A dozen online resources for writers

Whether you’re a newbie copywriter or long-time veteran, using high quality online resources will only improve your work. Here are 12 to try.

1. Copyblogger

Perhaps the most well-known online resource for copywriters, Brian Clark’s Copyblogger is filled with advice and insight into creating valuable Web content. Here are a few popular posts to give you a taste of the content it offers:

2. The Well-Fed Writer Blog

Veteran freelance writer Peter Bowermann created The Well-Fed Writer Blog, which features articles that aim to boost the incomes of commercial writers. Examples of some of its content include:

3. Seth Godin’s blog

Bestselling author Seth Godin writes about marketing, creativity, copywriting and more—all great motivators and creativity-boosters for a writer. His posts tend to focus more on the big-picture and larger ideas than line-by-line edits. Here are a couple of examples:

4. A Pomodoro timer

Whether you’re writing from a cubicle or coffee shop, enhancing productivity is key. As an employee, that means better performance. As a freelancer, that means greater profit. Enter the Pomodoro Technique: timed 25 minute chunks of work followed by five-minute breaks. You can download a free Pomodoro timer online to start testing the strategy today.

5. Textalyser

Do you wish you could get an unbiased take on your writing? Go to Textalyser’s website to analyze your content’s readability level, keyword density, term prominence and word count. You may submit content via URL, file upload or basic copy/paste.

6. Twitter

Can a social network be a source of writing inspiration? Yes! Not only will following fellow writers keep you up to date on the industry, but learning to post within 140 characters will help you practice the art of brevity.

7. Goodreads

You know what they say: The best writers are the best readers. Keep track of the books—from writing guides to novels—that inspire you through Goodreads, a book-reviewing social network. You can share your inspirations with others, and find some helpful recommendations in what others share with you.

8. Merriam-Webster online

Word processors are not dictionaries. When in doubt about spelling or usage, click to Merriam-Webster online, the Web version of the dictionary standard.

9. The Carlin Ad-Speak Calculator

The best marketing doesn’t sound like marketing. Do you wonder how your content stacks up? With The Carlin Ad-Speak Calculator, you copy, paste and submit your text into a box that shows you.

10. WeWe Monitor

If you want your copy to increase conversions, it needs to focus on the customer. Is your content too self-focused, or does it reach clients where they are? With the WeWe Monitor from FutureNow, you can find out. Enter the website URL you want to test, and receive an analysis of customer-focused versus self-focused terminology.

11. Google Alerts

Set up Google Alerts to notify you whenever someone mentions particular words or phrases online. You can set up alerts for your name to find out when someone mentions you or pulls your content, or for your brand to find out who’s talking about your company and what they’re saying. You can also set up alerts for terms related to your industry to provide inspiration and ideas. Once you set up the alert, information comes to you automatically.

12. Ira Glass video on storytelling

One of the greatest living storytellers of our day, Ira Glass, gives inspiring advice on storytelling in this online video. It’s just as relevant for Web content as for fiction.

Shanna Mallon is a writer for Straight North, a Chicago Web design firm offering website copywriting services, Web development, and other online marketing services. Follow Straight North on Twitter and Facebook.

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