Are you looking for the best writing tools to scale your business and make more money as a writer?
Here’s the thing, there is a big difference between a writer making a few hundred bucks vs. making $5,000+ per month.
Because as a writer, you are trading your time for money. But if you’re doing things right, it’s a lot of money and it’s well worth the tradeoff.
Needless to say, you need to spend your time efficiently. Otherwise, you are losing money, clients, and wasting your time.
These pieces of writing software can help you re-organize your day and set yourself up to win. Once I made these shifts, my freelance writing income soared.
Seriously, I was able t0 10X my writing income in 12 months by writing blog posts and content!
But I made plenty of costly mistakes along the way.
Here’s an example…
One of the biggest mistakes I made early in my freelance writing career was not proofreading very well. In fact, I was an awful proofreader.
Early on in my writing journey, my lack of proofreading cost me my biggest client at the time :(. It was ghostwriting for a multi-millionaire, best selling author.
But since I didn’t use very many of these tools, it cost me big time. And I don’t want you to make this costly mistake.
There are so many great writing apps, programs, and resources to help you 10X your writing career. They can help you with proofreading, creative writing skills, productivity, landing clients, and so much more.
Best Writing Tools for Freelance Writers
1. Bluehost & WordPress
If you want to build a successful writing business, create an epic writing website. Free portfolios and free WordPress domains won’t give you full control of your brand online!
Not to mention, they don’t look nearly as professional when pitching clients. Yes, it does cost money but no online business is 100% free.
To get started creating your writer’s website, I recommend using Bluehost and WordPress. Bluehost is the website host and WordPress is where you upload your content to create the actual website.
Bluehost – #1 Writing Tool
Please use WordPress for your writing website. Don’t waste your time using Weebly or Squarespace.
I say this because I used Weebly for the first year of this blog. It was one of the biggest blogging mistakes I’ve made.
When I eventually had to transfer to using WordPress in 2017, it cost me an obnoxious amount of money. Please don’t make this mistake by trying to avoid WordPress or feeling intimidated by it. There are so many tutorials out there that can show you how to navigate your dashboard.
Plus, the third tool listed below will make it easy to create your writing website with a drag and drop page builder. Not to mention, Bluehost and WordPress are two of the most trusted names in the business. The best part is how easy they make it to install WordPress with one-click installation!
Anytime I’ve had to contact customer service for Bluehost, the service has been unbelievable as well.
Get started with Bluehost today!
2. Paid Theme
Another thing you writing website needs is a paid theme. This is a small investment (under $100) in your writing business that can really help you stand out when pitching clients.
If you try to keep costs too low by getting a free theme to save money it can cost you big time. Here’s what will probably happen:
Slow Load Speed
This is bad for two reasons — Google and your potential clients. The average attention span isn’t long when it comes to anyone waiting for your site to load.
If you have a slow free website theme, they are more likely to leave your site. Not only will you lose a potential client, but you could also lose respect from Google. This is signaled by the term “bounce rate.”
Higher Bounce Rate
The higher the bounce rate, the faster people will leave your site.
Remember, you want individuals to stay on your site for a long time! If you set your site up correctly, you can make it simple for users to navigate it and read all of your samples.
One of the easiest ways to increase site speed is by investing in a paid theme.
I recommend checking out StudioPress.
These are powerful, paid WordPress themes that are used by some of the top bloggers out there. I use them on this site and my personal writing website.
Prices range anywhere from $50-$100 which isn’t that much investment in the scheme of things. Again, don’t look at it as an expense, think about it as an investment in yourself and your business.
3. Elementor Page Builder
If you’re like most beginning writers, the thought of creating a website can be daunting. But luckily, there is a solution to help you easily create a website, even if you don’t have any experience.
Instead of spending more money on a web designer or messing with code, try out Elementor Page Builder.
This is a free tool (that has a paid option) to help you easily build website pages. I love using it and wish I would I have found it much sooner than I did.
Hand down, this is the best program for website building software ever! I highly suggest the paid offer as it’s even better than the free one.
4. Yoast SEO Plug-In
Another free plugin to create your writing website is Yoast SEO. This is a must-have plugin for any freelancer or blogger.
Here’s what this plug-in will help you with:
- Shows total word length of blog post
- Reminds you to interlink to other blog posts
- Provides recommendations on Title and Meta tags
- Optimize blog posts and images for certain keywords
Even if you aren’t trying to “SEO” your writing website, it will help you get familiar with it for your clients. Keep reading to learn another expert SEO tool that helps me get content to rank on page one of Google.
The first four writing tools are all about creating your writing website but number five is all about getting paid! Once you deliver work and invoice your clients, you need a way to invoice clients.
To easily invoice clients, I choose Freshbooks software. It is an accounting software that makes running your small business simple, fast and secure. You can spend less time on accounting and more time doing the work you love.
Freshbooks is a great piece of software for self-employed writers, whether it’s a side hustle or full-time gig. Plus, the price of any package is super cheap!
I list out each item or blog post or articles in each line for word count, the rate per word, and title. This makes it easy for clients to recap your invoice and pay you fast.
6. PayPal Business
Another way to invoice clients and get paid is with a PayPal Business account. Personally, I keep my business account separate from my personal account.
PayPal is the faster, easier, more secure way to get paid online. When you set up a PayPal business account, you can tap into the millions of active buyers who look for the PayPal button when making a purchase.
Plus, with PayPal business you get:
- Fast signup & easy setup
- Clear pricing, no hidden fees
- Convenience for clients as your customers don’t need a PayPal account
Hunter is one of my favorite gadgets for writers. It’s a free Google Chrome plugin that allows you to easily find email addresses within seconds of landing on a website.
So if you’re trying to find an email to cold pitch someone, Hunter gives you a creative way to get their email address. No more scrolling through endless pages hoping to find an email address.
Plus, you don’t have to install extra software as it’s a free chrome extension.
Writing Organization Tools
The first seven tools are non-negotiable in your writing business. But as I’m sure you realize, staying organized is another important piece of running your online business.
Here are some of the best ways to keep your writing life and business organized.
8. Google Drive
Google Drive is a suite of software that runs my life (and probably yours too). But as a writer, Google docs specifically will be super helpful to store all of your articles.
Google docs are a great free resource that all writers should be using. They make it effortless to store your files, organize, and share your writing with clients.
The scariest thing for a freelance writer is to have your precious work somehow get deleted. This is why I write all of my content in Google Drive and never in Pages, Microsoft Word, or within WordPress.
Instead, all of my work lives on the cloud. This also makes it simple to collaborate every document with clients or an editor and allow them to edit or comment directly.
Plus, you only need an email address to take advantage of this free offer.
Trello is another free organizational writing software that I absolutely love. It’s a great way to list out all your projects, assignments, and tasks in one central dashboard.
You can write notes to collaborators, create boards with all articles in production, and so much more. Plus, a lot of your clients likely use this piece of software as well.
Often when you get hired by a new client they want to “meet you” online. But don’t waste your phone minutes, instead use Zoom for the call.
It’s 100% free, easy to use, and you can record the conversations as well.
Canva is another great free piece of software to use for your writer website or blog. While there is a paid version, the free one will work just fine. But if you’re a blogger and a writer, I recommend opting for the paid version.
Canva is where I make all my pins and customize every image for my website and social media. You can also create “word” pictures for Instagram, custom images for Twitter and more.
12. Fiverr or Upwork
If you’re struggling with little things like logo design, custom images or setting up your website, check out Fiverr or Upwork. I’ve used both of these for all kinds of projects and hiring is super affordable!
Check out this pricing sheet I had made on Fiverr for $20! I added this to my writing website and send to clients when cold pitching.
If you love writing, Medium is another awesome writing tool to help you grow your brand. If you don’t know, Medium is a free tool that allows you to create content without starting a blog.
You can use Medium pieces to build your portfolio and land in big publications. Plus, you can make money on Medium in so many ways!
More Programs To Write Epic Content
Creating content that people want to read is an art. If you’re just starting out, using these tools will help you improve your writing (even if it doesn’t feel like it yet).
Here are some of my favorite things that have helped me land on page one of Google and write viral articles.
14. Standing Desk
One of the few downsides of freelance writing is that you need to be in front of a computer a lot. After 5,000 words, it’s easy to feel a little bit stir crazy.
One solution that has really helped me was to purchase a standing desk. It’s so nice to stand up, stretch, and regain my focus when writing.
Here’s the adjustable standing desk I bought on Amazon. It comes fully put together and comfortably rests both of my monitors.
15. Dual Monitor
Speaking of two monitors, I highly recommend investing n a second monitor for your office. This makes it so much easier to crank out content and stay inflow. I literally couldn’t imagine writing without it them.
16. Computer Glasses
If you’re a writer, I’m sure you are familiar with computer-caused eye strains. There is nothing worse than when you walk away from your computer and it feels like your eyes are on fire.
Over time, this can wreak havoc on your vision! One way to help alleviate this is to invest in some computer glasses which block junk light from your screen.
Here’s the cheap (but effective) pair of blue light blocking glasses I snagged on Amazon.
17. Journal + Quote Book
While most of your work is done on a computer or laptop, I’ve found so much value in my old school journal. No fancy writing software required. There is something powerful in getting thoughts out of your head and onto paper.
When I have a lot of freelance writing projects at once, I like to do a few braindumps of notes each day. Journaling allows me to clear space, stay laser-focused, and gives me room to jot down any notes.
I also have a separate journal that I use as a quote book. Because as I’m sure you know, a quote can change an entire article. Having a separate notebook makes it convenient to grab a quote and add it to your articles.
Do you remember how I mentioned in the intro about losing a writing client from a lack of proofreading and horrible grammar? Well, it’s because I didn’t have a proofreading app.
My top recommendation is Grammarly. As the name implies, the tool helps you correct your punctuation and scans your document to reveal all of your mistakes. It will clearly list out where you need to improve and give you helpful suggestions.
If you’re writing 10-15,000+ words per week as I do, this tool is essential.
And best of all?
It’s 100% free. Add Grammarly to your browser today to improve your grammar, editing, and keep your clients happy.
Plus, if you want even more editing, grab the paid version as I just did and I love it! It’s made my writing 100X better!
19. Hemingway App
The Hemingway app another great writing software that helps make your writing “bold and clear.” Plus, it has a ton of extra features like a word-counter and an automatic readability score.
It will analyze your title and go through every word, line by line. Personally, I have a love-hate relationship with the writing app as it’s a lot to take in on a long blog post.
Some writers swear by it while writers like myself don’t always agree with their recommendations. Use your best judgment!
Did you know that 85% of your readers only have a readability score of grade 8 or lower?
While it sounds hard to believe, it’s 100% true. You need to write content for the majority of the population.
Don’t try to sound smart just to sound smart. People usually won’t read it and your clients won’t be impressed.
Readable makes it easy to run your articles or other documents through this website and get a readability score.
Readable works with:
- Website copy
- Book writing
- Email marketing
- Copy and paste text
Readable will tell you:
- Keyword density
- Readability score
- Overall text quality
- Tone and sentiment
They have a free version and a paid version ($5/month). Both are helpful, although I feel the paid version provides more information to help you feel confident before submitting your work.
Remember, you want to make sure your writing is readable by humans. Readable found that you will get an 83% increase in the number of readers who will finish reading if the readability is improved from grade 12 to grade 5!
21. CoSchedule Headline Analyzer
As David Ogilvy said, “On average, five times as many people read the headline as they read your body copy. When you have written your headline, you should spend eight cents out of your dollar.”
Needless to say, your headline or title is crucial to growing any writing business. It doesn’t matter if you write the best content in the world, no one will read it with a boring headline.
To help you avoid this crucial mistake, I highly suggest using Coschedule Headline Analyzer. This is a free tool that will instantly tell you how to improve your title so readers must click through.
Coschedule Headline Analyzer will teach you how to write powerful headlines backed by tons of data. The reason I think this is an awesome gadget is that it gives your headline a score.
And it makes it easy to tweak it. So if your headline “fails,” it’s easy to adjust. Clients love it when you include the CoSchedule score as it shows that you’re committed to delivering a high-quality blog post.
Just like writing amazing content, the more you write headlines, the better you will get. Plus, the program will give you notes on how to improve as well.
Another important piece of software to help you find new clients is Buffer. This is a social writing website that lets you easily automate your social media sharing posts.
You can do this for an hour on Sunday’s and your content can be promoted for a week or two with minimal effort on your end.
The goal is to find writing tools that allow you to remove yourself from doing everything manually.
23. Cliche Finder
Once you start writing for a client on a recurring basis, it’s easy to get into a pattern and maybe use too many cliches. Luckily, you can use Cliche Finder.
This writing tool combs through your writing in search of clichés and then highlights them for you. While it’s not always necessarily a bad thing to use clichés in your writing, you don’t want to use them too frequently.
Expert Writing Tools
If you’re like most writers, you want my secrets to making big money as a writer. Here are few expert writing tools that I know can help you effortlessly scale your business.
In my opinion, meditation is one of the best ways to improve your writing and probably just make you a better human (seriously). Because here’s the thing, as a writer it’s easy to get isolated and in your head when you’re working alone.
But if you need to edit your work or switch to a new project, you need a clear break. While an exercise break can help, I’ve found meditation to be super helpful as well.
I’m not recommending one type over another either. Do what works for you.
Personally, I use transcendental meditation, Primed Mind, and tracks on Youtube. I’ve found that meditation lets me get out of my head, relax, recharge, and focus for whatever is up next.
Not to mention, the benefits of meditation are nearly endless, including:
- Reduces stress
- Controls anxiety
- Enhances self-awareness
- Lengthens attention span
- Promote emotional health
Meditation and hypnotherapy have made me a better person and an entrepreneur. If you’re already doing it, keep at it. If this sounds foreign, keep an open mind and see how it can positively affect your life and writing business.
25. Binaural Beats
Another expert writing tool is binaural beats. While this concept might also sound foreign, this can absolutely help you as a writer.
As Medical News Today article said, “Binaural beats therapy is an emerging form of soundwave therapy in which the right and left ears listen to two slightly different frequency tones yet perceive the tone as one.”
Some of the benefits include:
- Reduced stress
- Increased focus
- Increased concentrations
- Higher motivation levels
- Improved psychomotor performance and mood
So next time you have a big writing project, search on Youtube for binaural beats. Then, plug in your headphones (otherwise it won’t work), remove distractions and get to work.
In September of 2019, I had a book project that I’m not sure I would’ve finished without these beats. They helped me stay focused, write the book, and meet my deadline. Plus, I made over $20K that month (thank you book writing)!
Switching it up from the “woo-woo” stuff, another helpful resource is Contena. This is a paid job board that can help you land clients quickly.
Unlike normal freelance writing job boards, this paid resource searches all platforms to create one central job board. No need to search on 10-15 different sites per day.
When I first started using Contena, I landed a client within 2 weeks that I probably wouldn’t have found. As of this post, I’ve published 50+ articles and he’s paid me over $10,000 to write about golf!
So yes, it does cost money but it will save you time. Not to mention, all it takes is one client to pay for the entire annual membership.
If you want to learn more about the paid job board, make sure to check out my Contena review.
27. Stupid Simple SEO Course
If you want to make six figures writing and really impress clients, you need to learn SEO (search engine optimization). This is one of the most vital skills for 2019 and beyond.
Google’s organic traffic is one of the best kinds of traffic out there. While they have algorithm changes as well, Google is where 90% of people do their online searches.
If you can learn to rank your clients’ work on Google, you will never have a problem landing writing gigs.
Because here’s the thing, social media traffic is very fickle. All it takes is your client’s Instagram or Youtube to get shut down and they will lose followers instantly.
But if they have an email list and articles that rank high on Google, they will always get site traffic. So if you can provide that, you will be a valued part of the team.
While SEO is too massive of a topic to write about here, there is one tool that helped me more than anything else.
Stupid Simple SEO
So what’s my ninja trick to getting clients (and my blog) content to page one?
It’s an online course called “Stupid Simple SEO” by Mike Pearson. The name is ironically perfect as SEO is feared by so many online entrepreneurs.
Mike does a brilliant job showing you exactly what it takes to write epic content that Google loves. If you’re a blogger, it’s a double win as you can learn how to rank your own content as well.
Mike is a master of SEO and created a website that made $95,000 in passive income from Amazon affiliates in 2017. Did I mention he did that while still working a full-time job?
Clearly, he knows his stuff. And he did it all through SEO.
Learn more about Stupid Simple SEO here.
28. Notes App
If you’re like most writers, you probably have a million notes on your smartphone. As an iPhone user, I love the notes app.
It makes it easy to quickly log a thought, headline or ideas for future articles. You just never know when the inspiration will strike!
If you want to 10x your note app, give Evernote a try. It’s another free piece of software that will sync all of your ideas up across multiple devices.
They make it seamless to keep all of your ideas in place no matter your device. With Evernote, you shouldn’t have writer’s block ever again!
30. Keywords Everywhere
The final expert writing tool to help step up your SEO game is Keywords Everywhere. This chrome extension makes it easy to quickly find search volume on any term on Google.
Plus, it will give you secondary (LSI) keywords to help support your main keyword. Keywords Everywhere is now paid but it’s very minimal as it’s based on how many times you search. I think $10 would last you for months.
But I guarantee it will help you publish more SEO rich content.
FAQs About Writing Tools
What tools do professional writers use?
I use or have used every single tool on this list. I’m all about finding ways to maximize my time, write words faster, create awesome content for clients, and speed up success.
If you aren’t using a lot of these tools, you are setting yourself for failure. Please learn from my mistakes to scale your writing business.
Some of the most used ones are Evernote, Grammarly, Google documents, CoSchedule Headline Analyzer, and Freshbooks.
What is the best writing software?
One tool that I haven’t used yet (as I don’t write too many books) is Scrivener. It’s an advanced word processor, project manager, and formatting tool all-in-one.
This is many authors’ favorite set of book writing software because of its advanced features. Plus, you can use it on both Mac and PC.
Another is prowritingaid (which I haven’t used yet either) and checks your grammar similar to Grammarly.
What are the best apps for writers?
Personally, I love Trello, Fiverr, Youtube (for binaural beats), Primed Mind, Buffer, and Google Docs. Make sure to test out different apps and find ones that help you become more productive and efficient with your time.
If you’ve ever wondered, “What tools do writers use,” hopefully this post has helped. As I mentioned in the intro, as a freelance writer, you are trading your time for money.
Not that it’s a bad thing but you need to be aware of it. You need to guard your time as if your life depended on it. Remember, you can always make more money but you will never get your time back.
If you’re brand new to freelance writing, don’t feel like you need to have all of these before getting started. Instead, keep adding them on as you become more advanced.
As you write more words each week and month, I know these will help your grammar, organization, and sanity. Once you start making money as a writer, you can always upgrade your toolbox.
What other tool has helped you write more words and improve your writing business?
Let me know in the comments!
- Episode 112: 7 Lessons From My Failed Blog - July 21, 2020
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- Episode 108 – From Dream Job at Google to Full-Time Medium Writer - July 9, 2020