October 26, 2020 by Ben Chafetz

What to Look for in a Magento Extension

You’re the proud owner of a Magento store.

You’re ready to start installing extensions for added features and functionality to your “vanilla” Magento 2 storefront.

Where do you start?

The Magento Marketplace.

On the Magento Marketplace, you can find thousands of unique extensions that can add functionality to your website – such as payment processors, bulk ordering, integrations with CRM software, shipping tools, and so much more. The opportunities are limitless, and when picked wisely and used properly, Magento extensions add a lot of value to your store.

But the key here is to pick your extensions carefully. How can you do that? Here are a few top tips from 121eCommerce! 

Functionality That You Actually Need

First and foremost, you need to make sure that the extension is actually doing something that you need. For example, Magento has a built-in payment processor – unless you have a specific use-case or reason for using another payment processor, it doesn’t make much sense to add another one to your store using a Magento Extension.

We recommend having a specific goal in mind when browsing the Magento Marketplace store to guide you as you choose extensions – such as improving site performance. This can help guide you toward extensions that will help you monitor page loading times, test your website, and add other unique functionality that you actually need.

Reasonable Price 

Pricing can vary quite a bit for Magento extensions. Some are free, some may require you to pay a monthly rate, and others have a single, fixed-price license. Always consider the price of an extension carefully.

Free extensions, for example, can be great if they’re actually free and do something you need them to do – but they may sometimes be of lower quality compared to paid extensions, and could cause issues with your website.

If you find a Magento extension that does something you need and it’s priced reasonably, go ahead and try it out. 

One of the best things about the Magento Marketplace is you have 25 days to request a refund if you try out an extension and you don’t like it or it doesn’t do what you need it to do – so you can try an extension risk-free. 

Frequent Updates & Bug Fixes

Picture this: you find an SEO plugin for Magento on the Magento Marketplace that has every feature you want, looks great, and is relatively affordable. Then, you look at the release notes – and the last time it was patched was January 2019. That’s almost two years ago (as of the publication date). 

What do you do? 

You walk away. You don’t want to commit to using an extension that is not being constantly supported, patched, and updated. 

Extensions break all the time, particularly when new Magento software versions come out, and you want to buy an extension where the developers are committed to patching, upgrading, and fixing it to make sure it works properly. 

That means you should look for extensions that are regularly and frequently patched and updated. Check out the change log, and see how often the developer of a particular extension is updating it. 

Great Communication From the Development Team

If you ever have an issue with a critical extension for your Magento store, you want to be able to contact the development team quickly – and get a speedy response. So you should prioritize extensions that have communicative developers.

How can you test this? We recommend just contacting the developer with some questions about the extension and how it works. 

The sooner they respond – and the more comprehensively they answer your questions – the more likely it is that they will be communicative and helpful if you ever run into any issues after you buy and install their extension. 

Reputable & Experienced Developer

In a similar vein to the previous point, you should look for an extension that’s been built by a reputable, experienced developer. Each Magento Marketplace listing should have information about the developer – and you can read reviews of the extension and the developer directly on the website.

You may also want to do some of your own research – most developers have their own websites where you can learn more about their expertise and what they do, so do some Googling to see what you can find, and to make sure you’re working with a pro. 

Demo of the Software and Its Functionality

Most Magento extensions have demo links within the product description, which will let you see how the extension functions in a real Magento store. This is a great way to quickly get some hands-on experience without committing to a purchase.

That’s not your only option, though. As mentioned, you can also request a refund on the Magento Marketplace within 25 days of your purchase if the extension does not meet your needs. 

Even if there is no demo, you can buy the extension, try it out on your website, and test it out. If it’s not a good fit, you can get your money back. 

Follow These Tips to Find the Right Extensions on the Magento Marketplace 

There are plenty of possibilities offered by extensions on the Magento Marketplace – and with these tips, you’ll be able to choose the extensions that are right for you. 

Want more information about the Magento Marketplace and tips for running an effective eCommerce business? Take a look at the 121eCommerce blog to learn more, and get all the advice you need for your Magento store. 

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