The Best Tools for Online Content Writers
Many content writers will narrate humbling stories about their first months in writing and while some feel like quitting, others actually quit! The patient ones usually thrive years later. The lesson is, the initial bumps and grinds in any writing career are normal and should never be reason enough to stop anyone from pursuing writing excellence.
Aside from the spirited perseverance, the need to get hold of the right software pack is very important.
A good pack should contain tools that ease writing complexities and increase motivation.
Like other writers abound, I continue to learn from my experience and during the process, have spotted select tools that should continue to enhance my writing:
- Google Docs
- Google Trends
- Google Analytics
1: Evernote for Voice and Text
Evernote is an excellent IOS and Android app for noting down worthy concepts that occasionally flash through our minds. That great idea about butterfly habits will probably come to you while walking by the seaside, and so will the idea of a one-year-old child mimicking her hero. Many saved concepts can formulate into spectacular content. If not saved immediately, some of these ideas can vanish just as fast as they flashed.
Evernote is an excellent app to help record these moments. It has the ability to use voice recognition by converting spoken words straight into the app as text.
The voice to text mode is particularly cool when you are in a hurry and don’t want to stop for whatever reason. Just speak to your mobile device and Evernote will save your ideas to text.
The Evernote voice to text mode is available both for iPhone and Android and in both platforms, takes advantage of Siri, Google Voice and other voice assistants.
I make use of the iPhone Evernote app to help remember the tiniest of ideas. Before Evernote, I used the Notes app; and before that, I carried a typical notebook with me.
Another plus or Evernote is the ability to synchronize your data, allowing you to explore them further on your laptop when you get back home.
Do you find tools in Evernote useful?
2: Google Docs and Microsoft Word for Word Processing
Every content writer will somehow have to use contemporary word processing software. Fortunately, it is not hard making the right choice. There is plenty making the rounds, with Microsoft Word and Google Docs leading the way.
Of course, there is Scrivener for long and winding scripts, books and research. Probably the best composer of lengthy discourse out there. Then there are the Open source collections from Linux like LibreOffice Writer, Open Office Writer, Abi Word, Calligra etc. And for a small fee is another simple word processor simply called Atlantis.
The good old MS Word is a great word processor, but how well it fairs today is a question for mouth watering debate. With increasing number of online and offline word processors, users now have a wide range of writing software to choose from.
I personally switch between Google Docs, MS Word and Atlantis as the situation demands. When writing content that is not dependent on internet services, I will use Microsoft Word or Atlantis but will switch to Google Docs when my writing demands online research. It is worth noting that Microsoft too runs a free version of Word Online and other Office apps.
Atlantis Word Processor meanwhile is laden with toolbars which make easy to complete editing tasks fast.
It also comes with a basic sound scheme, akin to a typewriter, to remind you of the typing errors as you type along. Additional sound schemes can be downloaded from publisher website.
You can also download free tools like WordWeb Thesaurus and PDF Printers to aid in the Atlantis editing.
For online editing, Google Docs is great. In addition to other features, Google makes it possible to define words and expressions within its workspace. This becomes useful when you cannot readily explain phrases that are integrated within your content.
As a final note, Google Docs can also be used offline, except that then, integrated Add-Ons will be turned off.
What is your favorite word processor for content writing?
3: Grammarly for Language Proof Reading
I am amazed by grammatical and other structural errors that exist in many of my articles, hours after I have written them. The errors do not make me less human but are embarrassing enough especially when already published.
In order to cut down the frequency of typos and other errors, you may choose to hire individuals with reputable know-how, to go through your drafts before they get published. This way embarrassing typos are reduced to a minimal.
Alternatively like I am learning to do, seek the services of online software tools like Grammarly. It gets my marks for spotting language related errors in my content.
You can choose to download and install Grammarly in offline mode or as an extension in your browser. Once installed this tool will merge with your preferred word processor or browser based editors and will help highlight errors in your writing as you edit and type. It is capable of some or all of the following checks:
- Word definitions
- Suggests citations
Do not always take suggestions by Grammarly and similar tools on their face value. Learn to read through noted suggestions before approving them. Human insight is sometimes better than contextual interpretations by computer software. Always have the last say, unless of course, your language is genuinely lacking.
4: Skitch for Image Capture and Markup
Skitch is a great screen capture tool. It will help you edit images better than you can ever do with a bare word processor and Windows Snipping tool.
If you have images you captured on your desktop that need additional markup, and illustrations, Skitch is the right tool for you.
Of course, you can do this with Adobe Illustrator and Gimp, but the amount of detail and fidgeting that come with these apps is not exactly what you are looking for. You need to accomplish the task fast and with basic illustration.
Skitch is extremely light and capable of many features, and once hooked you will never let go.
Above all, it is free.
Skitch can assist in illustrating the following in your captured images:
- Draw arrows
- Add text
- Draw boxes and other shapes
- Draw and highlight text and art
- Place stamp tools
- Pixelate out text and image to hide
You can then save your new images to Evernote or straight to your computer, and then integrate them in your online content.
5: Content Topics and Keywords Using Google Trends
Content writing is all about selling your work to the world ruled by search engines. Your content needs to be crafted in good language and well illustrated. Most importantly the content should also contain expressions that make Google and other search engines like it.
But that is not all.
You also need to make good use of keywords. Keywords are basically expressions and queries that online users type onto browsers when searching for targeted content and other products.
The more you get to know what keywords online users love, and the more you integrate them well in your content, the higher your chances of being placed higher in search results by search engines.
Google Trends is a tool that lists stories that are making headlines around the globe.
Google trends also lists trendy keywords according to geographical locations.
Typically, Google Trends avails you popular topics and indirectly tells you what you can write about.
You can as well input keywords and expressions in Trends Explore search and it will analyse their popularity, giving you options to make informed decisions regarding keywords.
Have you ever used Google AdWords for content purposes?
6: Google Analytics to View and Assess Online Performance
No matter what site you write for, Google Analytics is a must use tool. It is a statistics delivery service by Google which analyses traffic to websites and web pages. Your site or content page can be analyzed as well.
When you successfully link your account with Google Analytics, you will be able to assess the performance of your articles at all times.
Having mentioned that, it is important to note that Google Analytics is actually meant for internet marketers, for performance and sales purposes.
Apart from assessing traffic behavior to your pages, (important to me) the remainder of the tool may not actually be of use to you.
In a nutshell, Google Analytics provides a handful of traffic details in relationship to your pages. Some of them include:
- Live feed of viewership
- The nature of your readers: organic, direct or referral traffic
- Individual articles being viewed
- Geographical location of your readers
- The name of browsers used by readers
- The technology platform i.e. desktop or mobile
More Writing Software and Tools
Feel free to highlight in the Comments section the tools you are fond of.