Magento eCommerce is one of the moist popular e-commerce platforms available, and while it is very popular with developers, it’s flexible enough for those who are just getting into e-commerce. That being said, it’s important you get the Essential Magento eCommerce Toolkit and use these resources and quicken your learning process.
Which Magento is for You?
If you are just starting out, try Magento Community Edition, the free version. The second option, Magento Enterprise Edition is aimed at corporations and the cost begins at $11,125 USD per year. Visit the company website and go to their comparison chart and see which one works best for you.
If you are just starting out, the free Community Edition is probably the best option. Even though it is free, the application has many features and sufficient for those who are just starting out. Once your business expands, you can try out the Enterprise Edition.
The Magento website is a good resource for the application, but just as good is Magento Wiki, a site set up by the Magento community. This is a great resource for info about the application; check out their Screencasts, knowledge base and design guide. Here are other guides.
• Webresource Depot: this website has a guide that covers the entire process of setting of the program, and it also has some codes and screenshots.
• Spoox.be: this site has tutorials that you can download for free, including a quick tour guide.
• Other good Magento guides are Blastedthing.com by Sam Davis, Magento: Beginner’s Guide by Packet Publishing and several guides at the NuBlu Blog.
Tutorials for Magento Themes
There are several tutorials available for Magento and among the most popular are Magento for Designers by Tuts+ which includes set up and installation, payment, categories, taxes, products and more. There are of course many tutorials available from the official Magento website.
There are a lot of free and premium themes for the application, and as the application becomes more popular you will see more themes come up. Among the free ones, the best are the EversonStore theme, the Shop Online theme from Web Experiment and Magento’s core theme.
If you are looking for some premium themes, you’ll want to check out ThemeForest as they have a host of slick, professional looking themes .Woodrow, (customizable) and Acumen. Acumen is a particularly good theme as it is grid-based with minimal decoration so the customer’s attention is focused only on the products. This type of interface is clean and easy to navigate.
Hosting and Resources
The company has several hosting partners, among them Evo Hosting, Siteground, Hostgator, SimpleHelix and TMD Hosting. These are official partners so if you’re looking for a hosting solution, this is where you should start.
Other resources that you may use is the blastedthing.com’s article that explains how to make Magento faster, and you may also want to check out the official Magento website for troubleshooting information.
Other Essential Information and Guides for Magento
Blog.nexcess.net has compiled several useful articles that you can use. Among the articles there are a comparison of Magento and osCommerce, a comparison of Magento and OpenCart, as well as basic tutorials for installing Magento, tips to make the application ready for production, and a beginner’s guide and more.
The information here is divided into several categories like Basic Tutorials, Customization, Extensions, Integrations and many more. Each category has several articles and links that you will find useful.
Extensions for Magento
Magento is a powerful application but the extensions will enhance its functionality by using extensions. Among the most useful are the following.
One Step Checkout
This extension organizes the checkout steps so everything appears on one page, making it easy for customers to fill up the form and make changes quickly. It also has auto update plus auto survey and gift wrap at the checkout page. The extension also makes it easy to add discount codes, comments and many more.
With this extension you can set up an affiliate network so you can sell items and obtain commissions. With Affiliate Plus you can put links and banners in their websites, social networks, email, blog and more. Other features include an Affiliate Coupon, ability to refer friends to Facebook, Twitter, email and Google+.
This extension can be used to make gift cards that customers can purchase for their own use or to give to their friends. You can also use this extension to make unlimited gift cards, deliver gift cards via email and use gift codes.
This extension allows you to present customers with reward points when they do something specific such as share links, buy a product from your store, register etc. This extension has other useful features such as making points redeemable and making it easy to collect points via a referral system.
Web POS for Admin Checkout
This will give Magento support for selling offline by allowing the admin or shop assistants to create orders right on the admin panel. Other features that come with the extension are product instant search, simultaneous display of payment method, shopping method and billing address. This makes it easy for a customer to correct or change details.
These are the Essential Magento eCommerce Toolkit. You probably won’t use them all at the same time but it’s good to bookmark those sites and get the rest so you can use them as reference. And if you’re studying the application, you will find this toolkit indispensable.