6 min read
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!