Chris Wiegman Chris Wiegman

5 Tools For The One-Man (or Woman) Web Show

Is your web “department” a one man (or woman) show? Are you the one responsible for site design, content, development, maintenance, marketing, etc? If so I feel your pain. At my day job I’m in charge of everything from purchasing the servers to monitoring analytics.

While wearing so many hats can be daunting, there are a few tools I’ve found to make the job a lot easier. Here are my top 5:

1. Google Apps

As someone who is in charge of your organizations message, communication within your organization is paramount. Google Apps can handle all your communications needs as well as many of your other organizational needs including word-processing, spreadsheets, calendar, to-do list and more. Combine it with the power of Google Chrome extensions and none of your important data or your important contacts will ever be more than 1 click away. I use it myself to manage everything from my email, to writing drafts, to my phone itself (paired with Sprint, Google Voice rocks!).

As a one-man-show Google Apps helps me keep track of all the extra information I need in a central location so that I don’t have to worry about either losing anything or not being able to get in touch with anyone.

2. Mac OSX

I spent many years a Windows fanboy. When a friend finally convinced my to try Mac I figured it would be a one-shot deal and I would be back to Windows within a few months.

I was wrong. Mac’s ability to “just work” really does make it far more useful for my daily work. Add to that the fact that it already has a *nix kernel and many of the tricks you learn on your own computer can be carried over to your servers. Now when I go back to a Windows machine I just find myself annoyed by all the idiosyncrasies I previously took for granted.

Mac OS has turned my computer into a tool I can use rather than something else I have to maintain on a daily basis. In a one-man-show OSX means I can focus on my work and not making sure my computer keeps working.

3. *Dropbox

I couldn’t do business without Dropbox. It is my hard drive, my flash drive, my file server, and my synchronization tool all in one. It allows me to go from one machine to another without noticing a single difference. All my files are just there. I use it to keep my desktops and laptops in perfect sync and backup all my files. In the 2 years I have been a customer it hasn’t failed me once.

In a one-man-show Dropbox can help you keep track of the files and sites that make up your portfolio as well as making sure those files are never lost to hardware failure or other common occurrences.

4. Amazon Web Services (AWS)

I’ve used more website hosts in the last 10 years than many will use in their lifetime. With every host I’ve ever used I’ve always had problems ranging from limitations on the software you can run to restrictive hardware limitation, to various other limits. AWS eliminates these limitations (although for a modestly higher price) allowing you full control over what you run and charging you accordingly. I have 2 web servers and a development server all in EC2 which allow me to work where I need to without having to worry about my host failing or other strange problems that have traditionally plagued my workflow.

In a one person development situation AWS can help you quickly deploy full servers to your specs without losing precious time and money on extras you don’t need.

5. Pingdom

Pingdom is a free (for one website) solution that can allow you to sleep soundly knowing that someone else is monitoring the health of your mission-critical server. If there is a problem it can notify you in numerous ways taking away the necessity for you to constantly monitor your server yourself. In a one-man-show situation it can keep you working on meeting deadlines for new projects and not worrying about whether your existing server is still running.

*Disclaimer, as I use these services myself, the link I’ve included to Dropbox is a referral link that will provide extra space to my own account should you use it to sign up for the service.