Many web designers now use both WordPress and Magento to build e-commerce websites; it is quite common, for example, to use Magento to manage products, inventory, sales and offers, whilst using WordPress for blog posts.
Magento is a fantastic platform. However, it is not without niggles. First and foremost: performance. For many reasons Magento relies heavily on its cache tools, with lots of querying behind the scenes which can slow down your customer’s online experience without proper care. Furthermore, building and setting up a Magento website requires the investment of a great deal of time, which increases when it comes to fixing bugs and altering the appearance once the site is up and running. This brings up a third problem which is flexibility. Whilst Magento is one of the leading e-commerce frameworks, it does still have less capable CMS and its limited fields prevent it from offering fully customisable product and page templates.
We have come up with a simple solution to this: use both! That is to say, use Magento for the backend and WordPress as the frontend. To put it simply: if you wish to make changes to the websites content or layout appearance, use WordPress CMS. But configure your product and sales information with Magento. This offers both client and user the flexibility of WordPress coupled with the powerful product inventory system of Magento.
With a plugin such as MWI you can use Magento’s functions in a WordPress template, offering far more flexibility to build effective and attractive websites. You can build advanced search pages in WordPress, which search products, pages, posts and custom posts, depending on the query. Furthermore you can build custom tailored WordPress plugins for product galleries and review forms, or to determine which scripts and stylesheets appear on each page, which greatly decreases load time and avoids the need to use a caching tool.
Here is how we would recommend splitting the functionality and content between WordPress and Magento:
- Product search / query
- Product pages and ‘Add to cart’ function.
- Page/Post/Custom Post templates
- Page/Post/Custom Post database driven content
- Product – content
- Cart/Checkout/Payment Gateway
- Customer Accounts
- Transaction Emails and after sales
We know neither WordPress or Magento are perfect, however, they are both very popular with good reason. WordPress held over 60% of the CMS market in 2014, whilst Magento came out top in an aheadWorks survey of the most popular e-commerce platforms in the same year. This is down to a variety of factors: for WordPress: ease of use, SEO plugins and customisability are key. Magento offers a robustness and reliability you can count on. When working with them together, you can utilize the best points of both – with this method you will soon be creating powerful, user friendly, attractive and efficient websites.
Do you use Magento or WordPress for your online store? Join in the conversation below.