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Online shopping

22nd March 2010

It doesn't take a genius to predict that online shopping sales will continue to rise over the next few years.

As with all markets, a disproportionate amount of the market will be taken by a few major players, although the web does give small businesses a better chance than the high street.

Here are a few tips to make sure your online shop is thriving this year:

Include lots of information about privacy, security, and your delivery and returns policies. Shoppers like to feel safe, especially on the internet.

Make sure your product pages carry lots of information and good photographs. Shopping online means customers can't touch and feel the goods.

Keep the navigation simple, and include a search button within your website. A nice touch is to record all searches so that you can find out how your website responds to typical search words.

Track usage with Google Analytics. This will give you insights into what people like and how to make it better.

Find out what keywords people are typing into Google to find you (you can do this through Google Analytics too). Then capitalise on the keywords that work, and add more.

Securing swf files (Technical)

9th March 2010

A customer has asked how to secure swfs.

You can download swfs using firefox, as explained here:

http://www.lancelhoff.com/how-to-download-embedded-swf-files-using-firefox/

The specific questions are - can you force people to login before accessing the swfs, and prevent them from sharing the swfs.

If you intercept the request for the swf using something like mod_rewrite, then you can stream the swf through a php file. This php file can chcek for a login first.

The user can still download the swf, but here comes the sharing prevention bit: write the flash file so that it will not work unless hosted within the website you have created. This requierd flash coding of course. Once this is done, only logged in users will be able to access it.

There is some more information on securing swfs here:

http://ryanfait.com/resources/protect-flash-files-from-download/

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Oxford Web is a trading name of Alberon Ltd, registered company no. 5765707 (England & Wales).