What is the Difference between system.log and exception.log in Magento

All Exceptions that happen on the Magento site comes in Exception.log. Ultimately an exception happens when Magento is not able to detect the correct data to load a page or a feature. When this error happens Magento logs that in exception.log.

All Php warnings, XML-file errors and other warnings comes into System.log

The var/log folder in the site directory contains the log files along with error logs for your Magento 3rd party modules (extensions, etc).   The Magento system log file (system.log) and exception log file (exception.log) are saved to the var/log folder unless you rename it from admin panel in the system>configuration with different file names.

It’s important to know what these locations are, so you can easily debug the errors.  Again, exceptions are for correct data and xml, and system is more for php warnings and errors for advanced processes on the site.

If you look for these files or folder and don’t see it, then there is a chance that the log is disabled in the Admin panel.  In Magento you need to the log on; You need to go to Admin -> Configuration -> Advanced -> Developer -> Log setting.


It will not bring in old information but rather start logging information from that time forward.   Be careful if you plan on leaving this log process on.  I’ve seen many sites that have been bloated by the log files, especially by sites with high traffic loads.   If you aren’t using the log to resolve an issue I recommend turning it off.

How To Solve PayPal gateway has rejected request. Security header is not valid (#10002: Security error)

When hooking up payment and shipping in Magento there are a few common errors that you may see.  The most common one is one from Paypal that says “PayPal gateway has rejected request. Security header is not valid (#10002: Security error)”.  The Security header is not a valid error is only caused for two reasons:

  1. Wrong credentials Make sure that you’ve put your API Username, API Password and API Signature correctly. Sometimes it happens that during copy and paste there is accidentally a space added, this would trigger this error. Double check this setting admin panel of your Magento store.  Worst comes to worst, type out all the information by hand instead of copy, pasting it.
  2. The Wrong Endpoint This error would come up if you send the data to the wrong endpoint. Make sure that you send the live credentials and data to our live endpoint. When you want to test your store make sure that you use our test endpoint and the credentials from your sandbox test account. If you are using a third party shopping cart, make sure that your store is running a test or live mode, regarding which credentials you are using.

You can check for your credentials here too:





Just Substitute the user,pwd and signature and enter in your browser. You should get ACK = SUCCESS if you have input your credentials correctly.

It should give you a response like this:


You can also get your credentials here : https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_get-api-signature&generic-flow=true

Good luck!

How to Create Magento URL Rewrites

URL rewrites are a great tool within your Magento admin panel (and server) for a non Magento Developers to use in order to take control of their site, help a site migration or just to move a few things around. But for custom rewrites it can be a little confusing. Here is a simple guide to Creating Custom Magento URL Rewrites:

    1. Find Magento URL Rewrite Management – by going to Catalog > Rewrite Management

    1. Select Add URL Rewrite
    2. Select the custom option from the drop down
    3. Now you are faced with a few options:

ID Path: Is the unique identifier for this rewrite. This should just be custom, but is only used for admin purposes.  You can use a phrase like “ProductX” or “CategoryX”.  It isn’t used except to uniquely identify the ID path in Magento.
Request Path: Is the URL you would like to redirect towards.  If I want google.com to forward to thedigitalpm.com; Google.com is my original request.
Target Path:Is the URL you would like the Request Path directed to.  Again I want google.com to go to thedigitalpm.com;  TheDigitalPM.com is my redirect.
Redirect: You always want this to be permanent as 302 (or temporary redirects) do not pass any of the link juice to the new URL.
Description: This is an optional description field. Use this to keep notes on what and why you set this URL redirect up

  1. Fill these fields out correctly
  2. Click Save– This should be the job done. Quickly try out your redirect to make sure it’s working correctly

That is how you create a custom Magento URL Rewrite

SEO Guide To Keyword Research For Beginners

In case you are new to the universe of ecommerce or digital marketing in general, you’ve likely heard about search engine optimization (SEO). In our current reality where the lion’s share of online traffic stems from a string of text typed into a search box, search engine optimization can be the main factor in the fate of your business.

SEO incorporates numerous strategies yet the underlying principal is that you’re helping Google and internet search engines better understand what your ecommerce website is about and what it offers (fyi, it can be a static website too, it doesn’t have to sell anything). This consequently builds visibility by increasing the chance search engines will list your site in the search results when potential customers are looking for the products you sell.

The largest bucket of time spent in/on SEO is keyword research. Keyword research is the simple art of better understanding the terminology your potential customers are using to find the products you’re selling, then matching your website and marketing terminology.

In this article we’ll cover the basics of keyword research for ecommerce. The ultimate goal is to build a relevant list of keywords that you can refer back to and use as you build and optimize your site, write your product descriptions and craft your blog posts.

Over time, you’ll help search engines better understand what your site is about so they can better match your store as a result for relevant search terms, leading in increased traffic and sales.

Why Keyword Research Is Important

Every time someone does a search, the search engine must decide which handful of results to display from hundreds of thousands of possible pages. It’s up to the search engine algorithms to determine the best and most relevant matches for every single search. This is why it’s so important to choose your keywords carefully, so that the search engines can match and display your site in the search results to the most relevant keywords searches.

Not only is it important to rank on the first page of a search engine results page for relevant search terms, but it’s equally important to rank in the top positions of the first page. To understand how big of difference position can make consider the graph below which shows search result position and average traffic share:

From the graph we learn that the first page of search results receives over 90% of the traffic share and the first three search results receive over 60% of the traffic. Most significantly, the difference between position ten (first page) and position 11 (second page) means a decrease in traffic from that particular search term by over 100%.

In short, the closer you are to the top of Google for relevant search terms the more traffic (and potential sales) you’ll receive. Depending on the search term and the volume of searches per month being made for that search term, the difference in just a few positions can represent significant revenue loss in the long term.

Understanding Keywords

Before you jump into doing keyword research for your online store, there are a few basic terms you’ll come across that are important to know and understand.

These terms include:

Keywords – A keyword(s), in the context of search engine optimization, is a particular word or phrase describing the content of a web page or site. Keywords act as shortcuts to sum up the content of a page or site. Keywords are part of a web page’s metadata that helps search engines match a page to an appropriate search query.

Longtail Keywords – Longtail keywords are simply keywords that contain three or more words. Longtail keywords are important (hence them having their own name) because they make up over 70% of online searches according to SEOMoz and also tend to convert better as they catch people further along in the buying cycle. Someone searching for “hair extensions” is likely in the early information gathering stage, however, someone searching for “20 inch brown hair extensions price” is likely further along the buying cycle and much closer to purchasing.

Search Volume (Avg. Monthly Searches) – Search volume is usually measured in average monthly searches. This is the total number of searches each month for each particular search phrase (keyword). Ideally you’re looking for the keywords with the highest search volume. Ranking highly for search terms with higher search volumes means more potential traffic and conversion potential for you and your store.

Unfortunately, there is not a magic number that represents the perfect search volume for everyone. What constitutes the “right” search volume is going to be different for every site.

Competition – Search volume isn’t the only thing you need to consider. Competition is equally, if not more important. There’s no point in trying to rank for keywords you have no chance of ranking for. Competition refers to the difficulty of ranking for each particular keyword. In an ideal situation, your chosen keywords would have high search volume and low competition, however, these gold nuggets are difficult to find and will require some hard work, patience and maybe a little luck to find.

Keep in mind that the competition in Google’s Keyword Planner Tool refers to paid advertising competitiveness of keywords rather than organic search competition, however, this is many times representative of the organic search competition as well.

Brainstorming Your Initial List

Now that you understand why keyword research is important and some of the basic terminology, it’s time to do your own keyword research. To begin, you’ll need to brainstorm an initial list of search terms you believe your customers would search for to find your shop and the products you sell. Just grab a pen and paper and begin making a list of search terms you would use. At a minimum your brainstormed list of each keyword should be two words but you’ll want to think of longtail keywords as well, up to four to five words or even more.

The more words you brainstorm upfront, the more you’ll have to work with to uncover new search terms so don’t give up too easily. Try to build a list with as many relevant keywords as possible.

You may want to ask friends and family for their input as well but avoid asking them directly what they would search for and try to get them in front of a computer and ask them to search for your brand/products. Monitor what they search for and the links they click. This can provide some great, real-world insight into what an average person would search for.

Tools To Expand Your List

After you’ve done some initial brainstorming, you can consider a few tools to help expand your list. One of the simplest tools is Google’s own suggestion feature. To see some of Google’s suggestions, simply do a Google search and scroll to the bottom of the page and look at the related suggestions.

A great tool for help with your brainstorming is Keywordtool.io. Keywordtool scrapes Google for Google suggestion keywords by taking your keyword and adding every letter of the alphabet from A to Z capturing the most frequently searched permutations.

Don’t forget to consider keyword modifiers like “how to” or “where can I” etc. For example, someone may not be looking necessarily for “hair extensions” rather they may be looking for “how to get fuller, longer hair”.

Keyword Research Using The Google Keyword Planner Tool

Now that you have your initial list of brainstormed keywords, you can use these keywords to find more keywords using tools online. There are many tools you can use to conduct your keyword research, paid and free, however, one of the most popular tools for conducting keyword research is Google’s Keyword Planner Tool. The Google Keyword Planner Tool allows you to search for keywords to determine how many searches per month are being made for that term, how much competition there is competing for it and the related search terms.

The related search terms are important because it’s going to expose you to other keywords that are similar but may have a greater number of searches, less competition or a combination of both.

To use the Google Keyword Planner Tool, you’ll need a Google Adwords account which is free and only take a few minutes to get set up.

Once you have a Google Adwords account you’ll need to login to your account and select Tools from the menu at the top, and then select Keyword Planner.

On the next screen, click Search for new keyword and ad group ideas.

Next, enter the keywords you’ve brainstormed from the previous section, either one at a time or a few at a time by separating each with a comma. We would recommend starting with one at a time to keep things simple.

Double check your settings under Targeting to make sure you’re viewing search information that is relevant to you. For example, if you’re based and ship to USA and Canada, you should be looking at information results for the USA and Canada.

Under Customize your search and Keyword options, you should turn on Only show ideas closely related to my search terms. This will provide much more relevant keywords, however, if you feel the keywords are too closely related or you wish you expand your search, feel free to try a search with this option turned off.

On the next screen, it will default to the Ad Group Ideas tab. Change that to the tab labelled Keyword Ideas.

The first column will list the original keyword(s) you searched for as well as closely related keywords. The second column shows you the number of searches being performed each month in the geographic area you specified. The third column is the level of competition for each keyword.

It is this information you’ll now need to begin sifting through to begin building your keyword list. You can use the Keyword filters on the lefthand side of the screen to only show low and medium competition keywords and filter out the ones that would likely be too difficult to compete for.

This will leave you with a list of keywords related to your original search that have a low and medium level of competition. As an example, we have colour coded one such query below, the yellow highlighted keywords being medium competition and the green highlighted keywords being low.

With this list you’ll want to take the best terms that describe your site, pages and product offering, keeping in mind the search volume and competition, and record them, ideally in a spreadsheet. You’ll want to repeat this process for all the brainstormed keywords you came up with.

Refining Your List And Checking It Twice

Now that you’ve come up with a list of relevant keywords it’s time you double check your work. You may have got a little carried away and added in some keywords that were low competition, or high search volume but don’t accurately describe your store and offering. In this phase you’re going to look at each of your keywords and:

Ask yourself – Is the keyword relevant? If someone searches for that term and lands on an appropriate page on your site, will they find exactly what they are looking for?

Search for the keywords in Google and Bing – You’ve already looked at the competition strength in Google Keyword Planner but as mentioned prior, those levels represent paid search competition, which doesn’t always translate over to organic search. Understanding which websites already rank for your keyword gives you valuable insight into the competition, and also how hard it will be to rank for the given term. If the top results are for major and well established brands, it’s going to be more difficult to rank highly for your keyword.

Will all the keyword information you have gathered, you’ll now want to really boil your list down. To start, you’ll really want to focus on a handful of keywords (5-7) but it’s a good idea to keep a bit of a broader list (15-20) to keep your options open and work on long term.


The good news is that after completing your keyword research and slowly implementing your chosen keywords throughout your site, Google should have a better understanding of what your online store is all about so it can better match you to the correct searches.

Keep in mind though that SEO and keyword research is an ongoing process. It takes time and patience to research and implement your keywords and more time for Google to pick up on these changes. Most importantly, over time, SEO changes, search engine algorithms change and the terms your customers use will change so make sure you routinely go over your keyword research to make sure it up-to-date and accurate.

11 Tips for Fashion Ecommerce Success

Success in the world of fashion eCommerce can be elusive. Competition is fierce and the bottom line is often defined by the appearance, usability, and mobility of your website. According to Statista, 25 percent of users abandon shopping carts due to complicated navigation, 21 percent because the ordering process takes too long, and 15 percent because the website times out.

Shopping cart abandonment is steadily increasing every year, and the monetary losses are staggering. In fact, Business Insider reports that about $4 trillion worth of merchandise will be abandoned in online carts in 2015.

The growing influence of mobile is an opportunity no retailer can afford to ignore. eMarketer predicts that 25 percent of eCommerce sales will be conducted from mobile devices by 2017. This “move” will translate into billions of dollars, and will also continue to increase.

But these are only a few parts of the equation. Grabbing more market share than your competitors requires a comprehensive marketing strategy. Here are 11 tips to help you stand out from the crowd and turn your website into a money-making machine.

1. Give Your Regular Customers Love.

According to the Harvard Business Review, it can cost anywhere from five to twenty-five percent more to acquire new customers than to keep existing ones. Your customer retention strategy should include loyalty programs such as discounts for frequent customers. They will be far less likely to browse your competitors’ sites when they know they can buy from your fashion eCommerce store to get the quality products they’re used to at a more favorable price.

2. Offer Customer Support.

Nothing frustrates a customer more than poor customer service. If you make returning items difficult, customers are likely to buy from a competitor the next time around. According to the Wall Street Journal, about a third of all Internet transactions are returned. If possible, have customer service agents available around-the-clock to field and resolve customer inquiries. Great customer support can significantly shorten the sales cycle and keep your customers coming back for more.

3. Give Customers a Reason to Come Back.

Speaking of keeping customers coming back, create and execute an email marketing campaign that delivers a new promotion into their inbox each week. Your fashion eCommerce store stays top-of-mind and, if different promotions are segmented to the right customer lists, you can count on more sales—not to mention a high ROI.

4. Use Amazing Images.

It’s no secret that successful fashion eCommerce requires excellent photography. Most stock images simply don’t cut it anymore. Hire a professional fashion photographer to take high quality photos of your inventory that go beyond the simple product shot to tell your brand story. Your store will outshine your competitors and the ROI will be well worth it.

5. Tell Stories.

Rather than just writing plain product descriptions, create vibrant stories that help your customers better imagine owning your product. For example, change “a gorgeous evening gown perfect for any party,” to “Picture yourself as the ‘it’ girl at your next extravagant party by wearing this elegant black and white dress that will make you the bell of the ball.”

6. Be Easy to Find.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is another critical component of your fashion eCommerce strategy. After all, if it’s difficult to find your website in the first place, how do you really expect to make sales? Work with an SEO consultant to make sure the copy on the page is optimized for every product, in addition to the meta tags that give search engines the information they need to properly index your product pages.

7. Partner With the Right Businesses.

Smart partnerships are always important when it comes to developing a successful fashion website. Build relationships with key influencers and bloggers who can be invaluable brand ambassadors for your eCommerce site. Start by reaching out to well-known reviewers who will lend a quote to the quality of your product, and develop relationships with industry websites who may allow you to post guest blogs and/or be one of their featured fashion sites.

8. Keep It Clean.

It may go without saying, but keeping your fashion eCommerce website clean is critical if you want visitors to continue browsing (and hopefully click the “buy now” button). Your user interface has to be impeccable, as does making the overall user experience as simple and interactive as possible. With so many other options, a buyer who’s ready to pull the trigger may leave for a competitor’s site because viewing product specs is difficult and reviewing checkout information is confusing.

9. Be Mobile.

If you’re seeing 25-30% of your customers coming from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, consider embracing responsive design for your website. They’re far more likely to browse your site on their tablet or smartphone on-the-go, so your fashion eCommerce site needs to be easy to read and interact with on any device.

10. Embody a Lifestyle.

The importance of differentiation in the fashion game can’t be overstated. With so much competition online, your best bet is to focus on a niche and spend your money on demonstrating your expertise in that niche. For instance, in the example above, focusing on extravagant evening gowns can be more lucrative than simply selling a wide variety of inexpensive dresses.

11. Get Pricing Right.

After everything you’ve done to get potential customers to purchase a product, the last thing you want to do is lose them because a competitor has a slightly lower price. Perform meticulous research on pricing, and always offer a bonus coupon or future promotion opportunity to give them the confidence to keep typing in that credit card number.

Why We Don’t Buy – Customer Attitudes

Rather than depending on assumptions, in this study we go directly to consumers and ask them about their awareness of shopping cart technology, expectations for marketing when they abandon a cart, and if any of this helps. Marketers know that abandonment rates continue to increase.

This report will:

  • Explain why consumers are abandoning more frequently and how this could be an opportunity for marketers
  • Analyze what the consumers want to happen when they abandon a cart and what will annoy them
  • Examine key components of the shopping cart and cart abandonment strategies

Open PDF – Why We Don’t Buy

How to Successfully Measure Your eCommerce Website

eCommerce has gotten to be very hot topic these days and there is still no “bible” for a relatively new discipline due to the immense scope and details. One of the most interesting, and most asked about, topics for eCommerce is to measure how successful of an eCommerce website is.  In this article, I will talk about some important/critical metrics for a successful eCommerce (Magento) web store and how you can utilize them as a measurement for your website time after time, so you won’t be purposeless moving forward through your company’s growth.

Website Related:

With the Google Analytics properly setup on your Magento website, you can easily get the following data:

  • Visits
  • Unique visitors
  • Bounce rate
  • Avg pages per visit
  • Avg time spent on the site
  • Top 10 visiting sources
  • Top 10 referral sites
  • Click through rate for different links on the landing page
  • eCommerce conversion rate


You will need to review this data habitually.  I would recommend looking at the data at least once a week to see how the performance of your website is.

Website Usability and Usage Related:

  • Click through rate for special banner/event
  • Clicks needed for an order
  • Shopping cart abandonment rate
  • Top product pages by views

These are about the usability of your website.  A quick tip if you are looking to iterate or redesign your website is to think more before those design conversations and prepare more before the development of the website.  Once you have completed your website take advantage of social media to get feedback and after you launch the website provide the best user experiences to your customers.

Financial Related:

  • Total gross revenues
  • Gross & net profit
  • Sales per customer
  • Sales per visits
  • Cost per visitor
  • Cost of returns
  • Gross margin by product type
  • Marketing fee
  • Operating fee

The most exciting part of the Magento eCommerce will be to see your revenue from the site. These data will definitely be an important metric of your Magento eCommerce site.   A lot of this information will need to come from the accounting database of record, like Quickbooks.  You can estimate these pieces of data but you may need to take a day and sit with your accountant and get ‘real’ numbers.

Customer Related Metrics

  • No. of registered customers
  • No. of orders
  • Avg. sales per customer
  • No. of new customers
  • No. of returned customers
  • Top 10 customers’ location
  • No. of items per order
  • No. of abandon cart
  • Customer satisfaction
  • No. of customers signed up for newsletter

The customer related metrics are the ones for you to better analyze your customers. Find out what the customers actual need and try to increase the satisfaction of your customers.


Marketing Related

  • Reach No. of each of the marketing activities you do (Facebook campaign, Newsletter, etc)
  • Click through rate for each of the marketing activities (Facebook campaign, newsletter, Google Ad, etc)
  • No. of the coupon/discount code redeemed
  • Customer conversion rate
  • Campaign: No. of impression vs No. of click through rate
  • Campaign: No. of orders
  • Campaign: Avg. order value
  • Campaign: Sales conversion rate (sales/no. of visits)

The Marketing related metrics are very important for you to plan and setup campaigns for your Magento eCommerce websites.  Depending on your channels you will need to aggregate data across multiple areas such as Social Media, Youtube, email marketing, etc.

Operation Metrics:

  • Avg. order processing time
  • Avg. order delivery time
  • Rate of return orders
  • No. of packet loss

Operation metrics are the ones for you to review so you can reduce your operating cost for your eCommerce site.  While there isn’t always a fine tuned metric to cost savings by being more efficient it will raise moral and throughput which lead to the culture and the bottom line.

The above metrics will help you, your ecommerce manager, or CEO measure how successful your Magento eCommerce website is.

If you have any other suggestion, please feel free to leave comments and we’ll keep updating this article.

What payment methods and payment functionality are available only in Magento Enterprise Edition?

What payment methods and payment functionality are available only in Magento Enterprise Edition?

  1. Types of payment methods: PayPal, PayPal Express, Check or Money Order, Sage Pay Direct, Bank Transfer, Zero Subtotal Checkout, Purchase order, authorize.net, cybersource, braintree, and a few more processors.
  2. Store credit, rewards points, and gift card (stock funct.) are payment methods as well.

What marketing and merchandising features are available only in Magento Enterprise Edition?

What marketing and merchandising features are available only in Magento EE?

    1. CMS+ (Enhanced Content Management System)
      • Build complex content pages with an easy to use WYSIWYG editor; insert rich content; create menus and page hierarchy for CMS pages; control publishing privileges
    2. Rich Merchandising Suite (RMS)
      • Target your marketing efforts to your customers and increase conversion rates – suggest products, set up automated rule-based product selection and marketing banners based on customer segment
    3. Private (Club) Sales including Events, Invitations and Site access permissions
      • Restrict catalog access; allow customers and admin users to create invitations; create events like “limited time sales”
    4. Gift Registries
      • Increase revenue and capture valuable customer data; customize settings for your products and customers; enable searches by registry owner’s name, email or gift registry ID; privacy settings
    5. Dynamic Customer Database (Attribute) Management
      • Improve sales and marketing efforts; customer account and address attributes are managed by the Magento Admin interface, then used to create customized marketing campaigns and customer profiles
    6. Content Staging
      • Create a staging site to test new categories, product information, promotions and more; content can be merged to the live site after approval – on-demand or scheduled
    7. Search with SOLR
      • Performance and search quality are improved with layered navigation and features like spelling/synonyms/stop words and weighted attributes
    8. Full Page Cache
      • Enhance performance with caching of primary pages (excluding personalized information) for all users, including session users; caching of content for category, product, and CMS pages
    9. Automated Email Marketing Reminders
      • Increase customer retention through sending configurable, automated email reminders to customers for abandoned shopping carts and wishlists; target promotions and discounts to customers based on browsing activity
    10. Assisted Shopping (manage a customers cart via admin panel)
      • Customer Service Representatives are able to manage products and coupons in customers’ shopping carts and wishlists from the Customer account screen in the admin panel
    11. Advanced Administrator Roles; Logging
      • Leverage multi-store functionality to create multiple sites; restrict access roles so that staff view only relevant data; track and review all administrator action
    12. Limited Category Visibility
      • Restrict catalog access to certain customers with the ability to restrict on a category, or global basis, the viewing and purchasing of items.
    13. PCI Data Security Standard (PA-DSS) Complaint, strong data encryption
      • Magento Secure Payment Bridge is a PA-DSS certified payment application, enabling merchants to minimize efforts and efficiently attain PCI compliance
    14. Rewards Points
      • Implement unique programs designed to enhance user experience and increase customer loyalty; points awarded based on wide range of transactions and customer actions; managed through the back end
    15. Gift certificates/Gift Card
      • Customers can purchase physical and virtual gift certificates/cards; can include a personal message with purchase
    16. Customer Store Credit
      • Create and tie store credits to customer accounts; orders can be refunded for store credit; customers can use the credit to purchase items during checkout