Recently, I wrote an article about making your website easy to use. It was called Don’t Make People Think Too Hard, and it was about eliminating any questions and obstacles for the visitor.
The same principle is true when you’re blogging. And one of the best ways to make things easy for the visitor is by writing clear and concise text.
People don’t read every word in a blog article. They skim to see if anything in the text is important to them. According to a content marketing firm, Quora Creative, the average person spends 37 seconds reading a blog post. That’s not enough time to get their attention and make an impact.
Fortunately, I’ve found a few great tools that help make writing great blog posts easier and faster.
Twenty Years of Blogging
Blogging is twenty years old, and still going strong. According to Quora Creative, 3 of every 4 internet users read blogs regularly. That’s almost 3.5 billion people!
Of course, blogging has evolved over the years. In the old days, there was more discussion in the blog comments. Today, fewer people leave comments, and most interactions occur on social media platforms. (if you want to know more about the history of it all, check out my article on the History of WordPress here)
The Benefits of Blogging
However, blogging remains a valuable marketing strategy, even in the age of social media. It’s an effective way to increase traffic to your site and reach potential customers. Blogging remains a great way to share ideas, build relationships, and provide value to your readers.
If you’re looking for inspiration when planning what to write, read my article Five Ways To Write Great Blog Posts. Today, I’m sharing my essential tools for creating text that will be a breeze for your audience to read.
A Few Tools of the Trade
Tool #1: Google Docs
Google Docs is an online word-processing tool, similar to Microsoft Word. It’s free with a Google account. You don’t have to install expensive software on your computer. While still enjoying the same menu, formatting, and toolbar options as in MS Word or other word-processing programs.
Instead of typing directly into WordPress, I always start my blog posts in Google Docs. Creating and editing a blog post draft in Google Docs is easier than in WordPress. Since the documents are stored in the “cloud,” not on my computer, I can edit them from my phone or another device. And any changes I make will save immediately! Read my article on Understanding Google Docs for more information about this tool.
There are other advantages to using Google Docs. I’ve written about collaborating with team members using Google Docs before. Google Docs is great because multiple people can view it. You can choose who to share the document with a Virtual Assistant, a friend or family member, or a colleague. That person can edit, leave comments, or make suggestions. Even if you’re a solopreneur and creating all the content by yourself, it helps to get feedback from another set of eyes before publishing.
Tools #2: Grammarly
Grammarly is a free online writing tool that helps improve your text and identify punctuation and grammatical errors. I use Chrome Extension, but you can type directly into the Grammarly App website. If you haven’t ever used extensions before, I explain them in my article What is a Browser Extension?
The Grammarly extension is still being beta tested in Google Docs. However, it does a great job in WordPress.
If you have the Grammarly extension, any misspellings, punctuation errors, duplicate words, etc, will be underlined in red. This will help you with your blog posts and the text you write on pages on your WordPress site.
Or, you can type your text directly into the Grammarly website. Here, Grammarly will not only identify grammatical errors, but it will also provide other feedback. It will rate your text on clarity, engagement, delivery, conciseness, and other areas.
Tool #3 – The Hemingway Editor/App
Hemingway Editor is another tool to help you write great blog posts. The company’s mission is to make your writing “bold and clear.” You can use it for free by typing directly into the website or purchasing the desktop app for a one-time fee of $19.99.
At the top, Hemingway Editor will give your text a Readability and Grade Level Score. Readability means how easy your text is to read. Did you know your posts should be written at a 5th-grade level?
Hemingway Editor also identifies sentences that are hard to read, passive voice, and adverbs. These are “no-nos” when you aim to write crisp, clear, simple text.
Tool #4 – Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin
Yoast SEO (“SEO” stands for Search Engine Optimization) is a free WordPress plugin. It has many features, but the main one I use for blogging is Readability. When you download the plugin, it adds a Readability score on the sidebar in the posts. Green checkmark = good, the yellow checkmark = needs improvement, and the red checkmark = poor.
The Yoast SEO plugin is focused on making your text easy to read and search engine friendly. It won’t point out misspelled words or punctuation errors. It will evaluate whether your text is easy to read and whether the sentences are a good length. Like Hemingway, it will tell you whether you use passive voice too much.
A couple of unique features of Yoast SEO are that it tells you whether you need more transition words and will provide a link to examples of transition words. It also recommends breaking up large text paragraphs with subheadings to improve readability.
Fortunately, the Yoast SEO plugin tells you exactly what you need to do to improve the readability of your text. If you scroll down underneath the text block, you will find a Yoast SEO section that looks like this. When you make changes to address the “Problems,” your readability score will improve.
Tool #5: ChatGPT and Other AI Tools
ChatGPT and other AI tools can help write all kinds of content – blog posts, social media posts, sales pages, website pages, product descriptions, and more. They are simple but inappropriate to use “out of the box.”
The first step to using an AI tool is to provide a prompt. Tell it what you want. For example, “Please write a paragraph about how to use AI tools in writing blog posts” (like I did below). You can tell it to write anything. AI will then generate the text. Keep in mind, this is just a rough draft. Do not copy and paste what ChatGPT spits out the first time. Google and other platforms use bots to identify and flag AI-generated content. Copying and pasting will not be in your best interest!
In addition, ChatGPT’s text will be bland, overly complex, heavy on unnecessary adjectives and adverbs, and will not reflect your brand! Its initial product is typically the opposite of clear, simple, and concise.
Is it still worth using? Absolutely! This AI-generated text is a great starting point. It helps overcome the initial “getting started” hurdle. It will also give you a possible structure and support to stimulate more ideas about the direction you want to go with the project.
While I have the most experience with ChatGPT, there are many other popular AI tools to explore, like Bard (Google’s AI content generation tool) and GPT-4 (the most recent version of OpenAI’s Large Language Model)
Tool #6: WordTune
WordTune is a blend of Grammarly and ChatGPT. Like the tools above, it’s helpful when writing all kinds of content.
It improves your writing by giving real-time grammar, punctuation, and style feedback. Wordtune can also help you choose the right words for your writing by providing synonyms, antonyms, definitions, and additional contextual information. For instance, Wordtune highlights terms used in the wrong context or suggests more suitable words or phrases in their place.
The most unique feature of WordTune is its “Rewrite” feature. Although you can only use it on one sentence at a time, it will provide a variety of options on how you can better phrase that sentence. For example, let’s say you’ve written a sentence that doesn’t sound write, but you’re not sure how to rephrase it. Copy and paste the sentence into WordTune, click Rewrite, and view the other options.
Sometimes, I find a sentence that Hemingway identifies as hard to read (highlighted in red) and paste it into WordTune to identify ways these sentences could be rewritten more simply.
Blog post articles are a great way to interact with your visitor and offer value to them. Many of my Website Creation Workshop students have found me through a blog post I wrote.
Remember, the goal of a blog post is to provide helpful information to your visitor and develop a relationship with them. Help your blog readers out by writing clear and concise text. Create posts that are simple and easy to read.
You don’t need to use all these tools, since their functions sometimes overlap. However, go ahead and start with one and then add another after you get comfortable using the first. They’ll help you sharpen your text and give your reader valuable and concise information.
Sign up for my Blogging Mini-Course!
If you want more tips on how to build a successful and engaging blog on your WordPress website, join me for a live “Easy Blogging in WordPress” mini course.
The training will occur on Thursday, August 3rd, at 1:00 pm Pacific / 4:00 pm Eastern.
During the mini-course, I will walk you through all the steps to execute a successful blog post article. From creating your post from scratch to promoting it effectively, you’ll learn insights and practical tips to take your website to the next level.
Sign up here: https://WebsiteMarketingWorkshop.com/easy-blogging