Gmail. PayPal. WordPress. The list goes on, but these are names we know because they are synonymous with their services — Gmail for personal email, PayPal for online payments, WordPress for blogging.
But, while these services are great and have become synonymous with quality for a reason, there are other services out there that deserve to be given a chance. Some of them might even be a little bit better.
So, if you’re in the market for something new, a little change, check out these up-and-coming web service companies and give them a shot. The nice thing about up-and-coming companies is that they are all about innovation. Just like the companies they’ve mimicked were when they first started, it’s about creating something new and exciting — even if it’s already been done before.
Content Management — concrete5
Replacement for: WordPress
When it comes to free content management systems, WordPress is absolutely the best. It’s free (that’s probably the most attractive feature, as there are a ton of CMS out there that charge an arm and a leg to use), it’s customizable (even for those not entirely tech-savvy), it’s pretty easy, and it is universal in the blogging world. But, like anything else, it has its flaws.
Concrete5 is open-source, just like WordPress (so it’s free). If you’re a designer, it’s pretty easy to customize. Even non-designer types can create a great-looking site, and they can probably do so without the inconveniences that WordPress often brings up. It’s great for any type of site, including blogs and your more standard static sites.
Give it a shot. Check out concrete5’s list of sites that run the CMS.
Cloud Storage — Box.com
Replacement for: Dropbox
Every company I’ve ever worked for has used Dropbox, the cloud storage system. My family uses Dropbox to share photos and videos. My friends and I even have a shared Dropbox where we can send each other important “stuff”. It’s usable across multiple platforms, making it easy to access from anywhere.
But, again, it is not without flaws. Last summer it was hacked. For those with sensitive material on the cloud, this is a serious concern. Online security is becoming more and more important as the world goes more toward mobile solutions to storage problems.
That’s where Box.com comes in. This site has actually been around for longer. It was originally started as a high-security solution for businesses, but it has now made the switch over to personal use. It gives you 5GB of storage (three more GB than Dropbox) and is highly secured. For all intents and purposes, Box.com is a lot like Dropbox, but they give you more storage and more security. That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?
Personal email — Outlook.com
Replacement for: Gmail
Gmail is the world’s largest personal email application. While it’s unlikely that any other client will be able to take it down, there are other options that might make more sense for your personal use.
Maybe you don’t quite understand or use the archive functions that Gmail has to offer. Maybe you’re looking for something a little more professional. Maybe you’re just a little weirded out that Gmail and Google actually read your email so they can better place their ads (this one really creeps me out).
Microsoft has long had their Outlook application for businesses, but they’ve now got Outlook.com for personal email use. But, wait… doesn’t Microsoft already have Hotmail? Yes, they do, but do you use it? Do you know anyone that does? Probably not. Outlook gives you all the advanced functions of the business enterprise. You can also easily import all the info you have in Gmail to your Outlook account, as well as connect your social media accounts and receive updates from those each day.
Online Payments — WePay
Replacement for: PayPal
A long time ago I made the jump away from PayPal. Why? I had numerous problems with my accounts and their customer service was awful. But when they first started they were the only ones around.
Then came along Google’s Wallet (used to be Checkout) and Amazon’s WebPay, but neither of these has really caught on like PayPal did. This is a head scratcher. Honestly, do you trust your money online?
If you’re anything like me, you’re looking for an alternative to PayPal. I found WePay and so far… it’s not that bad.
WePay offers users the ability to accept payments using their online invoicing system.
Ultimately, all the companies listed above are popular and huge for a reason, but that doesn’t mean you have to completely accept them. There are viable alternatives out there, and in many cases, the alternatives are a little better.