I was digging around the various options of Content Management with Magento (an online web store application) and thought I would summarize my findings here. (This article is based on the 1.X series of Magento, not Magento 2.)
For the purposes of this post for Content Management think about WordPress blog posts and pages. I can write this current blog post, hit save, and others can read it on the web. I can save drafts, I can go back and edit it, the blog page has a date, others can see a history of my posts, have RSS feeds, etc. I can also author pages (see the “About” link under the banner for a sample page) where the content is organized into a menu structure, but there is no timeline.
Why is Content Management relevant to Magento? Clearly a web store needs to list products for sale and take orders. But what about newsletters? Information on special events? These map well to a blog as they go out of date, but you can keep them online to show history. How to tell a story about your organization? How to get your store more visible in search engines? Pages are better here. Both demonstrate the value of Content Management for your store.
WordPress + Magento
One approach is to have two web sites – one for content and one for your store. Then you create links between the two sites so its easy for users to navigate from one to the other. If your domain name was acme.com, you might have shop.acme.com for your store.
This is a very easy way to get something up and going, but does have issues about how to keep the look and feel of the two sites the same. Your customers may have a jarring feel as they move between the two sites if the styles are not consistent. Its also trickier to get the menus on the two sites to line up.
WordPress + eCommerce Plugins
WordPress has commerce plugins. I don’t think they are available on wordpress.com, but if you host the WordPress platform yourself you can get plugins to sell items. This seems to work for sites with small numbers of products, but when you get over 10 to 20 products it can become painful. This comparison of WordPress and Magento had a few links.
Magento comes with basic CMS capabilities, in particular pages. You can hook pages of content directly into your site easily. However there is no blog capability. This webinar explained Magento capabilities fairly nicely (behind a registration page). This StackOverflow post had a few links as well.
WordPress with Embedded Magento
Interestingly, WordPress and Magento are both implemented in PHP. Whether this made it easier I am not sure, but there are WordPress plugins to make parts of your Magento store available in a WordPress site. This way the customer only visits one site and the overall experience is fairly seamless. For example James Kemp has a plugin. MWI is another.
This approach feels like its good if the primary experience you want to achieve is a site with content, where you can also purchase.
Magento with Embedded WordPress
You can also go the other way. Have a Magento store with embedded WordPress content. That way to you can use WordPress to author and manage your content (with full blog features) and have that content appear in your Magento store (with the Magento navigation structures). I suspect for most online stores this will work out better than Magento embedded in WordPress. FishPig came up multiple times in my searches.
What are my favorite combinations?
- Magento with CMS pages if you want to keep things dead simple.
- Magento with the FishPig WordPress plugin if you want better CMS capabilities.
Disclaimer: I work at eBay that owns Magento. The above however is purely from my reading around. It does not represent an official position of eBay, and I have not tried any of the modules myself – I am not endorsing any of the products mentioned on this page. Hopefully this page is useful to others to understand there are different options out there.