Rich Biedrzycki - Dreamland Comics
“Since converting to Nexternal.NET, we have seen significant improvements in our organic search engine traffic! Many of our items come up #1 in the search engine results pages and most are in the top 5. Nexternal did a terrific job in optimizing the new platform for search engine traffic.”
What is Nexternal.NET?
Nexternal.NET is Nexternal's newest storefront version, built from the ground up using the latest ASP.NET technology. Nexternal.NET supports all of the great features found in Nexternal Classic yet contains several powerful enhancements. Like all updates to the Nexternal system, Nexternal.NET is included in the system you already have and there is no charge for upgrading.
Why Upgrade to the ASP.NET Shopping Cart?
Enhancements found only in Nexternal.NET include:
- Static, keyword rich URLs: Nexternal.NET does not use frames, so all product and category URLs are static and easily copied for placement in online forums and other third party web sites. Product and category names are also embedded within the URLs to enhance your pages' rankings in search engines. Please refer to Product and Category Detail screens in the Order Management System for more information on direct link URLs.
- No popup windows: Nexternal.NET never uses popup windows, so important information can never be hidden by popup blockers, and you will never be penalized by search engines and other traffic driving sites that disfavor popups. In Nexternal.NET, popup-style information is presented in user-friendly overlays that capture the shopper's attention without opening a separate browser window.
Upgrading Your Shopping Cart to Nexternal.NET
If you are currently using Nexternal Classic and are ready to upgrade your shopping cart to Nexternal.NET, the following procedures will make for a simple transition:
- In your OMS visit Layout and create a Staging Layout with Live Layout Values.
- In the Staging Layout, edit the General Layout and select "Nexternal.NET" for the Online Store Version.
- Click the "View Online Store" (Staging Layout) link in the upper right corner.
- Check to see if the store looks like your active store in Firefox, Safari, and IE. If it does not, adjust the layout parameters in the staging layout accordingly. While Nexternal Engineers have gone to great lengths to make the transition smooth, more complex sites will need to be manipulated to look the same on the new platform.
- Test everything and place a sample order. If you have a custom search box in the cart header or bordering html for example, the snippet of code that generates your search box will need to be modified. Also, if you are using Customer Integration, you will need to update your form code. Consider using the Knowledge Base for frequently asked questions and if you do not see your specific question, feel free to submit one.
- Once you are satisfied with Nexternal.NET, you can select the Make Staging Layout Live button at the top of the layout screen. We highly recommend archiving your old Nexternal Classic layout just in case you need to revert back to it. Select Archive and save the live layout with the name Nexternal Classic Master. If you use the Nexternal system for internal orders (phone, fax, mail, etc) simulate placing an internal order. If there are any complications, you may need to modify some settings in the Layout and/or revert to the archived Nexternal Classic layout while you make the necessary adjustments.
- If you utilize the Search Engine Friendly Catalog, check your SEFC preferences and choose to use the canonical link. If it is set to automatically update, click "Reset" at the bottom of the preferences screen. This will schedule a "refresh" of the SEFC within 24 hours. If not, create a new SEFC and upload it to your web server.
- While the old links on your homepage should work and automatically redirect to the Nexternal.NET URLs, it is a good idea to update those links to the new format. You should also update the destination URLs of any online advertisements that you are running. The product and category links are available on the respective product and category detail screens in the OMS. Additionally, if you have a search form on your website that searches your store, that form will need to be modified. Click here for sample code.
- Contact your Account Executive and let them know you've switched over. They will give your site one final test and possibly a list of things you overlooked. Do not make any more modifications until you hear back from your Account Executive.
If you are not doing so, Nexternal highly recommends using a domain alias with Nexternal.NET. Instructions for setting that up are found here: http://www.nexternal.com/ecommerce/knowledge-base.asp?Answer=3246.
If modifications to your layout are necessary and you are not familiar with html and css, please contact your web developer. You may also contact your Account Executive should you need help from a Nexternal Design Engineer (Nexternal charges by the hour for help from a Design Engineer).