The web is awash with websites and services for just about anything. There are web apps to edit images online, share files across the globe, edit home movies, and so much more. Although most web services are available for free, there are some that allow you to pay or subscribe to in order to get more out of them.
This is my list of 10 web services which I think you should pay for.
Best Web Services #1. Evernote
Evernote is basically a web tool that allows users to “dump” thoughts before they lose them. It’s like a personal notebook that keeps everything organized for you. As per the website, Evernote allows you to capture everything, access it from anywhere, and find things easily. It accomplishes through a user interface that is simple to use coupled with smartphone apps that make capturing thoughts anywhere and anytime very convenient.
I love Evernote because I’m usually either at work or on the go when I think of something either creative or that I need to remember. I can just bring up the Evernote website or Android app, dump what’s on my mind in an organized fashion, and forget about it. I even use it for my shopping lists. If I’m planning an event, I can keep a running list of details and a shopping list to accompany it, all in Evernote.
Upgrading to a premium account may be worth it for some. I would go ahead and fork over the measly $5 a month ($45/year) just for the larger file uploading capability alone (uploads are boosted to 1 GB a month).
Best Web Services #2. Picasa Web Album
I love taking photos all the time, especially on my Android phone. I like sharing them with others in any way convenient for them. I also like storing them without worrying about losing them in disasters or hard drive failure. Picasa Web Album is a very simple solution. It’s actually a Google service so it’s pretty integrated with other Google services such as Google Plus. Sharing is simple and storing photos for later perusal is a snap.
Since signing up with Google Plus and installing the Android app to go with it, whenever I snap any pictures on my phone, they are automatically uploaded to my Picasa Web Album account in a secure folder. I can then organize and share them as I see fit. I don’t have to worry about losing them if my phone is lost, stolen or broken.
With Picasa Web Albums, you always have the option to add more space and the pricing structure is quite reasonably priced. With my free account just tipping 56% usage, you can see how spending a little more dough may be worth it. You originally get 1 GB for free but here’s their pricing scheme:
- 20 GB ($5.00 per year)
- 80 GB ($20.00 per year)
- 200 GB ($50.00 per year)
- 400 GB ($100.00 per year)
- 1 TB ($256.00 per year)
Comparatively, that’s pretty attractive pricing.
Best Web Services #3. Flickr
Flickr is another web album service. Flickr has a bit more of a social aspect to it, though. After uploading photos, they are added to your stream that people can follow. Flickr is owned by Yahoo and it is one of their better offerings, in my opinion. I like Flickr because it is easy to use and sharing is very simple. I enjoy the slideshow features and how nice they come out looking.
Upgrading to Flickr Pro is important if you want to be able to see more than just your most recent 200 photos. However, when you do upgrade (for $24.95 a year), you’ll be graced with features such as unlimited uploads and storage, unlimited sets and collections, and much more. I’d do it for just the unlimited uploads, but that’s me.
Best Web Services #4. Dropbox
I know I wrote an article about Dropbox alternatives but to tell the truth, I wouldn’t trade it for anything, right now at least. With Dropbox, you can create a folder on your computer that you can share with any other computer that you want on the Internet. The service will synchronize all of the files in that folder and keep it updated for all of the computers that it’s shared with.
Dropbox has made my life so much simpler. Once, I had to share a folder over a network (which is fine but can be a hassle) but it had to be local. Dropbox makes it possible over the Internet meaning my laptop can leave my local WiFi network and the files will still sync. I love, love, LOVE Dropbox!
Upgrading your Dropbox account basically comes down to how much space you need. Here’s the pricing structure:
- Free: 2 GB
- $9.99/month: 50 GB
- $19.99/month: 100 GB
If you’re like me and most of your sharing is documents, the the free account should suit just fine but here’s how you can get a little more storage for free.
Best Web Services #5. Hootsuite
Ah, who doesn’t have their favorite Twitter client? Hootsuite’s one of the better web-based Twitter clients around. Not only does it have useful columns for organizing streams and search queries, but statistics as well as a cool bookmarklet called the “hootlet.”
Upgrading to Hootuite Pro will bring you more business-oriented features such as team collaboration tools and more in-depth statistics and analytics. Hootsuite Pro comes at a cost of $5.99 a month with additional upgrade options.
Best Web Services #6. Google Voice
Google Voice is by far the best online phone service. It used to be GrandCentral but Google bought them out and has done a pretty nice job with it. Google Voice is like your web-based phone number. Here are some of the cool features I use:
- Free phone number for life
- Calls to that number can be directed to any phone, even determined by time of day if need be
- Voice mail management including email notices and message transcription
- Free calling anywhere in the US and Canada
I love using Google Voice because I don’t have a home phone so I have my incoming calls directed to call both my phone and my wife’s so we don’t miss any calls. We can also have them all go to voice mail which we then get in our email so we don’t miss anything.
Google Voice is pretty much free all around, including calling from the web. You can call internationally with very reasonable rates though.
Best Web Services #7. Netflix
Netflix is an online entertainment streaming service. By that, I mean you can watch movies and television shows online. Netflix is replacing cable television services in many family households because of the price and the ability to watch the shows they want, when they want.
I like and subscribe to Netflix because I don’t have to suffer through stupid and offensive commercial ads and there is quite a bit of family-oriented content including a whole children’s section.
Best Web Services #8. Hulu Plus
Hulu is another online entertainment streaming service getting a lot of attention. Hulu actually has a free version with a more limited library than the Plus subscription option. Also, soon Fox television shows won’t be available to free customers until eight days after the original air date giving Plus customers another perk for paying.
I like Hulu because unlike Netflix, it works on my Linux laptop. That means no booting into the Windows Vista partition just to watch a show.
Hulu Plus opens up more content, the ability to watch your shows immediately, and you can use many devices to watch them on. Costing $7.99 a month, the price ain’t bad.
Best Web Services #9. LogMeIn
LogMeIn is a web tool that allows you to access a computer from any other computer as long as it has Internet access. I have been using it for years in order to help family and friends with computer issues. There isn’t any real limitations, at least for what I use it for, using the free version so I haven’t paid a dime on it.
If you want more tech-support oriented features such as file sharing, better security, diagnostic tools, etc., you can upgrade to LogMeIn Pro which costs $69.95/year.
Best Web Services #10. Remember The Milk
Remember The Milk is like a shopping list on steroids. It helps to organize tasks and lists and does a good job at it. Although services like Evernote can do lists along with so much more, Remember The Milk skims the fat and sticks to one task making it a bit simpler to use.
The most tempting reason for upgrading to a pro account is the availability of smartphone apps. If you’ve forked over the meager $25 for the year, you’ll have access to a mobile app for the Android, iPhone, iPad, and the Blackberry.
So that’s my list of the best web services that you should consider “going pro”. Have I missed out an essential web app? What are your recommendations? Tell us in the comments!