Author: Patrick Oak


I'm an internet consultant. Over the past 10 years, I have built my own online businesses and helped companies build theirs. From strategy to development to marketing I am a jack of all trades and love sharing my experiences and advice.

Using Secure FTP

If you run a website, you're almost certainly familiar with FTP, the file transfer protocol that enables you to upload files to the server that hosts your website.


Six conference call services

In today's globalized economy, with more business being conducted across different timezones, like me you've probably noticed that the number of conference calls you need to engage in has increased dramatically.

This is simply because you frequently have to interact with people in different geographic locations.


My security 'set-up'

As a consultant, I store a lot of sensitive data about my clients.

From website passwords to confidential business documents, my desktop computers and laptops contain data that could be damaging to my clients if it got in the hands of the wrong people.


Web-based HTML and CSS validation tools

Are you validating your website's HTML/XHTML and CSS? If not, you should be.

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Six open source web application testing tools

If you're building a web application and have high hopes that it will be used by lots of people, one of the most important things to do before you launch it is to test how it functions under extreme conditions.


Five cool podcasting tools

Podcasting certainly isn't for everybody, but it has grown in popularity over the years and for good reason.


To phone or not to phone?

I recently worked with a client who runs a relatively small e-commerce operation as a second business.

He lamented the fact that when he provided a phone number on his website, his sales more than doubled but the time required to run the business also more than doubled because of all the phone calls, which was not viable for him.


Three authentication systems that can help boost email delivery rates

If you send a reasonable volume of email, you've probably experienced the frustration of being told by some of the intended recipients that they never got your messages.


Embedding Flash content using SWFObject 2

Embedding Flash content into a web page seems simple and in theory, it is.

But if you're using embed/object tags alone to embed Flash content, potential issues lurk under the surface.


Collecting information from your users

Firms are often told that the information they collect from users through their websites, especially email lists, is extremely valuable.

But most of the companies I have worked with over the years really have no idea how to use this information to boost business.


Should your website be in the cloud?

I've recently seen a growing number of people encouraging businesses to look at 'cloud hosting' solutions such as Amazon's EC2 and Rackspace's Mosso.

Cloud hosting takes the concept of cloud computing into the realm of hosting.


Free and low-cost PDF software programs

Providing certain documents in Adobe PDF format has many advantages. The format is open, available on almost every platform, widely-used and the Adobe Acrobat Reader is installed on most consumer and business computers (PCs, Macs, etc.).