We all know that improving your craft of writing can help you land lucrative gigs, improve your communication with prospects and customers and can even help you do well in jobs where you are not paid to write. So, where do you look online for inspiration to improve your writing skills? Fortunately, there are plenty of resources that we can tap into. As a follow-up to these tools, 25+ must have tools for content writers, here are some great learning resources that will help you write better copy.
Resources to help you write better
1. Copywriting 101 by Copyblogger
Copywriting is one of the most highly paid professions in the writing world. The ability to write good copy depends upon your ability to convince people to take some form of action. Copyblogger has a great beginners guide to copywriting that includes tips on writing good headlines, writing persuasive copy, the difference between good copy and bad copy.
2. Writing Kick-Ass Website Sales Copy by Nick Usborne
Nick Usborne has written several eBooks for freelancers and web content writers. This eBook is a great guide on how to how to write web copy that sells.
3. Plain language course by NIH (National Institutes of Health)
If you’re interested in clear communications as most writers are, you will love plain language. NIH puts out a course on plain language that goes through all the basic rules for getting your message across clearly.
4. Strunk and White’s Elements of Style
In 2011, Time magazine named Stunk & White one of the 100 most influential books written since 1923. Even though this classic book is over 50 years old, (longer if you count the first publication of Strunk in 1920), some of its advice is still relevant today. Use the active voice. Omit needless words…Look it all up on Bartleby.com, a site that publishes thousands of free online classics of reference, literature and nonfiction.
Useful blogs for writers
5. Daily Writing Tips
Get writing tips sent to your inbox, daily. Topics range from grammar to punctuation, from spelling to usage and vocabulary.
6. Grammar Girl
Grammar Girl’s description is “Your friendly guide to the world of grammar, punctuation, usage, and fun developments in the English language.” Her tips are mostly on grammar, punctuation but once you polish these, you will always have a better, clearer document.
Books on writing well
7. The Book on Writing: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Well by Paula LaRoq
From the importance of clarity to the value of a conversational tone, this book shows you some easy guidelines to good writing,
8. 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing by Gary Provost
Don’t let the fact that this book is often used as a textbook intimidate you. Gary Provost maintains a good conversational tone and explains with concrete examples. He even has tips to overcome writer’s block and how to develop your style.
Do you have a question about the correct use of a semi-colon or how to place relative adverbs in a sentence? At Edufind, you’ll find examples and a collection of exercises to test your mastery of English grammar. You can even test your current level of English with an in-depth exam.
10. Grammar Handbook
Writers workshop at the University of Illinois addresses common problems in writing such as dangling modifiers, homophones, run-on sentences and sentence fragments. A quick read of the workshop’s everyday grammar will strengthen your grammar and your writing abilities.
12. Purdue University’s OWL (Online Writing Lab)
The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University houses writing resources that help with general writing skills, grammar and punctuation.
13. Common errors in English usage
The concept of language errors is a fuzzy one and this is acknowledged by the author who wants to leave it to the linguists for technical definitions. It’s helpful to use this site to see the differences in words that are common pitfalls for even seasoned writers. Words such as affect and effect, allude and elude.
14. Ap Stylebook online
The AP Stylebook online is one resource that requires a small annual fee of $25 to join but is an indispensable tool and needs to be included in this list.
15. Chicago manual of style
The online edition of the Chicago manual of style Online provides recommendations on editorial style and publishing practices for the digital age.
Online Writing Schools
17. Writers Digest University
Writers Digest University has workshops for fiction, non-fiction, short stories and for freelance copywriting.
18. American Writers & Artists, Inc.
AWAI is a recognized resource for freelance copywriters. As a member you’ll have access to an archive of helpful and original articles. Their most popular and effective program is called The Accelerated Program for Six Figure Copywriting.
19. English forums
Stumped by a tricky grammar moment? Join these forums to get advice from others who love the language.
Tools to help you write better, clearer copy
The goal of TechTerms.com is to make computer terminology easy to understand. While definitions of computer terms can be helpful, explanations with examples are even better. Most TechTerms.com definitions include examples of how the term is used.
Thesaurus.com is easily my favorite tool online. I’m always looking to simplify my message and thesaurus.com helps me find synonyms.
I was writing content recently for a highly technical industry and reference.com was a huge help to me. Not only did I learn the meaning of essential terms, I also learned when they were used.
23. Dictionary.com and MerriamWebster.com
Both are essential dictionary resources for all content creators. Synonym.com is a great resource when you’re searching for alternate terms. Using synonyms instead of repeatedly using the same keywords is also recognized as an seo best practice .
24. Content Experiments
Content Experiments is a great conversion testing tool. It’s right inside of Google Analytics which makes it easy to use for everyone that has a Google Analytics account. It allows you to increase the value of your existing websites and traffic, as you can test your site content and design. You can show several versions of a page to different visitors. Google Analytics measures the popularity of each page version. If the user performs the action you want them to perform you know that you have hit upon your winning version of the page. It’s very effective in determining which copy works better.
Scrivener is a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long documents such as story scripts, non-fiction eBooks and theses. While it gives you complete control of the formatting, its focus is on helping you get to the end of that awkward first draft.
Do you have other writing resources you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you.
Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks.