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10 Amazing Online Tools For Writing

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Chances are that if you run an offline business you do a lot of writing. If you run an online business you probably do even more writing. There is no escaping writing in life, let alone business ventures.

But if you are still doing it the old fashioned way, then there are plenty of online tools, applications and websites to help you along the way. Here is a selection of 10 such writing tools that no wordsmith should be without:

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TypingWeb

Recall those early typing tutor software from the 90s? Welcome to the 21st century. This is a free online typing and keyboard tutor that will teach you how to type quickly and professionally. And the best thing about this richly designed resource is that both pros and beginners can benefit from it.
www.typingweb.com

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Garmmarly

Use this grammar corrector to you find out if you are wrong when you think you are right. Grammatical errors are the most embarrassing — they wreck credibility. This handy tool can detect well over 250 types of mistakes. Not foolproof, but useful. Not free either, but can be used for 7 days as a trial.
www.grammarly.com

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The Free Dictionary

Everyone needs a dictionary now and then, but writers need to keep one handy. The Free Dictionary is a comprehensive dictionary and thesaurus, and as the name suggests, you get access to it without any sort of payment. Plus, it also comes with several other neat tools.
www.tfd.com

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Online Stopwatch

Everybody also needs a stopwatch at some point. This is a tool that will help you speed things up, particularly if you are a blogger. More than this a simple stopwatch, this website also offers an online alarm clock, countdown timer, even a chess timer.
www.online-stopwatch.com

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WordCounter

This online tool ranks the most frequently used words in a given body of text. The more you use a word, the less effective it becomes. You can use WordCounter to pinpoint repetitive words easily. Just enter a block of text, and it will reveal a list of overused words. Nifty.
www.wordcounter.com

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Capital Letters

If your sentences are a mix of upper case and lower case letters, then this tool by TextFixer instantly repairs them. Simple paste your text in a block, click a couple of buttons and your revised sentences are delivered ready for use. Several other free writing tools are also on offer here.
www.textfixer.com

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Copyscape

The most popular plagiarism detector on the web. If you have some text that you want authenticated, then simply sign up here, buy credits for 5 cents each, and run it through verification. A free version is also available.
www.copyscape.com

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Citebite

This is a quote highlighter. Citebite allows you to link right to the quote in a given webpage. You do this by pasting your chosen text, along with the source URL, and receive a link that, when clicked, opens up that page and automatically highlights your quote.
www.citebite.com

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WebNotes

And this is an annotator that adds stick notes to webpages. Comes rather handy when you are researching, and the notes are automatically saved, only to pop up every time you visit that particular page. A whole bunch of other features are available, with three plans, lite, pro and platinum.
www.webnotes.net

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Penzu

Fancy name for a stylish online diary. Maintaining a personal journal is a brilliant way to record thoughts, ideas and other bits of information that may come in useful when writing. Sign up for a free or pro account at this website, and start writing a private diary that is accessible from everywhere.
www.penzu.com

Elaine Chang is our resident SEO geek and expert. She has extensive experience writing about SEO, SEM and all things web.

5 Comments
  • DaddyWarbucks

    A wide array of helpful tools for writing. I usually see lists like this that feature very similar tools, but this is a unique and original collection. Thanks for this!

  • BMW88

    “Garmmarly”

    I know it’s just a typo, but you may want to use the dictionary to check out the grammarly error! :p. Seriously though, everyone should use grammarly and a dictionary when writing to ensure it’s as professional as possible.

  • Emily Williams

    I use online stopwatch for working out, but I’ve never thought about using it as a writing tool! Amazing what a fresh pair of eyes and new opinion can do! Thanks for all 10 of these! 🙂

  • Wayne S

    What an assortment of resources you have here! Half of these will come in such handy for me personally and I had no idea they existed before this article. Webcite, in particular is going to save me over an hour a week now! Bless you!

  • DK

    Web notes is awesome! The concept is simple but brilliant. I use it all the time. The other ones seem like good options as well. I want to try them out.

Maintenance

4 Indicators Of A Poorly Performing Website

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If your website, or websites, are performing poorly, then it’s often not that hard to pinpoint the areas that are holding them back from being in top shape.

Sad reality is that a lot of websites these days fall into this category.

And it’s not just got to do with broken links, error messages, images that aren’t displayed, or even pages that have lost their formatting. Web technology and the tools required to create websites constantly evolve, and it’s not uncommon for even carefully maintained sites to fall sick, if you may.

There may be a small selection of things that may be wrong with your website, and the surprising factor here is that you may not even know about them.

Here are 4 defining indicators of a poorly performing website:

You can’t make changes on your own

If you need the help of a developer to make the simplest of design or content changes on your site, then you’re asking for trouble. These days it’s more important than ever to have websites that are constantly updated with fresh content.

Search engines like Google pay attention to how frequently fresh content is created, and you guessed it, sites are ranked accordingly. Work out a way so you can make minor changes yourself, unless you plan on falling behind your competition.

Static web content

Dynamism is the call of the hour, these days. Static web pages mean that the content your website visitors see stays the same no matter how many times they visit. Yes, that’s how sites used to work since the creation of the web — HTML files and all.

But fact is that dynamic content has a notable impact on the overall ROI of website or online business. Serving personalized content always leads to better conversions and higher engagement numbers. Interesting fact is that only 19% of the websites actually do this — the rest are statically static.

Slow load times

This is a popular one! There’s no shortage of resources claiming just how important speed is for your websites or blogs. A recent study by Brand Perfect showed that an overwhelming 67% of consumers abandoned websites and online sales because of slow loading pages.

On the other side of the equation, Google has made it clear long ago that the speed of your website affects it search engine rankings. So not only are you losing customers, you risk not attracting visitors.

The solution is simple, really.

If you can opt for it, go with a Content Delivery Network (CDN), which, instead of storing your website content on a single server, distributes it across data centers across the Internet. If you can’t, then at the very least, choose fast hosting, preferably hosting packages with solid state drives (SSD).

Not optimized for multiple devices

Responsive site design, another buzzword that you surely must have heard by now. This is no longer a luxury, it is essential for websites to be optimized for mobile devices, tablet or smartphone. And not just optimized in terms of content and layout, but speed as well.

The last thing you want to do is to keep your mobile users waiting!

So make sure you server the right versions of your sites to users by utilizing a responsive design and a fluid layout that automatically adjusts to the type and form factor of the device it is viewed on.

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The Need For Image Compression For Websites

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Although internet speeds have improved around the world in the past decade, heavy downloads are still an issue for a lot of people with sketchy bandwidths or slow computers.

And that’s not even bringing SEO and mobile usage into the picture.

Even with such apparent limitations, most images for the web are typically not optimized to reduce file size while maintaining quality. Most people (and some) graphic designers still don’t use the optimum settings when outputting their final images.

Having large images does not mean their file size has to be large too!

Here is a concise list of some of the immediate advantages of using image compression for websites, and reducing the file sizes of the images, photos and art on your website or blog:

Faster load times

No one says no to a quick loading site. Compressing your images down ensures a superior experience for your visitors, users and readers where they won’t get frustrated. It also makes sure your audience engages with your website longer.

Improved search rankings

It’s no secret that Google loves faster sites. Squeeze as much data off of your site or blog to make it load faster, increasing your organic search rankings along the way.

Better conversion rates

Faster sites convert better. Logic. You don’t risk losing buyers and subscribers this way, while they are waiting for the images to load on your signup page.

Enhanced inbox placement

If you are feeding images from your site to your emails and newsletters, your messages run the risk of landing in the junk folder. The last thing you want, really.

Easier migration

Web hosts are fickle affair, everyone knows that. If you need to change hosting providers, small, optimized images mean quicker movement of files from one server to another. This holds especially true for large blogs and ecommerce portals. Perfectly optimized images also help with faster backups.

Print adventures are fine, you don’t necessarily need to reduce files sizes there.

But images intended for use on websites should always be adjusted for easy and breezy downloading. More so, now with better compression algorithms and browser support. What type of settings you use will depend upon the art you’re creating.

Often enough, going in with an 80% compression in your graphic design software (Adobe Photoshop, or any other) for JPEG files is a good bet for most images.

There’s no hard and fast rule here, though.

It comes down to the dimensions, resolution and type of your image — and whether it’s artwork, gradient, a photo or logo. Do some on the fly experiments and settle on what you feel looks best, does not result in a drastic decrease in quality, and ends up with the smallest file size possible.

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5 Factors That Make A Good Domain Name

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Domain names. The real estate of the Internet. Chosen correctly, these are often the deciding factor between just another online business and one that is flourishingly lucrative.

Similar to how a good location is vital for a bricks-and-mortar business, a good domain name is the cornerstone of your virtual online venture. Identifying good domain names, though, is part art and part science. We’ll examine the science segment of it.

A rundown of 5 factors that make a good domain name:

They are short

Size, in this particular case, does matter. All the three and four letter words and most of the five letter words .com domains are already taken for a reason. If you are starting out with a new name, try and keep it under 10 characters if you can, and definitely under 20 characters.

Obviously, there are some cases where you want to choose a full phrase (hint, hint), but when it comes to domain names, one-word domains are pure gold.

Easy to spell

The length of your domain names amounts to nothing, unless it is easy to spell. Avoid foreign and unusual words, and stay away from complex combinations of letters so as to avoid misspelling. The last thing you want your visitors is to type in your domain, misspell it, and end up somewhere else.

Also try and avoid hyphens and numbers when you can. Domain names that include dashes and digits are cheaper on the market for this very reason — it is easy for people to skip or forget the hyphen and mix up the numbers.

Easy to remember

This builds upon the previous factor in that you want your domain name to be as simple as possible so that your regular visitors can remember it. Not many Internet users are into bookmarks these days. They just memorize their favorite sites, and enter them in the address bar when they want to visit one.

An exception might be if you are registering the domain name for a company or organization that represents the initials of that business. Or maybe even a memorable message.

Descriptive or brandable

You want your domain to be either descriptive or brandable. Preferably both. A large chunk of your visitors will come from search engines, or direct links from other websites. The best domain names are appealing, yet at the same time give your visitors an idea about what your site is before they enter.

Brandable domain names, on the other hand, are also efficient in that they can make your visitors associate the name of your website with the content you provide.

A .com extension

Business and organizations will (and should) want to register other extensions like .org or .net, or even some local geographical ones, but a .com extension is always the best way to go. It is popular and everyone is aware of it. Repeat visitors will often type in your domain name and follow it with .com.

Nothing wrong with a modern, fancy extension but you don’t want to lose potential visitors this way.

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