10 Tools Content Writers Will Love
None of us were born content writers – we have to learn about SEO and how to pick a title that will drive traffic to our sites. Sometimes, we hit a slump. We just can’t seem to come up with an idea, break free of jargony language or stop writing wordy sentences. Well, luckily, we have some friends out there who have figured out how to help us do our job right.
Check out some tools that will make you look skyward and say “Thank you!”:
Unsplash. Free high quality, high resolution professional images with no copyright – it’s a content writer’s dream! Because nobody likes to have their brilliantly written blog post accompanied by an unworthy photo, much less get a message about copyright infringement that leaves your site with no photos and you with no money. Unsplash has hundreds of pictures in their database. Subscribe for 10 free images sent to your inbox every 10 days and improve your website visuals with some of the best photos I’ve seen on the web.
Unsuck-it. It seems more and more that web content has become so littered with jargon-y terms that you wonder if we’ve invented a whole new language in the past ten years. Content writers for business and marketing blogs may have a hard time steering clear of such jargon since it seems to come with the territory. Unsuck-it is a tool that translates cringe-worthy terms into plain English, with witty asides to boot. Curious to see how it worked but without a particular word I wanted to “unsuck”, I clicked on their “feeling douchey” button and got the word “incentivize” (cringe). Their plain English translations were “motivate”, “encourage” and “bribe”. If some of your content sucks, just paste it into Unsuck-it’s search box and find out how to raise it from “sucky” to refreshingly readable.
The Readability Test Tool. The Readability Test Tool helps to break down your writing’s readability by using algorithms based on the number of complex words and average number of syllables in the words. It shows you the grade level of your text and what age range should be able to understand it. It also allows you to compare the results of various readability calculation methods. I tested five of my articles for readability. Basically, the lower the percentage of complex words and the lower the number of syllables per words in your piece, the easier it is to read. Bottom line: a good content writer knows how to keep it simple.
Hemingway. Who would have thought that Hemingway would be the ideal web content writer? The wisdom behind his spare, junk-free language is now being shared in the form of Hemingway, a tool for writers. It’s basically the same concept as The Readability Test Tool but doesn’t break down for complex words and syllables and gives you just one readability grade.
Ah, but then it does so much more. It uses color coding within your text to point out errors such as long complex sentences, adverbs and passive voice. If you’re a wordy writer and you know it, use Hemingway to help you streamline your web content.
InBound Writer. It goes beyond SEO and readability and tells you if anyone is going to read the post you’re about to write. And if not, what you can write about that people will read. Use their title and content analysis guides to max out your site’s performance (they claim to increase your site’s traffic 2-4 times). They use real time analysis of current algorithms to make sure you don’t end up writing yesterday’s news.
JetWriters. Whether you have written tons of content and simply run out of ideas, or have checked your text for grammar errors but your piece still doesn’t feel right, it can be the time to look for help of experienced writers and proofreaders. Professionals at JetWriters custom writing service can both create texts from scratch and edit what you’ve already come up with. Their assistance will come in handy when your workload is heavy and you are afraid to lose in quality.
Portent’s Content Idea Generator. Portent’s Content Idea Generator is both entertaining and useful. If you’re having trouble coming up with a title or an idea for a post, just type in a keyword. I used SAT test prep. A lot of the results are good for a laugh (ex: “10 Things SAT Test Prep Can Teach Us About Death” and “Ways SAT Test Preps Suck More than the new Star Wars”, “Ways Your Mother Lied to You About SAT Test Preps”, “Why SAT Test Preps are Killing You”).
Keep clicking, and you’ll find some great results for workable posts:
“9 Things Spock Would Say About SAT Test Preps”
“Doing SAT Test Preps the Right Way”
“12 Ways to Become the MacGuyver of SAT Test Preps”
“10 Ways SAT Test Preps Can Increase Your Productivity”
StayFocusd. You could attend productivity webinars and hire a productivity coach. You could put your spouse into the awkward position of denying your dinner until you’ve finished your work for the day. Or you could get StayFocusd. It’s an extension for Google Chrome that blocks distracting sites for you so that you can work. You tell it which sites you want to block and how long you want it blocked for. Put all your favorite sites under lock and key and set your productivity time goal. Then you can get to work.
ZenPen. Some people need a clutter-free environment in order to work. Musicians may like a sound-proof room so they can hear only the music they’re playing without outside noises muddling their sound. Painters may like a blank canvas in an empty space so they can use their imagination and not be influenced by other visuals. What about writers? ZenPen is the modern version of the blank page. There are no margins, no tool bar. Just a totally blank page in a calming light pink shade. You and your prose. Alone at last. Use it to get your Zen meditation groove on so the ideas can start to flow. Then write like hell.
BrainyQuote. Sometimes you may feel the need to use a quote but you don’t have one off the top of your head. BrainyQuote gives you access to an awesome database of quotes on a wide range of topics. Choose by topic or author. They also have a quote of the day which may suit you if you’re lucky.
Familiar with any or all of these tools? Or have another tool that you love even more? Leave a comment below.