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on 30 May 2013
Lots of companies want to be able to sell effectively online. The trouble though is that it can be pretty difficult to get a half-decent and functioning e-commerce website setup to sell through. Although there are numerous companies willing to setup e-commerce websites for you, the costs for startups can often be way too prohibitive for many. And of course the risks of hiring 'cheap' or 'inexperienced' developers to build and e-commerce website for you can far outweigh the benefits. As a web developer myself, I have seen some unfortunate business owners get stung by some truly terrible e-commerce setups; which have looked plain ugly and barely functioned. To succeed selling online, everything must be perfect.

So for many people contemplating the 'DIY' approach to selling online, Prestashop can be a big appeal. We are really fortunate that free software like Prestashop exists for building e-commerce websites, and it does everything most people would need. However like many other free website software solutions, the learning curve involved in putting something together can seem pretty daunting. All this talk of databases, modules, domains, themes and catalogues could be pretty eye-watering to novice users.

The PrestaShop 1.5 Beginner's Guide is written by Jose Tizon and John Horton; and published by Packt publishing. This book provides a subtle introduction into what Prestashop actually is, how it functions and how to setup your first Prestashop store. It really is probably the only book you would need to buy on the subject of Prestashop management. Like many other Packt books written before, this book is well structured, methodical and walks you through all stages in simple steps. The content in this book is right up-to-date and compatible with the latest version of Prestashop. Prestashop for beginners aims to have you setup and selling within 7 days, and I can believe that statement.

The book starts by covering installation of Prestashop on a web server, or in a server environment like WAMP, LAMP or MAMP. It discusses the system requirements clearly, database setup and the installation procedures to be followed. Important steps like removing the install folder and renaming the admin folder are explained. The next chapters go into all the details, regarding store setup, and store management. At each stage of the book, you are working towards adding features to the website that enhance customer experience and functionality. Nothing in this book is skimped-on. I think just about everything you need to know is in this guide.

I have used Prestashop on a few occasions before, on behalf of clients. Although I had a basic understanding of Prestashop, I really wanted to get up to speed and learn everything there was to know about managing stores through Prestashop. Quite a lot had changed in the latest version of Prestashop, since I last used it. I found this book invaluable as a refresher and learning lots of new things about Prestashop. Although it is branded as a 'beginners guide' there is certainly a lot of important and useful hints and tips which would appeal to regular Prestashop users too.
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on 13 June 2013
Prestashop is an impressive way to let small website owners build out e-commerce abilities without too much sweat.

One chapter covers search engine optimisation, which is already a vast field. The chapter however eschews what it considers to be a narrow technical focus that other discussions of SEO often veer into. Instead it emphasises a top down approach of deeply understanding your business and what you are selling. Know your items and your customers so that you can best write compelling ad copy as well as articles that will induce them to clickthrough onto a sales page.

You can see that Prestashop readily lets you add meta tags to your pages. Of course, if you are the least bit technical, you know that what Prestashop has done is put a simple GUI in place of you having to manually edit each HTML file to write the tags. Still, the GUI is immediately obvious; no unnecessary frills. Likewise, Prestashop gives a trivial way to define a tag cloud. This is recommended because search engines find it useful as a concise summation of key phrases about a website. So do consumers and that is the point for you.

But the best advice I saw about SEO in the chapter is - "Don't use long words where short ones will do" and "immediate clarity". While they do not make the explicit comparison, this is the traditional advice for writing newspaper articles. Where the headline and first paragraph summarise the entire article.

Another nifty feature of Prestashop is how they have integrated the use of Google's free translations so you can easily translate some of your content into those languages supported by Google.

Also nice to see that the book discourages spamming. There is a natural tendency for many websites to want to get their emails out to as a large an audience as possible. You are cautioned about buying email lists. Only from a reputable source. Also, practise explicit opt-in. So do not add someone to your list unless they explicitly ask.

On the crucial subject of payment providers, the text focuses on the 3 big players. Google, Paypal and Amazon. A good comparative analysis of the merits and possible drawbacks of each.
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on 18 June 2017
Good read
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on 16 September 2014
As I set up a few Prestashops I though I had better but the book albeit in electronic form .If you are serious about setting up a shop I would get both forms ie Electronic and also printed as each has their own attributes .Electronic for when you are travelling and paper for glancing through sections quickly and making notes .Well worth the price
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