Welcome to the sixth episode of The Logophile’s Lounge (#TLL)…a one-stop-source for every information on content-writing.
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So…without waiting further, let’s get started with our topic,
The Best Content Writing Tools for Writers
For every kind of writer, there are a host of content writing tools available online. For novelists, there are organizing tools; for bloggers, there are headline-generating tools; for academic writers, there are proofreading tools.
But which one is the best for you?
This is what this blog attempts to answer.
But before you get all excited and start fantasising which all tools you would start using,
Take a Deep Breath.
And think carefully about
Which tools do you really need?
So, how does one understand what tools one needs,
By doing a Need Analysis
What’s Need Analysis?
As understood from its name, this step requires you to analyse your needs, thus, saving you from wasting time on solutions that have no use for you.
What you require is to make a list of tasks that:
- Take up a lot of your time. Eg: Researching
- Make your writing process tedious and painful. Eg: Revising and proofreading
- You need to get done by someone else. Eg: Graphic designing
Evaluate the key challenges that face while writing content. Like constantly experiencing writer’s block, having slow typing speed.
Based on your answers, select and use just those tools that solve most of your critical challenges.
Effective Tools for a Writer
Recall the previous blog on “Types of Content Writing”.
There I had explained how the purpose of our writing acts as the compass that guides us to create the most impactful content.
Following the same approach, all the tools have been categorized into 5 major groups, based on their purpose.
- Research tools
- Writing tools
- Editing & Proofreading tools
- Designing tools
- Publishing tools
Word of Caution: As focussing on that tools that don’t fulfil your needs can waste your time, so can working on too many tools. The wisest course of action is to never use more than one tool at a time. Invest time and efforts into one tool that you require the most. Move on to the next one only when you have mastered the previous tool.
Tools for Research
1. Google Site Search
Also known as Google custom search, this approach filters Google results and shows information only from a specific site.
Writers can use this method to find relevant data and statistics from popular sites.
For instance, you want to find the freelancing content that has been posted on Forbes, one of the most reputed online sites.
So, you will perform a Google site search, as shown below:
- Enter the URL in the correct format with the site name.
2. In the search results, will find a list of pages from Forbes, all pertaining to freelancing.
This technique saves a lot of time and efforts, especially of technical and academic writers who need to find accurate information from authentic sources.
It’s a common practice to open many tabs during research, at least for me.
Though I get to surf many sites simultaneously, its wrecks havoc on my computer’s speed and memory and often leads to hanging or Windows freezing.
For unfortunate writers like me, One tab is nothing but God’s gift.
To use it, you would need to add one tab as a browser extension.
So, when you find your computer hanging with many open tabs, just click on the
All your tabs will be converted into a list. You can restore these tabs individually or simultaneously when you need to access them again.
This wonderful extension not only takes care of my computer’s speed and time also helps me organise my search properly.
Like I said…God’s Gift.
Another common practice while researching is to refer and copy specific pieces of content or paragraphs from multiple sources.
This often leads to unnecessary confusion and wastage of time.
Solving this problem, the Weava tool helps you manage your clipboard efficiently.
Like Onetab, it is also installed as a browser extension.
One of its features enables you to highlight the content that you require from multiple sources. You can then organise them and use it howsoever you require.
A blessing for the academic writers, it also helps to generate citations and bibliography from the highlighted content.
The site offers readymade charts based on researched data and statistics on the topic of your choice.
For instance, I wanted to get a graph on freelancers.
So, I typed freelancers and these are the results that came next.
This site saves a lot of time while searching for relevant graphs and charts on a subject.
So, all you need to do is download the image, cite the source and your work is done.
The first writing tool I will talk about is Ilys. This is a really innovative solution for all us writers who are constantly plagued with writer’s block.
Isn’t it common for you to sit in front of your laptop, start typing and get woefully blank all of a sudden?
To tackle this problem and let you complete your first draft with a flourish, Ilys has come up with an ingenious solution.
Before beginning your draft, it asks you to set the word count and then start typing.
Contrary to other writing platforms, here only the last alphabet is visible to you. The rest is all hidden from your sight.
So, you cannot go back and make changes, etc. Nor can you stop until you complete the entire draft.
This way it takes you on a fast-forward path to complete the first draft since it stops you from overthinking and constantly correcting your content.
This tool is especially a boon for those who find it very hard to get started.
2. Google Doc Voice Typing
Google Doc, a better-off cousin of Microsoft word, has more advanced features that make it perfect for writing and collaborating.
For instance, unlike MS word, anything that you write on Google Docs gets saved in real-time. It is not device-specific and can be retrieved through your Gmail account.
Another feature that makes it innovative and increases your writing speed is its Voice typing facility.
All you need to do is click on tools, select voice typing and start speaking.
The moment you start speaking, all your words will start getting transcribed on the google doc.
This feature makes it very helpful while writing a blog or a long content.
Just jot down the bullet points and elaborate on them as you speak. This way, your whole content will get written fast without involving any hard work from your end.
More than 60% of the readers read a blog or article because of its headline.
So, it makes sense that writers invest a lot of time in writing powerful headlines.
Based on your keyword, these apps generate a host of blog titles.
These tools also work for those who don’t want automated titles but are not getting ideas of their own.
All they need to do is check out the apps for the title ideas, refine it and create a new one.
One of the biggest hurdles I faced during fiction writing is organizing all the ideas and research I collected during the process.
After speaking to fellow writers like me and thumbing through the internet, I stumbled across an amazing online tool.
Scrivener is an all-in-one writing tool not for novelists, authors, screenplay writers, but also for lawyers, academicians, journalists. In short, whenever there is a big writing project, Scrivener comes across as a big help.
I have used this tool to organise all my research, notes and drafts in one place.
The best thing about this tool is that you can create and organise multiple windows in the same window and work efficiently.
Even if its long-time use comes at a cost, you can still download its free trial to see if it’s of any use to you.
Even though thesaurus sounds like an extinct species of Dinosaurs, it’s meaning couldn’t be any more different.
So, staying true to its meaning, “thesaurus.com” provides powerful synonyms for your most common terms.
For writers, their extensive vocabulary acts as their ace.
Thus, using a thesaurus to find the best, outstanding, first-rate, supreme, unparalleled, unequalled… alternatives for your words is an absolute no-brainer.
Editing and Proofreading Tools
I again start with one of our favourite editing tools, Grammarly, that is used to correct grammatical and punctuation mistakes.
If you buy its premium version, it will help to remove plagiarism in your content.
You can learn more about Grammarly from our other blog on how to become a content writer.
The next in the list is Hemingway, an online app that helps to increase the clarity and readability of your content.
It scores your write-up based on how readable your content is.
The higher the score, the less readable your content is.
So, aim for 8 or 9.
If you wish to know more about these apps, check out our previous blog on writing your first piece of content.
Like the previous two apps, pro-writing aid also helps to check grammatical mistakes in your content.
Different from the other editing apps, it also gives recommendations on writing style, backed by analytics on why it’s making such recommendations.
Normally writers find graphic designing one of the toughest tasks in their creation process.
To create simple as well as visually appealing graphics, tools like Canva and Snappa offer great help.
I have personally used Canva and find it very user-friendly. It offers various predefined templates like featured images for blogs, social media posts, resumes, book covers etc. It also offers many copyright-free images that you can use for free.
The best part of Canva is you can create visually-stunning images without the knowledge of any graphic designing software.
Believe me, all it will take is 10-15 minutes to understand the working of the software, after which you will start creating your images effortlessly.
Like Canva, Snappa offers similar features like pre-made templates, high-resolution stock photos, etc.
Using this software, you can create images for blogs, banner ads, social media cover photos, etc.
These apps offer many features like professional design templates as well as the facility for customisation. Infogram takes it a step further as it also allows its users to add animation into their chart.
For lovers of memes with a slew of interesting and humorous ideas, quickmeme generator is one of the best tools for creating humourous, rib-tickling images.
It offers more than 100 memes to choose from and is free to use.
When copying and pasting content from ms word or google doc to WordPress, one big problem you will surely face is of your formating getting disturbed.
However, when you paste the content to the web-based Word to Clean Html, it removes any invalid tags and leaves your HTML clean.
This way, when you paste the clean content on platforms like WordPress, the formatting remains proper formatting and neat.
For most bloggers and website creators, WordPress is one of the best tools created in recent times.
There are alternative platforms like Medium, Blogger, Blogspot, etc where you can publish your content.
But, if you learn to use WordPress, you would be easily able to work on other platforms, What’s more, it would make you capable of creating your own powerful and attractive websites,
The Best Tool
Among all the tools described above, there is no tool greater than your brain.
Even with attractive infographics and correct grammar, your content would not be impactful if it doesn’t resonate with your readers.
As a writer, the onus is on you to identify the audience, understand their pain, and challenges and write content that helps them solve that.
The value, which you provide the readers, is the real meat of your content. And to understand your audience’s needs, you yourself would have to plan and research.
There is No Tool that can do this For You.
At least for now.
But what do you think?
Can we humans invent a tool that identifies pain points of readers and comes up with its solutions?
Share your ideas and thoughts in the comment box below.