There are plenty of tools available that can help to make your life easier as a writer/blogger. Whether you choose to use them or not, it’s nice to know what’s available.
I was nominated a few days ago by Jenni from the Housewife Hustle for the Blogger Recognition Award, and part of that is that I should give two pieces of advice for new bloggers. So, here goes:
- You can completely ignore every single thing I talk about in this post when it comes to your own blog. The only tool you actually need is your own creativity.
- Tools are good if they make your life easier and make you field better about what you’re creating. However, if exploring and discovering the multitude of available tools starts to take a lot of time away from your writing, that’s probably not a good thing. Try to stay focused on what works for you.
That being said, here are a few ideas that might be worth considering.
Grammar & style
Perhaps grammar isn’t your strong point. Or maybe you just have a heard time reading your own work and seeing what’s there rather than what’s supposed to be there. Or maybe you have your favourite clichéd crutches that you use more often than you should. Apps can be a good way to compensate for any blind spots you might have in this area. Most of the apps mentioned here have both free and premium versions.
Grammarly seems to be one the most well known. It’s available as an extension for Google Chrome, so it will automatically check anything you’re writing within your web browser. It picks up spelling and grammatical errors as well as style issues.
ProWritingAid is also available as a Google Chrome extension. It checks basic grammar and spelling, as well as clichés, redundancies, plagiarism, and readability.
Hemingway App doesn’t need to be downloaded; you can copy and paste in text onto the website, with no need to create a user account. It gives you a readability grade, and highlights elements like hard to read sentences and passive voice.
Grammark and GrammarCheck both allow you to copy and paste text into their sites, and you’ll get feedback on spelling errors and suggestions for style or grammar. Both sites make it clear what types of errors they can and cannot help with.
Other writing tools
Cliché Finder is a site that allows you to paste in text, and it will point out any parts of it that are highly clichéd.
Do you have a tendency to use the same word or word combination over and over again? OneLook Thesaurus will give you alternatives. You can input single words or phrases.
The Pomodoro Technique aims to increase daily word count by chunking work into uninterrupted 25 minute periods and then taking a break. The link in the previous sentence is to a description on the Pomodoro founder’s site, and there are multiple apps available that can be used to support the use of the Pomodoro Technique.
I’m guessing you’ve probably come across at least some sites that offer images that are free to use. I’m a big fan of Pixabay because it has graphics as well as photos. Unsplash and Pexels are both very good for photos.
Wikipedia is another place to find images. If you use Wikimedia Commons you can search just for images rather than searching by Wikipedia page.
Canva and Piktochart are editors that allow you to mix photos, text, and other graphics. I’ve only used Canva, but I believe they’re fairly similar. You can use one of these sites to create graphics for a blog post or for sharing on social media, or logos and other branding material. When I started using Canva to create Pinterest pins for each blog post, I started getting a steady stream of traffic to my blog from Pinterest. I recently discovered Canva Learn, which has lots of info about all things design-related.
Hubspot has a blog ideas generator. You plug in up to five nouns and it will spit out potential post ideas for you. It might help you generate a bit of a spark when dealing with writer’s block.
Trying to come up with a catchy title? SEOPressor and BuzzSumo both have headline generators. The things they come up with aren’t necessarily going to be super original, but they can give you some ideas.
Have you tried any of these tools? Are there any other great tools that you know of?