Whether it's a blog post or business email, we've got you covered with these 5 best free resources to boost your writing. Who doesn't love a roundup?
Let's jump right in:
- Find it at: grammarly.com
- What it's for: catching tricky spelling and grammar errors.
- Bonus: provides a distraction-free composition space.
I hate standard spellcheck. It might catch blatant spelling errors, but that's about it. What I really need from a spellchecker is something that's on the lookout for trickier situations – like form/from mixups – which are born from typing too quickly.
This is exactly what Grammarly does – it catches straight-up spelling mistakes, of course, and also checks for contextual spelling errors (think affect vs. effect), grammar errors, punctuation, sentence structure, and style.
It's available as a (super sleek) web application that provides a completely distraction-free composition space (no ads, no options to bold or italicize) and allows you to save, re-access, and download any of your pieces directly from the web application. AND it's also available as a free Chrome extension that checks your writing as you type on any website. It's saved me from making embarrassing mistakes on Facebook and Twitter dozens and dozens of times.
2. CoSchedule Headline Analyzer
- Find it at: coschedule.com/headline-analyzer
- What it's for: improving the quality of your headlines.
- Bonus: links to extremely helpful articles.
I've been guilty of creating boring and/or ineffective blog post titles on more than one occasion. The CoSchedule Headline Analyzer grades any headline you enter on its overall quality, social shareability, and SEO value and shows you where you can improve.
My working title for this blog post was "Best Writing Resources" – descriptive, but pretty blah. It scored a 29 overall and took major hits for being so short. After playing with a few more options, I settled upon "The Best Free Writing Resources on the Internet" – which now scores much higher in all categories. Check out how the Headline Analyzer broke down each of the two options:
This resource is definitely worth a visit! My favorite part is the preview of what your headline would look like in a Google search result – the visualization really helps me see why "Best Writing Resources" would have been a super lame title to go with!
3. Title Capitalization
- Find it at: titlecapitalization.com
- What it's for: making sure your titles are capitalized correctly.
I generally know the rules of capitalizing titles, but I want to be sure that what I've got is correct. It seems like there are always sneaky exceptions to the rules and as a result I'm always second-guessing what I've written down. With this ridiculously straightforward tool, a quick copy-paste provides the immediate feedback I need.
4. Writing Sample Readability Analyzer
- Find it at: sarahktyler.com/code/sample.php
- What it's for: telling you how readable your text is.
I admit that I struggle with writing unnecessarily wordy, complex sentences. It's the English major in me, I know. The type of writing readers expect online is very different than the writing that's expected in a formal analysis essay in a college literature class. More The Old Man and the Sea, less The Stones of Venice.
This handy resource quickly analyzes your writing using a few different measures – the Flesch Reading Ease test, Fog Scale, and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level formula – which you can use to determine if your writing could benefit from some simplification.
- Find it at: noisli.com
- What it's for: creating background noise.
- Bonus: rainbows.
When I'm designing I love listening to music, news, or podcasts. But when I'm writing, hearing any language distracts me – as does empty silence filled with only the click-click of keyboard keys. Noisli is a great web application that creates soft background noises. You can either select random settings or adjust the volume on sounds like crackling fireplace, railroad car, oscillating fan, thunderstorm, and coffee shop.
The page background transitions throughout the rainbow spectrum, which is a pretty cool touch, too.
What are some of your go-to productivity resources? Whether it's writing, communicating, designing, blogging, or something else entirely, I'm always looking to find more and better strategies to streamline my workflow. What's on your top 5 list? You can tweet me @averyenderle or leave feedback in the comments!
Until next time,
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