Recommended Resources

I use the resources below for my own sites, as well as the sites I build for clients. The WordPress Theme being used here on started out as the Lifestyle Theme shown below.

These days, when I build a Custom Theme I start with the Genesis Framework from the awesome developers over at StudioPressThere’s nothing we can’t do, thanks to Genesis! (Seriously… there really isn’t!)

I also include Gravity Forms in all my Customized WordPress designs. Paired with the Genesis Framework, “nothing we can’t do” explodes into “I didn’t even know that was possible”!

Want to make sure you don’t miss any of my new finds? I share the best of what I find in my daily routine  through the “Adventure Through the Social Web With Me” ShareLetter! (It’s like a Newsletter, just less “newsy”.)

Sign up today so you don’t miss anything. :)

Like what you see?

Premium WordPress themesIf you like the look of, you like the Lifestyle Theme, built on the Genesis Framework. I used my own customized graphics and CSS, and tweaked away at the theme until I accomplished the vision I had for my site.

If you want to try your own hand at making this pre-coded theme your own, it’s worth every penny of the $79.95! This theme package (Genesis Framework & Lifestyle Theme) works right out of the box, so if you like one of the five different color style sheets that are included, you’re set to go! (Well, you’ll probably want to change the header image.)

Just click the Lifestyle Theme image to learn more!

I use customized Forms too!

Custom Forms for WordPressAll of the exclusive custom designs here at include the state of the art WordPress Form Management by GravityForms. Visual form editor, creating posts from form submissions, spam control, and data management integration are all included features of this incredible plugin.

As a developer, I have access to all of the ‘Add-ons’ available for this premium plugin as well. MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, PayPal and FreshBooks can all be integrated into your site through GravityForms! If you like to customize your own sites, you can’t beat the price of $39 available by clicking the banner to the left!

[more info on GravityForms]

This is where I go for WordPress Help

Digging Into WordPressI own both the hard copy (Spiral bound for easier desk access) and the PDF version of this incredible resource. The code snippets alone are worth the package price of $70. Honestly, these guys work out the best way to code just about everything for smooth running in WordPress, and they share all the actual code with you! (Copy and paste easy from the PDF version!)

When you buy this book, you will instantly get the most current version. But also, you are getting a lifetime subscription to all updated (PDF) copies of the book. Updates will automatically be emailed to you as they are released.

If you haven’t subscribed to their newsletter yet, click the image here and go sign up for it. The code snippets and tips they send out in the mail to everyone are among the best being shared today. Learn more about Digging Into WordPress today, you can’t afford not to. Seriously.

Stop Guessing if you have the right to use other’s photos on your site

Royalty-Free Vectors and ImagesI hate to be the one to break this to you, but if you “borrow” images from a Google Image search to use on your blog post or web site, you’re actually stealing someone else’s intellectual property. Just because the image shows up on a Google search does not mean you have the right to use it as your own. Period.

Why risk the hassle of being confronted by an angry artist or photographer? For as little as $1 per image, you can own the right to use images listed at Graphic Leftovers… forever! I’ve used them many times when I come up short for a specific photo/image need. High quality Vector Graphics and Professional Grade Photographs… for as little as a Dollar? The only crime here is NOT going to them every time you need just the right image!

The Money’s in the List… but you don’t have to pay for it

Free eMail Marketing with MailChimpIf you have less than 2,000 people on your mailing list, and need to send less than 12,000 emails per month, then you qualify for a free account over at! MailChimp integrates so very easily with WordPress and most eCommerce plugins that your list will probably grow faster than you thought it could. (If you do, don’t worry, the rates to upgrade are very reasonable.)

Send your email list(s) beautifully designed HTML or Plain Text mails. MailChimp even makes it easy to let your subscribers choose which format they want to receive. The ability to ‘group’ your subscribers into individual lists is something I’m LOVING about this email service provider.

Seriously, there’s so much I love about MailChimp that looking at ALL of the available features brings tears to my eyes… but then, I do tend to get really excited about this stuff. Honestly though, I can collect email subscriptions on my lap top at client events, and sync to MailChimp later, and well… they even have an app for my iPad! *tears well up in her eyes again*

AND… they ‘get it’. MailChimp understands that we’re living in the age of the ‘Social Web’. They’ve made it possible to integrate all the largest Social sites in ways I’d never even dreamed of. If you use MailChimp, I can’t see how you could possibly fail.

eMail Marketing just got a whole lot easier, and even us lil guys can have all the cool tools and special features that were only available to the “Subscriber List Gurus” before now. Just go experience the lovely, lovely Monkey Love for yourself!

What if a month’s worth of activities could bring success to your blog?

31 Days To Build A Better BlogI certainly hope your first thought was, “I’d be all over it!” lol. I’m no blogging newbie (10 year veteran is more like it), so I was a little hesitant to try ProBlogger’s 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. I didn’t want to be disappointed by the same old regurgitated material as I’ve read a hundred times before. The difference with this workbook was it’s layout, and the team support I found over at the SITSgirls Forum.

First of all, this “e-book” is layed out in an “activity a day” format that really does effect the performance of your blog, if you follow the steps day by day for a month. Now, I know how life can get in the way, so committing to something like this is a lot easier than actually doing it every day… so I recommend joining or forming a group of bloggers to support each other through the process. I bought the Workbook, and immediately loaded it onto my iPad for easy access anytime.

I’m only 3/4 of the way through the activities, and I’ve already seen more page views, and more unique traffic on my blog… not to mention the amount of new Twitter followers and Facebook Fans. (Blog traffic and commenting  is up over 200%, and Facebook activity is up almost 2000% since I started the activities in this workbook! I’ve gained almost 200 additional Twitter followers, and my pages are already ranking higher on Google.)

I plan on putting each WordPress site that I manage through the activities in this workbook. I highly recommend that you do the same, but only if you promise to let me know about the incredible changes it brings to your site’s success!

Social Media Management doesn’t have to be difficult

HootSuite - Social Media DashboardWhen HootSuite is open in one of my tabs, I’m free to surf, blog, and work in Photoshop without taxing my computer’s RAM. I can see how many “new Tweets” are in my stream as the number updates in my open tab. Once click over to my HootSuite tab, and I’m looking at my live stream, any mention of my Twitter name, my direct messages, AND my Facebook Page activity, as well as any LinkedIn activity. For me, HootSuite has consistently held my loyalty for managing multiple social media accounts.

Oh yeah, and I must mention here that their iPad dedicated app is beautiful! Read more about why I love HootSuite here. Stats, the ability to schedule messages across all your social media, and of course for me, managing multiple accounts and assigning ‘users’ is literally invaluable. (I manage client ‘teams’ to help them manage their social media too, and HootSuite makes this very easy.)

As far as I know, HootSuite is also the only Social Media app that also offers training through webinars and video/PDF materials.

HootSuite is free to use for up to 5 accounts. After that there is a $5.99/month fee.

Affiliate Disclosure


I have an affiliate connection to the brands, and products on this page. Sales made through the affiliate links on this page may generate a commission income for me. The opinions stated here are my own, and the products listed here were bought and paid for by me to use in my daily life as the WebWench.