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Basic Blogging Feature (81)

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33 comments

  • Official comment
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    Edward Sturrock
    In full AC fashion, we didn't just settle for a basic blog, we did much much more! Read about all the goodies here and enjoy the new feature! There is also a link on how to set it up in the bottom of the article. https://www.americommerce.com/multiple-store-blogs Some really useful and powerful additions are being added as we speak too.
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    Craig Gilmore
    Could you do a wordpress installation that is walled within AC? This would be a great addition.
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    Dave
    While I do like WordPress, it is written using PHP and a MySQL backend. BlogEngine.NET (http://www.dotnetblogengine.net/) is open source, however I'm not familiar enough with AC yet to know how, or if, it can integrate.
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    Daniel
    A great add-on for content creation, SEO improvement, intrasite linking. Good request. - Please review my project for Americommerce Improvement - http://vote.americommerce.com/forums/25843-feature-ideas/suggestions/1295809-element-scheduling-start-end-dates-times-?ref=title
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    Mark Pingel
    Add wordpress!
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    Alex Sobieski
    Can 3rd party blog software (like blog engine) be run off an americommerce site?
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    Dave
    WordPress running on a Windows box : http://www.microsoft.com/web/wordpress/
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    JaimeG
    Please add a blogging feature to Americommerce! This would be a great enhancement -- so many of your major ecommerce sites are featuring blogs these days, and it helps with SEO! Wordpress integration would be ideal.
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    Mark Washburn
    Although there's always a work around on something like this, it really would have been nice to have this since moving my site over included a well established wordpress blog. This wasn't a make or break thing for me but a really clean cms extension (and wordpress is hard to beat) really makes sense these days with an ecom store.
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    Chris Swere
    A Wordpress plugin/integration is a necessity since Wordpress is one of the best blogging sites out there. Great for SEO, Great for Content!
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    Jason Kreidman
    I have been pushing for this. From an SEO persepctive it would be great. We need to be able to have it within the same domain (/blog) instead of currently being able to do it on a 3rd level domain (blog.domain.com). Even minimal functionality would be fine so it doesn't need to be a full fledge application integration.
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    Shawn Swisher
    I would love to see a Wordpress plugin/integration but if that isn't feasible, I would at least like to see a basic built-in blog feature inside AmeriCommerce. We really need this!
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    Brian Gluck
    Dave has put up 2 awesome suggestions in here... hosting my blog on a subdomain is less than ideal, lets get it integrated into AC database so it can run on the same domain!
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    Mark Washburn
    I wanted to follow up on a comment regarding this "attached blog" As I noted below, in order to use AC I had to move a well established wordpress blog off a sub directly and to a new domain, then move my existing website over to AC. This was a static html based site using buy buttons. Unfortunately I think with this move I lost a lot of rankings when google made some recent changes. Basically hundreds of pages where moved away from the site, and my linking back into the ecommerce store may not be ideal, although it worked well when it was all on the main website. I have to conclude that if google is looking for authoritative sites to rank better, having the blog on the actual site is most beneficial. There are many variables of course but I have to conclude that this was at least part of the reason for a fairly large drop in rankings. We pay for bandwidth usage anyway, or at least that which exceeds are monthly allotment so I'm not sure why adding a content based blog would be much of an issue there. I would still push for this because smaller ecommerce sites could benefit greatly from it I think.
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    Edward Sturrock
    We agree with this and have been working on figuring out where and how this fits into our plans in the proper way. We try to focus on ecommerce and product level tooling primarily and know we would never be able to compete with a Wordpress or others long term, plus our heart is in directly making our store owners/merchants money where we try to focus exclusively on features that will directly affect a sale. This feature is an indirect sales tool, but is very very important and we know that. We have been continually enhancing our embedded commerce & remote carting tools so that you can have a Wordpress blog and embed your products and categories into that site. This covers putting the catalog on remote sites so that AmeriCommerce would not have to be your website, just your store. This however does not solve the problem from the other side, those of you who use AmeriCommerce as your primary site and store together. For this we have been exploring proxying wordpress installations directly off of your .com. We have also been speccing what a basic blog feature would look like in the AmeriCommerce feature set and it's upcoming 'Content Mode' of Live Design. We are also exploring what it takes to natively 'read in' a blogroll from a remote site for a native-like experience on your AmeriCommerce website, but managed and published from any blog system. We lean towards the last option, but are still in discussions. I wanted to get these options out there so that you all know we hear you loud and clear and are just trying to pick the best case scenario for the most merchants. I think we can all agree that ideally we wouldn't have to manage 2 themes on 2 different systems as the end game.
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    Craig Gilmore
    I think I started this original request and it would still be great but my main issue was with concerns over how google handled a wordpress installation on a subdomain - my main objective was to create content for my ecommerce site with the blog. Since then, google has changed they way they deal with that kind of implementation and Matt Cutts confirmed that the subdomain structure is fine for the objectives I have. FYI
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    Edward Sturrock
    @El Dude, can you elaborate on the summary Matt provided and your specific use case so others can weigh that against their own? Since this is a popular thread, I would like everyone to know popular research and use case options.
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    Mark Washburn
    Hi Ed...thanks for the update on this. In recent weeks I've been looking around at other shopping carts and how they integrate with a blog. Some do, many don't apparently but I think it's becoming, at least in my mind, to be viewed as more of a short coming than anything. Having worked with wordpress mostly, and having my existing blog there, it could potentially be a simple matter of just migrating the thing back to a subdirectory and that would be great. But I realize this might not fit everyone's needs. In the meantime, I've simply been trying to add more content pages with unique content and videos back into the AC based site. This isn't perfect, nor is it as easy to manage as a blog would be, but for now, I'm not sure how else to do it. We don't have a huge array of products, but we do need continue to add to the size, quality, and informational offerings on the site to get back to where we were. And I should note too, that while working with AC takes a bit of getting used to, once familiar with it, I really can't complain about much. The cart itself is working great and as we had hoped for so thanks to you and your team for all of that hard work. Please do keep moving forward with this blog related work...I think it can only make AC even better.
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    Edward Sturrock
    @Mark, thanks so much, we really try hard to ensure our customers can make as much money as possible. So, if the pages show up on your site as if they were native, but you were still posting to your wordpress site/blog and we just sucked them into conten
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    Mark Pingel
    Do whatever is right for SEO!
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    Scott McKirahan
    It's great to see someone as high up in your organization as you are taking an interest in this discussion, Edward. The short answer to your question is that the ability to suck the content from a Wordpress blog, while that would be convenient, is not of paramount importance. In fact, it would create a duplicate content situation which I think we can all agree would not be a good idea. Simply having a blog of any kind beats the heck out of putting a blog - no matter how great that blogging platform is - on a subdomain. What Matt Cutts said is being misinterpreted here. What he said is that articles in directories and subdomains are treated the same for the SEO value of those individual articles. He was specifically addressing the SEO benefits of one over the other as separate entities. He certainly was not suggesting that a blog on a subdomain would provide the same benefit to the parent site as one in a directory. Google has stated that subdomains are treated as completely separate entities from the main domain. Because of that, they pass no "authority" onto the main domain, which IS what we are trying to rank here. In this post-Panda, post-Penguin world, where content is nearly as important as it was in the pre-Google days when all you ever heard people talk about was on-page SEO, practically nothing is as vital to an ecommerce website's ranking as an on-site blog. A blog not only provides a much broader scope of keywords - especially long tail and LSI ones - that a website can rank for, but it expands the the website, making it far easier to be found. Additionally, Google likes nothing more than fresh, new, timely content - something that only a blog can provide to an otherwise static ecommerce website. Placing your blog on a subdomain defeats the purpose of even having a blog for an ecommerce website - at least as far as on-page SEO goes. I absolutely understand the reason to not open up a secure website to the risks associated with a Wordpress blog, though. Surely a solution exists where a directory could be created that includes a feed for any articles placed within it. I won't point out other platforms that have come up with that very solution quite recently because this is NOT a forum about those places; it is a forum about Americommerce. Other than a feed, the only other essential components are the ability to create a title tag, description tag and an H1 tag for each article. Toss your keyword in once or twice, sprinkle in some related terms (which tend to happen naturally anyway) and that's all you really need. Keywords tags and tag clouds are meaningless and have been for at least half a decade. They exist as window dressing for naive people who blindly think they are doing something beneficial for their websites. The rest of the WordPress plugins that others seem to think are so necessary really do nothing that is as important as having a blog within your website's main structure. For those who think they are that important, by all means, put your blog on a subdomain and play with your toys, for all the good it'll do you.
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    Mwilliams
    Ah. So, the blog functionality is like Pizza. Even if it's not supreme. It's still pizza.... And still pretty awesome. I'm with Scott on this one. We want a blog! (And also some pizza.)
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    Edward Sturrock
    @Scott, very insightful feedback!! It’s right in line with my knowledge of the subject too. Thanks for the kudos, I think we all just really care about success for these stores and want to get to a great solution. We are already adding extensive embe
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    Scott McKirahan
    @Edward, If you went the WordPress blog scraped to content pages route, you could probably get around the duplicate content penalty with Google by simply claiming your website and its content through the Google authorship tag (do it once for the entire we
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    Edward Sturrock
    We have discussed some more and are thinking we will spend the energy to bring this native to the app and extend our existing/powerful content page system. The primary reason being that it will have automatic url rewriting, full suite of custom merges available to use, will be able to place live product information right in the middle of the blog post, will be in the same template as the rest of the store, and will have LiveDesign features available to work on them. That's just too many awesome features coming together to ignore and handle any other way. We have been getting tighter with Disqus and may launch with a Disqus implementation for robust commenting/spam protection/etc. that is tied right in. We're excited.
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    Scott McKirahan
    Man, that sounds pretty awesome, Edward! So, what do you think? It'll be done in 4-5 days? (just kidding) I'm at the point now where I have a week to move three websites over to something and my fun and adventurous side really wants to go with Americommmerce (no, I am not yet an Americommerce user - just a very interested bystander). Just last week, I moved one website over to one of your competitors' platforms that I HAVE TO use so that I can help a couple hundred other people learn how to use it. It's tough writing about something you don't use (although that didn't stop a certain well-known anti-virus software company paying me a ton of money for a review of their software). That cart is pretty darned difficult for novices, so I have a funny feeling that the majority of the next several months will be spent writing "how-to's" (I'm just helpful like that). The blog is critical on one of the three websites but I don't even have one or plan to have one on the other two, although now that I think of it, I think I just came up with a way to populate all three with blogs (hmmm ... those light bulbs sure do go off at odd times). Anyway, I know it's quite an undertaking and I hope it has inched its way up the list. Only one other thing AC would be missing, but it's already been voted up a lot and ... [insert overused beggars/choosers saying here].
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    Alex Sobieski
    I don't mean to be a salty puss, but this threat was started in 2010. We're rounding the bend towards 2013. As an AC customer, I'm starting to wonder who the target market is... As someone who "gets" where SEO and E-commerce/social commerce has been going (rapidly!) for the past few years, it seems like a no-brainer to make this product heavily integrated with blogging and social features. Best feature of AC: manage multiple stores. That's about it. If AC is geared towards "advanced users" - it would be really nice to get access to customize the code, etc. - most of your competitors (or alternate choices) are open... but I get why you don't do it, and I get that "advanced users" are possibly not the market. Which leaves beginners... for whom this software seems to have a steep learning curve. Point is - Blogging is a SUPER basic feature required for all non-amazon-sized stores. Google rewards content; but content with social clout. The only way we, as small-to-mid-sized online retailers can get any regular traffic to our site is to provide regular, authoritative content, that simultaneously is share-worthy. Wordpress (et al), already offer most if not all of the features you do (again, except the multiple store thing, but that is solvable by another program), while at the same time giving us complete customizability (limited only by imagination and pocket book). It is this that ultimately concerns me, Edward. Your pricing model penalizes me for content and penalizes me for offering more products and getting more people to shop with me. The fact that you're concentrating on features that are, in your words, "essential" to the direct selling and conversion-rate-increasing of your shops shows me that you don't fully understand how e-commerce works in a wider world. By hosting our carts with you, we relinquish control of many aspects and perks of self-hosting e-commerce sites with the the promise and understanding that you're working tirelessly to make our stores better. Fine. But when I hear you make comments about it being an "indirect" benefit, I die a little inside. When it takes 2+ years for you to begin taking it seriously (and only because of recent attention to the thread again), I want to get stabby. Again, apologies for the tone of this. It just can't wrap my head around who your ideal customer is, and how it is you serve them best -- except that you seem to be the only people in the entire industry that allow me to manage 3 stores from 1 administrative back-end. -- which, given the pricing and the sluggishness of useful features being added, does make me question why I'm paying $2k+ per year for that one convenience.
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    Scott McKirahan
    Hmmm ... It's not really my position to defend anybody here but I do not know of a single secure website solution that is PCI compliant that allows WordPress within their platform at all (plenty offer it on a subdomain, which is not part of the website at all). I guarantee you that WordPress is not PCI compliant, which may not matter if the only processor you use is an off-site solution like PayPal. If that's the case, you are losing a TON of sales. I won't even buy from a website that only offers PayPal. It has "cheap, fly by night, non-legitimate business" written all over it. Every time I've looked at undervalued websites to buy, the very first thing I look at is if they only offer PayPal. If they do, I can usually double or triple the sales instantly by adding a real payment processor. If you are concerned about conversions and use a real payment processing company, none of them will touch you if the cart you are using is not PCI compliant (actually, some may touch you but they will charge higher monthly and/or transaction fees because of the non-compliance). I have spent the better part of the last three months comparing practically every hosted shopping cart solution out there and I do this annually. Americommerce is most definitely a reasonably priced hosted cart. There are certainly cheaper ways of doing things if you want to be responsible for your own hosting, security and patches and, once again, you won't be PCI compliant - at least for very long. You'll also have to buy new software every year because any real support will inevitably end for the old version when the new one comes out (and a new version always comes out every year). Sometimes this is worth it - especially for people who have massive catalogs and who don't mind moving those massive catalogs to a new platform annually. Zero of Americommerce's "competitors" have open access to their servers. If they did, they wouldn't be compliant. Once again, I think you are referring to non-hosted solutions, none of whom are actual competitors. There are likely a few hosted ones out there still that allow access to cPanel and who ignorantly allow WordPress blogs in a directory but I assure you, they will not pass a PCI compliance scan. There's a reason that WordPress has a new version every other month! Like I said, I've shopped around and I have been in ecommerce for a number of years. None of the carts have EVERYTHING and people need to decide what are the most important things and which they can live without. An on-site blog is super important to me, which is one of two things that have kept me from pulling the trigger here (the other thing is an "I can live without it" thing). There are quite a number of things in Americommerce that aren't offered by their real competitors' carts or, if they are, they are add-ons for another $20-$50 per month per add-on and you don't realize they are not really included until you download their trial version and find out that many of the things they hype cost additional money. I go to the forums when I really want to compare carts. What I look for more than anything is interaction between users and the company. You can go to some of the other ones and not only see this very same issue being bandied about by frustrated users for more than two years, but you will see that nobody from the company even bothers responding to the pleas. Now, while it is true that this feature request originated in the winter of 2010 and that no official response occurred until recently, it is also true that only eight people commented that they would like to see a blog added between then and May of this year and most of them kept saying WordPress (which cannot be done for security reasons). I also checked and saw that quite a number of feature improvements were made in the last year. Those things take time and money to develop and when only 8 people have requested something in a year and a half, it's probably not at the top of the old priority list. As far as who this cart is geared toward, I would place it somewhere in the middle between novices and people experienced in CSS, PHP and HTML. It certainly looks a LOT easier to use than four other BIG name competitors of theirs are - all of whom charge more for less and far more customization is possible here than with those competitors' shopping carts. Anyway, like I said, it's not my gig to defend Americommerce. I'd be happy to recommend several other carts but I think you'd come running back! Oh, and none of them allow WordPress blogs within the main domain or coding access, either.
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    Alex Sobieski
    I never suggested that they did run wordpress blogs, nor did I suggest that hosted carts let you get access. Scott - feel free to use it to your heart's content. As a paying customer, I'm telling you that it is frustrating to use, and I think that while well-meaning, there is a bit of "silo-thinking" going on here. This platform could be WAYY more robust and a much better tool. Again... if you're married to a product you haven't used, and obviously know way better than a paying customer, fine. I wish you a better experience than I have had. If you see no problem with a company that boasts its seo-friendliness, ignoring a blogging feature request that is 2 years old, brushing it off as non-essential, fine. To me it says they either don't understand their OWN customer base, or don't get e-commerce beyond the code. Maybe I'm not a good customer or an ideal customer.
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    Scott McKirahan
    Well, as you point out, I don't use this at the moment. And, as I have said, the reason is because of the lack of even the simplest of blogs within the store, itself. I research things before I jump in and I certainly don't complain about a missing feature that I desperately want that I knew was missing from the get-go. Instead, I try to influence decision makers before I take that leap. I will likely be downloading a trial version of this and comparing it to the other carts out there, just so that I can get a better handle on some of the frustrations you may be experiencing. From what I see in reading the knowledgebase, there are tons of things that are FAR easier to do in this than they are in BigCommerce, 3D Cart, Volusion, Magento, CoreCommerce and osCommerce, to name a few. I am sure there are things that don't work exactly the way you would like them to as there are with every single mass market platform. Those who get the exact cart they want buy custom made ones for tens of thousands of dollars (and then pay a programmer constantly to update the security on their custom made cart as new monthly threats are introduced). Usually, you have to suffer a lot in functionality as a tradeoff for ease of use. They seem to have solved a lot of those problems here and have found a happy medium (not so "happy" in some cases, I guess). I guarantee you that there will be things I don't like. I have a pretty broad base of carts that I have used to compare this to, however, and I'm not sure that everyone here can say the same. I can show you threads on other shopping cart boards that are two years old with nearly a hundred people asking for a feature where the company has not so much as even acknowledged the request at all. If you eliminate the people who specifically requested a WordPress blog, there were only four people who requested a blog of some sort here (and even some of those may have really meant a WordPress blog but did not say so, specifically). It looks like the Americommerce programmers haven't been exactly sitting on their hands; they have added quite a lot this year, so far - http://myamericommerce.com/blogs/shopping_cart_news/archive/2012/08/13/oh-my-feature-roundup-from-january-to-july.aspx We'll see what I think whenever I get around to downloading a trial of this. I certainly didn't mean to offend you, Alex. I have been involved in the design of a shopping cart platform in the past and I guess I see things from a different perspective. There are always far more requests for features than you can get to and you prioritize them based upon the number of users who are requesting them. In this case, I'm sure there were far more who were requesting the things that they added this year than were requesting a simple blog.
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