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What Are the Key Benefits of Drupal Commerce?
  Custom eCommerce development is undergoing continuous changes. As this environment keeps transforming and evolving, different challenges arise, and businesses face new issues.  Building custom eCommerce functionality into your Drupal site can take up many resources, especially when it comes to scaling your website by adding more features and improving its functionality.    Top challenges of custom eCommerce systems   Let's have a look at some of the biggest challenges you may face with a custom eCommerce system.   Implementing new features can be a slow process. It's difficult to have a proactive mindset when working with custom development since everything you add to your site needs to be built. There are no frameworks or other time-saving options that could help you accelerate your workflow.  Not being able to integrate third-party platforms can be costly. Open-source solutions are a blessing when it comes to integrations. Whether it is a new payment system or a marketing tool, being able to quickly integrate third-party platforms is a must for any successful eCommerce website. When opting for custom development, the lack of underlying frameworks makes it harder, more expensive, and time-consuming to build any type of tool.  Sacrificing the front-end experience. As custom development is created mainly by developers, the design and presentation of a website rarely come as a priority. Building code and building design are different things, and not many developers are skilled at both. Unfortunately, missing the point when it comes to good UX and design might seriously affect your business performance, as customers expect top-notch front-end experiences today.  Not having a community. One of the best things about Drupal is its community. If your website is fully custom-made, everything you need, any issues you might run into can only be solved by your team of developers. All the community-made modules for extending your site's functionality are a great advantage offered by the Drupal community.  With the custom eCommerce development approach, you don't get to leverage that benefit.   Depending on an internal development team or agency. A company using custom development is tied to the original development team that has built its website. It's a real challenge to hire new developers when you don't have a predefined framework, and supporting them in learning how your eCommerce components were made can prove to be highly expensive.    Top benefits of Drupal Commerce    This Drupal-native eCommerce module is a popular choice among eCommerce businesses since 2011.  It is widely known for providing secure, scalable, SEO-friendly, and highly optimized Drupal frameworks that work for specific needs and business requirements.  Let's have a look at the key benefits that Drupal Commerce provides for online stores.   More straightforward setup and development. Drupal Commerce has out-of-the-box modules that don't require too much hassle to install.  Combines commerce and content. Being able to manage your content approach on your eCommerce platform easily is a must. With Drupal Commerce, you can handle complex content marketing strategies and build custom landing pages that keep your visitors engaged. Customization and scalability. Drupal eCommerce's architecture can be highly customized for specific business needs. However, all its extensions follow a general standard, making it easier for developers to handle the software more efficiently. Drupal eCommerce can also scale to meet the demands of all-sized businesses.  Third-party integration. One great benefit of Drupal is that its modules were built with integration in mind. Interaction with third-party tools like payment gateways, analytics, or SEO is much easier and can be done quickly.  Community support. With Drupal, you can take advantage of a multitude of modules made by users from the community. If you need advice on anything related to Drupal, you have a community of highly skilled developers to answer you.   All things considered, whether you choose a custom eCommerce system or you opt-in for Drupal Commerce, you need a strong and reliable team of experts to have your back at all times. That team can be Optasy, an agency formed by Drupal experts with 10+ years of experience building and maintaining successful Drupal projects. Have a look at our services, and let us provide proactive Drupal support in your Drupal journey! Image credit: mohamed_hassan on Pixabay.     ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Apr 26'2021
5 SEO Best Practices When Building Your Magento Store
  The eCommerce market is getting more competitive. As the digital world expands at a rapid pace and online stores become the norm, eCommerce retailers must find new ways of differentiating their brands from the competition. A reliable method of building a solid online presence is search engine optimization (SEO).  To generate more organic traffic on your website, you need to improve your search engine rankings. With the right SEO strategies in place, you will not only rank higher on Google but also get more value from your Magento eCommerce store.  Keep reading this article to discover five SEO tips for driving better search engine rankings and organically grow your business.   Tip #1: Optimize Meta Tags.    Title tags and meta descriptions help search engines understand the content on a page. Optimized and well-written meta tags can attract more visitors to your site and increase your organic traffic.  SEO-friendly page titles have between 50-60 characters and include the main keyword from a particular page that you target. When it comes to meta descriptions, their length should be between 50-160 characters and incorporate primary and secondary keywords. Although inserting keywords is essential to improve your SEO, it's also important to pay attention to the way your description sounds. It shouldn't be forced or unnatural.    Tip #2: Realize an SEO-Friendly URL Structure.   When working with Magento, it is advisable to use the following URL structure for your pages:  website.com/category-sub-category/product name/ for product pages website.com/category/ for category pages website.com/category/sub-category/ for sub-category pages   To remove the "index.php" part from your URLs, you need to enable URL rewrites. You can do this by clicking on Stores - Configuration - General - Web, then enter the Search Engine Optimization tab and then click on YES in the Use Web Server Rewrites section.  By doing this, you'll create cleaner, more readable URLs, which will make it easier for you to complete a website migration in the future if that will be the case.    Tip #3: Spend Some Time on Product Descriptions.   As many eCommerce sites sell products manufactured by other companies, the product description they receive from the manufacturer is often the one actually used on the site. Consequently, product pages may end up containing little valuable content that doesn't provide significant insights to visitors. Also, Google doesn't usually rank these websites very high, so you need to start creating your own unique product descriptions.   Tip #4: Accelerate Your Site's Speed.   Today, speed and accessibility are what digital customers are looking for. Around 40% of people abandon a website that doesn't load in less than three seconds. A ranking factor used by Google for mobile is page speed, so it's essential to take all the measures to accelerate your loading speed. Here are some tips for this: Migrate to a new host. Try searching for a Magento hosting package as it will be optimized for Magento's infrastructure and capabilities.  Use browser caching. By doing this, users that visit your website won't need to download the same files each time they enter your site, which improves load speeds.  Don't forget about a content delivery network. There some free options on the market that you can use with confidence.    Tip #5: Leverage Magento SEO Plugins.   Fortunately, Magento has high-quality extensions for boosting your website's SEO, like ReloadSEO or SEO Suite Ultimate. Investing in SEO extensions is a great way of taking your SEO efforts to the next level and improve your SERP rankings and organic traffic.  Or you could let a team of experts like Optasy do the hard work for you. We can help you build your SEO-friendly website and grow your business in the digital world. Don't hesitate to contact us for more details.  Photo credit: Myriam Jessier on Unsplash.     ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Apr 22'2021
These Magento Extensions Will Boost Your Sales - Part Two
  Our last article discussed some of the critical Magento extensions for marketing and customer experience. This blog post contains valuable insights into other essential Magento plugins that target financial, shipping, and analytics aspects. Keep reading to discover how these extensions can improve your conversion rates.    Magento extensions for payments    Stripe Payments This Magento extension is used for processing credit and debit cards, as well as mobile wallets. If you want to position yourself as a trustworthy seller and deliver safe and secure payment options, Stripe is a must-have.  Benefits: Great integration. Stripe recognizes and accepts all major credit and debit cards and a wide range of currencies. Modern features. With Stripe, you can also use mobile wallets such as Apple Pay or Google Pay.  Compatible with a multi-store scenario.  Provides secure payment processes by using advanced machine learning algorithms.   OneStepCheckout This is a very handy extension that simplifies the checkout process of your Magento store. Shopping cart abandonment is a real problem for online retailers nowadays, and the Magento eCommerce platform offers an overwhelmingly complicated checkout process.  By installing OneStepCheckout, you'll make it easier for your customers to complete a purchase and increase your conversions. Benefits: Accepts all major payment providers. Cost-effective checkout solution. User-friendly and responsive design. This extension looks and works great across various screens and devices. Highly customizable. Adding and removing fields is easy with OneStepCheckout.   TaxJar Sales Tax Automation Sales tax can be a burden for many business owners. Fortunately, TaxJar can do it for you. With its automation capabilities, this Magento extension helps you prepare returns and calculate your taxes more efficiently.  Benefits: Real-time sales tax rates and calculations. Access TaxJar's APIs and real-time sales tax rates at checkout without compromising on the performance of your website.  Seamless and automated filling. With TaxJar's AutoFile feature, you can rest assured that your returns will be submitted correctly, on time.  Global rates. You can also use Tax Jar for taxes across multiple countries with accurate rates.    Magento extensions for shipping   Delivery Date FIne-tuning the delivery schedule for your customer needs will definitely boost your store's credibility and profitability. With Delivery Date, there will be no more missed packages due to the ultimate shipping customizability feature.  Benefits: Flexible. Allows the customer to select the date and time of their delivery.  Delivery notes. Customers can leave comments and provide additional instructions for the delivery.  Exclude dates. Delivery Data allows you to exclude any date from your delivery options.   ShipStation ShipStation powers shipping efficiency of all sizes. Order management is essential for large eCommerce stores, and it can become challenging. This Magento extension supports businesses in managing their shipping without headaches. Benefits: Returns are easy. Returns and refunds are streamlined for better customer experiences. Centralized orders. With ShipStation, you get to keep all your orders and shipment details in one place.  Order confirmation.    Shipping Suite This complex Magento extension provides customizable shipping and logistics for eCommerce stores. Shipping Suite is a 3 in 1 solution that allows you to take complete control over your delivery process through 3 innovative shipping management tools: shipping table rates, rules, and restrictions.  Benefits: Shipping approximations. Your customers are well informed about their shipping in advance thus reducing cart abandonment.  Highly customizable. You can choose which delivery providers to use and select the rates based on location.    Magento extensions for analytics   Google Analytics plugin for Magento 2 Easy yet powerful, this extension helps retailers track their web store's traffic more efficiently.  Benefits: Better customer insights. This extension allows you to track your customer's activity in your store.  Enhanced marketing. With better customer visibility comes better monitoring of your marketing campaigns.   Improved personalization. By understanding your customer's behavior more clearly, you can act upon personalizing their experience on your site.    Advanced Reports This Magento extension helps marketers with data visualization and management. It includes several reports and monitors different sales performance metrics in your store.  Benefits: Specific reports. You can analyze your reports based on categories. Payment and discount tracking. With Advanced Reports, you'll be able to see how your discount codes are performing and which payment methods lead to the most conversions.    Magento extensions for security As security is getting more and more critical in the digital environment, security extensions are a must to keep your online store secure.    Two Factor Authentication  Through this extension, you can improve your protection against fraud and identity theft. The Two Factor Authentication (TFA) algorithm adds an extra layer of security to your website and reduces the risk of cyber theft. Benefits: High compatibility. TFA works with several operating systems.  High security. The secure code sent to your configured smartphone to complete the log-in process is only available for 30 seconds. This prevents someone from hacking your website.  Failsafe. With TFA, your eCommerce site will be secured even if the security of your passwords is jeopardized.    Fraud Prevention To avoid fraudulent purchases and payments, installing this Magento extension is a must as it helps you track and block suspicious payments. Benefits: Automatic fraud detection. The extension automatically blocks purchases that match previous suspect purchases.   Custom blacklisting rules. You can create blacklist rules based on various customer attributions like name, address, ZIP, or IP address.    Conclusion Magento is a reliable choice for building and managing robust eCommerce stores. However, to make the most out of its capabilities, installing Magento extensions is necessary. You're now familiar with the most popular and useful plugins for enhancing and securing your website.  If you're still unsure which extensions you should select for your site, send Optasy a message. We'll gladly support you in your journey towards building your successful eCommerce business.   Photo credit: geralt on Pixabay.  ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Apr 19'2021
These Magento Extensions Will Boost Your Sales - Part One
  As one of the most popular eCommerce platforms, Magento empowers retailers to build engaging, shoppable customer experiences in the digital world. By leveraging next-generation technology and a massive extension library, Magento helps B2B and B2C organizations create highly personalized shopping experiences for their customers.  Since the level of customization is so high for Magento users, they can often find it hard to choose from so many options and decide which plugins and extensions are truly efficient for their business needs. That's why we've created this article, to shed a light on some of the most useful and reliable Magento extensions that can help you make the most out of your Magento eCommerce website.    Magento plugins for marketing    Facebook Pixel for Remarketing This Magento extension collects data from your customers that browse your products and then runs your ads to those users when they enter the social media platform. You want to keep your product in front of your customer's eyes and here's where retargeting and remarketing play a crucial role.  Benefits: Automatic. Collecting user details is done automatically by Facebook Pixel—no installation is required on your end.  Easy exporting. Facebook Pixel lets you easily export products you want to promote on Facebook. Event tracking. You can personalize the way your customers interact with your brand and content by tracking events in your store and sending that information to Facebook.    Omnisend If you're searching for an all-in-one omnichannel marketing automation tool, then this suite is the right choice for you. Keep in mind that this is not a typical email marketing tool. Omnisend allows integrating multiple channels (email, SMS, web push notifications) in the same automation workflow. This extension can be integrated via an open-source plugin developed by a 3rd party.  Benefits:  Robust automation. In the era of digital workspaces, being able to bring all your channels together and integrate several channels in the same automation workflow is a must.  Easy message building. The visual email composer offered by this extension allows users to use a template or build their content from scratch in minutes. Streamlined targeting. By using segmentation based on profile data, shopping behavior, and customer engagement, targeting is much easier to manage.  Contact capture. With the help of landing pages, embeddable forms, and dynamic pop-ups, you can capture contacts more easily.    Mconnect Customer Specific Product & Price Personalization is a big deal in today's digital world so this extension should be part of your arsenal. How does it work? Let's say you want to personalize a particular segment of customers to receive a specific sale. With this extension, you can update it so only particular customers see your sale prices. The same way goes for on-site product listing so you can show customers only the products they are interested in.   Benefits: Persoalization, personalization, personalization. If you want to thrive in today's competitive digital landscape, your site content and your omnichannel campaigns must respond to your customers' needs. Customization. With Mconnect Customer Specific Product & Price, your customization capabilities are endless and will allow your store to respond to customers with products, prices, and relevant content.  Priority for prices. You have the power to decide which price gets priority for a particular segment.   Magento extensions for user experience   Yotpo Reviews According to a recent study, 91% of 18-34-year-old consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Customer product reviews are an invaluable resource for developing customer trust. Yotpo's Magento extension supports you in collecting and publishing reviews on your website from customers that have made a purchase from your store.  Benefits: Social media integration. You can easily share your reviews on social media. Product images. Any customer can upload images with the items they've purchased for more credibility. SEO boost. Use snippets, Google Seller Ratings, and Product Listing Ads to boost your reviews index.   LoyaltyLion Any successful eCommerce marketer knows that a loyalty program is essential to transforming customers into a community. This Magento extension improves the customer experience by allowing you to provide referral codes and rewards to your customers thus encouraging them to share your services with friends and family. Benefits: Loyalty points. With this extension, your loyal customers have the opportunity to earn activity points which they can use later to claim special rewards. 100% customization. You can personalize your shopping program so that it fits your business and customers. Loyalty tiers. Your most loyal users will earn the best rewards which will motivate your shoppers to interact with your brand on a constant basis.   These are the most powerful Magento extensions for eCommerce websites that target marketing and user experience. We'll be back with part two of this article to discuss more details about Magento extensions for payments, shipping, analytics, and security. If you want to expand your Magento web development capabilities and empower your website to build robust digital experiences, check out Optasy's leading services in developing thriving web experiences.   Photo credit: geralt on Pixabay. ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Apr 16'2021
7 Tips from Experts on Magento Web Development
  Magento is a versatile content management system (CMS) that offers outstanding mobile-friendly configuration and easy third-party integrations. As one of the most popular platforms for medium and big eCommerce businesses, Magento provides excellent flexibility and a wide range of integration and features that take customization to the next level.  However, working with Magento might come with some challenges like: Slow loading times Data security issues Poor Google search visibility Extension conflicts   While dealing with these issues is not uncommon in today's dynamic digital environment, there are ways to avoid regularly facing these challenges by implementing solid web development strategies and following specific steps. This article will give you key insights to better understand the process of building and managing Magento websites. It will also include expert tips and tricks from leading professionals in the web development industry.  If you are looking to fully exploit Magento development and get the most out of your web development plan, here are some tips and tricks that might help you.   1. Select your hosting provider carefully and make sure they provide reliable hosting services. When running an eCommerce website, connectivity issues are the last thing you want. The hosting server your website runs to can make a difference in your website's responsiveness and functionality.    2. Provide customized alerts that apply to the specific needs of your customers. By doing this, you'll not only ensure that your users are kept informed, but you'll also make them feel more connected to your brand. Basic alerts include alerts about price changes, and you can take it a step further by notifying customers when desired items are in stock.  Again, you'll kill two birds with one stone by following this practice, as it will contribute to your digital marketing efforts as well.    3. Add responsive parts and create a customized site that allows your audience to become more intimate with your brand. At this stage, you want to establish your brand and craft cohesive design schemes for all the elements that form your eCommerce website. Creating a responsive design element for mobile will allow you to build stronger customer relationships and satisfy your users' demand for accessibility.  As mobile devices are becoming the primary tool that connects your audience with your brand and content, you want to make sure that this connection is streamlined and effective.   4. Focus on selecting the best functions and features to suit the specific needs of your business. To set your website apart from your competition, you must choose Magento's features and plugins wisely. Spend some resources on finding out which functionalities speak to your customers specifically and add the most significant value to your website.  Your choice of Magento features should always reflect your business objectives and match your brand strategy, not the other way around.    5. Use tier pricing and group pricing to set your eCommerce business to success. How? Reward your regular customers and those who buy more inventory in bulk with incentives to stimulate and keep them coming back for more. Magento's tier pricing feature is a reliable tool that can help you manage this financial aspect by allowing you to price items differently and offer incentives.  The feature doesn't require any edits, and it will show your customers exactly how much they save when shopping at your store.    6. "Make SEO a priority" should be the motto of eCommerce businesses. When optimizing your Magento website for SEO, you should focus on boosting your product pages.  Firstly, ensure that your content is straightforward, concise, offers the exact amount of data needed to inform customers, but do not exaggerate at this point. Secondly, you should pay attention to updating the URL key to create a search engine-friendly link to your products.  Lastly, fill in your metadata section of each product in detail and include a minimum of five relevant keywords in each description. This should make your website more visible on search engines and allow people to find your online store more easily.    7. Don't forget about images, as eye-catching photos are often the first item on a website that catches the visitor's attention. Also, ensure that you use relevant names for your images, describing them as accurately as possible. SEO-optimized photos attract more visitors and help your website rank higher on search engines.    Magento is a winning choice for eCommerce   Magento web development may be tricky sometimes, but it's worth investing your resource in building and managing your eCommerce website with this reliable CMS.  Magento provides a wide variety of features that meet specific business needs, and the platform is developed for secure and functional web development.  When it comes to SEO, Magento won't disappoint you. On the contrary, the platform is an excellent choice for beginners as well, offering advanced SEO features that maximize your chances of ranking high on search engines and attracting more potential customers.  See how Optasy can support your business by creating and optimizing your Magento project to match your objectives and your customers' needs.  Photo credit: Megan_Rexazin on Pixabay.       ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Apr 14'2021
5 Steps to Migrate Your Drupal Website to Another Host
  At some point in their business journey, every website owner can encounter the need to migrate their web host. As more lucrative hosting options are making their way in the industry–VPS, shared, or dedicated hosting—it's no surprise that many website managers choose to perform host migration.  This article provides support in handling one of the most popular DevOps services, hosting server migration, by outlining five essential steps that help you complete a successful migration.   When is the time to move your Drupal website to a new hosting server? The decision to switch web hosts is not an easy one to take. The good news is that there are multiple signs that can make it clear that your website requires hosting updates if you know where to look. It won't be comfortable to acknowledge them, but as soon as you start on this journey, you are transforming your website for the better.  Let's have a look at how you can spot these signs on your Drupal website.  Downtime has become a recurrent issue.  Your customers demand availability and speed, so every time your website is down and unavailable for users, you risk building a bad reputation of unreliable and low-quality services. Your server can impact your site's availability if your hosting equipment’s quality is low or your host's security features and plugins provide poor protection capabilities, as cyber-attacks can often lead to downtime.  Your host is hard to reach. As a website owner, you want to ensure that the communication with your web host is fast and streamlined. There may be times when your server crashes or you a server error, and you need to get in touch with your host as soon as possible to provide troubleshooting guidance and get your site up and running.  An unreliable host may not only affect the functionality of your website but can also cost you customers. Getting the support you need when it comes to your hosting account is paramount to provide high-quality user experiences. That's why making sure that you have a solid customer service team at your side at any time is good for the business. Your current host costs you too much. Web hosting can sometimes be the most significant investment when running a website. It's a recurring expense, so you want to ensure that you choose the best option. However, expensive web hosts aren't always necessary. You have to figure out if the features and the amount of server space that your host provides are a good fit for your site. You don't need to break the bank for hosting servers that don't serve your current needs. You can always review your needs and upgrade to a more expensive plan. You don't get the security you need. As far as investments are concerned, paying extra for a secure web host is worth it. A host that takes security seriously will bring significant benefits to your website.  By investing in a secure hosting server, you'll avoid losing data and parts of your website, having user data compromised, and losing credibility in front of your audience.  When choosing your web host, watch out for features and plugins like Secure Sockets Layer certificates, malware scanning, or server firewalls.    How to switch to a new hosting provider Migrating your Drupal site to a new host is a process that involves contacting your current host, performing database backups, connecting to a new server, and uploading your files. It's not uncommon for issues like corrupted backups to appear during the migration process. Consider this when planning your migration, and think if you can save some resources by hiring a professional agency like Optasy to complete this process for you.  There are a few essential steps to follow when migrating to another web hosting server. Let's explore some of them.   1. Turn Drupal caching off. This is the first step to take in order to avoid potential disruptions. Go to your Drupal admin dashboard and: Click Configuration - Performance - Caching - Select "No Caching.” Uncheck "Aggregate CSS files" and "Aggregate JavaScript files" in "bandwidth optimization" and click "Clear all caches.”   2. Backup your Drupal files. Connect to your remote server - Enter the connection details - Hit "QuickConnect" and connect to the remote server that hosts your website.  In your main site's folder, download the content on your local device, and you've done backing up your Drupal files.   3. Export your Drupal database. Go to the phpMyAdmin on your server's control panel in the Database section.  Click "Check all" on your Drupal site database, then "Export method and the SQL.”   4. Migrate your Drupal database to the new host. Create a new MySQL database on your target server. Click "Import" at the top of your database, then "Choose File,” and press "Go.” You've now restored your site on the new hosting from the backup.   5. Turn on Drupal caching. Go to Configuration - Performance - Enable Drupal caching. Kudos to you! You've officially migrated your Drupal site to another host.    Conclusion Building and managing a Drupal website is a complex process, and hosting is one element that can be pretty challenging to handle. There are plenty of hosting options available on the market, and you might find it difficult to decide which one is the best fit for your website needs.  If you're considering server migration or just need some professional advice on how to handle your hosting server successfully, our team of Drupal experts at Optasy is glad to help.    Photo credit: bsdrouin on Pixabay.     ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Apr 12'2021
Drupal Commerce vs. Magento - Who Wins the Battle for eCommerce?
  In 2021, it is expected that about 27.2% of the world population will shop online at least once.  A lot of potential customers out there, right? As eCommerce is becoming the new norm, digital businesses seek out ways to thrive in this competitive landscape and position themselves as leading trend-setters.  To do that, companies need to realize the power of digital transformation and how they can embrace it in order to support the modern demands of speed and accessibility that customers require today.  This starts with leveraging the right tools for building robust digital assets. One of these tools is represented by eCommerce platforms, which are getting increasingly popular for businesses that seek to deploy an eCommerce system.  Drupal Commerce and Magento are two of the leading eCommerce solutions on the market and are often seen as direct competitors in the industry.  This article provides a side-by-side comparison of these two platforms in regards to technical capabilities, development, costs, scalability, security, and mobile responsiveness. Hopefully, this information will help you narrow down your choice in order to ensure that you choose the best fit for your business needs.    Key eCommerce Capabilities Enabled by Drupal and Magento Drupal Commerce was released in 2011 and offers an open-source application framework that supports retailers in building and managing inventory, track orders, or handle payments.  Magento's initial release was in 2008. This PHP-based eCommerce site provides high levels of PayPal protocol integration and supports 12 worldwide payment gateways.  Both platforms offer, through native features or third-party add-ons, the following benefits: Intuitive, easy-to-use user interface and control panels. No technical knowledge is required to customize and edit basic features. Full-featured CMS that supports social sharing. Business-centric structure for online stores. Native integration of inventory-driven advertising material Integration capabilities with third-party analytics, invoicing, or quoting solutions One thing to keep in mind is that neither of these eCommerce platforms is a "plug and play" solution and making the most out of their potential may require further expertise.    Headless eCommerce The headless version of Drupal Commerce has been in the spotlight in the last few years. This new initiative is an eCommerce solution that stores and delivers content without a front-end delivery layer. It's an API-driven implementation that transforms eCommerce functionality, making it available across a wide range of potential host environments.  A headless eCommerce model inclines towards a more SaaS-oriented, platform-agnostic solution that allows for better employee adoption and considerable time savings across IT departments.  When it comes to Magento, the open-source eCommerce platform, headless eCommerce is equally prioritized. Both Drupal Commerce and Magento are supporting headless models as the future of eCommerce.    Pricing Drupal eCommerce's technical cost of entry is free. However, depending on scope and scale, the costs of developing and maintaining performant and secure eCommerce servers might reach tens of thousands of dollars.  Drupal Commerce project costs are directly proportional to a business's needs for specific development architecture, module integrations, custom theme styling, or particular feature integrations.  Magento's newer modules are not offered as open-source and upgrading from Magento Open Source to Magento Commerce might be challenging.  From this financial point of view, Drupal Commerce seems to be a clear winner.    Scalability Drupal Commerce has relevant capabilities of staying highly performant at scale. However, this CMS platform does not provide out-of-the-box database sharding and it can only be implemented on a third-party basis.  Drupal Commerce has lower requirements than Magento Commerce when it comes to the web server—the minimum required RAM for PHP is 64 MB and production systems usually require 128 or 256 MB.  Drupal Commerce-based implementation splits the eCommerce experience across three related Drupal domains. As a result, scaling is better, bottlenecks are eliminated, and the content and purchasing experiences are efficiently separated.  On the other hand, Magento's cloud hosting solves a large number of scalability issues, although at a higher price. The minimum RAM requirement of 2 GB will probably not scale well and distributed networks or caching may need to be deployed with greater care to keep up with the heavy load.    Security Drupal is proven to be the most secure CMS and Magento's infection rate is much higher than Drupal's. From the point of view of security, Drupal Commerce is a winner for businesses that want to prioritize secure platforms.  Source: Sucuri.net   Mobile Responsiveness As most websites transition to a mobile-first approach, eCommerce platforms that prioritize mobile responsiveness are a must.  Fortunately, both Magento Commerce and Drupal Commerce provide robust mobile capabilities to satisfy the need for accessibility and performance.  Drupal Commerce's themes allow building a fully responsive design for eCommerce websites and offer screen flexibility for creating versatile experiences. The most popular themes like Corolla or eStore provide: Multi-level responsive header menus Custom layouts and color options Box shadow and background textures Custom field additions Magento Commerce is close to Drupal when it comes to mobile optimization capabilities. Its responsive web design features help users create optimal viewing experiences for multiple devices. Magento Blank or Luma are out-of-the-box themes that deliver a fully responsive design.   Who's the winner for eCommerce? While both Drupal Commerce and Magento Commerce are reliable options for a digital company that wants to thrive in the eCommerce market, every business has its own unique needs and requirements. Choosing the software that best supports these needs is a process that involves a lot of research and planning.  If you want to speed up this process and ensure that you reach the right decision, don't hesitate to contact Optasy for professional Drupal and Magento 2 services in Toronto.  Discover which platform is most suited to provide a robust eCommerce experience for you and your customers, and see how our professional Drupal eCommerce solutions can help.  Photo credit: Mark Konig on Unsplash.   ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Apr 06'2021
Drupal DevOps Best Practices for 2021
  Today, businesses interact with their customers in many forms of digital services on all kinds of devices. As the digital world is more and more present in our lives, delivering streamlined experiences at the tip of your customers' fingers is the key to success.  A vital role in delivering rapid, accessible IT services is played by DevOps, a set of practices that brings software development and IT operations together. And when it comes to Drupal web development, DevOps represents a valuable instrument that can maximize the potential of Drupal-delivered projects.    How does DevOps work and what benefits does a DevOps model deliver? DevOps, the culture that encompasses most digital businesses today, uses automation and advanced tech stacks to add a new layer of velocity to a company's infrastructure. “DevOps represents a change in IT culture, focusing on rapid IT service delivery through the adoption of agile, lean practices in the context of a system-oriented approach. DevOps emphasizes people (and culture) and seeks to improve collaboration between operations and development teams. DevOps implementations utilize technology — especially automation tools that can leverage an increasingly programmable and dynamic infrastructure from a life cycle perspective”. - Gartner, Inc. Businesses that incorporate a DevOps model into their workflows see benefits like:   Scalability. Fundamental processes like infrastructure and development are operated at scale, which allows for a more efficient approach to developing, testing, and producing environments in a repeatable and streamlined way. Faster and more reliable delivery. The modern customer's need for speed is real, and DevOps can support organizations in their quest to speeding up feature releases, bug fixes, and other types of upgrades. Continuous integration and delivery are two critical practices that can automate the release process. High velocity. Adopting an efficient DevOps model allows professionals to build digital innovations faster and keep up with the trends imposed by ever-changing markets. Security. When adopting DevOps, you don't have to compromise on safety as DevOps models provide automated compliance policies and configuration management mechanisms.   DevOps best practices To make the most out of DevOps, there are some key practices to follow when implementing your model:   Leverage microservices architecture, which allows breaking down large systems into more specific, independent projects. As a result, developers and architects have more flexibility over managing these projects, and applications are more pliable and allow faster innovation. Install minor updates on a regular basis to solve issues and fix bugs quicker. The DevOps model aids companies in deploying updates more often and constantly optimizing their ongoing processes. Use continuous integration and continuous delivery to overcome operational challenges in complex development workflows.  Don't forget about infrastructure as a code, as automating your infrastructure provides better computing resources and higher responsiveness to possible alterations.    DevOps for Drupal development Implementing a DevOps model into your Drupal development workflow will not only accelerate your development cycle and delivery but will also contribute to better user experiences and business outcomes.  As more companies are adopting DevOps models (according to a recent report, 60% of businesses are using or are considering DevOps for their organization), it is expected that DevOps will gradually become even more essential for any digital business. With this growth will come better opportunities for building future-ready Drupal deployments and web experiences suited for the modern customer’s complex needs.    Wrapping Up DevOps continues to grow in new industries, opening possibilities for enhancing security, product monitoring, development, and cluster computing. As it will become the new norm, DevOps will continue to integrate more departments, improve solutions and designs.  As we've seen, DevOps models can also support a Drupal development team that focuses on improving project timelines and delivery. Optasy is the right partner for fostering digital innovation and can help you create customized Drupal digital experiences.  What do you need support with?  Photo credit: PCB-Tech on Pixabay.   ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Apr 02'2021
8 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for Better UX
  Modern WordPress web development screams: plugins plugins plugins! How do you respond? Which are the best plugins that can provide better user experiences (UX) to support your website's success? How can you choose wisely when there are hundreds of them available on the market? You're in luck! This article highlights seven UX-enriching plugins that must be part of your WordPress arsenal. But first, what are these plugins, and how can they benefit your website? WordPress plugins or extensions are a great way to customize and personalize your website to improve your SEO and UX capabilities. Plugins extend existing website functionality and enhance your site's performance. You can opt-in for minor tweaks, or you can go the extra mile and perform massive changes to your website with the use of various extensions.    8 Top WordPress plugins that deliver streamlined user experiences   1. Backup Buddy Backup is not an option if you're looking to succeed in properly managing your website—it's a necessity. Backup Buddy works as a classic backup, and it allows users to store data from multiple WordPress sites.  This plugin is known for being safe, quick, and reliable, which ensures user satisfaction. BackBuddy comes at affordable rates and can be upgraded according to the needs of each business.     Source    2. KeyCDN Another WordPress extension that works in your visitors’ favor is KeyCDN, a winner when it comes to WordPress plugins that speed up your website's loading time. This plugin helps your site perform better without compromising on ease of use or simplicity.  In the modern era, digital consumers are used to fast, streamlined experiences and don't settle for less than this standard. That's why supercharging your website with a speed-enhancing extension will add value to your brand and meet your users' need for speed.  Source     3. WPForms WPForms is the best WordPress contact form plugin. The features that make this extension a user-friendly and powerful WordPress form builder are:   Pre-built form templates that save time Mobile-friendly and responsive on tablets, desktop Drag & drop form builder without writing code Easily collect payments and online orders Spam protection Easy to embed in other pages like blog posts This plugin lets you build online forms faster, and it is a must for any site that puts the user at the center of the business.   Source   4. Yoast SEO Since 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine, you want to take SEO seriously. The most popular WordPress SEO plugin is Yoast SEO. You can use it for on-site optimization and for enhancing your online presence. This extension allows you to change a page's meta description, add additional information on your content, and optimize for high-performing keywords. In this digital marketing era, SEO-friendly websites perform better, attract more visitors, and boost engagement—install your WordPress SEO plugin now and improve your online posture.   Source   5. WPtouch Speaking of trends, mobile usage is gaining traction, and businesses need to adapt to this new reality. More precisely, by 2021, the number of worldwide smartphone users is expected to reach 3.8 billion. In this context, mobile optimization is a requirement for any brand that wants to build long-lasting business relationships. A WordPress plugin that can make your site mobile-friendly is WPtouch. This popular mobile solution provides a simple and elegant way of optimizing WordPress sites for mobile. It enables a mobile-friendly version of your website that passes the Google Mobile test and ensures your SEO rankings do not drop due to not having a mobile-friendly website.    Source   6. MonsterInsights Many consider this to be the most powerful and user-friendly WordPress analytics plugin in the market. It connects with Google Analytics and supports reliable and efficient website traffic monitoring. MosterInsights can tell you where your users come from, how much time they've spent on your site, or which pages are they most interested in. Measuring different user experiences metrics and working on enabling better ways to keep your visitors happy is an essential element that helps you grow your business. Among the top features are: Google Analytics dashboard Real-time stats Universal tracking across devices and campaigns GDPR friendly Improved eCommerce tracking Google Optimize for A/B testing   Source   7. Defender Cybercrime has risen by 600% in the last year due to the worldwide pandemic. If your security efforts were prioritized until now, that's good. However, with cybersecurity now being constantly threatened, your site's protection should be at the top of the list.  A reliable WordPress plugin that supports and improves your security posture. In just a few clicks, you get closer to stopping brute force attacks, cross-site scripting XSS, SQL injections, and other WordPress vulnerabilities and hacks.  Defender protects your website with the following features: Two-factor authentication  Login lockout WordPress security firewall Geolocation IP lockout 404 detection Login masking Source   8. userTrack One of the most efficient ways to understand your users' needs is by analyzing their behavior. The userTrack plugin is the right solution for that.  By installing it, you can view click heatmaps, mouse interactions on your website, or even complete recordings of user activity on your site. userTrack provides a wide range of useful statistics that help you build your user's persona and profile to deliver better experiences for your audience.    Source   You've made it! You now have a better perspective of which plugin might benefit your website the most, and you can start optimizing your content and strategies to match your visitors’ needs.  Remember, in the era of digital businesses, the winning approach is user-centric. That's why working to deliver better website experiences for your users is so important. Fortunately, plugins and extensions can make the job of optimizing and managing websites much more accessible.  The same can be said about Optasy, a reliable partner in building and maintaining a robust online presence. From web development and digital strategies to design and maintenance, Optasy is here to add digital value to your business.    Photo credit: Markus Winkler on Unsplash.          ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Mar 31'2021