NetSuite’s Site Builder Categories – Bugs and Shortcomings to Watch Out For
I have been working with NetSuite since 2004, with much of my time spent on building and optimizing websites in their site builder platform (Now called SuiteCommerce Site Builder). In those 11 years, almost nothing has changed, and none of the many bugs I have personally submitted have ever been addressed. From what I can tell, at least 90% of NetSuite companies that have a website are running on site builder, which costs around $12k per year. The only other platform NetSuite offers is the new SuiteCommerce Advanced, which is 3 times as much and requires a great deal of highly complex code to be written in order to actually launch a website. Since most NetSuite companies can’t afford a six-figure website, I have put together this list of bugs and shortcomings that I have come across, specifically about the web site categories (this post would be a book if I tried to list all of the site builder related issues I’ve found). Hopefully it will spare you some of the frustration I have had in discovering these the hard way. I have tried submitting bugs for most of these, but NetSuite support mostly tells me they are ‘enhancement requests’, which have never been addressed.
General Category Failings
- There is no audit trail for the site category record, so it’s impossible to tell what changes have been made or by who.
- The last modified date is not available at all for categories.
- It’s impossible to add a custom field to the category record, [click to continue…]
Why Should Your NetSuite Store become a Google Trusted Store?
The most noticeable benefit to being a trusted store is the addition of a floating badge that is displayed in the bottom right corner of every page on your site. Here is an example:
When a user clicks on the badge, a medium-sized window will appear with customer service and shipping related stats, like this one: [click to continue…]
Install Google’s Newest Analytics for Your SuiteCommerce Advanced or Site Builder Website
Why Install Universal Analytics?
- Better user identification across multiple devices – get closer to tracking users, not just visits.
- For the first time, you can now track off-line conversions with the measurement protocol – trackable lifetime value in your web analytics!
- All future analytics innovations will rollout to universal analytics.
- Custom variables become custom dimensions, and are easier to implement and more powerful.
- Set your own campaign and session timeout values
- It can run alongside your existing analytics – it can be very helpful to have six months or more to compare between systems, as no two systems will ever match exactly in their reporting.
Prerequisites for This Guide
Please see my note about issues with the auto linker in NetSuite.
This guide is written for NetSuite SuiteCommerce Advanced and Site Builder websites. It assumes that you use the NetSuite checkout domain (checkout.netsuite.com or similar) as well as the default checkout process. If you have a custom checkout domain or use the reference cart/checkout or SSP checkout, you will need a different solution.
Set up a New Analytics Property
The new user interface has a three level hierarchy to your Google analytics account – Account, Property, and View. Multiple views can be configured for a single property, which allows you to interpret the same data in multiple ways. [click to continue…]
A Step by Step Guide
One of the features I like about the NetSuite SuiteCommerce web store is the related item functionality. Not only can you hand pick related items to display on product pages, but you can also allow NetSuite to automatically generate recommendations based on sales history. NetSuite includes four sample related item layouts, but they don’t handle varying sized images very well and tend to take up a lot of space, so I developed an alternative layout that solves some of those problems.
A Better Related Item Layout
Here’s what you can expect from the new layout:
- Automatically centers the thumbnail horizontally and vertically.
- Uses your existing item thumbnails, no matter what size they are, and allows the browser to resize it with CSS. This saves you from having to manually standardize your thumbnail sizes, which can take a lot of time to maintain.
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A Chance to Give Google Feedback About Your Small Site
The Problem: big brands are dominating search results pages (SERPs)
One of the most common complaints coming from SEOs and webmasters over the last few months has been about big brands taking over search results pages. Various webmaster and SEO forums have threads on the topic, and the Internet retailer 2013 search marketing guide had this to say (emphasis mine):
With the implementation of Google Panda in February 2011 and Penguin in May 2012, Google changed its search engine algorithm to lower the rankings of web retailers whose sites featured static and generic content available on many other sites. Moving up under the new rules are retailers that offer detailed content, such as unique product descriptions and images, are smart at using reams of customer information to create content that appeals to shoppers looking for a specific brand or SKU, or that bring original content to their web sites in the form of consumer reviews and other content drawn from online social networks.
The biggest retailing brands tended to be the winners from these changes, and that shows up in their dominance of the natural search rankings in the new 2013 Internet Retailer Search Engine Marketing Guide.
Big brands have bigger signals
If you think about it from the search engine’s point of view, it’s not that hard to understand why big brands like Amazon, Sears, or eBay would have an easy time ranking well. [click to continue…]
Your Website Needs a Strong SEO Partner
What is SEO and why should I care?
While most website owners are familiar with the concept of search engine optimization (SEO), most that I have spoken to have an incomplete view of what it can do and its importance overall.
My definition of SEO:
- Structuring and creating content on your site that sends the proper signals to search engines, and is tailored to the keywords (especially long tail keywords) that are most effective for your site.
- Building links, managing social presences, and establishing relationships with other websites that will both drive traffic and give your site the necessary link authority to perform on competitive keywords.
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A Quick Guide to Customizing NetSuite Reports
The 404 Report
One feature lacking in most hosted analytics systems like Google analytics is a 404 report – i.e. a list of URLs that a user or search engine tried to access, but the page was not available. If you have a NetSuite Site Builder site (now call SuiteCommerce Site Builder), NetSuite provides a built-in report that you can customize just for this purpose.
What Good is a 404 Report?
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By Joining the SuiteCloud Developer Network
I’ve been using NetSuite for about nine years, and have long wished to have a simple test account that I could do anything I wanted in. As far as I know, here are the major ways that one can get a test or sandbox account with NetSuite:
- Sandbox Account – Companies with a NetSuite account can pay extra to have access to a sandbox version, where they take a snapshot of your current database and copy it to a test server (on demand, usually takes a few days to a week). This can be a great way to test out incremental modifications to your existing set up, and can give you a chance to see if it conflicts with other customizations.
- Become a NetSuite solution provider – This is a program for companies that sell and implement NetSuite for their customers. It costs $5,000 a year, and comes with unlimited testdrive accounts. It also has minimums for NetSuite sales, so it’s not for everyone.
- Take a NetSuite training class – I have taken a few in person and online training classes from NetSuite, and as part of the class, we were given access to our own test drive account to follow along the training in. My account was deactivated after a few months, but it was useful while I had access.
And finally, my favorite:
- Join the SuiteCloud developer network – Spend a minute to fill out a quick form (click join at the bottom of the page), and in a day or two you will have access to your own test drive account that doesn’t expire (unless you stop using it), along with access to the SuiteCloud user group, which is similar to the main NetSuite user group, but separate.
Why Get a Test Drive Account?
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Get Full SEO Value for Your Review Content
|Power Reviews (now BazaarVoice) allows websites to add product reviews for each item. One of the best side benefits of adding reviews to your site is the user generated content, which is rich with long tail keywords that users are searching with to find your products. The typical methodfor enabling search engine friendly reviews with Power Reviews is called their ‘in-line SEO’ solution. Unfortunately NetSuite companies haven’t been able to implement the solution due to limitations within the NetSuite platform. Fourth Wave Consulting has developed a fully automated solution that works around these limitations, and provides the full SEO benefits.
1-Page Fact Sheet
Google’s Matt Cutts Tells us What to Expect
The SEO Arms Race
Ever since there have been search engines, search engine optimizers (SEOs) have tried various tactics to rank well – often straying into deceptive or ‘black hat’ techniques like auto generated content, websites, and link networks. As search engines have gotten better at detecting these spammy techniques, the spammers have gotten more clever. The latest major change on the Google side began in April 2012, with the Penguin update.
Major Features of the Last Couple Updates
- Over-optimization penalty – This is the most interesting update to me, as it strikes fear into the hearts of even the most conservative SEOs. Aren’t we supposed to be optimizing our websites for search engines? How do we know when we have optimized it too much? For the most part, sites were penalized for reusing the exact same phrase in their anchor text too much, although too much keyword stuffing into meta tags or page text could incur a penalty as well. For more conservative site operators, it’s a warning to be careful with optimization efforts, and a reward for not making users suffer through keyword-stuffed text.
- Exact Match Domain – Google significantly reduced the benefit that a domain would get if their domain name matched a target keyword phrase – e.g. a domain like ‘keyword1-keyword2.com’ likely saw its traffic drop for that keyword phrase.
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