad track the train is running on is easy – if it hasn’t already started gaining speed. Hey, it may even be possible if it’s rolling at a few miles per hour.
But once your train is running at full steam, you’re not going to be able to switch tracks – this will lead to disaster. The same is true of Magento. While it is possible to make major changes right before the product launch, it will be extremely expensive – and will almost always involve redoing good work that you’ve already paid for.
Mistake #3: Waiting Until Your Site Is “Perfect” Before Going Live
Done is better than perfect, especially if you have a specific project timeline for your website launch. Now, we’re not advocating for you to launch a website that’s not finished. Obviously, that’s a bad idea – for a huge variety of reasons.
But if your website is done – that is, it’s in working order, it looks good, it’s integrated with your other systems, your developers are telling you to launch it – it’s time to launch it.
Sure, you may want to play around with the UI. Maybe you’d like to add more product photos. Perhaps the content on your pages isn’t perfect. It doesn’t matter. No website is ever “perfect.”
When your developer says you’re ready, trust them. Once the basic site functionality has been confirmed and your site has been launched, you can get started on other projects to improve your Magento site, and continue fine-tuning it as much as you want.
Mistake #4: Not Testing Credentials Early On
This may surprise you, but in eCommerce website development, some of the most basic things you need to troubleshoot are not tested until pretty late in the process. Things like:
- Order processing
- Automated shipping rate quotes
- Payment gateways
- Fraud protection
- Transactional emails (e.g. delivery/order confirmations)
You need to test the functionality of these systems early on – and work with your developers to give them the credentials and information they need to do so. Working these basic things out ahead of time can help you save a lot of time and headaches later on.
Test early and test often. If you do, you’ll be ahead of the pack. We promise.
Mistake #5: Not Choosing A Reputable Hosting Company
This is a mistake we’ve seen lots of companies make over the years. Hosting is something you should never skip out on. Choosing the right hosting company can make or break your website’s performance, which is essential for conversion rates.
A slow website means bad sales and low conversion rates. A fast website means higher sales and better conversion rates. There are dozens of studies that have shown this – and you need to take that to heart.
Your website may be beautiful and elegantly coded – but if it’s hosted by a snail-slow provider with bad customer support and horrible contract terms, you’ll be out of luck.
So take your time. Do your research. Find a hosting provider that offers blazing fast speeds, great support, and plenty of features specific to Magento 2. Even if they cost more, it will be worth it – because a great hosting company just makes your website better. Period.
Mistake #6: Editing The Core Magento Code – NEVER Touch It! Ever!
We’re absolutely, 100% dead-serious. There is NEVER any reason to edit core Magento code, no matter what kind of functionality you’re looking for. Any experienced Magento developer will tell you the same thing.
Editing the core code can completely destroy your website, cause major errors, and lead to other instabilities and issues that may cost a lot of time and money to fix. It’s just not worth it. Seriously. We mean it. Don’t do it. Ever. Got it?
Mistake #7: Focusing On Design Over Substance Or Functionality
A flashy design is great, but unless your website works properly, loads quickly, and has helpful, unique content that will actually make customers want to buy your products, no amount of fancy animations or gorgeous product photographs will make a difference.
Again, we’re not saying that design is unimportant. But in the hierarchy of your development process, functionality comes first. Once everything works well, loads quickly, and operates as intended, then you can start thinking about how your website looks.
Mistake #8: Using Actual Customer Info When Testing
You’d be surprised at how common this is – a stakeholder or developer pulls a few emails from your database or uses some other customer information to fill out some forms and test a new feature. Bad idea!
Using real customer information for testing could lead to issues with privacy, breaks trust with your customers, and may even lead to data loss if your Magento test environment has not been properly secured.
Make some fake email addresses, put in dummy street addresses, and test out features with “John And Jane Doe,” – not real customer information.
Mistake #9: Going Overboard On Magento Marketplace Extensions
Magento Marketplace extensions can be pretty useful, but don’t get carried away. Before you buy or test out a new extension, make sure you actually need the features it offers.
Ideally, you should work with your developer to determine which custom features need to be built for your store – and which extensions can serve the same purpose.
Also, it may be a better idea to try to integrate these extensions later in the development process. Adding extensions when your website is already stable and working properly ensures that any errors or problems with integration are easier to check and resolve.
Mistake #10: Under-Estimating The Importance Of SEO (Or Saving It ‘Til Last)
SEO isn’t just something you “do” last minute. You can’t just pepper a few keywords like “iPhone cases near me” through your website and immediately outpace the competition. That’s just not how it works.
Magento is an SEO-friendly platform by design, and throughout the development process, you’ll want to make sure that your developers are taking advantage of its SEO features by doing things like:
- Optimizing product page URLs
- Utilizing headers and title tags when designing web pages
- Deleting duplicate content or using canonical tags to mark duplicate content
- Using ”nofollow” tags for checkout, account, and admin pages
- Setting up sitemaps
- Implementing proper meta tags and titles for each web page
SEO is an iterative process – and you definitely want to keep optimizing after your website launches. But you should also be working with your development team to set up a basic SEO “framework” from the beginning. Doing so will help improve your search rankings quite a bit!
Need More Tips? 121eCommerce Is Here For You!
If you’re interested in learning more about Magento eCommerce best practices, avoiding project issues, and ensuring a smooth development process, you can check out our blog! It’s full of resources and guides that are sure to help.
And if you need a Magento developer, we can help with that, too. As a Silver Magento Commerce Solution Partner, we’ve got the skills you need for a successful project. Contact us online for more information.