Over the years we’ve been in operation, there have been lots of web services which have come and gone, and we know how difficult it is to pick suppliers. That’s why we’ve put together this list of recommended services online from image stock websites to email hosting. These are companies we have used and would highly recommend as they have been good to us and provided great customer service as well as great products.
123-Reg – Hosting & Domain Registrations
For all your hosting and domain registration requirements, we highly recommend 123-Reg for their services in this area.
We’ve used them for years to manage all our domain registrations and no matter what the problem, we’ve had it sorted out in a good turnaround time. The offer a very high degree of control on your domains, so it’s easy to transfer registrations in and out.
The also have lots of different hosting options from cloud servers to virtual private servers as well as your standard shared hosting packages. These are most suitable for new websites.
We also use their VPS service and have found it to be well maintained and very configurable as well.
Aweber – Email Campaigns
Aweber provide email management tools and systems which are essential to running any successful marketing campaign online.
These days, in order to maintain constant customer contact, you have to incorporate a well constructed email marketing campaign, and that means you need systems which can not only help you manage that process, but also ensure high levels of deliverability.
When creating email campaigns it is essential to use one of these services because if you try to send out hundreds of emails from your own email account, chances are you are going to get banned, blacklisted and entered into the SPAM hall of shame.
Don’t waste time doing that, use a trusted white-listed service like Aweber.
Dropbox – Cloud Storage
In the past when I used to work for big companies, sharing files whilst on the move was one of the most tedious things in the world. I’d have to dial up some sort of VPN and log in using strange little devices, after which I could expect super slow file transfers and on top of that, I’d have to micro manage all my remote vs. local documents.
The internet changed all that. As speeds got quicker and quicker, it became obvious that cloud based file storage was the future. With Dropbox, you can save all of your files as you would normally on your computer, and have them automatically synced across all your devices.
It works like magic, and even if you don’t think you need your files with you all the time, it actually serves as an excellent cloud based file backup system as well, just in case you lose your files to accidents!
Working on the move has never been easier. Instant access to all our files from anywhere in the world is surely something you can’t live without.
Pond 5 – Stock Video
When we started getting into video production for various marketing efforts, we quickly realised how expensive it is to buy video equipment and also how time consuming it can be.
Within just a few days we figured that we needed to find a place to buy video to help supplement our own efforts and after looking around we were a little disappointed. There were sites offering stock video, but they were expensive.
Luckily, we did come across Pond5 and to our joy they had a great range of video and they were affordable. They were priced really well and it made it easy for us to recommend them.
Stock video is often hard to get hold of, so this is a real gem.
Template Monster – Templates For Websites
Getting your business off the starting blocks is hard enough, so sometimes you just need a simple website. In most cases, a simple content management system will do the job, and there are lots of them out there from the massively popular WordPress to other ones like Drupal, Joomla or Magento.
If you want to save some money on design costs, it’s actually very effective to get a ready made template and this website Template Monster has thousands of them.
We’ve used this site many times to launch small niches sites and even larger sites where the requirements were relatively open. The huge range of choice means that you can easily find something that is close enough to what you want, and any semi-decent web developer would be able to tweak it until you made it your own.
If you need a starting point for web ideas, this is also a great place to browse to get inspiration for your next website project.
Rackspace – Cloud Servers
If you are in need of larger technical deployments, then we recommend Rackspace. We’ve been using these guys for their cloud servers architecture and open stack and it’s seriously fast.
One of the things we were keen to test were their fanatical support, and it really lives up to the hype. Their support service is the faster I’ve ever seen. Did I mention that they were helpful too!
Their services are not for the faint hearted though. Only large enterprise systems will need their services. In a world where everything should be in the cloud, this is a great place to start. After migrating to their services, our systems are now completely cloud based.
What this means in the long term is that we never have to worry about hardware costs or hardware failures as well.
123RF – Stock Photography
With every web project that we undertake, there is always a need for stock photography, and although we can do a lot of the work ourselves, we often use a stock photo website to help us with those images that we can’t easily take.
There are lots of stock photo sites out there, but on in particular we recommend is 123RF. The offer an extremely affordable pricing model which means for as low as £1 you could license an image for use.
Forget about Getty, Corbis, Image Source or any of the large image companies. They will charge you a fortune just for one image. In fact even some stock sites are expensive, avoid iStockphoto for example. They used to be good, until Getty decided to buy them and ruined their affordability.
123RF have a great selection of images and they are always there to help. Plus their website is easy to use.
If you need fast quick tiny jobs done, Fiverr is a place where you can find all sorts of task helpers to do jobs for you for $5 a piece. You can get things like logos, graphics, videos and things like social media help.
The range of potential jobs is massive so go take a look and see what you can get done for you just for $5. We’ve used this service a lot ourselves and though it can be tricky to find a decent supplier, once you find a good service, you are bound to use it several times over.