Blog is a reliable marketing tool that not only attracts more visitors but also increases sales and improves SEO. Therefore, adding a blog to a Magento website is always a good idea. Today we will draw your attention to the Aheadworks Blog extension that is available for both Magento 2 and Magento 1. By installing this module, you will get a content editor with all important writing and design tools, a bunch of SEO improvements (SEO-friendly URLs, XML sitemap, metadata), user-friendly content navigation based on categories, tags, and sidebar blocks, as well as DISQUS integration for more efficient comment management.
- Wide choice of customization options;
- WYSIWYG content editor;
- DISQUS integration;
- Tools for improving SEO;
- Convenient frontend navigation;
- Integration with Advanced Search;
- Tool for migration from M1 to M2;
- Migration from WordPress to Magento 2.
After installing the Aheadworks Blog extension, it will add a blog tab to your website. When arranging a blog for your store, you can use lots of customization options. Aheadworks Blog for Magento 2 and 1 lets you customize such parameters as the number of posts per page, post previews, sidebar composition, and more. When it comes to text content creation, Aheadworks Blog offers WYSIWYG editor with all necessary writing and editing tools, so you can easily provide your readers with stunning content. You can include product widgets, rich text, videos, images, and other media files in your blog posts. Moreover, you can leverage the Bluefoot feature if you use Magento Commerce.
As for the mentioned DISQUS integration, it requires your blog to be connected to Disqus service that will provide you with advanced comment management features. DISQUS allows store visitors to log in via their social network profiles and leave comments.
The Blog module equips store owners with essential search engine optimization tools. All your blog posts will be listed in the XML sitemap, making them visible for web crawlers. With the extension, you are enabled to specify meta data and manually create SEO friendly URLs for your every post.
On the frontend, web store visitors can view categories, latest blog posts, and tags related to a post in a convenient sidebar. Also, social media sharing functionality comes with the Open Graph and Twitter Cards markups support. Moreover, Related Products block can be added to any blog post, making it possible to promote specific goods. In the same way, it is possible to include related blog posts to a product page. Integration with the Advanced Search module adds extended functionality to on-site search for certain blog posts.
Using the Magento data migration tool, you can easily move your posts created on the Magento 1 platform to Magento 2 and keep their URL structure. With the Aheadworks extension, it is also possible to import posts from a WordPress blog to a Magento 2 website.
The extension is available under Content -> Blog by Aheadworks.
All posts are gathered in a customizable grid. You can rearrange the order of columns as well as hide some of them (use Columns drop-down menu). Besides, there are 6 filters available for quick content search. As for the grid’s columns, they are:
- ID (each post gets a unique ID);
- Title (a title of a post);
- Image (an image assigned to a blog post);
- Status (post status: draft, published, etc.);
- Publish Date (date and time when a post was published);
- Published Comments (quantity of published comments);
- New Comments (the number of new comments);
- Categories (one or several categories where a post is available);
- Tags (tags related to each post);
- Store View (store views where a post is available);
- Author (author of a post);
- Last Modified (date and time of last modification);
- Created (date and time a post was created).
To create a new post, you should specify its title, URL-key, and content. Alternatively, you can add a short content. Both fields can be edited with the help of the WYSIWYG editor. Note that you can hide the editor. You can also add images to each blog post, enter their title and alt text. In the right-side bar of the New Post view page, you can select the categories to which you want to assign your post, a canonical URL, and create an unlimited number of tags.
In the same bar menu, you should select store views, decide whether to allow or restrict comments, configure Twitter Cards options, and select customer groups that will have access to this post.
Note that the module allows scheduling each post.
Then, you need to specify meta description (150-160 characters is a recommended length).
With the Blog extension’s functionality, you can also choose related products to assign to a post.
The same options are available when you edit a post.
As for categories, they are gathered in a grid as well. You can apply filters to each column, rearrange columns order, and arrange everything in alphabetical/ascending/descending order. Available columns are:
- Category Name;
- URL Key;
- Status (Enabled or Disabled);
- Store View;
- Sort Order.
While creating a new category, you need to specify its name, URL key, status, sort order, and meta description, and select store views. Each Edit Category page has the same options.
As we have already mentioned, you can manage all blog comments with the help of DISQUS. Disqus tutorial and comment management how-to are available here:
It is also necessary to describe the Aheadworks Blog general settings. The configuration screen is divided into 5 sections: General, Sidebar, SEO, Related Products, and WordPress Import.
In the General tab, you enable/disable the extension, specify a route to your blog (yourdomain.com/routetoblog/), its title and the number of posts per page; choose where to display sharing buttons.
In the same tab, you allow/restrict comments; set Disqus Forum Code and Secret Key; add Facebook App ID (to use Facebook Insights and track the traffic); specify Twitter Cards settings.
The Sidebar section lets you determine the number of recent posts and the most popular tags to be displayed, decide whether to highlight popular tags or not and choose a CMS block for your sidebar (the feature can be disabled). You can also include the list of categories in the sidebar and set their maximum number to be shown.
In the SEO settings, you can specify blog meta description and URL structure. Note that the recommended max length of description is 156 characters.
In Related Products, you enable/disable blog posts tab on a product page and related products tab on a blog page, as well as choose its position. Then, you should select related products block layout and activate/deactivate “Add to Cart” button on the blog pages.
The last tab allows overriding the Magento 2 posts with the same URL and upload an XML file with the posts from a WordPress blog. To start the import process, click on the “Import Posts” button.
Hover over Blog by aheadWorks to see available categories.
The sidebar displays categories, recent posts, and most popular tags. No CMS blocks are included (just like it is specified in general settings).
Each post on the main or category pages can have the following elements: date when it was published, number of comments, social buttons, short content, and category it is posted in.
The same elements are available in each post.
Besides, there are tags, social buttons, categories, and a Disqus section added below.
Let’s see how the module inserts a Blog Posts block to a product page. A corresponding tab is visible on a product page with all the relevant posts about the specified item on your store.
- Adding images to blog. Admin users can add images along with a title and alt text to their posts.
- Categories added to a sidebar. Ability to add a list with the specified number of categories to a blog sidebar.
- Open Graph and Twitter Cards support. The updated extension improves social media sharing options with the Open Graph and Twitter Cards markups.
- Option to include/remove a category from URL structure. Extended functionality for changing URLs structure.
- Canonical URL and tag implementation. Possibility to define a canonical URL for the posts assigned to multiple categories.
- Restriction of access to blog posts. The feature to restrict access to some blog articles based on a customer group can be enabled.
- Integration with Bluefoot Magento. Bluefoot for Magento Commerce is now available within the extension’s WYSIWYG editor.
- Scheduling and updating of blog posts. It is possible to set a date for scheduling, updating, or publishing posts automatically.
- Migration of WordPress blog posts to Magento 2. The new feature allows importing posts from WordPress website to a blog on Magento.
- Additional mass actions. The extension adds mass action options to its Posts and Categories grids.
- New structure of blog posts URLs. The new structure includes categories from a URL for search engines, making it more SEO friendly.
- Recent Blog Posts widget added to sidebars.
- Relevant blog posts and related products. The module allows Magento admins to create related products blocks on blog pages and vice versa. In the first case, customers can easily rich additional information on the viewed extensions from blog posts, while in the second case they can promote purchases right on blog pages.
- Blog Migration Tool. The module has its own migration service that makes the transition process from Magento 1 to Magento 2 more simple due to the use of the Aheadworks Blog Migration Distributive.
As you can see, Aheadworks offers a simple but yet powerful blog that will become an excellent addition to every Magento website. With the Blog module installed on your ecommerce site, you can significantly improve your content marketing strategy, reach out to the target audience, and promote your products in the blog posts.
Note that the Magento 1 and Magento 2 extensions have different price tags. So, you can purchase Blog by Aheadworks for Magento 1 for just $49 with 90 days of support but without installation. If you are a Magento 2 user, then get ready to spend $349, but for this cost, you will get free installation, 90 days of support and personal account manager. Moreover, if you already use M1 extension by Aheadworks, you can get a 50% discount!