Magento as a CMS
This Magento Blog post is not a tutorial, and despite the main picture icon it is not even written by Rob. It documents general thoughts about Magento’s architecture and how it lends itself so well to the presentation of comapny’s products and services.
More and more clients are opting for Magento as the solution to their website requirements, but not necessarily as an e-commerce shop as it is clearly intended to be. A large part of modern e-commerce website design is how the site is constructed in terms of it’s architecture – and in the case of a company which has a lot of products for sale in different departments, the architecture of Magento is perfectly suitable, even if the products aren’t for sale on the site!
There are many benefits of using Magento as a CMS:
- SEO-friendly links and category structure
- Quick and easy to add products / categories
- Keyword-rich URLs and longtail SEO results
- Open source – completely customizable pages
- Easy WordPress integration
- Large amounts of extensions and enhancements
- Existing CMS pages
- Free to install
One thing that I’d warn Magento developers about is clients who change their mind at a later stage and want the site to go live as a shop. By this stage you may have made changes to the core files in the site that makes reversing what you’ve done very difficult. Keep backups of all your files and comment out parts of code you don’t need rather than delete it.
Keyword Rich URLs
Magento breaks products down very nicely into categories and subcategories, resulting in perfectly clean URLs for the products in your CMS. An example client would be one which sells specialised rally car parts for different cars. Using Magento’s advanced folder system a sample URL would be:
The impact of a URL like this cannot be overlooked for SEO purposes. Assuming the landing page is properly optimised and coded for this product, there’s no reason why this won’t start appearing in Google for phrases such as ‘Ford Cosworth Head Gasket‘.
Creating Enquiry Forms
It’s also very easy to modify the Magento code to post product data into an enquiry form meaning that if the product isn’t for sale, it can still be enquired about individually. A similar system has been integrated recently into one of our sites, which uses the wishlist as an extended enquiry form, which is good because it also keeps a copy of the enquiry. With a few modifications to the <?php if($_product->isSaleable()): ?> condition, it’s also possible to hide prices and other e-commerce elements that you may not want seen due to the different nature of the site.
As a Magento developer, I do find it slightly wasteful when I have to make a site using e-commerce software which doesn’t meet the software’s full potential. However, I can now appreciate the case for using the software solely for a content management system, similar to how WordPress has been adapted in the same way and is now probably used as much as a CMS as it is a blogging platform. That is all part of an open-source platform’s growth, and it’s likely that other uses for the software will become apparent in the future.
Me personally, I’d just like ‘em to get the damn spreadsheet imports sorted out!