Remember New Coke?
It was a new, sweeter version to combat its (then) new competitor: Pepsi.
Coke realized their mistake and abandoned the product after a few weeks. It went back to its old formula and renamed it Coca-Cola Classic.
Or how about when Gap launched a new logo in 2010:
Guess how long that lasted?
A whopping two days.
They were attempting to be more modern. Bad, GAP! Bad! Down boy! Down!
Even Apple isn’t immune to making mistakes.
In 1998, they rolled out the Apple “hockey-puck” mouse. It was an ergonomic nightmare that was as difficult to grasp as it was to use.
It took two years, but Apple replaced it.
Mistakes happen. Even to the best of companies.
So if you’re just launching a Magento store, or yours has been up for years, you’re going to make mistakes. But you can minimize them. And even eliminate some of the biggies.
We’ve seen a lot of Magento sites and we’ve found that there a few common mistakes that Magento storeowners make.
And we’re here to help.
In this blog, we’ll look at the top 7 mistakes that Magento beginners make – and how you can avoid them when you venture into the world of Magento and eCommerce.
First, let’s start with an all-too-common Magento mistake: choosing cheap web hosting.
It’s tempting to just choose the cheapest host you can find, but you get what you pay for.
If you choose a cheap hosting website, you may find that you encounter bandwidth problems quite often as your business grows. This is particularly true if you are using shared hosting, and are sharing your server with other tenants.
As a new eCommerce entrepreneur, you don’t need a huge amount of bandwidth. But you should still choose a high-quality, reputable web host (we recommend jetrails and Lexiconn) that offers dedicated servers. For both performance and security reasons, it’s best to avoid shared hosting.
When you first open up the Magento store, you’re like a kid in a candy store.
There are so many pretty and shiny extensions and features – you just want to install them all, right? And since many Magento extensions are free or quite inexpensive, lots of new Magento entrepreneurs start loading up their websites with extensions right away.
If you have only a few high-quality extensions, you won’t notice much of a difference in performance. Overloading on extensions is a bad idea, though. The more extensions you have, the more cluttered the code will be on your Magento store – and this can lead to errors, bugs and serious performance issues.
Before you start installing Magento extensions, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the out-of-the-box functionality of Magento 2. It already has a lot of the features you may want!
Take a look at this blog post which outlines a few best practices before installing Magento extensions.
We’ve already discussed the merits of ready-made Magento themes vs. custom themes in the past. But to be honest, if you’re using the default Magento theme, it doesn’t matter whether you choose a custom theme or an off-the-shelf theme – as long as you replace the Magento default theme as soon as you can!
Why would you do this? After all, it’s not like the default Magento theme is unattractive. It’s well-designed, responsive for screens of all sizes, and looks pretty good.
But it’s the default theme!
That means that thousands of stores are running it, and they all look basically the same. Your store is not just one of a huge selection of other stores – it’s unique. And it deserves a unique look that reflects your brand, your products and your attitude towards eCommerce.
So, whether you invest in a cheap off-the-shelf theme or commission a custom theme, you should try to replace the default Magento theme as soon as you can – this will help ensure your store doesn’t look boring and generic.
Yes, nobody likes doing system maintenance. But that doesn’t mean you can avoid it. Magento is updated frequently for good reasons. Magento updates often add new and useful features, help with platform stability, and often fix critical security flaws and vulnerabilities. For these reasons, you should always do your best to update Magento ASAP when a new update comes out.
If you don’t back up your website frequently, you could be putting your business at risk. You should always back your website up before installing a new extension or making major changes to it, and daily backups are also helpful for ensuring that you do not lose a lot of data in the event that something goes seriously wrong with your website.
To learn more about Magento backups and learn how to set up an automated backup schedule, just take a look at this article from Magento. Note that the backup feature is actually disabled by default – and if you don’t have a lot of experience with Magento, you may need the assistance of a developer to help you set up your backups.
Some eCommerce entrepreneurs disable Magento’s built-in customer review functionality, but we don’t recommend doing this. Customer reviews are a powerful way to build social proof and trust with your customers – and they can also be very helpful for SEO purposes.
Maybe you’re concerned about low-quality reviews, grammatical errors or spammers – we get it. But remember, you’re in control of approving reviews and adding them to your Magento website, so you can always filter out spam yourself, and make sure that only high-quality reviews are posted to your site.
Extremely high-resolution photos that are not optimized for proper performance can lead to slow loading times. Failing to optimize images properly is a very common mistake that new eCommerce entrepreneurs make.
With proper image optimization, you can decrease file sizes by 75% or more without losing any image quality – and this means your Magento website will load more quickly.
Here are some best practices to follow:
If you don’t want to do this manually, there are a few useful extensions on the Magento Store which can handle the process of image optimization for you, such as the Image Optimizer for Magento by Apptrian.
Avoid These Common Magento Mistakes to Start Off on the Right Foot.
Becoming an eCommerce entrepreneur isn’t easy. But by reading this list of common Magento mistakes that beginners make, you’ll be able to avoid some of the early pitfalls associated with running a Magento eCommerce store.
To learn more about Magento, take a look at the 121eCommerce blog. From SEO to proper merchandising, feature overviews and more, we’ve got plenty of resources that will help you learn more about Magento.