April 4, 2020 by Ben Chafetz

What is Magento Web Development and Why is it Important?

Magento is a very powerful tool and can be likened to a computer. Built correctly, a computer can be powerful enough to simulate entire cities, encrypt and decrypt millions of lines of code per minute, or run high level calculations that are the basis of crypto-currency. Of course, not every freshman year Computer Science student can build a supercomputer capable of doing these things. Sure, some whiz can pull it off, guessing and testing along the way. But if you need one built with best practices, safeguards in place, and completed efficiently, you’re going to need to call the specialists.

For this same reason, you’re going to want to use expert Magento web development to build up your powerful eCommerce website. This Magento platform has so much to offer and you’re going to want it running smoothly from the start. You know running a business, especially one online, is hard enough as it is. Make it easier on yourself and your team by ensuring your eCommerce site is launched with best practices in mind to avoid frustrating headaches down the line.  

In this guide, we’ll answer some of the key questions business owners have when looking into setting up the Magento Commerce platform:

  • What is Magento web development?
  • Why is it important for my business?
  • Do I really need to hire a Magento development agency?

 So let’s dive into the world of Magento website development and put any of your doubts about the value of specialist expertise to rest!

What is Magento Web Development?

The most basic definition of Magento web development is getting this powerful eCommerce platform to do what it needs to in order to power your online business. 

Magento is a very powerful tool that is so great because of its unrivaled ability to be customized. It’s open source and allows developers to write their own extensions and add-ons to make the platform do what’s needed for it. What sets it apart from its competitors, like WooCommerce or Shopify, is that it can adapt to suit all your business needs. As your company grows, the platform can scale to include new features and services. 

This also means that out-of-the-box the platform is very general. Magento is used for online stores across all industries, from shoe stores to B2B manufacturing. It’s not going to be set up with all the functionalities you need and it’s not something your team will easily be able to use from the back-end straightaway. This isn’t just a plug and play program. You’re going to either spend months and months yourself trying to hack it on your own with your team, or leave it to the Magento experts to take care of it within a predefined timeline.

You need a Magento web development company to set up your bespoke online storefront, enable the key customized extensions to power your site, and make it simple to manage for your employees. If it’s not set up properly, you will likely lose customers due to flaws on the front-end and if the administration is poor on the back-end, your staff will lose hours of productivity trying to figure out issues that could have been prevented. 

Magento web development handled by an experienced agency, like the pros at 121eCommerce, will ensure your eCommerce business hits the ground running at launch.

Why is it Important For My Business?

The best offense is a good defense. So you want to prevent bugs and scalability issues before they occur. Ensuring a quality foundation for your Magento eCommerce platform is how you make sure you can focus on growing your business, rather than dealing with technical problems on your platform.

Just like with building a supercomputer, you want an expert. If you don’t build it with the correct add-ons in the correct place, you won’t have it running smoothly. These issues will have a negative impact on your site functionality and therefore your customer experience while shopping. Making sure the process is clean and error-free from the start will ensure maximum check-outs and few complaints. 

Online security is also a major factor when considering hiring an expert team to build and maintain your platform. You want to make sure you’re covering your bases with any potential vulnerabilities in the systems that run Magento. Hackers are constantly trying to find exploits, so you need to keep up with all the patches to protect your customers and your reputation.

A smooth customer journey makes for more sales and more success online. Better experiences mean more positive reviews on third-party sites. In the world of online shopping, who is buying anything without reviewing it first?

Do I Really Need to Hire a Magento Ecommerce Development Agency?

As a savvy business owner, you know the importance of delegation and playing to your team’s skills. Even if you have a very talented developer on your team, they’re likely not a whiz at Magento specifically. 

You might already have a great PHP or Drupal developer on your team, which is great. However, they likely aren’t too familiar with the specialized structure of the Magento system. It has its own unique system of native libraries, native functionality, different layers that take time to master. 

Your developer probably writes high quality, clean code. Unfortunately, this doesn’t necessarily translate to good Magento functionality. It can be really easy to follow and logical, but when it comes to scaling up as your business grows, there will likely be limitations.

Conversely, if you hire someone to work specifically on your Magento setup who comes at a low hourly rate, you’ll have a different set of issues. Oftentimes inexperienced developers will not provide you with clean code and will take shortcuts like breaking the golden rule of Magento web development: never modify the Magento core. 

The Magento core is like the motherboard of your supercomputer. It’s in control of all the processes, but through indirect connections to the various other add-ons you use. You don’t want to poke around there and mess up the system, so you use USB or other ports to plug-in accessories like webcams or keyboards. Think of Magento’s customizable extensions like computer accessories.  

When companies need a major Magento rescue, most of the time it’s because someone broke the golden rule and made changes to the core. For example, say you’re looking to implement a basket builder on your site. You want to be able to modify bundled configurable items in the shopping cart before checkout on your eCommerce store. This is something that’s not native to Magento. 

The correct way, in line with Magento web development services best practices, is to use an extension to create this tool. This will add the code to your site in the correct way, not interfering with any future upgrades or changing Magento libraries.

The other ( very much not recommended) way web developers can set this up is by going directly into the Magento core and modifying how bundles handle configurable products. This may work in the short term, yes. Unfortunately, by doing it this way, the developer has changed a host of libraries that will eventually prevent you from upgrading. 

It will also cause any future extensions you may install that rely on this same bundle core to not function properly. This will simply be because the extension will rely on the data being available in a certain way, but with the modification at the core level, this will no longer apply.

Doing it this way would be the equivalent of bypassing your USB port and just soldering your keyboard cord directly to the motherboard. Yes, it might work if you’re really precise with your circuitry, but ultimately this will prevent you from doing a lot in the future and cause a whole lot of other issues you won’t be able to anticipate.

For someone else to come in down the line and sort through this messy setup will take lots of time to simply get you back on track. Just because someone is a good developer does not necessarily mean they will be a good Magento developer. This is an important distinction to keep in mind.

Summary

Magento web development is unique. It’s not like other PHP or Drupal coding because it’s got its own distinct system and infrastructure. You don’t want someone learning as they go and trying to hack together something that is the face of your business to the online community. You want to get a team of experts to handle your Magento eCommerce website development to ensure all the proper procedures are followed.

Fixing something that’s broken down the line takes an enormous amount of time and effort that just builds it right from the start. Dealing with broken extensions or not being able to upgrade your system because of issues with the core coding are not things you and your team need on your busy to-lists.

Hire an experienced team of Magento web development experts with a project manager to offer development solutions that are feature-rich, quickly and properly, while ensuring your setup is made for scale. Later on, as your needs change, Magento development services will be able to come back and upgrade your system, building more Magento solution extensions, and utilize this powerful tool to its maximum.

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