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How to Get Started with Your Magento. All-In Instructions

There are tons of articles on how to install Magento, but they do not include all information in one place. We’ll try to cover almost all questions you may have so you could use one guide and succeed in Magento store creation.


All Starts from the Beginning

Unless you’re using hosted solution, you need to start from the place where you install your Magento. If you’re playing around, you may start from localhost. If you’re starting your business, you should find some nice hosting and configure everything. What is that, and what steps are necessary to start your business are below:


Domain Registration


How to Choose Domain?

How to name your store? Basically it doesn’t matter a lot, though it is a good idea to use some keyword related to your business or brand name in your URL. Also it’s better to make it unique. Mind if your customers look for your store and make a typo with dash or dot, Google may lead them to your potential competitors.


Also make sure that the domain name is available and not used by someone else. You can check it by typing it in any browser or at any domain search page like Godaddy Domain Search:

https://www.godaddy.com/domains/domain-name-search.aspx


Examples of domain names may be yourstorename.com or yorustorename.coffee or yorustorename.mobile or any other that may refer to your business.


How to Purchase Domain

Once you’ve found the best name, you need to order it. We would strongly recommend you to buy domain name at the same place you buy hosting service. You are not obliged to, but it may simplify work in the future.


For example, you can order Domain name from GoDaddy, just use 'Сontinue to сart' like on the screen above. In the cart you’ll be offered a bunch of other services that you might be interested in.

Do not forget to choose among .com, .it, org, etc if you need local or global name.

.com is good for global market, commercial site.

.org is more for company site or non-commercial organisations. .it, .de, .pl - are good for local stores in specific country. Also there are lots of .mobile, .store, .coffee, .work, .tech, .sale, etc domains that may be interesting for your specific business.


Keep the name as you will need to point it to your IPs (servers where your store will be hosted).


Hosting

How to Сhoose Hosting?

There are really a lot of hosting providers on the internet. The most impact on your choice will make the price you can afford. Try to consider hosting cost not as an expense, but as a rental payment, just like you would pay for real room where your real store would be located. When choosing the right hosting consider the details below:

  • if you are not a tech person - consider choosing provider that offers good tech support. Don’t hesitate contacting support before buying and ask how much help they can offer you
  • if you are just starting or your store is going to be small (e.g. ~1000 products, ~100 visitors per day and ~10 orders per day) - shared hosting will be fine for you
  • if you expect your store to grow - consider something better than shared hosting
  • backups - it would be the best choice to have a hosting provider that offers regular backups. A backup once a day, week and month will keep your data safe and you’ll be able to roll back almost in any situation.

Requirements:

  • SSH access
  • FTP connection
  • Remote MySQL (make limitations by ip)
  • Hosting Control Panel (CPanel, Plesk - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_web_hosting_control_panels)
  • phpMyAdmin
  • at least 1 Gb of storage (for small stores with up to 3000 products ?). It will be used for your images, database, files and folders
  • at least 1 Gb of RAM to make Magento site not very slow (for nearly 1000 visitors a day)
  • mail server
  • php version 5.5+
  • PHP memory_limit 64Mb +
  • CURL support

You may find list of hosting providers that Magento recommends here:

http://partners.magento.com/partner_locator/search.aspx?f0=Types+of+Partners&f0v0=Hosting+Partner&s=Type

Сheck hosting Uptime guarantee - it is how often your site won’t be available. Cheap hostings may have low uptime numbers that might bring problems later. It is not good for search engines and for visitors if your site is down once a week or even once a month. 99% uptime guarantee is the best hosting company can offer you.


How to Purchase Hosting

If you’re ordering domain from GoDaddy, you will be offered to order hosting right from your cart



In case you’ve missed that offer, you can order it from any other hosting provider or from Godaddy

https://www.godaddy.com/hosting/web-hosting.aspx

Alternatively you can use your own hosting company that you’ve chosen.


Setup Your Domain Name and Assign It to Your Server

Map your domain name with your hosting:

  1. If you have ordered your hosting at godaddy.com, sign in your admin account
  2. - https://admin.google.com/AdminHome?fral=1
  3. Go to DOMAINS -> Manage -> Select desired domain -> Edit DNS zone file
  4. In the DNS Zone File, click Add Record.
  5. From the Record type list, select A (Host).
  6. Complete the following fields:
  • Host Name — Enter the host name the A record links to. Type @ to point the record directly to your domain name, including the www.
  • Points to IP Address — Enter the IP address your domain name uses for this host record.
  • TTL — Select how long the server should cache the information.

As the result you should see A record:

@ - 12.345.678.901 (where 12.345.678.901 is your P)


Now when specifying your site name, you will be redirected to your hosting, files.


Also you should set a CNAME

A CNAME (Alias) record points to an A (Host) record. You can create multiple CNAME records and point them to an A record. The most common CNAME records are the subdomains www and ftp.


CName:

www - @

ftp - @

Setup "email..." record


You can check Godaddy documentation for details

https://www.godaddy.com/help/managing-dns-for-your-domain-names-680
Or check more instructions on your hosting faq, those are usual settings that you shouldn’t have problems with.

Create FTP Account

In Hosting control Panel go to FTP accounts section. FTP will be used to upload files for your Magento installation and data input.


For cPanel & WHM version 11.50 it is Home >> Files >> FTP Accounts


There use Add FTP account and specify your username, password and folder where you need access to. For main accounts allow access to root folder. Also your control panel account (username and pw) allows you to sign in your ftp account quite often, you can check it with any file client.


E-mail Account

Create e-mail account (you can use option from your hosting or use Google webmail).

Google mail accounts allow you to resolve multiple questions at a time: Google makes your mail safe (use 2 step verification), Google checks for spam and viruses, Google offers a wide range of other services, so you do not have to worry that your mail server is hacked and multiple spam e-mails were sent from your server (do not think that you cannot be affected, everyone can). There’s only one thing you should know - for business accounts, you need to pay $5 per each e-mail. In case you have a few e-mails to be used, it is cost effective and worth it. In case you need 50+ mails, most likely it would be better to use your own mail server.


Here we’ll give you links to Google mail registration for small business owners or single-owner site, it is cost effective and resolves more problems than $5 are worth.


In order to register Google mail with your domain, follow the instructions:

https://apps.google.com/

Also make sure that you register Admin panel app for your business

https://apps.google.com/products/admin/

Once you have Google admin pannel registered, go to https://support.google.com/a/answer/172171 and follow a few more steps. Once you’re done you will have your Google mail registered under your domain.


Also do not forget to enable 2-step verification for all important google email accounts, to make your mailing secure.


Now all is set and you can proceed with Magento Installation

Magento Installation

Download Magento


Follow these steps to install Magento manually:

Step 1: Download the Magento installation package


Download Magento here https://www.magentocommerce.com/products/downloads/magento/

You can use their downloader to download it smoothly or use the exact package you need in Full Release section.


Step 2: Upload the Magento files to your server

Next, you must upload the installation package on your hosting account through your cPanel -> File Manager or using an FTP client (like filezilla or any other you use).


In case you want the Magento installation to be primary for your domain (i.e. to run from http://yoursite.com), you need to extract the contents of the installation package into public_html folder. On the other hand, if you want it to be in a subfolder like http://yoursite.com/store/ you need to extract the contents to public_html/store/.


Once you upload the package, you can extract it through your cPanel -> File Manager.


Step 3: Create a MySQL Database for Magento to use

Create a MySQL database and assign a user to it through cPanel -> MySQL Databases. Remember the database details, since you will need them during the script installation.


To create database name (in case you use cpanel) please go to

http://yourdomainname.com/cpanel

http://cpanel.servername.com



In order to create a new database you need to enter the desired name for the database in the New Database field and click on the Create Database button as shown below:



A confirmation screen will be displayed, informing that the database has been successfully created:



You can click on Go Back button to return to the database management screen.



Click Submit to save your MySQL username.



You will be redirected to a screen where you will be prompted to choose the desired privileges. It is advisable to select All Privileges and click on the Make Changes button:



Step 4: Go through the Magento installation process


In our example we will install Magento in the public_html/store folder. Once the package is uploaded and extracted and you have a MySQL database, navigate to http://yoursite.com/store:



Check box next to "I agree to the above terms and conditions" and click on the Continue button.

Now, choose the preferred Time Zone, Locale and Currency and press Continue button.



Next, enter the database details: Database Name, User Name and User Password. You can leave the other options intact. Make sure that you place a check on the "Skip Base URL validation before next step" option. Then, click the Continue button to proceed.



At this point you should enter the personal information and the admin login details which you want to use. You can leave the Encryption Key field empty and the script will generate one for you. Once more, click the Continue button.




Finally, write down your encryption key; it will be used by Magento to encrypt passwords, credit cards and other confidential information.



WELL DONE! Your Magento installation was successfully completed. Now you can navigate to its Frontend or Backend.



Data input vs Template installation

What comes first chicken or egg? (The chicken or the egg causality dilemma)


It is a lifetime dilemma that you’re going to resolve right now. Actually to install a template you need to have all data in your store, though you will never know what else do you need to add until you can see how it looks.


What we offer - setup at least one category and one product correctly. Note that the product should be of correct type, must belong to appropriate attribute set, with custom options or with all necessary details. In case you have totally different products, make at least one product of each type manually taking your data from your file. This way you will see how it looks like. If you skip this step, you will need to change template multiple times to adjust it to attributes you create when adding products.


Make a backup of db and of whole account before template installation. In case something goes wrong, you have an option to restore whole account and start over. You know, as it’s Magento, be ready to start over and over.


Template installation

You can find free templates at:


Requirements to your template:

  • Use Mobile Friendly template (flexible) - the must-have as most users browse information and place their orders via phone
  • Check cross-browser compatibility
  • Check site Page Speed, optimise script loads, check if all fonts, styles are added to one .css file, and are not included in source code of the page.
  • Validate your template code

What Are Mobile Friendly Mistakes?

  • Blocking JavaScript, CSS and image files, so Googlebot can’t access the files
  • Inaccessible media content: video or audio that does not play on mobile devices, for example, requires Flash player
  • 404 mobile error
  • Duplicated content on desktop and mobile versions, different URLs and redirects between mobile and desktop versions
  • Mobile site disposed on different domain, subdomain or subdirectory than desktop one

Here’s the article what should be checked to make sure your template meet Search Engine requirements:

http://blog.emagicone.com/2015/04/what-to-check-to-make-sure-your.html

In case you have found the right theme at magentocommerce, follow few steps:


Select the theme

Open its details page, click Install Now, select the Magento Connect version (if you are using Magento 1.5 or newer, you need to select version 2.0, otherwise leave the default 1.0), agree to the extension license agreement and click on the Get Extension Key button.



The extension key will be shown, so you can select and copy it.


Open the Magento Admin Area and go to System -> Magento Connect -> Magento Connect Manager. Enter again the admin login details and paste the extension key in the Paste extension key to install field.


Click on the Install button.



Once the installation is completed return to Magento Admin Area and open System -> Configuration -> Design -> Themes. Enter the theme name in the Default field and click on the Save Config button.




The front page might not load correctly. The reason could be the number of the columns in the new theme's home page layout. You can fix this by going to CMS -> Pages. You will find two home pages. One is with 2 columns layout and the other is with one. Disable the first one and enable the second by clicking on their status links.



Now the front page will appear correctly with the new theme.


What else you shouldn’t forget to update:

Customise template:

  • Thank you page
  • About page (It is a good idea to add Google Map there)
  • 404 not found
  • Policy (refund policy, shipping policy, etc)
  • Add a phone, check contact form
  • add payment module to process payments automatically

Data Input

It is time to update your store with all necessary information.


Items you need to add:

  • categories
  • attributes, attribute sets and groups
  • products
  • customers (in case you already have some data)
  • taxes (need to be added manually)
  • orders in case you have any other system you’re moving from

You can import data using Magento Admin, but you should have the file with exactly the same structure that Magento requires. The best way to get an example is to create categories and attributes manually. After that create one product of the exact product type and that belongs to the attribute set you need, fill in all data and then export it with Admin.


  1. In the Magento administrator area go to System -> Import/Export -> Dataflow - Profiles -> Export All Products.
  2. Under Profile Information -> Store choose the desired store where you will be importing the products.
  3. This should also match the store where you have previously created a sample product.
  4. Under Data Transfer drop down menu choose Local/Remote Server.
  5. Under Data Format make sure CSV / Tab Separated is selected for type and click Save Profile.
  6. Then click export all products again and click Run Profile in Popup.
  7. Before product import, upload all images to your media/import directory.

As an alternative built-in import method, you can use Store Manager for Magento. It is paid application, though there’s free fully-functional 14 day trial version available at

mag-manager.com/free-download

Download it and use for import from any file you have. What is more, there’s plenty of predefined configs for you, so you could import data from any specific file format (PrestaShop, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Etsy, etc)

In case you have a file with only 3 columns, this tool allows you to import file ‘as is’ and update other information on-the-fly or add it massively for all products at once with multi editors.


Extensions

You can use third-party extensions for data import, though you will need to keep an eye on them as server update, shopping cart update, etc will break them and they may crash your site.


It is recommended to setup scheduled updates for your inventory. So in case your supplier provides you updated file every week with new quantity and recommended prices, you can set up weekly updates from the file placed supplier’s remote site. You can do it with Store Manager for Magento and Automated Product Import addon.


After data input is done, clear cache and reindex data.


How to add products to Magento Homepage

Easily add products to the homepage (or any other CMS page for that matter).


First option is to Display New products on your homepage

Go to “CMS – Manage Pages” and select “Home Page” from the list of pages.


Code for displaying products marked as new:


{{block type="catalog/product_new" name="home.catalog.product.new" alias="product_homepage" template="catalog/product/new.phtml"}}


Please note that in order for products to show up using this method, the products MUST be marked as new. To do this, simply select a day from the ‘Set Product as New from Date’ and ‘Set Product as New to Date’ in the ‘General’ tab while modifying your product.


Also as an option, you can display All Products

To display ALL products, go to “CMS > Manage Pages” and select the homepage that you are currently using.


Code for displaying all products:


{{block type="catalog/product_list" name="home.catalog.product.list" alias="products_homepage" template="catalog/product/list.phtml"}}


Display All Products From One Category (it can be your best sellers or products related to specific season)

Go to “CMS – Manage Pages” and select “Home Page” from the list of pages.


Code for displaying all products from one category:


{{block type="catalog/product_list" name="home.catalog.product.list" alias="products_homepage" category_id="4" template="catalog/product/list.phtml"}}


Be sure to change the category ID number (4 in the example code above) to the category ID of the one you wish to display.


Do not forget to Reindex and Clear Cache once you’re done.


Shipping

In case you sell downloadable products, all is fine. You just use downloadable product, send the thank you e-mail with order details.


In case you have products that should be shipped, choose the company to deal with.

Unfortunately we cannot recommend you the company as it depends on the country you need to make shipment from and to.


The only recommendation we’re going to give you here is USPS Shipping Integration via Stamps for shipping within United States. To print shipping labels you can use Store Manager for Magento + Stamps module.


SEO Optimization

SEO is more technical task than you have ever thought. There are tons of online tools that can check your store and advise things to optimise and get better search traffic. All those optimisation steps are things you should update on your site. In most cases they are resolved by mass operations or by third-party extensions (for additional fee), if you’re a lazy ass :), though you can do all those things on your own.


Main points are:

Sitemap

Check if your sitemap is working, submit it to Google and other search engines. To do so you need to register in Webmasters console of appropriate search engine. Like Google
- https://www.google.com/webmasters


Robots.txt

Check if you have robots.txt to tell bots where your sitemap is and where they shouldn’t go if you have any subfolders available.

You can check your robots file in Webmaster tools to see if you have any errors there.


URLs

Make sure you have SEO URLs and that your keywords (names or words that users find your products) are met in the URLs.


Meta Data

Check if you have Meta data filled in. It is not recommended to use your short description and product name for meta name and meta description. They may contain html tags or may be too short or too long.

Requirements for meta data are: Meta title 15 - 60, description 50 - 156 symbols.


Headings

Make sure you have H1, H2, H3 titles at your page, and see if they are not applied to some technical words like tab named “Description”, “Vendor information”, etc or FB, Twitter, or other social media sharing stuff. Use product names, words that describe the product and some related info in your headings.


Unique Сontent

Make your descriptions are unique! Google hates clones! Description provided by vendor can be used to fill in basic product data. Use your marketing managers to make your descriptions readable, interesting, informative, add video reviews, etc. That is what Google wants from you. You can also add authorships to your unique descriptions.


Use synonyms in descriptions and comments, do not use keywords too often, synonymize your content, but not make it robotic. Over-optimised sites are also not that good.


Microformats

Add Microformats - show search engines that here is image and there is name.


Marketing

Google Analytics

Marketing starts with analytics. You never know where you get sales from and what actions bring you nothing but waste of time. Setup your Google Analytics account and get information about your referrals, leads, etc.

Start from here

http://www.google.com/analytics/

All you need to do is to insert a piece of code in your site to track customer’s behaviour.


The best would be to setup enhanced eCommerce, though it requires additional tech work.


Get FeedBack from your customers

Ask customers to add reviews about product, about your store, ask questions, etc. Comments are the easiest method to update your product page quite often. Mostly commented and discussed products will be your best sellers.

Negative feedback is also important, you should work with negative customers and make them your loyal clients. They will always recommend your store to everyone in case you will be able to assist them.


Bring more traffic

Create Blog to bring traffic to your store.

Free blog platforms - blogger.clom or wordpress.org or use Magento CMS pages to write articles about your products.


Work on site content

Make your descriptions are unique (we’ve mentioned it in SEO optimization step, but it is that important so we would like repeat it once again in order to highlight). Every free minute should be spent on description optimization. Search Engines hate cloned sites with duplicated descriptions.


Make video reviews for each product (or at least top products) - make your YouTube channel for your unique videos. People love videos that are not standard ones. Make video blog where you crash products you sell, or show how they work with dogs, or underwater. There are so many tools for that, so you can make your unique videos and get unreal sales for making things not like others do.


Make Social promotions

Create FaceBook LinkedIn company profile, Google+, Instagram, Twitter pages, accounts and groups to discuss with your potential customers questions that they may have occurred and to get feedback from your customers. Make people talk about your pages, make at least one post a week to keep users active.

Work on your links profile.

Write articles and posts about your company and publish them on trusted sites with high Google PageRank (check pagerank using available in the web tools). People would love to write about you if you make something special, not same way as everyone do.

Paid traffic

Other point that should be mentioned is Google AdWords. We’ve made this option the last one, as you need to make your site interesting, and only after that you can rely on paid traffic.


Support

Active Chat button sells more than all banners and advertising campaigns that you can run. Take your time, use Support system or chat button for your customers. They will thank you with their sales.

We use Qualityunit support system for ourselves (both downloadable and PAAS solutions are available)

https://www.ladesk.com/

Phone / Support

Add toll free number so your customers could call you anytime to ask about your stuff. Ask them if you can call them back in case of any update or new information. Mark loyal customers and get feedback from them to show you do care about them.


Create complaints and refund forms. It is better to get negative feedback privately, otherwise the customer will find the place where to share some negative experiences. Make sure that they will be heard even if you do not agree with it. Make it happen (what customer wants you to do) and he/she will be satisfied as the result.


What you should check regularly once all is set

Daily Checklist
  • Check your mail inbox and social accounts for customer inquiries and important store-related messages
  • Stay online in chats
  • Make quick visual inspection to see if everything looks right
  • Look for new trends, read ecommerce-related news
  • Process orders, track shipments

Weekly Checklist
  • Backup your all files and database
  • Add novelties that have just appeared at the market
  • Keep your store content updated with actual stock level and relevant descriptions
  • Check for 404 (Page not found) errors, fix links or set up redirect (Webmaster Tools)
  • See if all of your products are categorized are available in the search
  • Advertise your goods via social media and blog posts

Monthly Checklist
  • Check your store security
  • Speed up your site if it goes slow
  • Make sure that all the products have images
  • Check your stats in details, creating various reports on the basis of your store data
  • Test your contact forms - make sure everything works
  • Plan promotions, offer seasonal discounts
  • Reminder clients who have abandoned products in the cart
  • Refresh your cross and up-sell lists

Yearly Checklist
  • Sum up your returnings, keeping accounting under control<.li>
  • Remove things you do not need any more - extensions, unused images, goods you do not sell any more etc
  • Run Store Diagnostics
  • Disable access for people not involved in your store management tasks any more
  • Think about update/upgrade of your Magento
  • Review your overall web strategy: pricing, assortment
  • Plan for future: automate repetitive tasks, integrate with additional sales channels, ease shipping
  • Get to know your competitors and surpass them

A well maintained website is a healthy website. Pay close attention to it in order to catch things before they cause any loss.


Once all is set, up and running, start selling on other marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Etsy and others. Sometimes all you need is the right tool for synchronization and you’re ready to sell more with minimum efforts. Check Store Manager for Magento with eBay, Amazon Integration addons (one-time payment, no recurrences are charged for each synchronization)


Hope this article will serve you a good guide to eCommerce world and will help you start your own online business today.


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