17 great tools for copywritersOctober 3rd, 2006 2 Comments
After nearly 20 years as a professional writer, I have more effective copywriting and SEO copywriting tools at my disposal than I could poke a stick at.
Hope this list helps…
(Note: If you run a copywriting business from home, you may also be interested in reading my three-article series on home business technologies.
1) Microsoft Word (EXPENSIVE!)
No real need to describe, but some features that warrant a mention as particularly useful to copywriters include:
- Macros (Tools | Macro | Record New Macro) – particularly useful for automating those tasks that copywriters perform over and over each day. TIP: If you plan to delete a macro that’s assigned to a button in a toolbar, delete the button first. Some versions of Word won’t let you delete the button after you delete the macro. If you do happen to get caught by this gem, you have to re-add the macro – without assigning dragging it to a toolbar – then delete the button, then delete the macro again.)
- Track Changes (Tools | Track Changes) – Previously called revisions. Great for clients who like to make changes in the document. Just make sure you turn it on before you send the doc for review, because many people don’t know how to turn it on themselves, or won’t bother.
- Templates (File | Save As and set the file type to .dot) – Define all your styles and page setup in a template, then double-click on the template to create a new document based on that template – your new doc will inherit all of the styles, page setup, macros, etc., from the template.
- Dictionaries for multiple languages (select all, then click Tools | Set Language and choose your language – when you do your spell check, it will default to the correct dictionary)
- Word count toolbar (select View | Toolbars | Word Count)
Great for those times when you need something written in pure text from the outset. Notepad comes as part of Microsoft’s operating system (Start > Programs > Accessories > Notepad)
3) Puretext (FREE)
Puretext is a fast way of pasting as pure text. Great for use with Microsoft Word. Instead of having to select Edit | Paste Special | Unformatted Text or copy and paste via Notepad, you simply paste as text using user-defined short-cut keys (e.g. Ctrl | T). (And let’s face it; as copywriters, we do a LOT of copy-pasting…)
4) Google Chrome (FREE)
Google Chrome is a web browser. It’s fast, secure and allows you to supplement its native functionality with lots of extensions that let you do cool stuff. One of the most useful is the word count calculator. Simply select the text you want to count, right-click and select the Word Count tool (excellent for copywriters who need to quote for the rewrite of an existing site and the client wants approx the same word count).
5) Dictionary.com (FREE)
Dictionary.com is an online dictionary with a good thesaurus. Biggest limitation is that it’s in US English. (Well, that’s a limitation for copywriters who write in Australian or UK English!)
6) DomainsBot (FREE)
DomainsBot is a neat tool for turning ideas into names. Excellent for copywriters who work in the conceptual field or short copy copywriters.
7) Domize (FREE)
Domize is a domain name availability checker. It checks the availability as you type, and checks for multiple extensions, not just .com. Also, it’s secured, so your searches can’t be tracked (so good domains names you come up with can’t be poached).
8) RhymeZone (FREE)
Type in a word and find rhyming words. Something for jingle copywriters, and also great if you come up with business and domain names. I use this a lot.
9) Domain Name Pro ($65)
Domain Name Pro is a Windows application that you can use to come up with new domain names. I use it mostly for combining lists of words and checking the availability of the combinations. It also has other smarts, though, with rules for checking synonyms, rhymes, etc.
10) NameBoy (FREE)
NameBoy is a domain name generator and availability checker. You enter a couple of words, and press Go, and it suggests a list of similar domain names (and notes their availability).
11) Wordoid (FREE)
Wordoid makes up nonsense words that read nicely. Excellent if you’re asked to come up with a funky business name or domain name.
12) Words ending or starting in… (FREE)
Enter, say, “*pet” (without the quotes), and this tool will list all words in the dictionary that end with “pet”. Similarly you can enter “pet*”, and it will return a list of words starting with “pet”. Again, very handy for business and domain naming, or for taglines and jingles.
13) 123RF ($31 for 20 credits)
123RF is a cheap but pretty good stock photography library. Excellent for your blog feature images.
14) Google Alerts (FREE)
Google Alerts notifies you whenever it finds a page that contains a particular word or phrase. Particularly useful for identifying sites that have plagiarized your copy. (You’d be amazed at how many alleged copywriting sites have plagiarized the copy from my website!) Also useful for SEO. You can use it to find out when your URL or a client’s URL is published on page. (This generally indicates that a link to your site / your client’s site has been added.)
15) Copyscape (FREE or Paid)
Copyscape is a plagiarism checker. Enter the URL of one of your web pages, and it returns a list of other sites that have lifted the copy from that page.
16) Adeeze ($20)
Adeeze is an ebook containing hundreds (maybe thousands) of headlines and slogans ready for royalty-free use. Great for all sorts of industries. I haven’t read them all, but the ones I have seem pretty good. Written by a professional copywriter with quite a bit of experience in headlines and slogans.
17) My SEO Copywriting ebook ($7.99)
You’ll learn from practical, realistic examples…
- 8 clever techniques that SEO copywriters use every single day — techniques that will help you avoid most of the problems you’re having with your SEO copy now
- How to resolve the 15 most common conflicts between what Google wants and what your readers want
- That SEO copywriting doesn’t have to take as much time as it’s currently taking you (or you fear it might)
- And much more…
Buy now and download instantly. (All prices in USD)
Any other suggestions?
I hope you find these tools useful as you go about your day-to-day copywriting tasks. I’ve come to rely on them very heavily. Obviously, they’re a only a sub-set of all the really cool stuff out there, so if you have any other suggestions, please feel free to comment below.
Please comment below with your thoughts. I'm not so old a dog that I can't learn a few new tricks!
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