Magento is an amazing piece of software. Roy Rubin, the founder of Magento, created it in such a way that it can serve the dynamic needs of e-commerce businesses and marketers all over the world. It is due to this reason that it is highly adaptable, extensible and user-friendly.
The multi store feature is one of the most important and powerful feature of Magento. (Multi store is also known as multi site.) It allows growing businesses to manage multiple websites and stores through one Magento installation under a single admin panel. If you are new to Magento multi store or have plans to create them, this post will serve you as a guide.
Getting Familiar With Magento Multi Store Feature
Magento uses the terminology of GWS (Global, Website, Store) to explain the ability to create multiple websites and stores through one installation. There is one more part called Store View that is added to each Magento installation automatically. The three components of GWS are explained below:
Global refers to the complete installation of Magento.
Website is the domain you are utilizing. Each domain or website can have multiple stores, while you can also have multiple domains on a single installation.
Stores are your actual product catalogue. Multiple stores can be created on a single domain or more than one domains.
And while we are at it, I think it would be wise to explain the Store Views term too. Store Views can be defined as the multiple presentation of your front-end data. Most e-Commerce stores use this feature to have stores in multiple languages.
[Additional Resource: Magento’s official website has an easy to understand knowledge base explaining GWS.]
A Practical Example To Magento Multi Store
Let’s assume you want to sell apparels for both men and women, so you create 2 separate websites named mensapparel.com and womensapparel.com. If you want, you can share the data between both the websites.
Next are the product catalogues in each website. If you have plans to sell shirts, trousers and shoes in mensapparel.com, it will be better to create separate category for each of these. This way managing your site becomes easier once it starts to grow. You can utilize sub domains like shirts.mensapparel.com, trousers.mensapparel.com and shoes.mensapparel.com for this purpose. These are the 3 different stores on a single website.
Moreover, let’s suppose a large chunk of your target market is Hispanic. This means it will be better to have your website in Spanish along with English. Magento is amongst the few open-source e-Commerce software that allow the creation of regional and multilingual websites. If you create a dropdown menu where your visitors can choose to view your websites in either Spanish or English then you simply created 2 separate store views.
Advantages Of Using Magento Multi Store Functionality
Utilizing the multi store feature will definitely make your life easier and provide you with following benefits:
Your customers will find your site easy to explore. You can create a clean, uncluttered site that will result in improved customer experience.
Site management will become easier. You will have a central panel with an ability to change theme and restrict extensions. Each store can have their individual identity.
Customer accounts will be easier to manage. Moreover, you can provide different payment and shipment methods for different regions.
You can easily scale your store and add new catalogs and categories to it without losing control over them.
Issues In Using Multiple Store Feature Of Magento
Creating multiple stores in Magento is easy. You follow the steps and you can create as many stores as you want. While there are no technical or code base issues, some e-Commerce and SEO related problems are commonly reported by merchants online. I have discussed these issues below:
A single SSL certificate can only serve IP address and one domain. This issue can be solved through 2 possible solutions:
Wildcard SSL: It provides protection to all the subdomains you create. So if you are going for shoes.mensapparel.com and shirts.mensapparel.com, get a wildcard SSL and all *.mensapparel.com are protected.
Subject Alternative Name (SAN) Certification: This provides a solution for stores created on different domains. A single certificate not just makes administration easier but also turns out to be light on pocket.
IP Address And SEO
Webmasters still believe that a shared IP address will affect the SEO of the site. In real sense, it does not. There are cases where many famous entities have multiple websites on their IP. BBC.com has 21 websites on their IP while ESPN.com has 999 websites sharing a single IP address. Read more about it here.
Another issue in SEO is content duplication. Make sure that the content is unique, especially for page title and description. (Remember, Content is the King!) If you are building regional or multilingual Magento stores, do make sure to read these 7 deadly mistakes that you must take care of.
Extension Issues In Magento Multi Store
Magento multi store feature allows you to have different plugins for each store. This means an extension can be active for one store but it remains idle for another. Everything stays in one piece till you update your Magento software. This issue occurs even if you are not using the multi store feature. However, an extra layer of complication is added if you are using it.
Cloudways Approach To Magento Multi Store
Magento requires continuous management. At Cloudways, we relate it to a SUV that you drive on rough terrain, but in return, it demands high maintenance. Our Magento multi store hosting is aimed towards medium and large businesses, so that they can give more time to their customers than handling the technical issues.
Do check our blog as in the next few weeks, we will discuss more about Magento and its functionalities on our blog. Lastly, we would love to hear from you, so please leave your feedback in the comments sections.
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