Must-Have Resources

ResourcesWelcome to CORE resources, your one-stop shop for up-to-date strategic marketing advice and practical, proven tools for your business.

We have compiled a list of products and services (below) that we recommend because they deliver results and are companies that we trust. We recommend bookmarking it for your reference and convenience.

Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and we will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. This doesn’t change your purchase price, and it helps us be able to keep delivering great content. In fact, purchasing through our links is a great way to say thank you while buying a product that will help your business. Our recommendations are all resources we have experience with and are recommending because they deliver results.

Blogging

  • WordPress: It’s the #1 blogging platform because it’s free, it’s easy, you can do it yourself, it can be backed up on a secure server with multiple redundancies, and it’s easy to optimize for search engines.
  • WordPress Plugins: Download plugins, widgets, or customizable elements for your WordPress blog.
  • StudioPress: The ultimate resource for great-looking turn-key WordPress platform designs. These themes are search engine optimized, have unlimited support, and offer state of the art security.
  • WPtouch Pro: Best WordPress plugin to create mobile and tablet-optimized versions of websites. It supports iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, and much more.
  • Max CDN: Using a CDN or Content Delivery Network makes sense for site owners who aim for faster site-load times and want to ensure optimum user experience on the site. MaxCDN claims to offer an affordable CDN that is easy to install and activate and offers fast/zero downtime, free shared SSL with real time reporting, 24/7 support, and a money back guarantee. MaxCDN is compatible with the current platform being used by the business and comes with commonly used third party application modules and plugins. It also works with a variety of hosting options including shared, VPS, Dedicated, Cloud, Colocation, and Amazon S3. MaxCN.com offers all the relevant information that someone might need to sign up for their services in a simple-to-navigate format. Prospective clients can take a tour before deciding to use the CDN services. MaxCDN promises increased server capacity, enhanced site performance, and better Google Ranking, all of which are the primary goals for any website.
  • BackUp Buddy:  The Backup Buddy is a premium WordPress plugin that helps create comprehensive data backups and file migrations. The plug in backs up and restores your entire WordPress install including the widgets, themes, plugins and SQL database.

Hosting

  • HostGator: HostGator is a world-leading provider of web hosting service. They offer reasonably priced hosting plans for beginners and professionals alike. Each web hosting plan includes 24/7/365 support, a 99.9% uptime guarantee, and a 45-day money-back guarantee.
  • BlueHost: This company stands out from other web-hosting companies because of their unlimited disk storage, bandwidth transfer, and the unlimited number of add-on domains. Easy to use, 1-Click automatic WordPress installation. You can always ask for a refund when you are unhappy with the services at Bluehost—yes, even if you do it after the trial period. Bluehost is one of the few web hosts that refunds customers on a pro-rated basis.

Search Engine Optimization Resources:

  • SEOMOZ: The number #1 search engine optimization software on the internet. Period.
  • Market Samurai: The number #1 tool for keyword research. Period.
  • Search Engine News: The best way to stay abreast of the latest changes related to all aspects of search engine optimization.
  • Scribe SEO Plugin: Using the Scribe SEO Plugin is the best way to easily improve your search engine rankings. It will help you analyze what you write and gently tweak your post to spoon feed it to search engines.

Building a Strong Targeted Twitter Following:

  • TweetSpinner: For anyone who wants a powerful “do it yourself” tool for building and managing Twitter accounts, TweetSpinner is the one to use. We have evaluated dozens of applications for clients, and TweetSpinner is head and shoulders above the rest.

Best Social Media Marketing Dashboard

  • HootSuite: Leading social media dashboard with over two million users that helps you manage and measure your social networks. You can manage all your social profiles, schedule your messages and tweets when you want, track your brand via mentions, and analyze your social media traffic.

Outsourcing Work :

  • Elance: Hired service for just about anything you can think of.
  • oDesk: Another outsource website for freelancers, IT companies, programmers, and web designers from around the world.

Email Subscriptions and Marketing:

  • Aweber: The Internet’s most powerful email opt-in service and email marketing/broadcasting tool.
  • PopUp Domination: Most website visitors need a nudge in the right direction and are much more likely to opt-in to your list when presented with a professional themed lightbox from PopUp Domination.
  • FooBar: The FooBar is a WordPress notification bar plugin that resides at the top of your web page, announcing custom headlines to website visitors. It can be used to show a simple linked message or more, with a social profile section at the left and the ever popular Facebook Like and Tweet buttons at the right.

Leadership Books:

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

What this book teaches us: power is not accidental. While appearing as the paragon of virtue, you must be constantly aware of others’ intentions and foil their attempts to subvert your own. You gain respect by saying less than necessary, by concealing your intentions, and by winning through your actions instead of your words. While Greene’s counsel may sound devious and sometimes downright Machiavellian, many of his lessons have actually become standard tactics for effective managers.

First, Break All the Rules, What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently

What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently, by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman of the Gallup Organization. This book shares the remarkable findings of an in-depth study of over 80,000 managers in over 400 companies. Companies face the challenge of staying competitive in todays’ tough labor markets by trying to offer better salaries, benefits, and promotions. According to Buckingham, no matter how high the pay, unless there are excellent front-line managers in the company, it will never reach its true potential.

What It Takes To Be 1: Vince Lombardi On Leadership

In his book What it takes to be #1, Vince Lombardi, considered the greatest NFL football coach of all time and America’s most sought after motivational speaker, presents a cutting-edge blueprint for leaders who want to be successful at just about anything they attempt. He was a legend who was feared by some, loved by some, and respected by all.

Servant Leadership: A Journey Into The Nature Of Legitimate Power And Greatness

Robert K Greenleaf’s Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness introduces us to a practical philosophy based on the concept of the servant as the leader, simply because the priority of the servant is in ensuring that the needs of others are met. This sets the pace for the rest of the book which describes the organization and trustees as servants, servant leaders, and their leadership in business, education, foundations, and churches as well as their responsibility in a bureaucrat society, America, and the world.

Wooden On Leadership: How To Create A Winning Organization

In his acclaimed book, Wooden on Leadership: How to Create a Winning Organization, John Wooden, along with Steve Jamison, draws on his brilliant career as head coach of UCLA to share some great insights on motivating others and building a unified team to produce winning results. The book also describes his leadership principles about teamwork, focusing on and handling defeat, and the unique “Pyramid of Success” that organizations can leverage for success.

The Truth About Leadership: The No-Fads, Heart-Of-The-Matter Facts You Need To Know

The Truth About Leadership: The No-fads, Heart-of-the-Matter Facts You Need to Know is a book by James Kouzes and Barry Posner that delivers on its title. It is full of moving stories that get to the core of the issue. Seasoned and aspiring leaders alike will enjoy this book equally as it serves as the ideal refresher on the ten truths of leadership. The authors adopt a casual voice to explore real-life examples from industries to carry their messages to leaders from all industries, generations, and experience levels.

Good To Great

In Good to Great, Jim Collins clearly identifies what defines the success of a business. The book starts with the incredible claim that “good is the enemy of the great.” According to Collins, we are too conditioned in thinking that performance is an evolutionary process that takes the route of poor, to good, to great and we fail to grasp the concept that competence could hinder achievement. Most companies are inhibited by the fact that they are good, and this stops them from achieving greatness.

The 21 Irrefutable Laws Of Leadership

In his intriguing book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, leadership consultant and former pastor John Maxwell presents twenty one “laws” drawn from his own experience. He suggests that leadership ability decides the effectiveness of an individual. Being gifted with the right leadership abilities helps you make a greater impact. However, according to Maxwell, it is not necessary to be a born leader, and leadership skills can be learned.

The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done

Peter Drucker is the acknowledged expert in management principles and, in his outstanding book The Effective Executive (1967, 2006), he highlights that being effective means doing the right thing. This involves applying smart thinking and avoiding unproductive activities. Drucker recommends practicing effectiveness by knowing your time, focusing on contribution, leveraging your strengths, prioritizing your activities, and making effective decisions.

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivitiy

Getting Things Done by David Allen is a personal productivity book that centers around the concept that your productivity will increase if you crystallize your most important thoughts on paper, in writing. Once this is done, the focus must be on the task without letting your attention waver.

How To Become CEO: The Rules For Rising to the Top of Any Organization

Beautifully packaged, bestselling author and marketing consultant Jeffrey Fox’s book, How to Become CEO: The Rules for Rising to the Top of Any Organization brings you 75 commonsense rules that you can use to be successful in your career.

7 Habits Of Highly Effective People

Management guru Dr. Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is considered the template for personal development. Originally published in 1990, the book continues to be a best seller and is an easy-to-understand guide with incredibly motivating tips that help you live a purposeful life. The principles in the book apply even today in a fast-changing world. Covey’s “habits” are innovative yet simple to adopt and can be regarded as “rules of life” which, when incorporated into one’s daily routine, can be life-changing.

33 Strategies Of War

This book visits several world civilizations, cleverly blending a variety of philosophies and religious works with years of violent conflict. As the essential guide to life, 33 Strategies of War bring some important life lessons to the reader. Amply illustrated and highlighting the amazing genius and stupidity of political heads such as Napoleon, Margaret Thatcher, Shaka, Lord Nelson, and even Hannibal along with some big movie stars, diplomats, and many more, the book, through its thirty-three chapters, is a guide to living a successful life.

Rites of Passage at $100,000 to $1 Million+: Your Insider’s Lifetime Guide to Executive Job-Changing and Faster Career Progress in the 21st Century

As a “how-to” book, Rites of Passage offers a model with tips on how to change jobs, retain jobs, or get better at the job for those in the $100,000-plus range. The book focuses on how to overcome the fear of the unknown and be courageous enough to take risks that pay off in a big way. This book is a must-have for the ambitious executive who wants to get ahead in life.

The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader: Becoming the Person Others Will Want to Follow

John C. Maxwell offers an insight into the art of leadership and presents the reader with practical tools to develop leadership qualities. According to Maxwell, while everything focuses on leadership, knowing how to lead is only half the equation—leading successfully completes it. He suggests that the key to successful leadership is character as it activates and empowers the leadership ability in an individual.