Customer Paradigm Blog

  • Boulder, Colorado in the snow…

    March 1, 2015

    Jeff Finkelstein

    Here’s a photo I took while on a hike a couple of miles from the Customer Paradigm office. This is of Skunk Canyon, after some of the big snow we’ve been having: Click here for full, high-resolution image >> This was taken with the Fuji X100T Camera, a nice and lightweight camera.  Settings: 1/250 second exposure, f/16, ISO 200 (lowest for the camera), 23 mm (fixed lens).  Shot in RAW, converted to B&W in Lightroom.
  • Why Doesn’t My Abandoned Cart Email Work With My One Step Checkout Extension in Magento?

    February 26, 2015

    Jeff Finkelstein

    We are asked this question quite a bit, so I wanted to post it here… If you’re struggling to understand why your abandoned cart emails are not working, and you’re also using a one step checkout process, it’s because they are conflicting. It’s a lot like putting a humidifier and a dehumidifier into the same room, and let them battle it out. In Magento, there is core code that manages the extremely complex systems, including displaying content on the home page, calculating pricing on category and product pages, handling discounts, shipping, payment methods, and doing all of this in a secure way. Extensions can “extend” the functionality of Magento. A One Page Checkout extensions can change the default way that the checkout process works. This is one of the more invasive extensions, as it completely changes how the entire checkout system works. Instead of using Magento’s default system, it uses it’s own system. One page checkouts ...
  • SEO: Competition vs. Effort

    February 24, 2015

    Jeff Finkelstein

      As you probably know, one of the things that we focus on here at Customer Paradigm is search engine optimization (SEO). I’m ranked on the Moz.com site (the top SEO resource blog out there) as one of the top 100 contributors, out of 350,000 contributors worldwide. One of the questions that I’m asked many times each week is, "How difficult will it be to get great rankings for my (fill_in_the_blank) site?" The answer, of course, is that it really depends on two factors: competition and effort. Effort vs. Competition Unfortunately, equal effort does not always mean equal results. Imagine rolling a bowling ball down a freshly waxed and polished lane. With skill and practice, you’re likely to get a strike and knock down all of the pins. At least some of the time. But now imaging rolling that same bowling ball ...
  • Snapchat Discover Changing Delivery of News Online

    February 23, 2015

    Erin Tran

    Snapchat Discover Home Screen - Colorado SEO - Customer ParadigmSnapchat is known for their temporary photos and selfies you can text to friends but with their launch of “Discover,” it’s changing the SEO game. Discover is a new way of browsing news in bite-sized formats and an easy-to-use interface that throws a curve-ball to normal content marketing. According to Kevin Roose of Fusion, it’s generating millions of views per day per publisher. What Makes Snapchat Discover Different Snapchat noticed that people were losing interest in using their app so they needed to figure out how to rebound from that. Keeping in tune with their quick images and noticing the gap in news readers for their demographic of 13-25 year olds, Discover was born. Discover partners with a handful of publishers to feature only the most interesting content of the day on this app. Discover is built into the Snapchat app as an update and is a little difficult to find at first ...
  • Magento Releases Security Patch – Feb 10 2015 for Enterprise and Community

    February 10, 2015

    Jeff Finkelstein

      A quick note: Magento just released a security patch for both Magento Enterprise and Community. Magento Security Patch – SUPEE-5344 (Feb 10, 2015) Although there have not been any reports of customers being impacted by this exploit, if an attacker knows what they are doing, they could remotely execute code on a Magento site (stealing customer information, credit card details, changing prices and inventory, etc). We recommend installing this ASAP, but it’s best to do this on your test site or staging site first. Magento also recommends checking your web server’s root document directory for unknown files. Patches are available for: Magento Enterprise, versions 1.11 – 1.14 Magento Community versions 1.6 – 1.9 If you’re running an older version of Magento, patches are not available ...
  • Most Common Job in Colorado is Computer Software Developer

    February 9, 2015

    Jeff Finkelstein

    NPR just did a study where they categorized the most common jobs in the US by state, and have animated it from 1978 to 2014. While truck drivers make up the most common jobs for most of the states, it was wonderful to see that Colorado (along with Utah, Washington State and Virginia) have "Computer Software Developers" listed as the most common job in the state: I’d say that’s great news for our state, and recognition that this is a great place to have a software development business. Here’s the animated version – visit here >>
  • Be Paranoid About Backing Up Your Site

    February 6, 2015

    Jeff Finkelstein

      I received quite a bit of feedback from last week’s email about hacking. And one of the key things that I was asked was, "Is there an easy way to back my site?" Fortunately, there is. Backing up your site: Like any process, I’d recommend having multiple processes in place for backing up your site. 1. Hosting Company Backs It Up? First, start with your hosting company and have them do daily backups for your site. Make sure that the site and any databases are being backed up each and every day. (We just worked with a client who had their site backed up each and every day automatically, but the database – where a lot of their key information is stored, was not). Some hosting ...
  • Magento Admin – Changing Passwords to Lock Out Older Users

    February 6, 2015

    Jeff Finkelstein

    A quick note about changing Magento Admin users to lock out older users that you no longer want to have in your Magento admin area: If you have an older employee that you want to remove access for, make sure that you delete the user vs. just changing the password. If you simply change the password, the older user could use the password reset function to regain access to your system; this works by resetting the password via email. If they used a gmail account or a non-company email, that’s how it can work. The reason I’m posting: we had a customer call us who just changed the password for an admin, but didn’t delete this user from the system. That user changed their password using the password reset button, and then changed the home page for the site to show an error 404 page. Fortunately, this was something easy to fix. And fortunately, we were ...
  • Net Neutrality Upheld – A Win For Anyone With a Website

    February 5, 2015

    Jeff Finkelstein

      I was thrilled to hear this week that the chairman of the FCC, Tom Wheeler, is defending net neutrality. It’s wonderful news for anyone that runs a Website, as well as for end users. I believe that the Internet has transformed the world economy, and Net Neutrality is a major reason why. Net Neutrality Upheld – A Win For Anyone With a Website One of the amazing realities of the Internet is that any company that puts time and effort into building a website – big or small – can aggregate people, interests and purchasing, regardless of geography. The Internet has allowed small companies, started by a single person, to compete on a global scale. Creating jobs, and more consumer choice in the marketplace. If you’re not familiar with net neutrality, it basically means that your Internet Service Provider (Verizon, Comcast, ...
  • Why PageSpeed and Fast Websites Matter

    January 28, 2015

    Erin Tran

    When we talk about improving PageSpeed to a 2 second or faster page load time, it can sound like a miniscule change from 6 seconds to 2 seconds. However, every second really counts when it comes to the patience of people. In the case of Amazon.com, they slowed down the page load time by 100 milliseconds just to test what would happen and that resulted in a 1% decrease in sales. Imagine how many sales are lost when it’s slowed by 1 second vs. 100 milliseconds. Most people who visit a website expect it to load in less than 2 seconds and if it doesn’t, they leave and the likelihood of them ever returning again is slim to none. Why Do Websites Load Slowly? Websites load slowly because of the amount of content on the site. However, a site with 1,000 pages could easily load faster than an 8-page site if it is structured ...
  • Magento Community USPS Shipping Error Bug – 1.9.1.0

    January 19, 2015

    Jeff Finkelstein

    USPS Shipping Bug in Magento (Solved!)     Magento Bug Report: USPS Shipping Not Working in Magento Community 1.9.1.0 Cause of Bug: ZIP+4 vs. ZIP code – fails via USPS API Magento Error Message: Magento USPS Error Message: (Default) This shipping method is currently unavailable. If you would like to ship using this shipping method, please contact us. View Magento USPS Shipping Method Bug Screenshot >> Description / How to Fix: Sometimes it’s all about the little things. We just found a bug in Magento 1.9.1.0 that causes a site to not be able to retrieve USPS shipping rates. After running a full Magento Code Audit on the site, and performing a lot of other tests, we found the source of the bug: If the ZIP/Postal Code is using a US zip code, it can only be the five digit ZIP Code. If you use the ZIP+4 that the Post Office actually loves, this will confuse USPS servers ...
  • Magento Enterprise Home Page Error 404 Bug Solved

    January 15, 2015

    Jeff Finkelstein

    From the (Linux) Desktop of a Certified Magento Developer: Magento Enterprise Error 404 for Home Page (Solved!) Are you having difficulty with a Magento Enterprise site’s home page showing a 404 error? We recently were doing an upgrade, and found a (bug) in the Magento Enterprise code base. We hesitate to say that it’s a serious bug, because if a Magento Enterprise site is set up correctly, then this shouldn’t happen. But out in the wild, with real customer data that might have been automatically imported (or carried through during an upgrade), we found this crazy issue. Here’s the scoop: Since Magento Enterprise 1.13.0.0, if a product is in the database with no name (an empty string or NULL in the value column of catalog_product_entity_url_key), it can create a 404 homepage bug when Product URL Rewrites reindexes. This happens even if the product’s status is Disabled. When you reindex the Product URL Rewrites, it ...
  • 2014 eCommerce Review + 2015 Web Trends

    January 7, 2015

    Jeff Finkelstein

    I hope you had a great New Year and that 2015 is off to a good start! With the holidays right behind us, I wanted to give you a recap of how eCommerce grew in 2014, and some of the trends in online marketing I’m predicting for 2015. Read more below >> Online Sales Up 14% (Nov 1 – Dec 31) According to an IBM Corp report, online sales from Nov 1 – Dec 31 grew 14% from the year before. However, the average order size was down 8% from last year, to $119.33. More people are shopping than ever before with their mobile devices. People are doing a lot of research on their smartphones, but are purchasing more from tablets (13%) than smartphones (9%). Mobile Shopping Up. But Desktops are not dead. But in case you listen to the “gurus” who think that mobile is everything and that laptops and desktops are dead, people ...
  • How to Speed Up Website Speeds with Caching

    December 16, 2014

    Customer Paradigm

      Have you noticed that some sites load really, really quickly, while others seem to take forever to load? Last week, we helped a client speed up their page load times by 300%, by using website caching. What’s caching, and how does it affect page load times? Read more below >> Static HTML sites vs. Database-Driven Sites In the old, old days of the Web, all sites were made up of static pages. You had a document, like page.html, and it contained all of the content for the page. This document includes the title tag, meta description, top navigation, left navigation, content, footer and more. A static page might include a few calls to an a style sheet or a tell ...
  • Another Magento Certified Developer on the Customer Paradigm team

    December 15, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

    A big congratulations! We had another programmer today here at Customer Paradigm successfully pass the Magento Certified Developer program. The Magento developer test was designed as a way to ensure that the programmer working on a Magento site has studied, understands the Magento framework, and really understands the platform inside and out. It can take 6-12 months to prepare for this test and study, and the test covers all aspects of the Magento core platform, including the Community and Enterprise systems.
  • Yellow Moon Rising Over Boulder, Colorado

    December 10, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

    Last night, one of my daughters noticed that a yellow moon was rising above Boulder, Colorado. I grabbed the camera, threw on a lens, and here’s an image: View full size image >> Tech Specs on this image: Canon 5D Mark III, 400 mm lens with 2x Extender (800 mm total), Handheld. 1/1,000 second exposure, f/11, ISO 5,000, 800 mm.  
  • Introducing Watchdog 3.1, Daily Sales Summary & Trigger Email Reports for Magento

    December 9, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

      A long, long time ago, I worked as a professional dog trainer for search and rescue. It was an amazing job, and one that taught me lessons that I still use today. As you probably know, dogs can hear and smell things that humans can’t, and detect trouble before we can perceive them. That’s why I’ve named our latest Magento extension, Watchdog, version 3.1. More information is here >> And until the end of the year, we’re giving the extension away for free (we’ll start charging for it in January). What Does Watchdog Do? What does it do? Simply put, our Magento extension, Watchdog 3.1, helps keeps an eye on your store. It does two main things: Daily Email Summary Reporting, for sales summaries, ...
  • How to turn on Template Hints for the Magento Admin Area

    November 14, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

    Need a quick way to turn on Template Hints for the Magento admin area? It’s easy to turn them on for the front-end of the site, but if you need to do this for your Magento Admin area (for example, you’re building new modules or funtionality into the Magento admin area), it’s a little bit more complex. To turn on the template hints for the Magento Admin area, simply open /app/etc/local.xml and add the follow code: <config>         …         <websites>             <admin>                 <dev>                     <debug>                          <template_hints>1</template_hints>                         <template_hints_blocks>1</template_hints_blocks>                     </debug>                 </dev>             </admin>        </websites> </config>  
  • I’m Paranoid: Human Testing vs. Automated Testing

    November 12, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

      It’s possible that I’m paranoid. But one of the most frustrating things in the technology world is when something that was working perfectly yesterday… stops working today. But nobody notices for a day or two. Automated testing scripts don’t always catch this. And it’s not ideal to rely on your customers to tell you that things aren’t working. This inspired another daily process for us here at Customer Paradigm. Read more below >> Automation vs. Human Testing. About a month ago on the Customer Paradigm website, the contact forms stopped working properly. (I was the one responsible. I did a minor security update, ...
  • I’m a Google Analytics Addict, and that led to a discovery

    November 5, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

      I’m an addict. I admit that I often have a window open on my computer, watching how many people are visiting the CustomerParadigm.com site at any given moment. To me, it’s fascinating where they’re coming from (all over the world) and what they’re looking at (we have a lot of content pages). One of the frustrating things is seeing so many people visit, but not convert. Then last week, I had a flash of inspiration. Read More Below >> Reducing Barriers. We’ve done a lot to lower the barriers. I’ve often preached about creating a site experience that makes it as easy as possible to contact us. For example, someone picking up the phone to call is a little higher of a commitment activity than filling out a contact form. Picking ...
Read more


Customer Paradigm
5353 Manhattan Circle, Suite 103, Boulder, CO 80303
Call us toll free: 888.772.0777 or 303.473.4400

Customer Paradigm Star Review of Customer ParadigmStar Review of Customer ParadigmStar Review of Customer ParadigmStar Review of Customer ParadigmStar Review of Customer Paradigm 4.8 out of 5 based on 39 ratings. 24 user reviews