This is a list of resources that I use and recommend. I will add more in-depth reviews on some products. These are products and services that I use in my own business.

Search engine optimized WordPress Theme I recommend Thesis Theme for WordPress or Genesis Framework (it costs more than a free WordPress template, but it is worth paying for because they are more optimized for SEO). I’ve had success getting very strong results using Thesis. It’s a little technical still, but the search engine benefits are worth the effort. Based on what I’ve seen from another blog I plan to convert all of my blogs to Thesis.

Thesis Theme for WordPress: Options Galore and a Helpful Support Community

Press Release Sites

These are web sites that take press release submissions. Prices range from free up to hundreds of dollars per press release. Which to use depends on the newsworthiness of your story to the media. The free sites often don’t get your news distributed, just published. When you pay you’re getting more exposure through the partnerships the newswire has with various media outlets (magazines, radio, newspapers, TV) and web sites (CNN, Yahoo News, Google News, financial web sites).

Free press release sites – allows picture, video, 3 URL links, published immediately, and gets you on Google News.

Mid-range – starting at around $50 – decent SEO features, my 2nd favorite. Low cost to embed a video in your press release. I would choose the $85 level. – lots of great features for about $50 – also about $50
PRWeb – my favorite for the  SEO features, email distribution, and online coverage. It has since become more of a pain to set up but it’s still pretty affordable.

PRNewswire – the oldest newswire used by everyone from Oprah Windfrey to Apple.  This links goes to their small business toolkit where you will get special pricing if you’re a new member. I have sent a press release over PRNewswire with stellar results (Seth Godin said he really liked my press release). If you sign up and request more info you’ll get the best pricing for a traditional newswire service.

Business Wire – high touch, great service.
Market Wire

Utah News Source – I’m part owner of this site. We post and also send your press release to journalists in Utah.

Design Tools

Canva – you can upload your own images or use theirs. Lots of templates to choose from and the best part is, each one only costs $1. You can even make an ebook in Canva and it will be gorgeous. Canva makes creating graphics for my blog so much easier!

PicMonkey: photo editing – I love the icons they have, the frames, the filters and all sorts of easy-to-use features. You can use the basic version free or pay for a year for the deluxe (worth it). Every holiday they have lots of themed photo elements and every Halloween I use them to make my Facebook profile image into a vampire or other spooky version of myself. However, the best part is the collages.

Social Media Tools

Hootsuite Social Media Management for Businesses – if you have a team and you all need access to schedule posts or track keywords and answers on Twitter then this is a great tool for the price. I really like the automatic reports they send every month.

Buffer is great because you preset days/times you want your social media posts to go live and then just keep adding what you find online to the queue. Every time I add a tweet it gives me the option of buffering it so it doesn’t go out right away. It also shortens links for you.

Media Leads
HelpaReporter or HARO. Free media leads – you get this email newsletter 3x a day with journalists requests for sources for stories. If you respond you could be featured in their story for some great publicity. All sorts of magazines and mainstream down to a basic blog use HARO. You can also use it to find your own sources for blog posts, interviews, books, etc. Great way to see what is being covered in the media right now and get into the head of journalists.

Affiliate Networks

Want to get paid for referring others to products and services? These networks have the code, banners and other resources to do the marketing. You get links and they track sales and give you a percentage. Join many different programs and get paid all in one place. – one of my favorite affiliate networks and loved by bloggers. Their blog and training is top notch. My personal favorites are Craftsy online classes, Jane, VidAngel rent and stream movies, Pretty Darn Cute Design,

Affiliate Window – this is an international affiliate network but for US affiliates it’s strong in the travel niche (Lonely Planet guides, hotels and tickets). It’s unique in that you pay $5 but it’s refunded after you make your first $5. They also have Etsy and Cafe Press.

Commission Junction – one of the biggest and most popular affiliate networks. Pays out every 30 days.

LinkShare used by major brands – one of the larger affiliate networks.

E-Junkie – E-junkie provides you copy-paste “buy now” buttons and shopping cart to let you sell digital and tangible products. Also easily add an affiliate program.

Avant Link – Specializes in affiliate tools including datafeeds and high tech affiliate tools. Features many outdoor retailers. Be sure to watch for their webinars to learn how to best use their site’s features.

Note: some links are affiliate links which means I make a small amount for referring you to these sites.