Importing oscommerce into WooCommerce

oscommerce is a very good platform that is very flexible and allows any kind of possible customization. However, as far as design layout and user interface go, those are not oscommerce’s forte.

That said, I have a few clients who have requested that they be upgraded to a new ecommerce platform. Having looked at Magento, Open Cart, I have finally decided on WooCommerce. For those of you that are not as familiar with WooCommerce, it is a full-scale ecommerce plugin that allows your WordPress-based website to become a fully featured ecommerce shop.

A logical step for migrating to a new ecommerce platform involves importing the data from the old platform (oscommerce in this case) into WooCommerce. I understand WooCommerce offers an importer through Tools->Importers->Wordpress. I ran their dummy_data.xml file through that importer.

However, I was specifically looking for an importer that would extract the information (Categories, Products, Orders and Customers) from oscommerce. Enter “WooCommerce  oscommerce Import” to the rescue. While it worked smoothly for the most port, easily importing all products, categories, orders and customers, I ran into one small glitch.

The Categories imported from osCommerce appeared twice in both the Admin Dashboard and the Front end of the site. I have documented a support post for this issue. While I was not able to completely root cause the issue, the workaround that worked for me (quite nicely, I might add), was to comment out one of the function calls inside the woocommerce_osc_run_cats function.

//add_woocommerce_term_meta($term[‘term_id’], ‘order’,$category[‘sort_order’]);

It seems like there is another piece of code somewhere else (outside of this plugin) that adds an ‘order’ entry to the wp_wocommerce_termmeta table for each category. So when I commented out the call from the plugin, there was only 1 entry for ‘order’.

If someone has run into this issue or have some other feedback, please respond in the Comments below.

Stan (the man) stuns Murray at US Open!

Stan Wawrinka

That Stanislas Wawrinka has all the goods to beat any ATP tennis player, we all knew. What we also knew is that mentally he was sometimes not prepared to overcome that hurdle.

He delighted all his fans (including me) today by beating Andy Murray, the defending US Open Champ, in straight sets. While I have not watched (yet) the full match, I did catch the last few games of the 3rd set. As usual, Stan’s game was on top. Murray did look out of sorts, but that was likely due to what was happening on Arthur Ashe stadium court.

A big congratulations to Stan. By the way, if you have not seen yet, please be sure to check out some videos of his beautiful one-handed backhand. Stan’s one-handed backhand is a formidable weapon.

Here is to hoping Wawrinka is going all the way to the final. I hope Richard Gasquet achieves a similar result against Nadal. My dream final would be Gasquet v Wawrinka, the battle of the one-handed backhands.

Evaluation of JigoShop as WordPress e-Commerce platform

So far, I have had some time to look at JigoShop for evaluation as an ecommerce plugin for WordPress. Coming from a setup where we use dedicated CMS’s for e-commerce, the idea of a plugin seems a little too thin, relatively speaking. i.e. maybe the plugin does not have all the features that a full scaled CMS that is geared towards ecommerce use.

I have found that last part to be mostly untrue, since JigoShop supports a lot of features, right out of the box. It also has a variety of secondary plug-ins for SEO, email etc that make it powerful.

Looking closer at the JigoShop code, I realize that internally it does not use separate tables dedicated to the ecommerce functionality. Instead, it embeds and extends the core WordPress database tables for tailoring it to WordPress. At this point, I am not sure what are the advantages and disadvantages of this structure.

I will continue writing about whatever I discover about the different eCommerce plugins like WordPress.

If you have any feedback, feel free to comment below.

SMX East – Getting serious about SEO & PPC

I have finally made the decision to attend my first professional conference on all things SEO, PPC and the like. SMX East will be held in NYC Oct 1st – Oct 3, 2013. There is also a full day full of workshops on September 30th. I plan on attending that as well.

Here are my goals (in no specific order):

  1. I hope to be able to gain some useful insight on how to legitimately attain top rankings for certain keywords in Google organic search. To make it more general, hopefully across the search engine landscape including Bing, Yahoo and others. 
  2. The focus has to be on what needs to be done on-page as well as off page for SEO purposes.
  3. Increase the conversion rate (for both organic and PPC traffic).
  4. My Adwords education is minimal and has been obtained through reading Brad Geddes’ Advanced Google Adwords book. So I hope there will be in-depth Google Adwords how-tos, particularly related to conversion rates.
  5. I hope the conference will cover material specific to Product Listing Ads (PLA).

I will post back my thoughts on the SMX East conference after I return in October. If anyone has first-hand feedback and tips, please feel free to share in the comments.

Same Page HTML Anchor Not Working? Here is why

I have often encountered this issue where same page anchors do not work. When you click on a link that is supposed to take you to the designated position in the same page (as marked by the anchor), instead you land on the homepage with the name of the anchor appended to the home page URL.

For example, there is a Back To Top link that should return the user to the top of the same page. After tinkering a bit with it, I found out that the “base href” HTML tag plays a role in determining how these anchors work.

If your “base href” is set like this (click on View Source from the right click menu):

<base href=”http://www.example.com”>

Turns out that this tag controls the relative path of all same page anchors. Not really sure what this is used for, so I was able to remove it.

Without this, the same page anchors started working nicely. I am guessing that if this tag is correctly populated with the full path of the URL (not just the domain name), same page anchors should work equally well.