Below are vendors we use and trust. In fact, if you ask for a recommendation for a hosting provider, shopping cart vendor, etc., we’ll tell you to use one of these. So this list is to make it easy for you.
While GoDaddy is not the cheapest, they are close in price to many other reputable domain management companies. In addition, their support is good, the management dashboard is reasonably easy to use, and their stuff always works. We use them for our own domain management.
Note: Most hosting providers will give you a free domain registration when you purchase hosting. That’s OK if you’re on the cheap, but when you want to change hosting providers, it’s much more of a hassle to move the domain. We recommend keeping the domains separate from the hosting provider just in case.
Most hosts won’t tell you that their basic account only hosts a single website and that your bandwidth is limited. These hosting companies provide a lot of service and are very competitively priced. Don’t waste your time hunting for anything cheaper because you won’t find it. With these providers you can host multiple websites on a single $6-8 per month account, saving you money over time while you build out your web presence. Plus, their hosting dashboard is CPanel, which is the best thing going right now, simplifying your host management tasks (much better than GoDaddy’s).
There are other hosting providers that use CPanel as their dashboard too, but we’ve used the above providers for years hosting many different sites on our accounts and been satisfied.
By the way, Host Monster is a Blue Host company–their discount rate service. There services are reputable and reliable. But your website might not be the fastest gun in the West, if you know what I mean.
Opt-In Email List Management/Email Marketing Database
MailChimp is somewhat of a newcomer to the email marketing game. But their prices are unparalleled for the startup business. At the time of this writing, you can have an email marketing database with up to 2,000 people on it and email each of those 2,000 people six times (for a total of 12,000 emails) every month. For *FREE*! No one else even comes close. And don’t think for a minute that the services are minimal for that *free* price. Their email services are on par with the other bests in the industry.
At present I wouldn’t recommend any other email marketing management software for a startup business.
Shopping Cart, Affiliate Software
As your web marketing grows so do your needs. For scaling up simply, there is no better option than 1ShoppingCart. Start with the Opt-In database manager option and grow into the shopping cart and even the affiliate marketing and download management plan as your business demands (and can afford). For $29 per month, you can have a database of up to 10,000 subscribers. The product works well, too, which is a plus… 😉
If you’re selling products online, a shopping cart and payment gateway are necessary. PayPal accomplishes both of them. Often perceived as a “beginner’s option” PayPal is not cheap per transaction. But it is simple to use and has a lot of features. You could hunt around to find your own merchant account, the futz around to get it to work with your payment gateway (another ‘something’ you’ll have to find) and you still may not find that it’s cheaper. PayPal gets you to generating revenue quickly. When starting out, there’s nothing better… yet.
Google Checkout is another option, but it’s the same price and not quite as mature of a feature set. It warrants taking a look though.
If you are building up to have affiliates sell your products, you’ll need some affiliate management software. 1ShoppingCart does a good job at that. For that feature, you’ll end up paying $99 per month and you also get Email List Management for that price–eliminating the need for MailChimp. Something to consider…