magento image upload

How To....Bulk Upload Product Images to Magento

This is an post taken from our old website.  It was originally posted in 2013 to help with an issue which many people were having with Magento CE at the time.  We have deprecated our other old blog posts but have decided to keep this one as we believe it is still useful to some… (please note that this was written alongside Magento CE 1.7 but I believe it still works up to the 1.9 release)

So, we have been tinkering with Magento CE lately and hit a stumbling block when it came to making somewhere in the region of 16,000 product images display on the frontend. The solution didn’t present itself clearly for quite some time, so here goes the basic guide for all those store builders who have more images than they can individually upload via the backend…
Assuming that your products are already listed without images:
Upload your images to media/import. If you do not already have a folder named “import” within your “media” folder, just create one.
Log into the admin area of Magento.
Click System > Import/Export > Dataflow – Profiles
Click Add New Profile
This is the screen you’ll be presented with (Click on the image for a larger version):

Make sure the “Enclose Values In” field is blank. Under the heading “Field Mapping”, enter the image categories you require, this example is very basic, but you get idea. You can add categories such as image labels, the choices appear in the dropdown menus each time you add a new item. Be sure to include “sku” as Magento uses this value as the product’s unique identifier.
Save your new configuration.
Create a new CSV file in your normal editor such as Excel for example. Create columns for each of the fields you created in Dataflow. (sku, image, thumbnail etc). List your sku numbers in the appropriate column (copy and paste from the original stock list works well here) and input your image titles. Be sure that the image names begin with / as in “/web-design.jpg”
When all details are complete, save your CSV and return to Magento. Within the Dataflow profile you have created, click “Upload File” then select the new file and click “Save and Continue Edit”.
Finally, click the tab “Run Profile”. Select the file you have uploaded from the dropdown menu and click “Run Profile in Popup”. Magento should do the rest for you.
Alternatively, if this basic guide is still beyond you, give your web designer a shout, we’re always happy to help….

Well, hopefully the oldies are still the goodies.  Magento is such a powerful, fantastic e-commerce platform, as well as a complex mind-boggling beast at times!


web design wigan

What's Wrong With Your Website?

If you’ve invested hard work and hard earned money into a brand spanking new website which just isn’t pulling its weight, it can be frustrating.  What’s the issue?  It looks pretty enough, it has your logo on it, it’s even featuring on Google.  But you still don’t seem to be gaining the results you were hoping for in terms of return of investment.

Before you slip into complete despair, it’s worth taking the proverbial step backwards and try looking at your website through the eyes of your target audience.  Are you capturing their attention by giving them the necessary information easily or does it take forever to find what they are looking for?

We put together a checklist to help with your personal website review:

Is Your Website Responsive?

The majority of online browsing is now done via a mobile device.  If your website isn't responsive to different screen sizes, your audience could lose patience and look elsewhere.  There is nothing more frustrating than constantly trying to zoom in on content or scroll side to side to read all the copy on a web page.

Media Which Auto Plays?

My biggest bugbear!  There is nothing worse than having a quiet browse online, only to be interrupted by some loud theme tune or somebody loudly telling you how great their product/service is.  Online media is great, in it's place but many people don't want it forcing on them and will click away from your website.  Easily fixed: give your users a "play" button!


Is Your Navigation Straightforward?

When you're building or designing your website, it's easy to get involved to the point where you can't see the obvious: how do you get to the relevant pages.  Once your user is on your website, how do they navigate to the place they want to be.  People can get frustrated by poor website navigation and look elsewhere, we are no longer patient with the internet, we want our information fast!  Make sure you have clear links and call to actions buttons to help your audience take their next step and ultimately to do business with you.

Can You Boil a Kettle Faster Than Your Page Can Load?

Ok, maybe not but if your web pages take an age to load, people will go elsewhere.  As mentioned above, we simply are not patient anymore!  Make sure your image sizes are as small as possible and use tools such as Pingdom to check your site speed and see which elements might be causing loading lag.

Cheese Overload?

It's not always possible or affordable to have a professional photo shoot done especially for your website.  It might be that you work in an environment that wouldn't lend itself well to attractive images or you simply might be on a tight budget.  Stock images can work really well, but tread carefully.  Some of them can be cheesy to the point of nauseating and come across as clearly not being of your business.  This can be off putting to customers who want to see a genuine company, so try to strike the balance right.

Pop Up and Up and Up?

I recently viewed a website which I have been on many times before.  The owners are pushing a new product and have obviously decided to employ the use of pop ups.  This is fine, except said pop up appeared on every page I clicked on.  Annoying!  Even more so as it was on mobile and filled my entire screen.  I lost patience eventually and took my business elsewhere.  Need I say more?  Use them, just not too much.

Albeit a basic list, give your website a quick DIY audit today and see if you can improve upon the user experience it provides.  User experience really does matter and even search engines such as Google measure how long people stay on your site and whereabouts on it they “drop off”.  This goes on to have a bearing on your search ranking.  With this in mind can you really afford to neglect a poorly performing website?


social media agency wigan

Facebook Promotion Guideline Changes

You may not know but Facebook has had some pretty strict guidelines when it comes to running promotions on your Facebook Pages in the past. It is always essential to make sure you’re not in breach of any of these before running a promotion and to make things easy for everyone Facebook are constantly changing these guidelines. But the reason for this blog is that their recent big algorithm change turned the Facebook marketing world upside down.

Here’s some of the guidelines that Facebook has changed for running promotions:

Before: All promotions on Facebook must be run within Apps on Facebook.com, this could be on a Canvas Page or a Page App.

Now: You are now allowed to run promotions on your Timeline or by using a third-party application.

Before: You could not condition entry upon the user taking any action using any Facebook features or functionality other than liking a Page, checking in to a Place, or connecting to your app.

Now: You can now require a Comment or Like on your post for entry. However, you still can’t ask fans to enter by sharing your post on their own Timeline or to tag their friends.

Before: You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting tool for a promotion on your page.

Now: You can now not only ask fans to Like or Comment on a post to enter your competition, but you can use Likes as a voting feature.

Before: You must not notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) / Pages.

Now: Facebook has relaxed this guideline, so that you can now use the comments section, status updates, your own blog or even Twitter to notify winners.

These are only a few of the main changes but you can see all of Facebook's guidelines here https://www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php or if you have any questions give us a call and we would be happy to help!


seo wigan

Why SEO Should Be An Essential, Not a Luxury!

Why SEO should be an essential, not a luxury!

SEO has a tarnished reputation, this is a sad but true fact in today’s digital world. Black hat tactics and Google algorithm changes have made a huge impact upon the way it is perceived by many.

However, here at Reflex Creative, we still firmly believe that SEO is an essential part of any marketing campaign. From small business ventures to larger corporations, being able to compete online is vital. Long gone are the days where most people hunted for goods and services in the local paper, the modern equivalent is now the Google search. Statistics show that 75% of people using Google do not look beyond the first page of results.

Shocking? Yes and no. People in this digital age do not want to scroll through pages and pages of results to look for your business. They want to find what they want within a few clicks. If your website is not seen in those first few precious organic google results for the keywords they are searching for then many will simply not find you, but your competitors instead.

We often hear phrases like “SEO is pointless”. Well, this couldn’t be more wrong. Solid white-hat SEO practices do make a huge impact on the online presence of a company, potentially bringing them up from the depths of page 8 to becoming a strong page 1 contender.

This does not happen overnight though. Good quality SEO takes time and patience in order to be effective. As the famous saying goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and getting a page one ranking is exactly the same. It takes time and dedication to get your website where you want it to be. Play the long game with SEO and ultimately you will be rewarded.

Good quality SEO takes time and patience in order to be effective.

You may be thinking that you can just pay to be at the top with a pay-per-click campaign, and yes you can! However recent statistics show that Google users tend to trust organic google listings more than paid listings, with 70% of users clicking on organic links before paid links, and 70-80% ignoring the paid ads altogether. Google users trust the system, and well optimised, high quality sites with great content will always be king.

Here at Reflex Creative we firmly believe that a little SEO is far better than none, so whatever your budget we can find a solution that suits you. Our clients range from large national companies to small local businesses, and we are able to tailor our services accordingly.

So for skeptical large and small business owners alike, we urge you to think again! SEO can transform your online presence, getting your website seen by those that matter the most- your potential customers. Used in conjunction with other marketing strategies and solid branding, watch your business soar! Want to find out more? Visit our SEO page or contact us today!


social sharing

How To Find Relevant Content To Share on Social Media

One of the hardest parts of running your business' social media pages is finding relevant content to share across social media. The web is noisy and chaotic with information where you will find thousands of blogs, news channels and many online wire services publishing press releases, news articles and other related content daily. But how is it possible for you to find anything that is relevant to your business that you can use, curate and share with your target audience to support your digital marketing efforts?

With the help of Google Search, Google Alerts and Twitter, real time search all make it quite easy to find content that is relevant, newsworthy, and most importantly real time. Using these channels you can find valuable and interesting information regarding people, companies, news, what is happening right now all over the world and what is currently trending.
These channels can also help you research what others are saying about you, your business, and your competition online. Here is a couple of tips on using each of these channels to find a needle of information in a haystack of content.

Google Search
– Using Google search is one of the easiest ways to find relevant content. When searching on Google, use a combination of keywords relevant to your query and use many of the search options (news, videos, images etc…) directly on Google to filter what you are looking for. If you are looking for the most recent content you can even filter the results by country and time. Using these search options on Google is powerful and one of the quickest ways to find relevant content.

Google Alerts - You can use Google Alerts to set up alerts so you receive an email when any new information regarding any topic is published online. You can set up alerts for pretty much anything including brand mentions, blog posts or any topic so that you are notified when something new is published. When you set up the alerts you can set them up in two ways. One is so that you are immediately notified when there’s an update or you can select to have a daily summary sent to you. Google Alerts is an excellent tool for tracking your own name or brand so you are notified as soon as you are mentioned in content that Google has indexed.

Twitter Real-Time Search - Do you want to know what is happening right now this minute about a specific topic? You can do a search on Twitter’s search engine to find all the information as it happens in real time. You can use the advanced search properties to find out exactly what you are looking for and also filter the results by location so you are not wasting your time. We also recommend you create a list of specific Twitter users you want to follow; this makes it easy to find the exact type of content you are looking for.

We understand trying to make time to post on social media is hard enough never mind trying to find relevant content. So if you are struggling why not get in touch today to discuss a social media management package to suit your budget.


outsource social media marketing

5 Benefits of Outsourcing Your Social Media

By now you have probably realised that social media is here to stay and if you haven’t, well you only have to go on to Twitter and you will see all of your competitors tweeting away and stealing your potential clients. Let’s face it, with over 100 million posts to social media per day, can you afford not to be involved in that?

Social media is the perfect place to get your business seen as the first thing 71% of social media users do in the morning is check their social media pages and the same thing at night. Wouldn’t it be great if your business is the first thing they see in the morning or last thing at night?

If all of the above sounds great but you just cannot get your head around social media here are 5 reasons why you should outsource your social media:

• Time
We understand that running a business and trying to make time for your family is very difficult so when it comes to social media, not having enough time in the day to post is a genuine excuse. We can take social media off your to do list giving you more time to focus on your business with the peace of mind that your online presence is growing and being handled by experts.

• Consistency
When you go onto a business’ social media page whether it be Facebook, Twitter or even Linked In it looks very unprofessional to see no updates for the last few weeks or months and can even raise questions on whether your business is still operating. But going back to our first point it is very hard to keep posting on social media due to time restraints and or knowledge of effective social media optimization. Outsourcing your social media guarantees consistent, relevant and eye catching content. Along with valuable engagement with your clients and potential clients.

• Cost
As discussed earlier, can you afford not to be involved in all of the social media action? The answer is NO! But can you afford to give the task of running social media to a current employee which could take their focus away from their current work and won’t give 100% to your social media pages as they are juggling too many tasks. So the next option is to take on somebody to run your pages which is even more expensive. For a fraction of the cost of employing someone you can outsource your social media and get experts to take control to ensure social media success.

• Competitors
If you have been living under a rock and your business isn’t on any of the social media platforms or is not actively posting on social media I can guarantee your competitors are one step ahead of you. They will be engaging with their clients and your potential clients. When you outsource your social media to us we make sure the content we post for you is far superior to that of your competitors and ensure that we engage with all your potential clients (along with some of your competitors clients to hopefully bring them back from the dark side).
We also offer competitor analysis as part of our social media management packages which keeps you up to date on what your competitors are up to. We all have competition, but wouldn’t it be great if you knew exactly what yours were up to?

• Fresh Perspective
One of the main advantages of outsourcing your social media is the fresh pair of eyes you get from us when it comes to your online marketing strategy. We can suggest things from an outsider’s point of view as well as the consumer perspective which you may have overlooked. This can lead to us really exploiting your USPs and taking your online presence to the next level!

There are many more benefits to outsourcing your social media but we would be here all day and reading them all would be a very long and boring task for you.

Outsourcing is not showing weakness it is the exact opposite it is identifying your strengths and putting in place plans to make your business even stronger! We all outsource things all the times like you go out to a restaurant because a chef can cook better than you, you get a gardener to do your garden as they can do a better job and quite frankly you probably do not have the time. This is exactly the same as handing your social media over to us.

For more information on our social media management or to discuss a package that suits your business get in touch today…


social media optimization

Should You Use a Digital Marketing Agency and Is It Cost Effective?

Most businesses should by now have recognised how the internet should be the most important part of any marketing strategy. After-all, it’s a global marketplace that is open 24/7, which if used to its full potential is something that you should be able to make very lucrative for your business. However, the question is – how do you best take advantage of the internet?

You may have thought about hiring a digital marketing agency in the past, but have had major concerns over the price and how much you will get in return. Well, the truth is that you actually get a lot of value for your money and with your online presence now rapidly becoming the face of businesses, can you you afford to neglect it?

We are a digital marketing agency so we are obviously going to say this but here are just 3 of many reasons on why digital marketing agencies are a cost effective option for your business.

Perspective

One of the biggest advantages of hiring a digital marketing agency is perspective.

Bringing in an outsider is one of the quickest and easiest ways of getting extremely valuable and unbiased feedback about your current marketing strategies and your overall brand. By assessing your company’s goals and needs with a new perspective, your digital agency can start to think from your consumer’s point of view. What are they looking for when they turn up at your site? How does your product look to them? From these fundamental questions spring the ideas and strategies that your customers can genuinely relate to.

Most digital marketing agencies deal with hundreds of companies each from different industries and backgrounds so they will have lots of new ideas. Which means most importantly, they will know what will work best for your business. A fresh perspective can really give your company that competitive edge we all want. As we all know one of the most dangerous phrases in business is “we’ve always done it this way”.

Expertise

Without sounding too rude your knowledge of online marketing probably isn’t going to be great and is most likely very basic. Which is fine, why should you have an in-depth knowledge of online marketing? You are supposed to be an expert in what you sell not the best way to sell it.

It is now very popular for businesses to outsource their digital marketing to agencies simply because their role as experts is to market your business successfully, which in turn will bring you a far better return on your investment than you would get if you were to do it yourself or even if you employed an in-house marketer. With a digital marketing agency at your disposal you have a whole team of experts specialising in all the major aspects of online marketing. They are experts at ensuring your business is seen and heard online.

A successful digital marketing campaign requires in-depth knowledge on a range of topics which include SEO, social media, web design, online paid advertising, content marketing plus many more. Digital marketing agencies have a team of people with the right skill sets and tools which as a group will always be more effective than one single person. Furthermore, the team will stay up to date with the latest innovations to ensure that your campaigns reach your potential customers. With a digital marketing agency, you get all of this under one roof and at your disposal. Don’t try and be a jack of all trades and a master of none.

Time and Money

Our last point is a very important one to consider, time and money.

When you outsource to a digital marketing agency they can get straight to the heart of your online business goals and find quicker, more cost effective ways of fulfilling them. While you are spending your time doing what you do best, running your business. With a digital marketing agency, you can have a team of digital experts (as already discussed) working for you, providing your business with cost effective marketing solutions that will save you money and most importantly increase your ROI. They will know what works for a particular campaign and how to achieve your desired results within a timely manner.

To round off, what value do you get for your money when you hire a digital marketing agency? Fresh Perspective, Expertise, more time to spend on your business and a better ROI.

Is it therefore cost effective? Very much so.

If you still have questions why not get in touch with us here at reflex creative for a free digital marketing consultation to see first hand what we can do for your business and give you that competitive edge.