What is WordPress?
WordPress is a blogging and content management system that allows even the most non-tech savvy user to create a robust and full featured website with almost no learning curve. Word press was first released in 2003 as a basic weblog tool but has since evolved into the most popular blogging tool in the US (1), and as of August 2011, an astounding 22% of new websites were managed by WordPress (2).
WordPress is an open source application, which means that anyone can access and manipulate the program’s code. This has led to the creation of thousands of widgets, themes and plugins that can be used to further enhance the application and its functionality.
Great, but what do I need it for?
WordPress integration offers some serious incentives for any Magento e-commerce website. Of these, the most striking upgrade is in content management. Creating new content on WordPress couldn’t be easier in fact, it’s one of the hallmarks of the application and once that content has been created, integration with Magento allows users to port that content directly onto their e-commerce site or social media outlet. Integration works in the other direction as well; users can port content from their Magento site into WordPress, too. One less obvious benefit of this integration is consistent design between your commerce site and blog, as current integration tools all offer some level of theme portability between the two programs. In addition, integrating WordPress into your Magento e-commerce site will greatly increase the ease of engaging with customers through social media by making all the content on either site instantly portable to the outlet of your choice.
A second, major benefit of integration is in search engine optimization (SEO). WordPress is noted throughout the industry for its SEO friendliness, which leads to more exposure for your e-commerce site once integrated – something every business owner wants.
The best part of it all? Incredible content and marketing gains without costly outside talent; keeping costs down without sacrificing functionality.
So…which one is right for me?
A quick search of the Magento Connect store reveals a few popular choices for WordPress extensions. Let’s explore some of the differences between them and their pros and cons.
The two most popular WordPress integration plugins are offered by Fishpig and its counterpart, Sonassi. The two plugins offer almost identical feature sets, including full WordPress functionality, use of WordPress plugins and shortcode (essentially “code-shortcuts” that are WordPress-specific) and a neat feature that links WordPress blogs posts to related products in your Magento store (the Sonassi integrator requires a free plug-in). But there are some major differences to consider as well.
One such difference is the price. Fishpig’s integrator is free, while the plugin from Sonassi costs $80. Furthermore, the Sonassi plugin requires professional setup (included in the purchase price), while the Fishpig plugin self-installs upon download, without the need for any code manipulation (no word on code manipulation from Sonassi).
Some features unique to Fishpig’s plugin are integration for your blog in multiple Magento stores and NextGEN Gallery integration, currently the most popular gallery extension in WordPress.
Some features unique to the Sonassi version are complete theme inheritance from Magento to WordPress with no design manipulation required and automatic linking of all Magento customers’ profiles into WordPress, saving your customers the hassle of creating and remembering two separate logins.
For those looking to incorporate their Magento store into their blog, there is a plugin from developer James Kemp that allows users to add Magento blocks, including custom blocks, to their WordPress themes. In addition, users can add Magento products directly into their post on WordPress with the available “Shortcuts and Widgets” extension.
1 (“Usage of content management systems for websites”. Retrieved 8 August 2011.)
2 (Rao, Leena (19 August 2011). “WordPress Now Powers 22 Percent Of New Active Websites In The U.S.”. TechCrunch. Retrieved 28 September 2011.).