Writing applications can be an expensive business. As this is my side-hustle and I have a family to support, I can’t afford to spend money. Here are the applications that I use. Although many offer a paid version, the reviews are for the free versions. These are my honest views and not sponsored by any company.
The majority of my posts are written in Apple’s notes application. This is the app, that is downloaded onto all iPhones.
I love the way you can have folders for different stories. You can also input handwritten notes, photos and links. The transfer between my phone and my computer is seamless.
If you don’t have an Apple then I would suggest Evernote. The functions are very similar. The transfer between machines is also, seamless.
Once I have written these posts, I edit on my laptop. This is when I use many free websites to help me.
Keywords and Trends
Once I have written the basis of the article, I will think about SEO and keywords. For this process, I use two website applications.
The first is Ubersuggest, once you have an idea of what your keywords will be. Ubersuggest will suggest tweaks to your phrases to hit the more searchable options.
If I am unsure of the keywords I want to use then I use LSiGraph. Within this, you put a range of words and the website will generate suggested keywords. Both websites are as effective as each other. If neither of these suit you Google Trends may be the one for you.
The first website I use is Hemingway Editor. I copy and paste the written document into the website. Hemingway Editor will tell you when your sentences are too long. I tend to waffle. The website will also tell you when you have used too many adverbs. Before using this, I had a nasty obsession with the word ‘just.’
The website will also show you when you can use simple language and when you have used the passive voice too much. As writers, I would suggest you correct as many of these as you can without losing your writer’s voice.
With all of these websites, it is essential, that you don’t go with all the changes. Go with the ones that feel write, without losing the basis of your article.
The second application that I use for editing is Grammarly. I use the downloaded desktop version. Versions also exist for phones and they have a website. Grammarly will check your spelling and punctuation. It will make suggestions on where you can improve your clarity and delivery. Finally, it gives you an overall score for the article. Above 80 is good.
Once my article is polished it is time to put the final touches to it. I would suggest writers take as long over these processes as they do the writing of the article.
Several websites offer copyright-free images. Pixabay is my favourite, although Unsplash works very well through Medium. Many times these images will be sufficient. Sometimes it is an advantage to edit these images to make them original.
Canva allows you to personalise photos, with text and stickers. This application can change a standard stock photo into a personal photo. It can also design graphics for your social media marketing. Their templates are extensive and help provide images of the correct size and format. I prefer to use the phone version, to the website one. I find it easier to navigate, you may be different.
When I write a post I have an idea of the headline I am going to use. When I complete the piece I write another 5 headlines I think could work. I then spend 15 minutes working through these options using CoSchedule.
First I find the headline, that has the highest score. Then I tweak this headline further to try to enhance the score higher. A score of over 70 is good.
Once this is all completed and I have published, it is time to work on my social media marketing.
When it comes to social media marketing, you can either use the images from the article, or specific ones designed on Canva. The main thing to remember is, use an image.
Over the months I have tried many scheduling applications for social media. The one I am sticking with is Hootsuite. It is super easy to use and has a clear view of everything scheduled.
The free version has a limit of three on the number of accounts, but it is more than adequate for what I need. On it, I schedule posts to my Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook accounts.
Three Bonus Applications
Yahoo Mail — I love reading newsletters from other writers, but don’t always want them filling up my inbox. For this reason, I have a separate email address for them. I then send these to my yahoo mail application to read, when I have time.
Who Unfollowed Me — This studies your Twitter account and tells you who has unfollowed you. It’s a brilliant way to get rid of those dishonest follow, unfollowers.
Followers — Is exactly as mentioned above, but for your Instagram account.
Writing does not need to be expensive. Free writing applications often provide enough functionality to be more than adequate. If you are new to writing, I would suggest you look into these applications before spending money. When you become established, you can choose to reinvest in the paid versions.
Using all these applications has helped improve my writing and polished my final articles.