Magento is a world-leading e-commerce platform. Magento 1 brought many businesses big and small to the world of online shopping. Now Magento 2 will do the same using the latest technology. However, migrating from one e-comm platform to another can be a risky affair, even at the best times. Mitigate this risk by hiring the services of a Magento Development Company. As you read further, we will cover the benefits of migrating to Magento 2, the potential dangers of this move, and how you can reduce the impact.
Why Use Magento?
Magento is a popular e-commerce platform used worldwide for building comprehensive online stores. Made using the PHP framework, Magento specializes in offering user-friendly design coupled with high functionality. Some of its most salient features include drag-and-drop page-building tools, automatic product display management, responsive e-commerce options, a convenient marketplace for extensions and compatibility with most back-end systems.
Magento 1 vs. Magento 2
The simplest way to describe the difference between Magento 1 and Magento 2 is ‘version.’ Earlier versions of the platform are known as Magento 1. Much like ‘The Two Towers in the Lord of the Rings, Magento 2 retains the former’s magic while adding a comprehensive set of new features. Outlined below are some of the key differences between the two versions.
Migrating between two versions of the same platform will cost you in development and design work but never as much as creating a new site on a new platform. You can mitigate the risk of this cost by, for example, hiring a Magento Development Company. Hiring a professional, in this case, may seem expensive. Still, the seamless transition between platforms will more than pay for itself.
Magento 1 stopped receiving updates in June 2020 which means no more security patches, bug fixes and customer support. For e-commerce platforms that routinely collect and use customer data, lack of updates represent vulnerabilities. Data breaches can be catastrophic for any business, big or small. Magento 2, however, supports and will continue to support the latest in e-commerce innovation.
What Does Migrating Entail?
Migrating any e-commerce platform usually involves the following key areas:
- Custom code
Because the upgrades in Magento 2 have altered how each of these aspects interacts internally and externally, you need to plan the changes accordingly. Review what you need to keep and what has become obsolete. Keep in mind, the more customization you use, the more difficult it will be to migrate. Most users find that going through your coding with a fine-tooth comb helps avoid problems later on caused by a stray piece of code.
Why is Migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2 Risky?
Risk is an inherent part of all change. In this case, the possibility of a mishap does not come from the platforms themselves. Instead, it is the act of shifting your website’s contents and data. Here we have charted some of the most common problem areas of migration.
Losing data is an online store’s worst nightmare. Most big and small business owners make a habit of backing up data at all levels to ensure quick recovery from an accident. In either case, knowing how to migrate a database correctly is crucial. Target systems (where the database will move to) often have different structure requirements, attributes, and elements. Therefore, if you are not savvy with the process, consider hiring a professional.
If you are new to the migration concept, you might end up spending more money than anticipated on the process. For example, Magento 2 uses a host of newer technologies, extension support, and back-end compatibility. However, that does not mean you need them all. Choosing and developing the right blend of changes can be tricky at the best of times.
Getting the timing right is critical for a running place of business. Just like you would not shut down your physical store for renovations during peak season or hours, you have to consider when to migrate carefully. The migration process can be time-consuming and complicated if all does not go well. Therefore, choosing the most appropriate downtime should be a data-driven decision.
Loss of SEO
Search Engine Optimisation or SEO is the process of ensuring high visibility for your website or online store in search results. The better the content quality in SEO, the more likely potential customers will see your store before the competition. When migrating between the two versions of Magento, poorly developed websites might cause duplicate data and break internal links. Either of the two will lower your Search Engine Results Page (SERP) rankings.
How to Mitigate the Risks of Migrating
Remember that sharing the risks of migrating from Magento 1 to the newer version is not meant to discourage you. Instead, it is to enable a more informed decision for you. There are several ways you can mitigate this risk without adding more effort.
Hire a professional
The safest and easiest option is to hire a professional Magento developer. An experienced developer brings to the table a knowledge base, expertise, and industry wisdom. You can take it a point further by engaging the services of a Magento Development Company instead. An organization can always leverage more human resources, infrastructure, and capital than any lone individual. Listed below an assortment of the best Magento development companies worldwide (in no particular order):
- Staylime: This California-based company started developing Magento solutions in 2010. Their services include the full development cycle;
- Panda Group: Panda Group is a Magento development specialist operating since 2013 and is a Magento Solutions partner;
- Folio3: Folio3 is a full spectrum Magento developing company based in the USA with offices in Bulgaria, Pakistan, UK, and Canada. This development company has over ten years of experience working with e-commerce;
- Rave Digital: Established in 2008, Rave Digitial is a Magento certified developing company based in Florida;
- Magneto IT Solutions: Founded in 2009, Magneto IT Solutions is a strategy and design specialist. Notable clients include HP and ESPN.
Train staff responsible for migrating
If you have an in-house IT team responsible for the entire operation, ensure they receive Magento development training. If you plan on hiring an external developer, check to see if they have a Magento certification before signing the contract. The safest bet, however, is a Magento Development Company. They usually have an entire team of certified professionals.
Inform customers before downtime
Maintaining customer loyalty depends on the flow of accurate information. To avoid losing existing and potential customers, inform them well before time. Some companies let people know weeks before the expected date to give people ample time to absorb the message. Banks, mutual funds, and other financial institutions use this technique most commonly. For their customers, downtime can mean anything from a missed due date on bills or receiving a delayed payment.
Restrict administrative activities
Set a time frame in which admin activities are not allowed. In other words, you and your employees should not make any significant changes to the database, structure, and design. Even if the need arises, postpone until after you have wholly settled into Magento 2. One way to ensure this step is by handing over the development process to a professional developer or Magento Development Company. If you don’t have any control, the risk of accidents disappears.
Create a blueprint for the migration
In preparation for the big move, map out how your store’s current structure will transform into Magento 2. What needs changing, and what will remain the same. As mentioned earlier, planning is crucial. GO through the theme, review the extension, check for custom code and your data structures. Not only will doing so help you stay on track throughout the migration, but it will also aid a professional developer should you decide to hire one.
What to Do Post Migration
Despite your best efforts, bugs find a way through and disrupt operations. Therefore, once you successfully migrate your store to Magento 2, monitor and evaluate performance for a few weeks. Test the site vigorously and identify problem areas as soon as possible. Map out the changes you will make. A development company usually stress-tests every feature before handing over the finished product.
Wrapping up, if you are still using Magento 1 for your online store, you now have a lot to think about. However, knowing what to do is half the battle won. You are now aware of what the relocation process entails and the potential pitfalls. Although you can complete the process yourself or hire a professional, a Magento Development Company might be the best bet. Whatever you finally decide, success or failure depends on your needs and how efficiently you want to fulfill them.
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