Magento Development Configuration Before Launch

Magento Web Development ChecklistAfter completing the frontend design of a Magento store, there are certain things that web developers often miss before they can call it 'complete' and launch the site. These are subtle, yet very important things that the Magento / eCommerce website owners often aren't aware of during the completion process and have to be done pre-launch.

  1. Remove Sample Banners
  2. Editing CMS Pages
  3. Store Information and Contacts
  4. Shipping Method and Setup
  5. Payment Method
  6. Magento Security
  7. Email Templates
  8. Meta Data
  9. Default Missing Product Image
  10. Enable Cache and Compilation

Magento Install & Setup: Design & Data Entry

We assume that all front-end Magento development steps have been taken, for the client to consider the eCommerce website done. This includes:

  • Installation of Magento
  • Theme installation or Custom Creation, Color and Logo Branding
  • Product Data Entry
  • Features, such as index slider, newsletter box, social media icons, and other visual requests by a client.

The above are the typical things that a client will look for, before considering the site is complete. It is then up to Magento developer or project manager to assure that some changes are made on the admin and backend files so that the client can safely launch the site.

Required Magento E-Commerce Settings Before Launch

1. Remove Sample Banners & Images

There are sample banners and images on every fresh Magento Install that are often missed:

Magento Default Sidebar Images
Upon install, Magento places sample images on the sidebars, which are on the templates with 2 columns or more. So if you are on a 1 column template (hence, no sidebars), this may go unnoticed. Editing or removing these images from the sidebar may be complicated for the client if he/she decides to have a sidebar later on – therefore these images should at least be removed or replaced with something relevant.
Shopping Cart / Cross Sell Section (Based on Modern Theme):
A client often spots these, but what the client may not be aware of is that the images are replaced with Cross-Sell Products if these are set for the corresponding products in the admin. Hence, replacing these with related images or removing them in a way to keep the feature serves an advantage.

2. Editing CMS Pages, Legal Info & Other

There are several pages with sample content within Magento upon install, which are About Us, Privacy Policy and Customer Service. Other than about us, these pages do need to be updated and depending on the type of eCommerce store you run, it may also be suggested you have the following to avoid issues:

  • Terms of Use / Terms and Agreements
  • Return Policy / Refund Policy
  • Contact Page

Many merchant-services will require you to have these before they accept you as a valid merchant. You can find the sample content under Admin > CMS > Pages

3. Store Information, Contacts & Default E-mail Notifications

This is easy for store-owners to do without much coding knowledge and is necessary to do.

Magento General Settings
Store Information
System > Configuration > Section: General > General > Store Information

Although the other tabs under General are quite important, the store information tab displays your stores legal/ business location on certain sections, such as payment confirmation e-mails, contact page, invoices, etc.

Setting Up Store E-mail Adresses
System > Configuration > Section: General > Store Email Addresses

This will assure that all of Magentos email notfications are sent out with the correct e-mail addresses and can be replied to. Therefore, only existing emails with your websites domain extension should be used.

Contact Form
System > Configuration > Section: General > Contacts

In this step, you need to setup the email address where you wish to receive successful contact form fillouts. This applies only to the contact form that comes with Magento installs.

System > Configuration > Section: General > Design > Footer

You will find that a sample 'copyright' message is displayed in the footer (or at least should be), which you can edit via this section.

Several more settings can be and should be done in the the General Section, but aren't necessary for your Magento site to run, therefore can be left for another post. The only thing you will need to edit is the default Magento logo which is in email templates, which we will get to in Step 7.

4. Choosing your Shipping Method & Location Origin Setup

This step is only important if you intend to ship products to customers after purchase and would like it to automatically process shipping prices, hence this can be skipped if your sites products are downloadable/virtual products. The shipping methods that auto-calculate shipping rates are: UPS, USPS, FedEx and DHL (deprecated).

Magento Configuration Sales
Setting Up Your Origin
System > Configuration > Section: Sales > Shipping Settings > Origin

Here you want to provide the information from where the product will be shipped from, in order for the shipping to calculate an accurate price for the customer during checkout. If you intend to use Magento Flat Rates, which is the default shipping method upon install, or Table Rates then you won't have to worry about your location settings.

Choosing your Shipping Method
System > Configuration > Section: Sales > Shipping Methods

You can enable multiple methods for the customer to choose during the checkout process, enable free shipping if certain conditions are met and more. Make sure to provide valid account data for the 3rd party carriers for the corresponding methods to work correctly.

5. Setting up a Payment Method

System > Configuration > Section: Sales > Payment Methods

By default, Magento will have the default Credit Card (saved) and 'Money Order' payment method enabled. The default Credit Card method will NOT process credit cards, so unless the client specifically wants to process payment information manually, this feature should be replaced with a 3rd Party Merchant service. The merchant solution for credit card processing is something the clients will need to setup. The ones that are available to integrate upon install are and PayPal.

6. Magento Security & SSL Certificates

SSL is an important factor in eCommerce and in fact, some merchant service companies can choose deny your application if you don't have one. Although you can find merchant services that will let this pass, it is still recommended you do have an SSL certificate installed for your customers security and to not be vulnerable to web attacks.

7. Email Templates

Another crucial factor that is missed are the e-mail templates that get sent out when visitors make a purchase, register to the site, get shipment notification and so on. There are over 15 e-mail templates that are quite general and therefore don't have to be edited other than the logo.

Magento E-mail Template Logo
Contact Information in E-mail:
The contact information and store information are updated on emails when these settings are changed in the configuration (see Step 3).
Default E-mail Logo (Magento Version 1.6.2 or below):
If you are running Magento version 1.6.2 or below, you would have to change this file either in the server via FTP, by overwriting it or changing the URL of the logo in the email templates themselves.
Default E-mail Logo (Magento Version 1.7+):
In version 1.7, Magento added the option to do it straight from the Magento admin. Simply choose and upload your logo in System > Configuration > Section: General > Designs > Transactional Emails

8. Default Favicon and Meta Data

Like on every website, whether Magento, WordPress, another CMS or a custom website, you need custom favicon, custom meta title, description and meta keywords. In Magento this is even more important, because by default you will have a Magento favicon and Magento related meta data.

<title>Home page</title>
<meta name="description" content="Default Description" />
<meta name="keywords" content="Magento, Varien, E-commerce" />

The above default meta can easily be edited via System > Configuration > Section: General > Design > HTML Head

9. Default Missing Product Image

Missing Product Image PlaceholderHaving missing product images does happen here and there. It can happen if you forget to upload a product image, the image gets lost in the server or the product just doesn't have one or doesn't require one. In that case, you will want to replace the default 'missing product image' by uploading it at System > Configuration > Section: Catalog > Catalog > Product Image Placeholders.

10. Enabling Cache & Magento Compilation

Finally, when completing a Magento site, the last thing you will want to do is enable the cache and compilation, which should normally be disabled during development.

Enabling Cache
System > Cache Management

Here you will want to select all check-boxes and choose enable under actions.

Compiling Magento Files
System > Tools > Compilation

This will take all the active core files, which are normally scattered across several folders and merge them together to increase the processing speed of these files and the Magento site. Remember to disable this when upgrading Magento, installing extensions and plugins.

Beyond Magento Site Setup

There are certainly many more things you can do to optimize and improve your Magento store right from the start, but it does require the understanding and the appreciation of the client for a Magento developer to take these steps on the clients behalf. Some important steps to take early are SEO related steps that are well explained on this Magento SEO Article by Yoast.

In addition to SEO, there are Analytic tools, site speed and visitor experience enhancing steps one can take to improve the eCommerce websites performance - so feel free to subscribe or comment for more related topics.

I'm a developer at Maximus Business.
  • Magento Developers
    Our group of Magento Developers always looks for the best alternatives to any issue being confronted by our clients as far as Magento E-commerce is concerned. before it going to be launched

    Said on Jun 26, 2012 by Magento Developers - Reply
  • 豪華 テーラードジャケット
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Magento. Regards

    Said on Dec 4, 2013 by 豪華 テーラードジャケット - Reply
  • Muhammad Saad Khan
    Here is the complete Magento pre-launch checklist. 29 things that you can't afford to miss before launching a Magento website.

    Said on Jun 5, 2015 by Muhammad Saad Khan - Reply
  • Fahad Rafiq
    Before launching Magento website , remember these 29 points. As a developer this is very hard to launch your website now. But with 29 points you can easily launch and move your Magento website . In this checklist I mentioned 29 major points . If you think I'm missing something or what some points do not hesitate to let me know. Highly appreciate your suggestions.

    Said on Jun 11, 2015 by Fahad Rafiq - Reply
  • AlwaysOpenCommerce
    This is a good tutorial to developers whose into Magento development. I think this article is also useful for DIY business owners, very easy to follow.

    Said on Dec 10, 2015 by AlwaysOpenCommerce - Reply

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