Are there any apps for writers that can help you speed things up?
You know, get organized and write faster. Give your writer website an SEO boost. And avoid a rolling-around-on-the-floor anxiety attack when you get around to invoices, accounting, and taxes.
In case your head is stuck in the sand, there’s a lot more to freelance writing than just cranking out copy for clients. Being a great writer definitely helps.
But if you neglect all the other parts of running a freelance business, getting ahead will feel like you’re inching along in rush-hour traffic.
Believe me, I know what it’s like. I’ve had my share of frustrations as a freelance writer trying to balance home, work, family, and everything else.
So how do you manage the crazy, run a freelance business, and speed up success? Check out the 11 plug-ins and apps for writers I’m using right now:
What can you do improve SEO for your writer website? Or if a prospect asks if you know how to do SEO, what’s your answer?
Use Yoast. It’s great app for writers that you add to your WordPress site by downloading the plug-in. Yoast takes a lot of the guesswork out of SEO by helping you with techie stuff like writing:
- SEO-optimized content
- Meta tags
- Meta descriptions
- Excerpts, and more.
If you don’t know what any of that means. Don’t worry. Yoast uses Red Light, Yellow Light, and Green Light indicators to help you improve your content for SEO.
Have you ever followed a link that took you to a dead end on the Internet? In programmer-talk, that’s usually a 404 Error. And you don’t want anyone on your writer website or a visitor on your client’s site to end up there.
- If you get a 404 Error, either the creator deleted the page or website before directing the post to a new location. And Google hates that.
One of the apps for writers that can help you manage this is the Redirection plug-in for WordPress. Download it, and follow some basic instructions to set it up.
Now all you need to do before sending that piece to the bin, is type in the post URL and direct your old post to your newer updated feature piece. Everyone wins here, and you will not be penalized for sending readers to an old 404 page.
What’s the average amount of time a reader stays on a page of your your writer website?
Or if you’re having a content marketing conversation with a client, bring it up. A lot of digital marketers consider a 2 to 3-minute page view an industry standard.
If it’s not anywhere close to that, there are a lot of variables and factors to consider (like the copywriting and design). But among apps for writers, there’s at least one that can help you keep readers engaged.
The Breadcrumb navXT plug-in makes it easy to display a link to your old and new post pages, usually at the top of bottom of your site.
How do you get your writer website to look like that?
If you’re not a web designer, you could literally spend hours and hours trying to figure it out. And even then, you might still be stuck. So what if you don’t have an arm and a leg to pay a designer?
The Child Theme Configurator plug-in for WordPress can help you. Here’s how:
- Use it to create a copy or “child theme” of your site.
- Go into the child theme before you mess around with any of your website coding.
- If the changes you make look good, you saved a lot of money. And if it doesn’t, your website won’t go down in a ball of burning flames.
Don’t want to try and figure it out or spend a ton of time designing your writer website? Check out FolioSetUp (which Carol recommends and proudly affiliate sells).
If you run your own blog, or manage the back-end of a blog for a client, along with writing posts, how do you keep track of all the content?
The WP Editorial Calendar makes it easy to:
- Plan out a blog series
- Schedule newsletters
- Add a project to the calendar, move it around, and more
It’s a total time saver for keeping track of past, current, and upcoming content in one place.
Make a Living Writing uses the WordPress Editorial Calendar to run this site and publish blog posts twice a week.
There’s nothing wrong with using an old-school notebook to jot down notes, story ideas, and references to look up later. But what if you lose your notebook or don’t have it with you when you need it?
Use Wunderlist. It’s one of the apps for writers out there that I use to:
- Flesh out story ideas or blog posts
- Categorize projects
- Keep all my notes in one place
- Send reminders to my phone
Wunderlist is a list-taking application that can help you flesh out, categorize projects, and send you friendly notifications to your mobile device. Her’s what the interface looks like:
If you don’t want to use all the features, it’s still an effective tool for keeping track of your daily to-do list to meet your freelance deadlines and goals.
Say goodbye to a mess of papers, notes, and digital info scattered all over your computer. OneNote has a long list of features to help you develop a story or blog post and run your freelance business.
- Record interviews
- Keep images for a project
- Get a screen shot
- Store hand-written notes
- Keep all your projects organized in digital notebooks, and more
After you flesh out your next project in Wunderlist, bring it over to OneNote to start categorizing your project steps.
This isn’t complicated. Notepad for Android is a simplistic notepad you can use when you’re faced with a time-crunch. It’s perfect to capture those great-idea moments when you’re in the middle of something else or short on time. You can even leave the app without saving.
Later, go back and use your notes to formalize a game plan with Wunderlist and OneNote.
You come up with a great story idea, but you don’t know a lot about the topic. Sound familiar?
You can use WikiHow to reduce your learning curve and time spent searching for information. But don’t stop there.
Carol recommends scrolling down to the bottom of the page and using the provided sources. Then check out those sources to find a subject matter expert, book an interview, and get more information to write your piece.
Need a free alternative to Quickbooks? If you are just starting out, Wave’s free accounting software is the best alternative. Believe me, I’ve looked. It’s pretty easy to set up (on a desktop or laptop), then add the app to your mobile device. The feature’s you’ll probably use most will help you:
- Record your income
- Keep track of expenses
- Create and manage invoices
- Keep track of payments
- Make sure you get paid
- File your taxes
FYI – This software has helped me with money management and get financially organized as a freelancer.
Use apps for writers to speed up freelance success
With just four weeks left until 2019, now is a great time to start using apps for writers to speed up your success. I’ve used these apps to get organized, boost credibility in search results, be more productive, and make more money. And so can you.
Tamara Grace is an Alabama-based freelance writer, SEO expert, and storyteller for B2C clients.