Any professional needs access to the best tools they can find, regardless of what industry they are in. Just as the carpenter needs a hammer, so to a writer needs a spellcheck tool.
As I have expanded my writing business over the years, I have used dozens of different online tools and apps to write better words and deliver those words to my audience.
Some tools are awful, some are “okay,” and others are fantastic. Here are what I believe to be the best tools and apps that my writing business could not function without, so I am more than happy to recommend them to other writers.
In this post, I will review the most essential tools I use in my writing business every single day and explain how they help me in my business.
Important, please read: I am proudly an affiliate for some of these tools and apps. That simply means if you click on one of these links and use the tool, I will earn a commission from that company. This comes at zero cost to you. The company pays the commission, and you don’t pay a penny extra. I make these recommendations because these are the tools that have helped me grow my writing business. If you don’t believe these tools will help you in your business, you shouldn’t spend any money on them.
Best platforms to host your blog
It is not hyperbole to say that my entire business has been built through Medium.
It is the simplest way for writers to start writing. You don’t need to have any technical knowledge or worry about building a website. Medium hosts all of your content for free, which I can’t stress enough how awesome that is. You won’t find any platform like Medium anywhere on the internet. If you’re in the business of writing and you are not active on Medium, you are simply missing out.
In addition to writing on Medium, I also own my own websites and blogs.
When you create a website, you need a reliable company to host your site.
I have tried a lot of different website hosts and website builders and have found that what has worked best for me is to build a website using WordPress and to host that website on Bluehost. It’s fast, simple, and they have incredible customer service. Plus, they have integrated perfectly with WordPress making it super simple to start building your site.
Best of all, I am happy to say that as a Writing For Profit reader, you can get started with Bluehost for a discounted price of only $3.95/month.
Best Emailmail Marketing Tool: Convertkit
If you are building a business that is in any way connected to writing, you need an email mail list.
- It allows you to connect with your audience.
- It also acts as an insurance policy. Platforms like Medium or even Facebook can go away, but if you have an email list, you will always have an audience.
Like a lot of people, when I first got started with email marketing, I used Mailchimp.
If all you ever want to do is send a weekly newsletter, Mailchimp is “fine.”
Switching from Mailchimp to Convertkit was one of the best business decisions I have ever made.
- Convertkit has an incredibly intuitive and simple layout making it easy to use.
- Building landing pages (like for a book or online course) or a website form (a place for readers to sign up for your list) is shockingly fast and straightforward.
The most significant advantage that Convertkit has over Mailchimp and has transformed my business is it’s powerful automation features. I have created email courses and daily challenges where readers sign up and get an automated email with tons of useful content every day. This has helped me grow my audience, but more importantly, it’s helped me connect with my audience in a way a simple newsletter could never do.
Best platforms to host an online course
Learning how to transform my blog posts and turning them into e-books and online courses is what allowed me to take my writing from a hobby to a business.
There are two platforms I use to host my online courses, and they have very different business models.
I like to think of Skillshare as the “Medium for online courses.” If you like how the Medium Partner Program works, you will select the Skillshare business model because it works the same way.
- Skillshare, like Medium, generates revenue through monthly subscription fees.
- It pays its creators a share of the profits from those subscription fees.
- You get a royalty payment based on how many minutes subscribers spent watching your class.
Teaching on Skillshare has allowed me to go deeper on topics I write about. It’s also allowed me to gain a deeper connection with my audience and diversify my revenue.
Best of all, you don’t need to worry about doing a “Course launch” to make money. Skillshare, like Medium, comes with a built-in audience. Finally, like Medium, you do not need to be a subscriber to become a teacher on Skillshare.
That means you can get started for free.
Teachable has the opposite business model of Skillshare.
With teachable, you pay a monthly fee to host your video courses.
But, you have full control of what you charge for that course. Believe it or not, some course creators charge thousands of dollars for online courses. Teachable is a platform for those with the true entrepreneurial mindset: You are not guaranteed to make a penny on Teachable, but the sky is the limit on potential earnings.
The “Teachable U” is an excellent course on “how to build an online course” for those who sign up and will walk you through the general steps on how to create and market your online course.
The best tool to edit your writing: Grammarly
As a writer, it goes without saying that your work does not contain simple spelling and grammar mistakes.
Put simply, Grammarly is the best tool to help you edit your writing.
- It has a simple Chrome extension that allows you to edit your drafts on Medium, WordPress, Google docs, or most other online writing platforms.
- It also is compatible with Word and other offline writing tools.
- The free version of Grammarly will catch most errors and is fine for most people.
- However, as I am in the business of writing, I decided to upgrade to Grammarly Pro, which does come with an annual fee. For me, the fee has been well worth it and has helped me improve the quality of my writing, which is clearly valuable as a writer.
Best tools to write great headlines
Coschedule headline analyzer
All you need to do is enter a potential headline, and you’ll receive a score from 0–100 for that headline.
Let’s say I was thinking of using the headline “How to write a good headline.” I would enter it into the headline analyzer.
This headline received a score of 75, which is on the lower end of what I would consider an acceptable score for your headline. I try and have most of my headlines receive a score of 80 or more. That takes a lot of work and sometimes 50 or more headline variations.
The score is calculated by your use of “common,” “uncommon,” “emotional,” and “power” words in your headline and the length of your headline.
If y our headline is too long, it will get truncated in Google search, which means fewer people will click on your headline and read your work. The Coschedule tool simultaneously optimizes the type and number of words in your headline.
I would caution that you don’t rely solely on your score when determining your headline. It should pass what I call the “eye test.”
Look what happens if I enter the following nonsensical headline: “How to Money Power exciting love.”
According to this tool, this is a great headline because it contains only power and emotional words. However, we know just from looking at it that this headline makes no sense.
The lesson here is that you should not simply chase a high score with this tool. You need to balance the analytics with the human element. The only way to do that is through experience and writing literally hundreds of headlines. It takes a lot of work, but it gets easier over time.
Another headline tool I use for every single headline is Titlecase. This tool helps your format your headline in the proper format. After I have confirmed my headline, I enter it into Titlecase to get the proper capitalizations for the words in my title.
It may seem like a small detail, but proper capitalization makes your work appear more professional.
These are the tools I use in my writing business every single day. If you have a question about the features or how I use these tools, ask away in the comment section.