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Party Store With Lightspeed Extension. SUPER FAST. 
 
imwy2cool
Sr. Member
 
Total Posts:  164
Joined:  2009-05-07
 

Okay, it took a lot longer than planned, but so far things are working out well. Please visit our Party & Wedding Supplies store! I would love feedback on any improvements/suggestions or heaven forbid bugs!

If you have any particular questions don’t hesitate to ask!

Some features of this store are:

Birthday Club that allows multiple birthdays for a customer and sends out a coupon before any birthdays.
Ajax search
Ajax add to cart
Single step checkout
Lightspeed (expensive, but amazing speed extension! If by chance the site seems slow for you in the first few days it’s from debugging as I temporarily disable cache here and there to fix any bugs. In a few weeks I’ll post a review on this extension).

Overall we tried to keep the store simple and light. There are a LOT of extensions involved in this store, but most of them are marketing extensions. Feel free to email me for more details on anything you need.

Thanks to all for your help with problems encountered!

Tip to others: BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP and BACKUP SOME MORE!!!! I can’t stress this enough. There are a lot of other things, but if you will do that you will save yourself a LOT of grief.

The longest part of this store was the product itself. That is a job all in itself. We have been rewriting all the product descriptions ourselves rather than use the manufacture’s descriptions, although we are far from finished as many products still need descriptions and just have what the manufacture provided (which in some cases was almost nothing).

Again, I’d really like to hear your feedback! It’s much appreciated.

 
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imwy2cool
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Total Posts:  164
Joined:  2009-05-07
 

Ah! Thank you. Hmm . . . I’ve tested it now with 7 different email addresses and they all worked. Now I just tried it in IE 7 and IE8 and it worked there also. I also now have a good number of subscribers who successfully subscribed.

Can you tell me what browser you were using, OS, etc? Thank you very much for your feedback.

Also, a note to anyone who is interested: this store has probably 15 different aheadWorks extensions. I plan to review all of them after I get the last one working (review rotator isn’t loading correctly, but I didn’t want to delay the site launch so we disabled it, and then moved the site without fixing this. However, aheadWorks has been very responsive about this and I have no doubt they’ll support it and get it fixed.). aheadWorks has been really good about fixing any issues, and they are constantly improving their extensions. I HIGHLY recommend them for all of your marketing needs! Also, they truly listen to their customers and develop and improve extensions based on customer feedback.

I can’t wait till they implement IP based geotargeting into their Market Segment Suite to target content via location (hint, hint aheadWorks :D)!

 
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OpenCommerce
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imwy2cool,

We are glad to see you’ve had a good experience with Lightspeed! The site looks great and is very fast.

 
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TomC
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Total Posts:  191
Joined:  2007-12-01
 

May I ask what extension (if any) you used for your main navigation (mega menu) function?

 
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louise100
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Nice store smile it can still be made quicker though.

Have you tried running it through Google’s page speed tool or Yahoo Y-Slow?

They will both highlight where improvements can be made.

 
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imwy2cool
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Total Posts:  164
Joined:  2009-05-07
 

You sure can.  It’s the IG dropdown from Magento Specialist. They are FANTASTIC to work with. There were several issues to work out as I think I was one of their first customers, but they were extremely responsive and fixed issues really fast. I can’t recommend them enough. There are several others out there and I purchased them as well, but when I ran into issues they offered little help. I was not pleased with any of the others. Also, none of the others offer dynamic columns.

Dynamic columns are a MUST for a mega menu. The IG dropdown initially did not have this function, and I explained to them that without dynamic columns a mega menu was badly crippled. I mean think about it . . . say you have one category with 50 subcategories and another with only 20, and you want to have 10 subcategories per column . . . why should the category with 20 subcategories have 5 columns, with 3 of them containing only empty space, just because the largest category had 50 subs, or child categories? The staff at IG was great and took my idea and created what you see. I LOVE their menu. The only complaint I have is that there is a slight lag in the menu disappearing when you are no longer hovering. However, I have been so busy with the new store that I haven’t had a chance to even bring this up to them. I have NO doubt that they will fix this issue once I bring it up to them. They are constantly improving their extensions and they really listen to their customers.

Below you’ll find the link to the extension, and below that you’ll find a review I did on the extension. As you can see I was very pleased. I didn’t get anything special for writing this review. I posted it because I was pleased. I think you’ll find the review objective and helpful. Also, you can style the entire menu from the backend. Normally I’m not a fan of backend styling, but in this case they have done a marvelous job. Also, there are several javascript effects as well that I disabled (also a backend option) as they made the menu too slow. I’m sure they’d work fine with a smaller menu, but with as many categories as I have they gave it too much lag. Still, they are nice effects.

http://shop.magentospecialist.it/magento-extensions/professional-extensions/ig-dropdown.html

http://shop.magentospecialist.it/review/product/list/id/2/category/9/

Feel free to ask any other questions. I’m glad to give back!

 
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imwy2cool
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Total Posts:  164
Joined:  2009-05-07
 
\"louise100\" -

Nice store smile it can still be made quicker though.

Have you tried running it through Google\’s page speed tool or Yahoo Y-Slow?

They will both highlight where improvements can be made.

Yes in fact I have used Y-Slow! Overall it gives me decent marks, but there are several areas where I know I can improve on the speed. Also, the staff at lightspeed just released an update as well which I\’ll be installing here in a few days that will help even more. I know there are some areas that I can surely speed up. In almost all areas on Y-slow I received an A rating with the main exceptions being the number of HTTP requests, and they also suggested the use of a content delivery network, and also a reduction in the number of DOM elements. At this time the content delivery network is not an option, but as soon as I can I\’ll work on the number of elements on the page. I have already made use of some CSS sprites, but I know I can do more. As far as DOM elements . . . I must confess I haven’t had enough time to explore a way to reduce these. Any suggestions? I very much appreciate your comments. Oh, I think Y-slow also suggested the use of expires headers? I have to look into that as well.

 
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TomC
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Total Posts:  191
Joined:  2007-12-01
 

THANK YOU for the link to the IG Dropdown !!!

Now, if I could only read Italian

smile

 
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fr0x
Member
 
Total Posts:  59
Joined:  2009-05-20
 

At this time the content delivery network is not an option

Out of curiosity, why is it currently not an option?  I know places like akamai can be cost prohibitive (a few thousand a month), but other options are much much cheaper.  It may be worth setting up a test to see page load times based off of different locations throughout the country/world with content delivery and without.  It can substantially reduce load times for locations not close to your server.  For what it’s worth, I believe CDNetworks offers content delivery as low as $100 a month (I think that’s if your 95th percental load is 1.5mbps).  I’m sure any of them would offer a trial.

 
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imwy2cool
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Total Posts:  164
Joined:  2009-05-07
 

Hmm . . . interesting. I may have to explore what you are saying fr0x . . . thanks for the tip.

 
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lsujoe
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Total Posts:  31
Joined:  2008-04-21
 

Very nice store, I really like the drop down effect as well.  About LightSpeed, do you know your page load time you had before installing the add-on?

 
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Freddy Bang
Member
 
Total Posts:  52
Joined:  2009-02-04
 

Hi out there,

After reading this post we cancelled our exiting and running mega menu development project and simply bought the extension a week ago. Everything installed and worked fine in our clean 1.4.0.1 dev environment and after 1 hour of changing the settings we actually had an acceptable and running solution.

But unfortunately it failed when moving it into our 1.3.4.2 mirrow dev site. loaded their web site to report the problem and got a nice chat popup window greeting me welcome and I typed my problem and pressed submit.. Only 30 minutes later a friendly consultant had taken remote access to my workstation and identified to conflicting extension (LuxeHome) which we uninstalled since their extension had the same functionality built-in.. perfect and Yesterday we installed into production and released the new Mega Menu almost looking like the out of the box Mega Menu..

Check it out here [url=http://www.laerkeoglillebror.dk]http://www.laerkeoglillebror.dk[/url] and I’m convinced that it’s not the last time we will use magentospecialist.it for custom development work.

The other discussion in this thread is very interesting and we’ll defently look into extensions/solution capable of improving performance so keep posting important information wink

Thanks
Freddy

 
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imwy2cool
Sr. Member
 
Total Posts:  164
Joined:  2009-05-07
 
lsujoe - 14 July 2010 09:02 PM

Very nice store, I really like the drop down effect as well.  About LightSpeed, do you know your page load time you had before installing the add-on?

I don’t remember exact times. It depended a great deal on the page and traffic load. For instance, with the home page the time went from something like 4 seconds to 0.5 seconds. However, that number can vary depending on the traffic load. Sometimes the home page takes 3 seconds, or loads in less than .2 seconds. Since launching this store our traffic has SURGED. We have a pretty beefy dedicated server and it’s handling it fairly well. However, the other day we had over 700 concurrent visitors and the server went down for about a half hour. Normally we see about 1/4 that amount.

Then there are category pages that can take a bit longer than the home page due to all the product calls, and extensive filters we have set up. A top level category can take 2-6 seconds. Before lightspeed they were 12-20 seconds. Lower child categories load in 1-3 seconds whereas before they were 5-10 seconds. Before we moved the site from the development server to the live server pages loaded in the blink of an eye, but I knew that traffic would slow it down a bit. On the upside several hosts told us we’d need two dedicated servers for the amount of traffic we were receiving BEFORE we launched. Now we are on ONE box and breaking records every day as compared with the old site. More sales, more visitors, more time on the site, etc. Eventually I’ll want to move the database to a new server and keep the site on another, but for now our budget doesn’t allow this.

The pros of lightspeed are one,

1. you definitely get faster page load times

2. You can handle a lot more traffic and visitors without paying the extra monthly premium

Cons . . . hmm . . .

1. it’s not necessarily an easy extension to install, but the techs at Delorum were fantastic and walked me through the whole process.

2. They have some sort of server permissions set up so that you can’t edit their files AT ALL. This still bothers me as I had an extension conflict that they pretty much said “Make him change his,” when it would have taken a simple class change in theirs. I did end up changing the other extension. They do this to protect their extension, but it still annoys me greatly. Magento is about Open Source and being able to change things to your liking. However, for me the pros of actually making Magento fast and handling more visitors far outweighed the cons. Plus, when I did encounter a conflict they were quick to help me out even if they wouldn’t change permissions.

Man I need some sort of affiliate link or something lol. I can honestly say without bias that it was probably the best $500 spent on this site. I actually purchased the other speed extensions that are out there, (PM me if you want more details), and though they definitely helped, they didn’t come close to this one in terms of performance.

 
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imwy2cool
Sr. Member
 
Total Posts:  164
Joined:  2009-05-07
 
Freddy Bang - 15 July 2010 02:00 AM

Hi out there,

After reading this post we cancelled our exiting and running mega menu development project and simply bought the extension a week ago. Everything installed and worked fine in our clean 1.4.0.1 dev environment and after 1 hour of changing the settings we actually had an acceptable and running solution.

But unfortunately it failed when moving it into our 1.3.4.2 mirrow dev site. loaded their web site to report the problem and got a nice chat popup window greeting me welcome and I typed my problem and pressed submit.. Only 30 minutes later a friendly consultant had taken remote access to my workstation and identified to conflicting extension (LuxeHome) which we uninstalled since their extension had the same functionality built-in.. perfect and Yesterday we installed into production and released the new Mega Menu almost looking like the out of the box Mega Menu..

Check it out here [url=http://www.laerkeoglillebror.dk]http://www.laerkeoglillebror.dk[/url] and I’m convinced that it’s not the last time we will use magentospecialist.it for custom development work.

The other discussion in this thread is very interesting and we’ll defently look into extensions/solution capable of improving performance so keep posting important information wink

Thanks
Freddy

Your store looks fantastic! One thing I do noticed is that your menu flickers and jumps on page load just like mine does. I still need to get them to fix that (both of us that is)! But with orders keeping us so busy . . . I guess it hasn’t been too big of an issue.

 
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fr0x
Member
 
Total Posts:  59
Joined:  2009-05-20
 

However, the other day we had over 700 concurrent visitors

I definately think you could see some loading improvements with a CDN (content delivery network) with that kind of traffic.  I did find for CDNetworks that for 0-21 mbps (95th percentile) its $40 per mbps.  No idea what kind of content delivery traffic you do but that should at least give you a good ballpark for costs (I would guess you aren’t above 21mbps for your 95th percentile).  Make sure to look at your current 95th mbps and not you max or average (as those can be quite a bit different, especially with “spikey” traffic).

 
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Template fans
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Joined:  2009-11-02
 

Extremely professional site. I think it worths to spend such a long time to make this site.

How did you make your left column category “url rewrite\” in the “shop by” section?

 
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