For me:

Compressor-->EQ to "touch up" frequencies-->Compressor turned quite low-->Mastering Limiter

Seems like a recipe for the Loudness War, but I actually get good results with a little tweaking.
I can only listen to so many breakdowns and "spoken word" vocals before I wanna puke.

I find Jennette McCurdy attractive, but Elizabeth Gillies and Debby Ryan much more so.

That's enough, Djent people. We get it.
anyone ever try using a clipper?

i continuously find myself struggling with mastering lol never as loud as i want it
Mastering is like 10 % of the process. People are better focus on better song writing, cleaner arrangements, nice recording and solid mixing.

Mastering should be taking a finished product and finishing a little more.

That being said. I'll mid side eq slight for tonal control, Analogy sum if possible, I try not to use multi-band with the chain. Though it depends on the vibe, sometimes slightly contrasting elements or the low end is trigger the compressor too early. Then use a limiter to take off some the additional peaks to raise the average to between 16 to 12db.

99% i'd just send it to a mastering engineer. It's faster and they have dedicated gear.
unfortunately...sending it to someone else doesnt help me learn and get better at the process -_- lol
True, getting master audio by Bob Katz. That guy is pretty the authority on mastering.

The main reason to send it to someone else.is it's an objective opinion, if you've mixed it. You going to be thinking about micro choice; reverb time etc. Where as they aren't there going to look at tonal balance, relative volume etc from a two track perspective. Plus that's what they do. SO it's the experience ears (they do this day in day out) and the objective is what going to give them the edge. Plus the 1000's dollars of gear and tuned room dedicated to do that job alone.

The main point I want to get across. "mastering isn't a silver bullet" if your song sounds like ass before. It's going to sound like loud ass after mastering.

But definitely man, grab that Bob Katz book. it will help you to gain a bit more a head space about what your looking for when approaching the mastering process. It's need a totally different approach than mixing.
Going to go ahead and say 99.9% of the 'mastering' that gets done by people on this forums (or any bedroom warriors, for that matter) is really just an extension of the mixing process with the hopes of reaching commercial volume levels for digital release.

Now, instead of getting into semantics, I'll try and help with what I assume you're asking for.

The most important thing when it comes to mastering, whether it be faux or legit, is balance. When I finish my mixes, they're usually peaking between -8db and -5 db, which, for me, is enough headroom to call it a day on the mixing and go on to get my volume while still retain a suitable amount of punch.

The first thing I check out when I'm 'mastering' is the low end, especially the sub region (this is one of the more difficult regions to work with because listening environment, monitoring equipment, etc. plays such a major role here). If you've made sure to HPF everything, the low end is usually in decent shape (read: the only stuff there is stuff you actually want there). I then HPF at 35hz and apply multiband comp to between 50hz and 180hz to make sure my kick and bass stay at comparable levels. I'm pretty comfortable with my mixing environment, and I know I like to hear bass a lot louder than most people, so it's important for me to reference the low end of my tracks to others in similar genres to make sure I'm not going overboard.

From there I use a L1 clone limiter with the output at -0.3db and adjust the threshold until I start hearing my mix get squashed and then back off. At this point, my track is usually right around -10 RMS. In most cases, that's a wrap. If I need more volume, I'll run two Gclips in serial, each one clipping by a half db and boosting by a half db and then limit again.

As with most things audio engineering related, there are no absolute set in stone rules; it's important that you understand the reason certain things are being done, not just copy arbitrary numbers you read about somewhere. Every mixing and mastering job is different and will require a different approach, even if it's just a minor difference.

The way I do things isn't the best way or anything like that, but it works for me and my clients are satisfied with the results. Like everyone else, I'm always trying to improve and I'm sure the way I do this will evolve.

Hope this was somewhat helpful!
1) Have amazing gear
2) Have amazing ears
3) Have finely-tuned, acoustically treated room
4) ?????

Usually I just listen to my mix on laptop speakers, TV speakers, through headphones on my mobile phone and a few others if possible, then make some slight adjustments. I usually use a multiband compressor and a good EQ, then get it up to a suitable volume level.

W1 Limiter is an amazing bit of freeware: http://www.yohng.com/software/w1limit.html

Har-Bal is also fantastic (the 'air' tool can really bring the most out of a mix with crap stereo), for £60 it's everything you need for pseudo-mastering home mixes. It's not like oZone or t-Racks, with a million options. Just a simple, powerful EQ with a great volume maximizer and stereo-field enhancer.
iZotope ozone -> gclip -> gclip
for fans of...

Motion City Soundtrack, Get Up Kids, Jimmy Eat World, Transit, Brand New, Dashboard Confessional, Early November, Fall Out Boy, Jawbreaker, Polar Bear Club, The Story So Far, the Wonder Years, Something Corporate.