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Many of our current customers have converted an existing store to SearchFit. Some of the benefits of converting your store to SearchFit include having all static product pages that are easily scrolled by search engines, an easy to optimize site and more flexibility with your design. Click here to read about the advantages of converting to SearchFit. The good news is that we have made converting your to SearchFit as painless as possible. The main steps involved, including adding your product information, design templates and adjusting settings are described below.

While you are building your new, SearchFit site, you will be able to publish and view changes on a temporary address. If you would like assistance during any step of the process, we have an in-house development team that can help.

Convert Your Store to SearchFit
  1. Adding your Product Information to SearchFit
  2. Adding your Design
  3. Adding your Informational Pages
  4. Adjust your Settings
Adding Your Product Information To SearchFit
Weather you store your product information in your own database, or you are using another shopping cart, there is almost always a way to export your product data. If you are able to export your product data into a comma separated value or tab seperated format, then you can import that data into SearchFit. The fastest way to add your product information to SearchFit is to use the product import feature.

If you need to use your own database with your new, SearchFit store, this is possible with the use of SearchFit’s Web Services feature. For example, SearchFit is able to connect to your external database and display product prices and stock levels. This powerful feature allows you to display dynamic data on static pages.

Once you have exported your product information, you will be able to make modifications using a spread sheet application, such as Microsoft Excel. It’s possible to store your product information on several spreadsheets; however, it is less complicated to list everything on one sheet. Your spreadsheet will display one product per row and have multiple columns to contain the different types of data per product. For example, if you have 50 products, you will have 50 rows of product information. You will have enough columns of information to contain all the different kinds of information that you would like to display per product such as: name, price, options, images, descriptions, etc.

“Foreign Id” columns should be added to your spreadsheet for all the levels of your product structure. This will permit you to update your site content by altering your spreadsheet and importing it as necessary. Having foreign id’s will let SearchFit know what products and categories to update even if the product and category names have changed. For example, you will have several columns on your spreadsheet for foreign Id’s. Each level of your product structure will have a corresponding foreign id. On your spreadsheet will be a column for product foreign id, category type foreign id, category foreign id and subcategory foreign id.

We are able to do all this for you. Let us know if you would like us to format and import your product data.

Product images are added to your SearchFit site when importing. During the import process, SearchFit can collect these images from your existing site, from a folder hosted on an external server, or you can store the images in a folder within SearchFit’s Control Panel. Whichever option you choose, the path to the image should be specified on the Control Panel import screen. During the import process, SearchFit will collect the images and resave them to a new, permanent location within your hosting space.

Once you have prepared your spreadsheet and product image files, the next step is to use the SearchFit Control Panel’s Import Area. In this area, you specify the contents of each of the columns on your spreadsheet. For example, you could specify that “Product Name” is in “column X”. Configuring this area takes just minutes. When you are finished, press the Import button. SearchFit will rapidly import all of your product information. When complete, you will status display by spreadsheet row and by category structure. This lets you know if the import was successful or not. If there is an error on your sheet (such as an incorrect image path), then you will be able to easily pin point it.

Through importing, SearchFit creates your product/menu structure and all of your product related pages. Congratulations!

The layout of your product pages is template driven. There is a “Category Template” that defines the outer area of the page. Each product uses a product template for its brief and detailed displays. For example, on one of your category pages, you may list multiple products. Each one of those products will be contained in a “box” and have information like the price, description and buttons like “buy now” and “add to cart”. The layout and graphics of this “box” containing the information, images and buttons per product is determined by your product template.

For an explanation of how the SearchFit template system works, please see our SearchFit QuickStart Guide.

Adding Your Design
Aside from adding products, another large phase of your site development is adding your design. SearchFit has a very flexible template system. The templates are HTML based. A SearchFit design template is an HTML document that is modified by SearchFit keywords. These keywords are added to instruct SearchFit where to automatically place items on a per page basis, such as: The page’s inner content, search boxes, headings, metatags, menus, etc. Since a SearchFit template closely resembles a standard HTML website template, any design is possible, including the use of CSS, Flash and JavaScript. You can use your existing design in SearchFit! Any developer that knows HTML well should be able to successfully create templates and pages within SearchFit.

Adding Your Informational Pages
The rest of your pages, such as your home page, “about us” page, “contact” page, etc can be easily added to your SearchFit site in the “Custom Links” area. Simply copy and paste the HTML for a given page into a field within the Custom Links area and the page will be stored within the SearchFit Control Panel. Images, JavaScript Files and .SWF’s related to these pages are all stored in a in Control Panel as well.

Adjust Settings
Another step in brining your existing site into SearchFit is adjusting the SearchFit cart settings. This is a very deep system that allows you to change shipping methods, payment methods, taxes, languages, currencies and much more. Please see our SearchFit Manual for a detailed description.
 

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