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How (and Why) to Launch a Magento Mobile App in One Week

How (and Why) to Launch a Magento Mobile App in One Week

Magento Mobile AppImagine going for a long hike and wandering into a mysterious cave.

You turn on your flashlight, look around and discover that the cave walls are littered with what appear to be gold nuggets.

You pluck one of the smaller pieces and bring it back to town. A jeweller informs you that the metal is, in fact, gold …

And that the particular piece you brought back is worth thousands of dollars.

How do you feel at this point?

If you’re like most people, the answer is simple:

Jubilant. Ecstatic. Over the moon.

After all, you stand to make millions, maybe even tens of millions, once you start working the mine.

All you need to do is discover the gold, mine it, perform drill tests, process the metal and refine it at a separate location while paying legal fees, workers’ wages and equipment costs.

Which begs the simple question of, “what happens if I don’t have the know-how or the money to do all that?”

Well, then you’d better hope that nobody else finds that mine before you figure things out …

Because if they do, you’re going to lose a fortune that was as good as yours.
At this point, you may be wondering:

This is a fun scenario, but what’s it got to do with eCommerce and my business?

It’s pretty simple, really.

What Mobile eCommerce and Gold Mines Have in Common

Mobile eCommerce

eCommerce – and mobile eCommerce in particular – is the metaphorical gold mine of modern retail.

Case in point: consider that …

Looking at these figures, it’s clear that consumers are spending an ever-growing amount of time (and money) on the mobile internet. This means mobile ecommerce apps are a high-growth, high-demand asset; much like gold was (and still is).

There’s just one caveat.

Like mining gold, doing business online requires a certain level of know-how. It also requires time and money that you may not have at the moment.

This is unfortunate, because as with gold, doing nothing means giving the competition a chance to take over your opportunity (and money).

Fortunately for you, there’s one major difference between mining gold and getting a mobile app.

You can get everything you need quickly, and at a low price, because digital assets are easy to duplicate and deploy.

Specifically, JMango – winner of the Magento Award for Innovation – helps businesses like yours get their very own branded Magento mobile apps in minutes or hours. This means that no matter how busy and overwhelmed you feel, you can get your Magento mobile app out there in under one week.

Here’s how you do it – and how you can get a personalized Mobile Shopping app for iOS and Android in the next 1-7 days.

Making Your Magento Mobile App

Making Your App

Magento was part of eBay for over 13 years. It became independent in 2015, and has since maintained its dominant position in desktop and mobile-based eCommerce.

In the 4 steps below, we’ll explain how you can use JMango (free of charge) to import and start editing your very own Magento-based Mobile app in just minutes.

The first step is …

1. Connect Your Existing Store

Creating your own Mobile App doesn’t mean migrating your entire stock into an app. With our Magento App Builder, things are as simple as signing up to JMango and filling out your store details.

Once you do that, our app gets to importing all your products, prices and content into your brand-new app, where you can easily review and edit them.

The best part?

Our service is free to register with, meaning you can import and edit your store without committing to anything or paying a red cent.

Cool, right?

But wait, it gets better. In addition to editing your data, you can also edit the look of your app on-the-fly. Here’s how.

2. Designing your Mobile App

Designing your App

When it comes to app design, 2 things are important:

  1. Standing out from other apps built using the same platform.
  2. Matching your app’s design to your eCommerce website.

JMango makes it easy to do both. For starters, you can customize the app using a drag-and-drop tool to change your logo, banner, background colors and other design elements.

This allows you to completely overhaul the default look of your app in minutes – even if you know nothing about design or coding.

Once you’re happy with your design, and all the products and content are to your liking, it’s time to …

3. Test and publish your App

JMango makes it easy to test your app on your smartphone. All you have to do is download it to your device; the app will be instantly usable.

At this point, the JMango team will be there for you to help deal with anything you’re unclear about. We’re also open to customer suggestions and requests. If there’s a function or feature that you’d like to see but we don’t offer, we’ll definitely consider adding it.

We’re also happy to help you market your app by choosing keywords, names and images that maximize your marketing results.

Speaking of that – the next (and final) stage of launching your magento mobile app is …

4. Promoting Your App

Promoting Your App

An eCommerce app with no users is like a gold mine with no miners. It’s valuable in theory – but unless you can manage to get some enthusiastic folks in there, you won’t get far.

That’s why it’s so important to promote your app as you launch it.

As mentioned above, we do our bit to help you here, by suggesting visuals and copy that maximize conversions (and in-app purchases).

You can also help yourself by reading our post on app marketing tips, where we share what we’ve learned launching hundreds of Magento store apps with our clients.

At this point, you’ve made (and launched) your magento app. Well done for making it through this post – and before you go, let’s just recap what we’ve learned today.

Here’s why you want to launch a Magento app A.S.A.P.:

  • There’s a massive demand for eCommerce
  • Magento is the leading eStore app platform
  • Every single day of not having an app results in lost opportunities and money

Here’s how you can launch a Magento app in under 7 days with JMango:

  1. Connect your existing store
  2. Design your app
  3. Test and publish
  4. Promote

Now that you have this knowledge, you don’t have to save money or wait for the right time to work your gold mine.

Instead, you can click your fingers and get everything you need: the know-how, the equipment, even a squad of well-heeled helpers (i.e. the JMango support team).

All you need to do is sign up with our platform for free, and start editing and designing your app today.

There are literally no strings attached, so if you want more mobile business, stop losing opportunities and start making money by creating your own app for free today.

Author: Lisanne Barnaart

About Author

Lisanne Barnaart is Content Manager at JMango360, the award-winning platform to create and manage mobile commerce apps. Lisanne is responsible for creating and distributing relevant content for merchants that want to build a competitive mobile commerce strategy and improve mobile app results.

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Three WordPress Theme Red Flags You Should Know About

Three WordPress Theme Red Flags You Should Know About

Red FlagsOne of the WordPress ecosystem’s most attractive features is its endless variety of themes. Thousands of developers have created tens of thousands of themes, many of them free. There’s almost certainly a theme in the official repository or premium marketplaces to suit any style or functional requirement.

For the most part, that’s a good thing, but finding and choosing the right theme from the thousands available is no easy task. Developers and designers range from the slipshod to the expert, and themes vary in quality accordingly. In addition to which, developers are incentivized to create themes and demo pages that look incredible, but that can prove disappointing in real-world use.

It’s useful for WordPress users to have a simple set of questions they can ask themselves before choosing a theme. At the risk of being negative, I want to focus on reasons a user shouldn’t choose a theme. Rejecting themes is an essential part of the process of selecting the right theme, so let’s take a look at three red flags that cause me to walk away.

It’s Slow

A fast website depends on two fundamental components: performance-optimized hosting and a speedy front-end. There’s a lot a theme can do to make a site slow even if it’s hosted on the fastest server. In fact, some of the most feature-rich and impressive themes are guilty of this: the demos look awesome, but that’s because they’re packed with so much poorly optimized JavaScript that site visitors are left twiddling their thumbs.

Respected designer Ethan Marcotte tested a number of prominent theme demo pages, and found them to be unacceptably slow, particularly on mobile devices. Some of the themes he tested took 90 seconds to load. If you want a front-end that doesn’t embarrass your back-end, run demo pages through a performance-testing service like WebPageTest or Pingdom tools before you install the theme on your site.

It’s Old

When I choose a WordPress theme, I expect to be able to use it for a couple of years at least. I want to be confident that a theme will be maintained and updated while I’m using it. I don’t want to be stuck with a theme that is incompatible with the most recent versions of WordPress.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that a developer won’t abandon a theme a month after I start using it, but I automatically reject any theme that doesn’t have a pattern of regular updates. If it’s a new theme without much of a history, I take a look at the developer’s other themes to see how often they are updated.

Poor Customer Support

Finally, I take a look at the developer’s support channels to see how responsive they are to support requests. This is especially important for premium themes — if I intend to use a free theme then I’m willing to accept that the developer doesn’t owe me anything, including their time. But if I pay for a theme, I want to see evidence that the developer quickly and politely responds to support requests. If I visit their support forums and the only thing moving is a tumbleweed, I’m likely to look elsewhere.

There are thousands are elegant, feature-rich themes available for WordPress, created by talented developers and designers who care about giving their customers the best possible experience. If you know what you’re looking for (and what to avoid) you’ll have no trouble finding a great-looking theme that you can rely on for years to come.

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4 Plugins To Turn A WordPress Site Into A Powerful Education Platform

4 Plugins To Turn A WordPress Site Into A Powerful Education Platform

PluginsWhen we think about WordPress, it usually brings to mind business sites, portfolios, and blogs, but as a fully fledged content management system, WordPress is flexible enough to be put to all sorts of different uses, including as a powerful educational tool.

With the proliferation of mobile devices and tablets, not to mention the explosion in online learning among people of all ages, teachers should seriously consider integrating a website into their educational workflows, both as a central location for course materials and as an educational tool that can be used by students to publish and collaborate. Educators who don’t embrace the preferred communication platforms of their students limit their potential and that of their students.

WordPress is the perfect foundation for building an education site, and developers in the WordPress community have created a number of plugins that make it straightforward to deploy education-focused features. I’d like to highlight five of them today.


Sensei, from WooCommerce, provides a complete coursework solution that allows for the creation and publishing of courses, lessons, and quizzes. It integrates well with WooCommerce, so education entrepreneurs can charge for access to their content.

Other features include quick user registration, testing, quiz grading, and course analytics.


This is also a course management system, but more suited to higher education and specifically designed to meet the needs of research groups, but it has useful features for any higher-level academic teaching. TeachPress is focused on academic publishing and provides comprehensive BibTeX integration for citation importing and exporting, as well as an integrated course enrollment system, and a variety of shortcodes for displaying publication lists, publication searches, and course overviews.

mTouch Quiz

There are any number of quiz plugins for WordPress, but I’m highlighting this one because it’s designed with touch interfaces in mind, so students can take multi choice quizzes from their tablets and phones.

Batch Create

This is a premium plugin from WPMUDev, so it isn’t free, but it can save a huge amount of time for educators who need to create lots of blogs or sites for their students to publish on. Doing it manually would be very time consuming, but with Batch Create, educators using WordPress Multisite can upload a CSV or XLS file exported from their enrollment records and the plugin will add users or create new sites.

I’ve only got space here to share a few educational plugins, but there are many more that I could have included. Instead, I’d like to open the floor to the educators out there: what are your favorite WordPress plugins and how have they contributed to your teaching?

About Graeme Caldwell – Graeme works as an inbound marketer for Hostdedi, a leading provider of Magento and WordPress hosting. Follow Hostdedi on Twitter at @nexcess, Like them on Facebook and check out their tech/hosting blog,

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Does It Make Sense For A Business To Have More Than One Website?

Does It Make Sense For A Business To Have More Than One Website?

WebsiteIn the dim and distant past, when Google wasn’t nearly as smart, it was common practice for brands to have more than one website. If a business sold keyboards and mice, it might have sites at “” and “”. At the time, this was a sound technique because Google paid particular attention to exact-match domain names. A few years ago, the advantage of having an exact match domain name was removed, and today Google uses more sophisticated signals for indexing and ranking websites. There’s little SEO advantage to having multiple sites of this sort.

But that doesn’t mean there’s no good reason for a business to have more than one website. I’d like to explore when a second website might be a good idea, but I’m going to start by looking at when it’s a bad idea. I’m starting with the bad to clear out some misconceptions I’ve frequently heard from small business owners before I put the positive case.

The main reason to stick with a single website is so that you can focus all your marketing efforts on it. If you have lots of websites, you’ll need content, design, strategy, link building, and inbound marketing for each. It’s far better to have one authoritative site with great content and a healthy link profile.

A single website also makes it easier to up-sell and cross-sell products and services. There’s nothing to prevent reciprocal promotions between sites, but cross promotion is more effective within a brand than via what’s perceived by customers as a different brand altogether. Additionally, tying together the content management systems or eCommerce platforms used on several sites can be a headache.

Unless you’re very clear about why your business needs more than one site, the default should be to invest your efforts into building a single authoritative online presence.

When is it a good idea to launch a second website with a different brand? Some businesses sell and provide services to discrete groups that have different marketing and informational requirement. This issue frequently arises with brands that sell into the consumer, B2B, and enterprise spaces. The ideal site for marketing to a consumer is quite different to one that effectively targets enterprise customers.

Elizabeth Hollingsworth recently published an article on Practical eCommerce that illustrates the point nicely. Her business — My Wedding Decor — sells and rents wedding decorations to couples. But she noticed that a number of her best customers weren’t couples about to get married, but companies in need of decor for corporate events. There was an obvious market need for corporate event decor, but the My Wedding Decor site was not well suited to market to other companies. In fact, it’s likely that Hollingsworth was missing out on corporate customers because potential leads were discounting her business as an option.

The solution was to launch a second site with a focus on the marketing and product profiles that suit corporate event planners, leaving the original site free to focus on the soon-to-be-married market.

As a general rule of thumb, it’s better for smaller businesses to focus their efforts on a single site. If you’re considering launching a second site, make sure there’s a clear business advantage to making what could be a substantial investment.

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WordPress’s Gutenberg Editor Is Now Available As A Plugin

WordPress’s Gutenberg Editor Is Now Available As A Plugin

Gutenberg EditorFollowing several months of development, WordPress’s forthcoming new editor — named Gutenberg for the inventor of the printing press — is available as a plugin.

The plugin is still being developed and is nowhere near finished. WordPress hosting clients should not install Gutenberg on their production sites, because it’s likely to break things. That said, Gutenberg is well-worth taking a look at if you’re interested in the future of WordPress. Anyone who spends a lot of time in the WordPress editor is going to experience substantial changes to their writing workflows when Gutenberg is rolled into WordPress Core.

If you do take Gutenberg out for a spin, its development team are eager to hear about any bugs you find. You can report bugs on the project’s GitHub page.

Gutenberg has come a long way since we last wrote about it in February, and it’s worth spending some time thinking about the motivation behind the new editing experience and the problems Gutenberg is intended to solve.

As a writer, the writing and editing experience is important to me. If I wanted to, I could write everything in HTML, but burying the content in a forest of formatting and structuring markup isn’t ideal. The current WordPress editor offers an abstraction on top of the HTML approach, allowing writers to interact more naturally with their text while also providing much needed functionality like embeds, dividers, and other features that writing on the web makes necessary.

But, although WordPress offers a good enough editing interface, today, there’s room for improvement. Most of the features WordPress makes available to writers aren’t easy to find — they’re not discoverable in designer parlance. Using them takes writers out of the flow of their work to research shortcodes or futz around with formatting.

Gutenberg is intended to make it easy to both write and format a page in complex ways without having to reach for fragile shortcodes. With a few clicks and a bit of typing, it’s possible to create web pages that look like this.

The major change is from linear editing to a block-based experience. The page is divided into blocks, and each block has its own formatting options, controls, and positions on the screen. Making changes to a block is as simple as clicking in the block and editing it. Naturally, plugins will be able to add more blocks in the future.

One of the basic principles of web design insists that content should be kept separate from presentation, because it’s better to be able to control each independently. As a writer, I often choose to write in Markdown because I want to spend the least possible time messing around with formatting, leaving me free to focus on the message I want to communicate to readers.

Gutenberg mixes presentation and content, but it does so in a way that doesn’t impose much of a cognitive burden on writers. It also makes the WordPress editing experience intuitive to people who have grown up with WYSIWYG environments. We’re probably a few months away from Gutenberg being integrated into WordPress Core, but I for one am looking forward to being able to build beautiful layouts without shortcodes in an elegant modern editing environment.

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The Magento Marketplace Helps eCommerce Merchants Find Best-In-Class Magento Themes And Extensions

The Magento Marketplace Helps eCommerce Merchants Find Best-In-Class Magento Themes And Extensions

Magento MarketplaceThe Magento ecosystem includes a rich collection of extensions and themes that empower eCommerce merchants to shape the retail and shopper experience. Thousands of developers contribute to that ecosystem, but it can be difficult for retailers to figure out which extensions are right for them, which are coded to a high standard, and which may introduce performance or security problems.

The Magento Marketplace, which recently received a number of updates, helps eCommerce merchants find the best themes and extensions. The Magento Marketplace offers a carefully curated set of best-in-class free and premium extensions and themes from which eCommerce merchants can choose in the confidence that they’ve been vetted and approved by Magento experts.

That’s not to say there are no good themes and extensions outside of the Magento Marketplace — there are many — but for eCommerce merchants who don’t have the time and technical ability to assess the code quality of software before they integrate it with their store, Magento Marketplace can be a huge timesaver.

Each extension or theme included on the Marketplace undergoes a thorough vetting process to make sure it provides genuine utility and solves a real problem, adheres to basic coding and packaging standards, isn’t plagiarized and doesn’t contain malware, and provides all the information retailers need to make an informed decision. There’s also an enhanced vetting tier that includes a complete technical analysis by a Magento engineer.

Good For eCommerce Merchants

eCommerce merchants often have a hard time distinguishing the great from the mediocre where Magento extensions are concerned. Anyone with a bit of PHP experience can create a Magento extension, but it takes a commitment to excellence and knowledge of Magento’s internals to make a truly great plugin.

Poorly coded plugins can cause security and performance issues, not to mention the criminals who take genuine extensions, infect them with malware, and make them available to unsuspecting eCommerce merchants.

Good For eCommerce Developers

The Marketplace allows developers to make their work available on a trusted platform. The theme and extension marketplace is highly competitive, and even the best developers have trouble standing out from the cloud. A presence on the Magento Marketplace offers developers access to a large number of potential users, increasing their reach and reducing promotion costs.

There’s room in the Magento ecosystem for numerous vendors and marketplaces, from Magento Connect to individual developer websites and third-party marketplaces, but the Magento Marketplace has a prominent role to play in reducing confusion and eliminating poor experiences for new and established eCommerce merchants.

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Five Front-End Optimizations For A Faster Magento Store

Five Front-End Optimizations For A Faster Magento Store

Front-End Optimizations Black Friday and Cyber Monday are almost here, not to mention Christmas. eCommerce merchants all over world are battening down the hatches in preparation for the busiest and most profitable shopping season of the year. To make the most of the Holiday Season, retailers should take a careful look at their store’s performance. Harried shoppers don’t want to deal with slow eCommerce stores, and that goes double for mobile users.

Articles discussing Magento performance optimization often focus on server-side optimizations: choosing a hosting company that values performance, configuring caching, database optimization, and so on. But ignoring the front-end is a mistake. The most carefully optimized back-end won’t compensate for a poorly optimized front-end that leaves the shopper hanging while multiple scripts block rendering and enormous unoptimized images download.

I’d like to take a look at five ways Magento merchants can improve the performance of their store’s front-end.

Before you do anything, gather data so you know how well your store performs today. Without a clear idea of current performance, you won’t be able to tell which optimizations are effective. I recommend using Pingdom Tools and Google Pagespeed Insights to develop an understanding of your site’s performance.

Performance Budget

A performance budget sets limits within which your designers and developers must work. You might budget by load-times: this page has to load within two-seconds on a typical low-bandwidth connection. Or you might budget by page weight: this page can load no more than 1 MB of content in total. Performance budgets help focus attention on page performance.

Minify And Concatenate

When you order dinner at a restaurant, you don’t expect the server to bring each item to the table individually. They don’t bring you the bread, return to the kitchen to get a plate, then again for a fork, and a knife, and a spoon, and so on. They bring everything at once so they only have to make one trip to the kitchen.

Whenever the browser makes a request to a server, the load time of the page increases. If a store loads lots of JavaScript and CSS files, each file adds a bit more latency. The browser has to make lots of round-trips to the “kitchen” and back. This is inefficient.

It’s far better to join JavaScript and CSS files together in a process called concatenation, reducing the number of round trips.

You can use the built-in Merge JavaScript and Merge CSS options in the Developer menu to concatenate your store’s files.

Defer Loading Of Non-Essential JavaScript

If you want shoppers to see the content of product pages quickly, that content has to be loaded before everything else, including non-essential JavaScript and CSS. Otherwise, the rendering of the page will stop and wait every time a new JavaScript or CSS file has to be loaded.

Defer loading of all non-essential JavaScript and CSS, and, where possible, use the “async” tag to load JavaScript asynchronously.

Image Optimization

Images are an essential part of any product page, but the bigger they are, the longer they take to download. That’s not much of a problem for people shopping on high-bandwidth broadband connections, but it can negatively impact the experience (and the bandwidth bills) of mobile users.

First, make sure that your store delivers the right image sizes for the screen size of the shopper’s device. Hopefully, your theme does this for you. If not, consider modifying the theme so it makes use of responsive image best practices.

Many images contain data that isn’t especially useful for eCommerce shoppers, including EXIF headers and other metadata. Using a tool like ImageOptim or the Image Optimizer Magento extension will strip all that extraneous metadata and compress images for smaller file sizes.

Frugal Tracking

eCommerce merchants are often tempted to include as many tracking and conversion optimization scripts as possible on their pages. After all, data is key to improving shopper experience and optimizing for conversions. However, most tracking scripts are loaded from external servers, aren’t especially well optimized, and seriously impact page-load times. I advise Magento merchants to include only the services they really need.

To give shoppers the best experience this Holiday season, optimization efforts should focus on both the back-end and the front-end. Front-end optimization is a easy win for eCommerce retailers and their customers, and ignoring the front-end optimization may well lead to shoppers deciding your store just isn’t worth their time.

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