6 Free Tools To Make Your Writing More Powerful

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In a world full of software developers and rapid development, it seems like there’s a new must-have tool or product on the market every single day. Facebook Groups, Slack Channels, and private forums are full of talk about the hot new writing tools for professional bloggers. Honestly, it's all a bit overwhelming.

How do I know which tools to choose? What’s going to serve me well over time? Better yet: which free tools are going to make the most of my minuscule budget and stretch my dollar so I can invest in others I’ve dreamed of using?

It's time to set aside the new hot wonder tool and focus on the tried and true systems that will really have an impact for you. I’ve pulled together a list of the top 6 free tools every professional blogger needs to add to their writing toolbelt. This focused list is guaranteed to help you squelch any cases of FOMO you’re struggling with when it comes to your writing process.

Of course, a huge part of blogging is going beyond writing into image creation and design. If you're ready for that, we've also covered free design tool for non-designers.

But let’s start with the writing, shall we? And, who knows, all of these free tools might just give you room in your wallet to invest in the systems you’ve been eyeing up from afar.

6 Free Tools to Make You a Better Writer

Google Docs + Research Tool

Almost every ConvertKit blog post is written in Google Docs and researched with Google. But to avoid having 46 tabs open at once and overwhelming both my brain and my computer’s hard drive, I make use of the Research Tool built into Google Docs to keep things simple. Simply head to Tools>Research and type your topic. From there when you hover over a link you can Preview, Insert Link, or Cite that article. Heads up: if you click on it, it will open another tab. So grab your data or quote and then close that sucker so you can stay focused on the task at hand.

 

Google Doc Research Tool to help you research your blog posts

 

Noizio

Speaking of focus, every good writer needs a solid work environment and one of the best ways many of us solve that is with ambient noise. Moving to a bustling coffee shop, turning on some classical music, or even employing a white noise machine are tricks I’ve heard from fellow writers. And, sure, they work. But a favorite app around the ConvertKit “office” is Noizio.

This iPhone app allows you to create your own mix of ambient noises based on what you need that day. This post is being composed to a subtle mix of October Rain, Coffee House, and Thunderstorm. I had Campfire mixed in, but it was too much so I took it out. You can try any combo to your heart’s content until you find your perfect mix for that day’s focused writing project. No excuses – get that blog written!

 

noizio to create ambient noise for productivity

 

Hemingway App

With this free app by your side, you can easily see how “readable” your articles are and adjust them as needed. I dropped the intro to this article into Hemingway and got a 12th grade reading score. With a few adjustments to some of my more complicated sentence structures, I got it down to a more simple 8th Grade reading score.

This is an incredible tool if you are a more technical writer wondering if people understand what you’re writing or if you simply want to up your writing game and get a “coach” along the way.

 

hemingway app to fix your reading level

 

Grammarly

Don’t have an editor or even a VA with an English degree who can edit for you? No problem. This Chrome extension will do the editing for you on everything you write online. After Hemingway told me how “readable” the intro to this article was, I dropped it into Grammarly and was shown a few things I needed to fix. (Pro tip: you can also make use of the in-browser checker and use Grammerly right inside Hemingway App.) This powerful tool works from your browser so you’ll see it’s helpful indicators everywhere you write online. Never let another hasty tweet embarrass you again! Grammarly to the rescue.

Editor's Note: If you're a ConvertKit user, you can compose your emails in Google Docs or Hemingway, run them through Grammarly, and then schedule them inside ConvertKit. Grammarly and ConvertKit are still getting to be friends and don't always play well together but we're working on that relationship! 

 

grammerly in twitter will help you fix your grammar mistakes

 

Headline Analyzer

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, headlines are a crucial part of your blog posting plan and you want to be sure you’ve got a good one. General tips include “make it relevant to the body of the article”, “lists, how-tos, and question headlines often get the best traction”, and “include your relevant keyword for increased SEO optimization”.

But using the Headline Analyzer takes all of those parts and pieces and plugs them into a beautiful algorithm to grade your headline and tell you how you can make it even better. You get analysis around word types, length of the headline, a sample of how it will look in a Google search, and more. Check out how this post’s headline did in the ol’ analyzing tool.

 

headline analyzer will help you write better headlines

 

Google Analytics

Last, but never least, let’s get nerdy for a second with Google Analytics. Being a good writer involves many elements, one of which is knowing the data behind your posts. With Google Analytics installed on your site, you’ll collect data as your blog gets traffic. In no time at all you’ll be able to see your top posts (so you can write more like that) and where your traffic is coming from (so you can start to get more specific in your outreach about your blogs). We recently learned that our readers love the how-to, behind-the-scenes, and list-type posts so we’re doing more of that. Like this one!

 

google analytics to help you come up with better blog types

 

And now it’s time to write. Which tool are you already using or ready to start using today? Any that are must-haves that we missed?

I’d love to hear about the free writing tools that help you up your game and save you dollars to invest elsewhere in your business. Share in the comments below and let’s help each other build smarter writing processes today!

Val Geisler

Val is a yogi, mom, military wife, and avid podcast fan. She is ridiculously obsessed with sharing and creating content that actually makes a difference in the world, connecting with her fellow bloggers, and doing more with less effort. Val is based on Columbus, Ohio (O-H!) and can often be found oversharing on Instagram at @lovevalgeisler.

  • I was not aware of the Research tool for Docs. Getting distracted with rabbit trail learning is probably my #1 problem with time management, so this should help a good bit. Thanks!

  • Alan Northcott

    Hemingway is not free – sorry, it is. I didn’t realize you have to edit the “Homepage” with your text. The App is $10, guess that’s when you can’t get online.

    • That’s right, @alan_northcott:disqus. You can edit your text in the homepage if you want a quick glance.

  • Danny M

    Val, thanks for reminding me about the Hemingway App. I had been using the ‘read-able’ online checker by WebpageFX and will definitely be giving Hemingway a try today.

  • Grammarly does NOT play nicely with ConvertKit, FYI. I learned that the hard way. Don’t install the Chrome extension if you want writing emails to be easier.

    • You’re right, @FrugalPortland:disqus. I’ve edited the post to note that. It does work well if you compose your emails outside of ConvertKit itself and then bring the edited text in when you’re ready to schedule and send.

  • I love Grammarly. Definitely going to check out the others.

  • Christina Nicholson

    Headline Analyzer… OMG – so excited to try this!

  • Most excited to try the Headline Analyzer!

  • Awesome blog post, Val! Do you — or anyone reading this — know of a “Research Tool” for Sublime Text? I absolutely love Markdown for writing blogs, so Docs is a no-go, but that integrated Google thing looks great. Any tips?

    • Hmmm. Not really, @reinderdevries:disqus. I know the Research Tool is essentially a Google search inside the doc but I don’t know of an outside tool to assist you with the same thing in Markdown. Hopefully someone else does!

  • Wow! I’d never heard of the Hemingway Editor or Headline Analyzer… Where have I been? Thanks for these tips!

  • A blog post with actionable tips. A rare thing nowadays. Thanks a million Val

  • Your post convinced me to start writing my blog posts in Google docs because the research tool is da bomb diggity. Never knew about that. One of my fav writing tools is Coffitivity. You get the coffee shop ambiance without the commute.

    • @monikamundell:disqus Coffitivity is a great alternative to Noizio! It *almost* made the list but Noizio won out.

  • Don’t forget the Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer: http://www.aminstitute.com/headline/index.htm

  • Peter Halberg

    Great post! Lots of good tips;-)

    A few questions:

    Noizio – is there an alternative for Android? Can you also use it directly from you Macbook Pro?

    Hemmingway App + Grammerly: Do you use the free or the upgraded/paid versions?

    • Hey @peter_halberg:disqus. Thanks for the comment. I also love Coffitivity which is browser based instead of app based. And for Hemingway and Grammarly I use the free version – that’s how they made this list 🙂

  • Selena

    Very nice list Val, Noizio is sooo cool! I love to mix Summer Night with Thunderstorm. By the way, have you tried Calmywriter? Both tools work great for me, I’d call it a double calm effect or even a calm combo 🙂

    Hemingway is also brilliant, I’ve noticed that this app is commonly used by professional marketers, bloggers and content writers. Honestly, I can barely remember a better way to edit articles online. As for me, there is one more great tool that should be in the ultimate blogger’s toolkit – Unplag plagiarism detector that helps to save time and climb to the top of search engines. Uniqueness is bliss!

  • I’ve heard of all of these, but it’s different seeing them all together in one post. There’s really nothing stopping us from focusing and writing well with all this free stuff.

    Re Noizio, I prefer Ambient Mixer myself as it seems to have more sounds and there’s lots of good pre-mixes, but this is prettier. Depends which is a good fit for each user, I guess.

    Thanks for sharing, Val!

    • Isn’t it funny how that happens, @daisyfistfulsoflife:disqus?! Love the tip about Ambient Mixer. Thanks for reading and sharing!

  • Icy Sedgwick

    I didn’t know about the Research tool but I’ll definitely be trying that out!

  • Anjan Kant

    I use MS Word to enhance writing skills

  • Great content, as ever – Cheers Val 🙂 Two things though – (1) Try running the Grammarly checker on the 6th line of that paragraph, think it’s missed itself 😉 Secondly, Noizio – it’s a paid app…. have you tried Focus at Will at all? Great tips on Hemingway and Google Research Tool, always learn something with your great posts – thanks !

  • YES!

    Grammerly is my new fav!! You can add in Spotify playlists too. 😉

    Great round up @ConvertKit:disqus

    – Kyle, CEO (Chief Experiment Officer)
    digitalconversionlabs.com

  • wolfsister

    Just getting time to look at this and am wowed! Loving Hemingway! Ran a post through it and amazing result. Thanks!

  • Gavin Simone

    Great article. This is just what I needed for my blog posts and newsletters. One thing I have noticed about Grammarly is that it does not retain your text links. So it is best to use it inside Hemingway; or you can add all links once you are in ConvertKit.

  • Takara Nia

    Hemingway app has already changed my life! Thanks for the introduction!

  • Tammy Warren

    How does one get these free apps?

    • Hi @tammylwarren:disqus. You’ll want to just click on the app you’re interested and sign up on their website.

  • I really enjoyed this article and found it very useful. I’ve been trying to write on a schedule for some time now but I get stuck often because I want to create the perfect post.
    I know I should just get it out the door but my perfectionist alter ego just trips me up all the time.
    I’m going to try and use these tips and tools see how it works out.
    Waterproofing companies Brooklyn NY

  • Very helpful. Thanks! 🙂

  • I use all these tools and have to use noizio. I think that’s an interesting app 🙂

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