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7 Free Online Writing Courses for Improving Your Web Writing Skills

Updated on May 20, 2015
ChristinS profile image

Christin has been successfully self-employed for 16 years. Her passion is helping others hone their skills and find good opportunities.

7 excellent free courses to improve your writing skills
7 excellent free courses to improve your writing skills | Source

Learn to Write for Free

Those who work as freelance writers are always looking for new ways to improve their skills to gain an edge and remain strong in a very competitive marketplace. Writing for the web encompasses a lot of territory, from great headlines and attention getting hooks, to effective layout, keyword research/SEO and much more.

What follows is a list of free resources where you can enhance your writing skills and perhaps learn some new tricks of the trade. Writers are always growing and should always practice and look for new ways to update their skills.

The courses below will help you with everything from grammar and sentence structure to writing persuasive copy that sells. Improve your ability to write descriptions that come to life, enhance your creativity, and perhaps most importantly, grow as a person through your writing.

I made it my goal to include courses to help everyone, from those who have English as a second language and need to sharpen grammar and usage, to classes that can help established writers polish or even expand their skills. Writing is one of those areas where there is always something to learn and always room for improvement.

The Free Writing Courses I Recommend

Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) Writing Exercises

One of the best resources that many people don't know about – unless you're a college student. I discovered this resource through my campus, but the exercises are free to everyone and are very extensive. Exercises are available for grammar, punctuation, spelling, and sentence structure and style. If you have never had a chance to go through the online writing lab, you'll want to check it out. You will definitely have the ability to polish your writing here.

Writing What You Know

Use this course to learn how to improve upon descriptive writing. This course includes activities that are designed to help sharpen all of your senses; to change how you perceive "ordinary" daily events. As you learn to see the familiar in new ways, you'll not only change your writing style, but enrich your senses as well. Writing can be much improved by honing the capacity to see richer details. This course also teaches the writer how to make good use of one's own personal history.

Word and Image from the Open University

This course highlights how typography and images affect the reader – for better or worse. The course gives examples of effective use of type/images and examples of what not to do and why. Writing always goes way beyond just words on a page, particularly when writing for the web. You have only a few brief seconds to catch and hold your readers attention. Knowing how to use placement, color, correct fonts etc can only improve your writing for the web.

Text as Property/Property as Text

This course looks at plagiarism, ownership rights, fair usage and other similar themes every writer should know about. Has someone stolen your writing? What are your options? Need to know that your quotes and citations fall under “fair use” laws and don't violate another persons copyright? This course is for you.

Intensive Grammar Workshop

Grammar mistakes can make or break you. This course is an intensive 13 part workshop that will move from intermediate to advanced grammar levels. Whether you need to increase your English grammar knowledge and skills or simply need a refresher or practice this course has you covered. Some of the topics included are adverbs, conditionals, clauses, prepositions, past simple and present perfect tenses to name a few.

Free Copy writing Tutorial

This is an excellent primer on copy writing including how to write a great headline, how to catch and hold a readers attention with a great hook or lead, how to appeal to the emotions of your readers, and how to establish your own credibility as a reliable source.

Copywriting 101

Learn the basics of writing great copy with these 10 simple lessons which includes writing headlines that work and the structure of persuasive copy.

Free courses are a great way to invest some time in yourself and your budding freelance career. Be sure to see my links section for other great resources to help you be the best web writer you can be.

Income from Writing

This is my blog dedicated to helping you as a writer. Whether it's finding your niche or honing your skills, my site is an ongoing labor of love dedicated to the craft of writing.

This guide is an investment, but it is guaranteed to be your one stop resource for anything writing related. My last copy I bought at the campus 6 years ago. It is tattered and worn, but still sits on my desk. It's tabs make it easy to find any grammar, usage, and style information you need. MLA, ALA, Citing sources - anything you can possibly dream up is in this one reference book. If you only buy one book to help you improve your writing skills overall - this should be it. (Of course, I recommend way more than one :) )

Do You Regularly Seek Out Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills?

See results

© 2012 Christin Sander

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    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 6 days ago from Midwest

      I'll look into it and check on it. I don't really have any control over external sites. At the time I wrote this it was working. It may be a temporary glitch but I'll definitely look into it. Thanks!

    • profile image

      piper 7 days ago

      I was wondering about the Intensive 13 part grammar workshop you posted about. I would like to take advantage of this but the link doesn't work.

    • profile image

      sunshine 6 weeks ago

      great tips about writing skills ... Thanks

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 2 months ago from Midwest

      That's understandable Joseph. Fortunately, there are a lot of great free resources out there :).

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 8 months ago from Midwest

      You're welcome :) thanks for commenting.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 8 months ago from Midwest

      Glad you found it helpful Adrianna

    • profile image

      Adrianna 8 months ago

      Hey this can really help me

    • profile image

      Adrianna 8 months ago

      Really could use these tips . Thank you!

    • Finegrainwriter profile image

      Nungshi Longchar 23 months ago from Bangalore, Karnataka, India

      Yes Christin! Im starting out as a freelance copywriter. Writing is part of my curriculum. Look forward to more from you soon.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 23 months ago from Midwest

      Excellent Finegrainwriter - so glad you found the resources I've shared useful. :)

    • Finegrainwriter profile image

      Nungshi Longchar 23 months ago from Bangalore, Karnataka, India

      Awesome job once again! Thanks a billion. I found them all here which I was searching for. I'm on my way to become a prolific writer.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 24 months ago from Midwest

      Thank you EsJam - glad you found the hub and hope you enjoy the courses :)

    • EsJam profile image

      Essie 24 months ago from Southern California

      Count me in with all the others who have enjoyed this Hub, will benefit from its contents, am glad I stumbled across it, and last, but not least, congratulations on Editor's Choice. You deserve it.

      I will be keeping an eye on your writing!

    • profile image

      Jill Moore 2 years ago

      I will - thank you.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 2 years ago from Midwest

      You're very welcome Jill. So glad you enjoyed the hub and found it useful. You can check out my blog too if you like - it's specifically geared towards helping new freelancers get started www.incomefromwriting.com

    • profile image

      Jill Moore 2 years ago

      This was exactly what I was looking for. I'm just trying to launch my freelance writing career and have a long list of things I need to do to have a chance of success. Finding some decent quality writing courses was up there near the top so I'm thrilled to have a place to start. I'm looking forward to exploring these further. Thank you.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 2 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks BizWhiz so glad you enjoyed the hub - thanks for reading and commenting; much appreciated.

    • profile image

      TheBizWhiz 2 years ago

      This is an awesome and very informative Hub. Thanks for sharing the info!

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 2 years ago from Midwest

      you're welcome Nosipho glad you enjoyed the hub.

    • profile image

      Nosipho 2 years ago

      Thank you for sharing these resources they will provide invaluable help!

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 3 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks B. I find it so amazing that there are so many good lessons and courses out there, especially for writers. It's probably because we love to communicate already :).

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 3 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Thanks of these helpful links to online writing lessons. I bookmarked each of them.

    • Marion Reads profile image

      Marion Reads 3 years ago from Canada

      Hi Christine. Yes, it is. The excerpts have made me read books and topics that I would never think to read on my own, and then to write about something entirely new to me as well as to write entirely different genres. For example, my goal isn't to write screen or theatre plays, but I have written a couple because of the assignments. (Mind you, I don't spend a lot of time on these; I use them as exercises in thinking differently; no need to spend a lot of time on something that is not my goal.) Fred White doesn't delve into the how-to part of writing; he motivates one to write.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 3 years ago from Midwest

      Awesome Marion - I will have to look into that book, it sounds like a lot of diverse lessons.

    • Marion Reads profile image

      Marion Reads 3 years ago from Canada

      Yes. I'm always learning how to be a better writer. In particular, I use Fred White's "The Daily Reader", which is a book of 366 of excerpts of great prose and poetry to inspire or encourage writing every day. With his book, Mr. White has actually created a writing assignment for every day of the year, from poem to play to short story to essay, and more. The more I write, the more I get better at it.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 4 years ago from Midwest

      You're very welcome, glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for commenting.

    • OldRoses profile image

      Caren White 4 years ago from Franklin Park, NJ

      Thanks! I'm always looking for online writing courses.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks Crazzykylex Glad you enjoyed the and found it useful. Hope the courses benefit you.

    • Crazzykylex profile image

      Crazzykylex 5 years ago from Incredible India!

      Didn't know there are even writing courses for free. Useful hub, Christin!

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Happyboomernurse - glad you found the hub useful :) I love the OWL lab - def a great resource.

      CircleSquaring - thanks for commenting and I hope you enjoy the resources :)

    • CircleSquaring profile image

      CircleSquaring 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      I'm always looking to improve my writing. Thanks for the information! It's good to have some options that are free.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      Thanks for sharing these excellent, free resources designed to improve the user's web writing skills. I particularly liked the interactive nature of Purdue OWL.

      Voted this hub up across the board except for funny.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thank you thundermama I appreciate the comment - glad you found this hub "super useful" :)

    • Thundermama profile image

      Catherine Taylor 5 years ago from Canada

      They needs "super useful'" feedback button. Fantastic hub! Thank you for sharing this information.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      You're welcome Dusty and yes there are a lot of different courses - many of them free you can find. Also, you can do some paid courses online that are less expensive than traditional courses. I've done both - sometimes there's just nothing like the feedback you can get from a writing/English instructor.

    • Dusty Snoke profile image

      Dusty Snoke 5 years ago from Chattanooga, TN

      As everyone else has said "thank you". I have been thinking about how to improve my writing skills and (being old-fashion)I thought college classes were the only way. I am glad to know that there are less expensive ways.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks for taking time to comment Seeking and I am glad you found the courses to be useful. :)

    • SeekingMJ profile image

      SeekingMJ 5 years ago from Bryan, Texas

      This is great! Thank you so much for sharing. I am at a point where I can look into courses like these. I really appreciate you taking the time to share this information.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      You're welcome Danette :) glad you found the hub resources useful. I am going to go through more of the copy writing stuff myself.

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois

      Great info here. I'm familiar with the Poynter Institute's News University and have an acct with them. The stuff from Open U looks interesting and helpful and I'm definitely going to check that one out along with the free copy writing tutorial. Thanks for sharing!

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks PWalker and randomcreative I'm glad you both enjoyed it :) Thanks for commenting

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Great resource as always! Thank you!

    • profile image

      PWalker281 5 years ago

      Wow, what a great resource for writers. I'm definitely bookmarking it. Thanks so much for sharing. Voted up and (very) useful.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      you're very welcome nybride glad you found them useful and I hope they help :)

    • nybride710 profile image

      Lisa Kroulik 5 years ago from Minnesota

      Thanks for compiling these resources. I haven't been in school in over 20 years, and was actually considering paying for a refresher course. I will bookmark this page instead.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thank you billy- so glad you found it helpful and I hope others will use these resources at well. There's always room for improvement :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very helpful hub Christin; I hope many avail themselves of this information. Thumbs up all the way!

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks Sam and Kyricus glad you found the hub useful!

    • Kyricus profile image

      Tony 5 years ago from Ohio

      This is a very helpful hub! Many new resources for me to check out. Thanks much.

    • sam209 profile image

      sam209 5 years ago

      Hubs like this are useful! Always looking for ways to improve! Thanks for sharing!

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