- 6 min
In this post, we discuss why the Magento e-commerce platform is a great choice for small businesses that want to grow and succeed.
Magento, released in 2007, is currently among the world leaders in e-commerce platforms. Over the years, it has acquired a lot of new features and enhancements. In 2015, Magento 2 saw the light of day.
With its useful admin interface, improved checkout, excellent page loading speed, impressive performance, and cutting-edge search capabilities, Magento 2 was welcomed by the e-commerce community with great enthusiasm. However, many merchants weren’t rushing to migrate to the new version. Why so?
Magento 2 was not just a simple update as was the case with the varieties of Magento 1. Instead, it marked a major upgrade. This meant that it was almost a completely new system with features that differed greatly from its predecessor. Thus, porting assets from the old platform to the new one was a long and laborious process that entailed serious risks of data assets being damaged or lost.
While migrating to the new platform was not mandatory, it was quite obvious that the maintenance of the old system would be terminated sooner or later. Now, the zero hour is just a few months away. Adobe, which bought Magento in 2018, announced that it would cease to provide any kind of support for Magento 1.x as of June 2020. Consequently, merchants running their sites on Magento 1.x will be left to fend for themselves in an Internet full of cybercriminals of all sorts.
There will be no more security patches to protect those old-version-powered stores from the latest security threats and no more advanced features to improve performance and user experience. This may negatively impact the bottom line and deal a painful blow to the merchants’ reputations.
A much wiser approach is to migrate to Magento 2, and the sooner the better. This way, you will get a secure e-commerce solution with advanced B2B and B2C features that perfectly renders across different devices and screen resolutions, loads twice as fast as Magento 1.x stores do, and has many other attractive features.
Forewarned is forearmed, though. The migration process, as we’ve already said, is not simple and has some unpleasant pitfalls you’ll have to deal with. Let’s take a look at the most common of those.
Well, fasten your seatbelts. We begin our rough ride from point A (Magento 1.x) to point B (Magento 2.x). The first bump along the way is the incompatibility of themes between the two major versions.
You may have been using your current theme for years. You’ve perfectly customized it to meet your specific business requirements and have never had any problems with it. You’d be happy to port it to your new Magento 2 site and continue using it for as many years.
Alas, Magento 1 and Magento 2 themes are like two halves of a big puzzle that just don’t fit together. You’ll have to search for a similar ready-made M2 theme, either free or paid, and tweak it to suit your tastes and needs.
However, altering the look and feel of the theme is only part of the story. You’ll also have to perform its all-around testing to ensure that your store customizations still work with the new theme as you expect it.
Another approach is to build an entirely new M2 theme. Since it assumes rewriting the front-end code (changing CSS styles and HTML structure), this solution is more expensive. That being said, it’s a wonderful opportunity to give your store a new lease on life. It will have a modern look and perform faster.
Again, over many years of your store’s operation, you may have installed tons of extensions, both custom and those built by third-party developers. They allowed you to run your site smoothly. Shipping, inventory management, payment, discounts — you have taken care of every important business aspect.
Now that the time has come to move over to Magento 2, you’d prefer keeping your time-tested extensions on. We have to disappoint you here too: all third-party extensions created for the M1 version will be absolutely useless on an online store powered by Magento 2.
So, you’ll have to put up with the necessity to search for the equivalents of your current extensions in the official Magento marketplace, and there’s a good chance of finding them. Over the past five years, developers across the globe have built the M2 versions of extensions for the majority of business functions.
Another option, just like in the case of themes, is to have a custom extension built to replace the previous version. This requires larger investments. In return, however, you get an add-on that does exactly what you want.
Themes and extensions are important components of any online store, Magento-based or otherwise. However, for the normal operation of an e-commerce site, there is nothing as crucial as product and customer data. Lose it and you may have to say good-bye to your entire business.
Unfortunately, this is yet another bump on the road from Magento 1 to Magento 2, too. If your site is quite old and has been maintained by different developers, there is a chance that the tables in the database are not neat enough for straightforward migration by means of scripts or the default Migration Tool.
Sometimes the database table structure is so messed up that a clean install of Magento 1.x is the only way to put things straight before even considering a move to Magento 2. That’s why we highly recommend performing a detailed review of all the data stored in your database first. Identify the data that is pivotal for your business and port it to Magento 2 in the first turn, then migrate less important data, and so on.
Oh, yes, and remember to back up your database to several locations, including your local file system, an external drive, and the cloud. You can also try data migration on a staging environment first, for example, on a different server. Considering the great importance of safe customer and product data migration, the wisest approach is to seek professional assistance.
Businesses must earn money every single day. Otherwise, they will soon go broke, and there the story ends. Do you have to shut down your present site for the duration of the migration process? No, you don’t. You can keep it running.
Be prepared that your store’s speed may drop significantly, though. According to some sources, a 2-second increase in page loading speed leads to a 100% increase in bounce rate. Fewer visitors mean worse sales down the line. What can you do?
Have a good look at your current store and apply the most common optimization techniques (merging CSS and JS files, caching your pages, and others) to make it work faster.
You should also plan “the starting gun” for when the business activity is at its lowest.
Want to migrate right before Christmas or Easter? Think twice. A slow-loading site during probably the best time of year for businesses won’t likely bring in much revenue.
There’s no point in building a website, optimizing it for better performance, and stuffing it with advanced features if no one except your team sees it on the Internet.
However, this is what often happens after the 1 to 2 move. You may suddenly find that you have two identical copies of the same content, your pages may surprisingly get new URLs, or one of the internal links, to your horror, may start redirecting to a 404 page.
All these problems may cause your hard-won SEO rankings to remain nothing but a distant memory. This means your leads will not see your site on the first search engine results page. The number of new visitors will drop, and sales will suffer. Regaining the lost ground may take ages.
There can be multiple reasons why you experience SEO issues after migrating to M2 (e.g., web crawlers failing to screen the robots file properly). You can handle all these issues (by using 301 redirects, working with canonical URLs properly, formatting internal links in compliance with M2 guidelines, and so on). However, to avoid trouble, hiring experienced and skilled Magento 2 experts is the best step you can take.
As you can see, the process of migration between two major versions of the leading e-commerce platform requires considerable skill and extensive knowledge of the system and takes quite a long time to complete, especially for enterprise-sized stores.
There are a number of steps to take before, during, and after migration. Designing a plan, setting up the environment for testing purposes, building custom extensions and installing ready-made ones, porting data, and finally deploying your new Magento 2 store to a live server — all this may span weeks or even months, depending on how large or complicated the project is.
For a trouble-free migration process, partner with GetDevDone, a reliable development company. We provide a wide range of migration services, including the following:
Let’s ride the whole migration road together without bumps or potholes! Share your Magento 2 migration plans with us today.