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 there is anything in the text that’s important to them. According to a content marketing firm, Quora Creative, the average person spends 37 seconds reading a blog post. That’s not a lot of 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 on a regular basis. That’s almost 3.5 billion people!
Of course, blogging has evolved over the years. Back in the old days, there was more discussion in the blog comments. Nowadays, fewer people comment and most interactions take place 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 would in MS Word or other word processing programs.
I always start my blog posts in Google Docs, instead of typing directly into WordPress. It’s easier to create and edit a blog post draft in Google Docs, 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 on collaborating with team members using Google Docs before. Google Docs is great because it can be viewed by multiple people. 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 the Chrome Extension, but you can also type directly into the Grammarly App website. If you haven’t ever used extensions before, I explain what they are in my article What is a Browser Extension.
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 not only with your blog posts, but the text you write on pages in your WordPress site also.
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 purchase 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. All of which are “no-nos” when your goal is 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, yellow checkmark = needs improvement, and 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 the sentences are a good length. Like Hemingway, it will tell you whether you are using passive voice too much.
A couple of unique features of Yoast SEO is that it tells you whether you need more transition words and will provide a link to examples of transition words. It will also recommend breaking up your 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.
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 text that is clear and concise text. Create posts that are simple and easy to read.
You don’t need to use all of 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.