My Promise to You.
These recommendations are based upon my personal experience. If a company is on this list it's because they've earned it by providing quality services and good value for your dollar. Or in some cases, for free!
Domain Registration Companies
The Good Part: Low cost domain registration with a nice "domain lock" and auto renewal features.
The Not-So-Good Part: They don't make money off their domain registration services. It's a loss leader. So it's not surprising that when registering a domain name, they make you go through a series of nag screens to encourage you to purchase some questionable services. None the less, I've registered over a hundred domains with them as I'm really just looking for a stable company with good security features and a competitive price.
Web Hosting Companies
Host an unlimited number of domains for only $6.95 a month. Easily install great open source programs such as Word Press, Joombla, Mambo, phpBB, SMF, OS Commerce, Zen Cart, Magento and many more with just one click from your control panel. Hosting includes Ruby on Rails, Rail Gems, PHP, MYSQL, AWStats, Spam Assassin, and 24/7 phone tech support. I host about 36 domains with them and their tech support has always been prompt and professional and most importantly, knowledgable.
A great affordable choice for developers looking for a VPS ( Virtual Private Server). Scalable, no set-up fees, and 24/7 tech support. Great for those working with hosted applications, web frameworks and open source software. If you’re new to web applications and hosting in general, SliceHost is probably not the best choice for you. If you are a Ruby or LAMP developer check them out.
If you need Magento shopping cart hosting I've have very good luck with this company. Magento is a well known resource hog but hands down it's also the most elegant, useful and easy to use open source ecmmerce sytem out there. Nexess keeps my Magento carts running fast and smooth.
Ecommerce Software and Web Solutions
Magento Ecommerce Platform
Open source and free, but miles ahead of the rest. If you've been disappointed in Zencart, Oscommerce all all of the other bloated, ugly, shopping carts, then make the switch to Magento. I'm serious. It's that good. Beautiful and intuitive backend and a professional user interface. Looks amazing right out of the box and there are lots of free and low cost templates available so you can easily trick it out. See it in action: Here's a custom Magento shopping cart I designed for Titan Support Systems.
If you need to sell a small selection of items PayPal is the way to go. Easily generate buttons from you account and cut and paste the code into your site. You'll be up in running in a couple of hours with a payment system that's trusted through out the world. You can see PayPal in action on this Halloween Mask website I designed for Trick or Treat Studios.
I have mixed feelings about this one because their tech support and sales team are very spotty knowledge wise. Some are great, some are clueless. However, it is any easy cart to set up, it works as promised, it's really affordable, and it can be used as a third party checkout for a static website. You can see it in action on this Gopher Basket site I did. The main website is static but the buy buttons launch the shopping cart which is hosted remotely at Volusion. I set up a sub domain and use DNS settings to display the remotely hosted cart at the sub domain URL. If you go with them remember to order your SSL certificate at the same time. It's not included and they'll take a painfully long 5-7 days to activate it. So do it right away.
What does your website look like to a search engine robot? Use this free tool and find out. Fast and fun and a real eye opener.
Mike's Free Search Engine Ranking Tool
Great free tool for checking your SERP's (search engine results page) for any keywords for any domain. See where you're in the top 50 results of Google, Yahoo, MSN and many more.
WordStream FREE Keyword Tool
This free keyword tool is lightening fast. Sign up for a free account and use their other amazingly useful, intuitive, and fast tools like Free Keyword Niche Finder and Free Keyword Grouper without annoying captchas
Back in the day, Urchin was hands down the best website analytics program out there. But it was expensive. Fortunately Google bought them in 2005, combined it with some other ideas and made it available for free. You'll need to have a little bit of HTML knowledge to insert the code into your static site but it's well worth the effort. Many open source CMS or Shopping Cart systems have a place in the admin to insert the code globally so you don't have to tinker with your templates.
My favorite tool for downloading a complete site with a single click. So why would you want to do that? Perhaps you have an AWOL webmaster who kept the keys to your website. Use this tool, upload the site to a new host and switch the DNS (domain name servers) and presto; old website on new host that you have control over. Say goodbye to the scum bag web guy who left you hanging! Also great for just poking around a cool website to how it all works or downloading a lot of useful data (photos, PDF's, etc) without having to right click and save everything by hand.
Site Map Pro
Easily generate website sitemaps. Also good for just double checking the title tags and descriptions for all your web pages.
Tool's Who Is Lookup
Hands down the funnest who is lookup tool out there. Yes, I said funnest. Don't take my word for it, try it out!
Automatically generates site maps in Google, Yahoo, HTML, OPML 'Feed', RSS Sitemap, RSS v2.0, and ROR Sitemap formats and then uploads them to your server! They'll even ping Google and Yahoo and let them know it's up. Cost $1 per use ($1 per month) for sites over 500 pages or if you want more features. Free for less than 500 pages.
Protect up to ten website pages a week from plagiarism and duplicate
content. Protect as many as you like for a small additional cost per page. A must have. I've stopped dozens of people from ripping off my content thanks to Copyscape. Sign up for the Copysentry Standard. It checks for copies of your pages every week. It costs $4.95 per month for up to 10 pages on your site, and $0.25/month for each additional page up to 100 pages. What a deal!
HTML Kit's FREE Favicon Generator
Want to have your logo displayed as a little graphic next to your URL in a web browser? Well these are called favicons. Use this free online tool to easily generate your own branded favicon. Includes transparent edge and animated options. You'll need FTP access to load the favicon to your root directory on your website.
The New and Improved Screen Resolution Application
Want does your website look like on other screen resolution? No need to guess. Use this free online tool and find out today. Iintuitive and beautiful design.
Firebug Plugin for Firefox and Chrome
Internet Explorer is good for only one thing: to see how your website renders for people still using this crap browser. Make the switch from IE to Firefox now and see what you've been missing
Free Online Bar Code Generator
Hands down the absolute best free barcode generator in the world. Built and maintained by Terry Burton. Export files to EPS, JPEG, BMP, PNG or TIFF formats! Make sure to give him a donation from time to time if you find it useful.
Good pay per use barcode generator. Cost $10 per barcode and they email you an EPS file immediately. Really good for those more unusual barcode formats such as a GS1-128 that you use for supermarket coupons with an expiration date.
Self Publishing Tools
This company is just starting out but I think it's the most affordable and beautiful hosted third party page flipping application out there. Simply upload your PDF and in a few minutes you a have a slick interactive brochure with those ever so cool page flipping effects. Great user interface and the images look really sharp.
Great print on demand publishing company. Upload your documents for free and only pay for what you order. Your project can be made public so anyone can order. Sell them at cost or set any higher price you want and keep the difference.
Choosing the right printer isn’t as easy as it looks. Different printers have different specialties, and there simply isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. Choosing your printer through a web search may sound efficient, but it’s really just a high-risk shot in the dark. Fortunately, there’s a better way.
Whether you’re looking for quick, fast product “one-sheets,” heavyweight satin finish business cards, digital and flexo label printing, short run product packaging or anything else, JUST GIVE ME A CALL AT 866-477-9029. I’ll listen to your requirements for quality, quantity and time-frame and take the time to understand your application. Then, I'll give you my personal recommendation, completely free of charge.
To get you started I've included a list of some safe bet professional printers. I've used them all and they all do fantastic work.
Good all around printing company. Just about every stock collateral item you could want at competitive prices and great quality. You can also order "off menu" to meet the specs of that unique printing job.
The place to go for heavyweight satin finish business cards and much much more. Prompt, professional and their satin fish cards feel amazing!
Awesome product labels. If you need high quality metal embossed foil labels and foil seals this is the place to go.
Fantastic digital labels. Short runs or huge runs they handle it all.
Great people and they specialize in short runs which is awesome because box orders usually have high print run minimums.
Incredible labels. One of the largest wine label printers in the country. Also providing gorgeous digital printing that will blow your mind.
Custom package prototyping. If you need a custom blister pack or clamshell, and you need it now, this is the place. Fast and affordable and everything is handled in house. And once you're done, you have all the files you need to take the project and have it manufactured anywhere in the world.
Flexo or digital. Top notch label printing
Short Run Posters
How about 18x24short run posters for two dollars each! Crazy prices, fast turn around and good quality. Flat $10 shipping fee so group your orders together. You can even do 20 different posters and only order one each and the price is the same. The trade-off is you can't have a full bleed and they put their logo on the back. Big deal; who looks at the back anyway? Not for top quality branding work but great for need it now, short run posters that don't need to last a long time.
Here's another affordable quality choice for your custom printing posters needs.
Business and Corporate Promotional ProductsEpic Engraving
Great customer service from this family run business. The place to go for logo merchandice including pens, mugs, toys, shirts, water bottles, keychains, calculators, watches, usb flash drives...pretty much anyhting you can think of to put your compay's logo on they have.
Articles and Tutorials
Website from an Unreliable Webmaster
Here's what to do if you have a website emergency and need to move your website to a new host because your web designer has disappeared or is holding your website hostage.