As a small business owner, you know how important first-rate copy is to your business.
Your website may be worthy of a Webby Visual Design award, but it’s the copy that sets the tone and message of your brand. Bland or poorly written copy, replete with grammatical errors, tarnishes your brand story. And it’s unlikely to help convert visitors into customers. And that clever email campaign you’re about to launch? A wasted effort if the copy isn’t persuasive, concise and easy to read.
About now, some of you may be worried that your own copy isn’t cutting it. Maybe you’ve meant to do something about it for a while but just haven’t had the time.
To help get you started, here are 10 of my favourite online writing tools. Over the past few years, I’ve trialed quite a few. These ten tools are among the best – and simplest – and have made my life a lot easier. And for the most part, they’re free.
Starting at the Top
Headline Analyzer is a free tool that scores the quality of your headline and gives you ideas on how to improve it. Headlines are important. On average, 8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only two will go on to read the rest. So the more catchy the headline, the better the chances your content will be read.
Another excellent free tool, AMI Headline Analyzer measures the Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) of your headline based on the number of emotional words used. It tells you if your headline evokes spiritual, intellectual or empathetic emotions. You can test various headline versions to achieve a more favourable customer response.
A content analysis tool, Buzzsumo lets users input a topic or domain to search for trending material or analyse what content is performing best in a given industry. A great tool when you're struggling to find an interesting topic or how best to approach it. There’s a free basic search option as well as paid subscription.
SEMrush is a keyword research tool that provides you with search traffic, competitor and shared keywords. It’s perfect for keyword search volume. There’s a free version as well as paid subscription.
I’ve been using Grammarly for a few years and love it. It’s an easy-to-use online proofreading tool for today’s copywriter. As well as grammatical and spelling errors, the tool will highlight over-used and repetitive words and will detect plagiarism. Grammarly is available in a basic free version as well as a paid subscription.
The Hemingway editor is another one of my must-have tools. You input your text into the application and the tool color-codes sentences that are too dense and complex. It also provides an overall readability grade. It’s terrific in helping tighten your writing. The tool is available as a free trial or available for Mac and PC for US$19.99.
Word Hippo is more than a free online dictionary. It also finds synonyms, antonyms, and rhyming words and more. Find alternatives to over used words and punch up your copy.
Writers Reverse Dictionary is a free definition-to-word tool. You know when you have one of those tip-of-the-tongue moments? Yes, we all have them. Input the definition to search for the word.
Stock Photo Sites
Images are essential to any content or copywriting strategy. According to HubSpot adding relevant images to content increases views by 94%.
There are a number of free stock photo sites offering beautiful stock images but be sure to double check they’re under Creative Commons License CCO. Unsplash and Life of Pix are two of the best. And of course, paid service Shutterstock remains a favourite.
Canva is an easy-to-use image tool that produces great graphics. When you don’t have access to a graphic designer and you need a professional looking image quickly, Canva is the way to go. There's a wide range of formats, icons and images available. And, yes, it’s free.
These online tools are some of the best. And if you’re worried about the quality of your copy, now’s a good time to do something about it.