Effective writing skills are to a writer what petrol is to a car. Like the petrol and car relationship, without solid skills writers cannot move ahead. These skills don’t come overnight, and they require patience and determination. You have to work smart and hard to acquire them. Only with experience, you can enter the realm of effective, always-in-demand writers. [Content Care Dec/21/2016]
Of course, effective writing requires a good command of the language in which you write or want to write. Once you have that command, you need to learn some tips and tricks so that you can have an edge over others in this hard-to-succeed world of writers. There are some gifted writers, granted. But gifted writers also need to polish their skills frequently in order to stay ahead of competition and earn their livelihood.
Further Reading on SmashingMag: Link
- Quick Course On Effective Website Copywriting1
- Behind The Scenes of Smashing Magazine2
- The Overlooked Importance of Professional Journalism3
- Getting Practical With Microcopy4
- Five Copywriting Errors That Can Ruin A Company’s Website5
We collected over 50 useful and practical tools and resources that will help you to improve your writing skills. You will find copywriting blogs, dictionaries, references, teaching classes, articles, tools as well as related articles from other blogs. Something is missing? Please let us know in the comments to this post!
1. Grammar, Punctuation & Co. Link
Mignon Fogarty’s quick and dirty tips for better writing. Grammar Girl provides short, friendly tips to improve your writing. Covering the grammar rules and word choice guidelines that can confound even the best writers, Grammar Girl makes complex grammar questions simple with memory tricks to help you recall and apply those troublesome grammar rules.
Better Writing Skills10
This site contains 26 short articles with writing tips about ampersands, punctuation, character spacing, apostrophes, semicolons and commas, difference between i.e. and e.g. etc.
Paradigm Online Writing Assistant13
This site contains some useful articles that explain common grammar mistakes, basic punctuation, basic sentence concepts etc. Worth visiting and reading. The Learning Centre14 contains similar articles, but with more examples.
Jack Lynch’s Guide to Grammar and Style15
These notes are a miscellany of grammatical rules and explanations, comments on style, and suggestions on usage put by Jack Lynch, an Associate Professor in the English department of the Newark campus of Rutgers University, for his classes.
English Style Guide – Economist16
This guide is based on the style book which is given to all journalists at The Economist. The site contains various hints on how to use metaphors, punctuation, figures, hyphens etc. Brief and precise.
40+ Tips to Improve your Grammar and Punctuation18
“Purdue University maintains an online writing lab19 and I spent some time digging through it. Originally the goal was to grab some good tips that would help me out at work and on this site, but there is simply too much not to share.”
2. Common mistakes and problems Link
English Grammar FAQ24
A list of common English language problems and how to solve them. This list was compiled through an extensive archive of postings to alt.usage.english by John Lawler, Linguistics, U. Michigan, Ann Arbor.
3. General Writing Skills Link
learning lab / writing skills31
This site offers over 20 .pdf-documents with main rules and common mistakes related to summarising, paraphrasing, referencing, sentences, paragraphs, linking words and business writing. Handy.
UsingEnglish.com provides a large collection of English as a Second Language (ESL) tools & resources for students, teachers, learners and academics. Browse our grammar glossary and references of irregular verbs, phrasal verbs and idioms, ESL forums, articles, teacher handouts and printables, and find useful links and information on English. Topics cover the spectrum of ESL, EFL, ESOL, and EAP subject areas.
Online Writing Courses33
Free courses are a great way to improve your writing skills. The courses shown here focus on several types of creative writing, including poetry, essay writing and fiction writing.
4. Practical Guides To Better Writing Skills Link
Copywriting 101: An Introduction to Copywriting34
This tutorial is designed to get you up and running with the basics of writing great copy in ten easy lessons. Afterwards, you’ll get recommendations for professional copywriting training, plus links to tutorials on SEO copywriting and writing killer headlines.
A Guide to Writing Well
“This guide was mainly distilled from On Writing Well by William Zinsser and The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. Other sources are listed in the bibliography. My memory being stubborn and lazy, I compiled this so I could easily refresh myself on writing well. I hope it will also be helpful to others.”
Headlines and Trigger Words Link
- 50 Trigger Words and Phrases for Powerful Multimedia Content37
- 21 Traffic Triggers for Social Media Marketing38
- How To Write Magnetic Headlines39 (and even40 more41 headlines42)
- Passive Voice Is Redeemed For Web Headings43
- 5 Simple Ways to Open Your Blog Post With a Bang44
- Landing Page Tutorials and Case Studies45
- Copywriting for e-Commerce46
Common mistakes and errors Link
- 10 flagrant grammar mistakes that make you look stupid47
- The Seven Deadly Sins of Website Copy48
- Six Common Punctuation Errors that Bedevil Bloggers49
Writing tips from experts Link
- 10 Writing Tips from the Masters50
- George Orwell’s tips on better writing51
- Stephen King’s Top 7 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer52
- Ernest Hemingway’s Top 5 Tips for Writing Well53
- Writing hacks (hacks for writing)54 by Scott Berkun
Practical tips Link
- 10 Steps Toward Better Writing55
- A Guide To Becoming A Better Writer: 15 Practical Tips56
- 10 simple things you can do to improve your writing57
- 7 Can’t-Miss Ways To Kick-Start The Writing Habit58
- 10 Writing Tips for Web Designers59
- Activate Your Verbs60
- How to Write Faster, Better, and Easier61
- Writing Tips for Non-Writers Who Don’t Want to Work at Writing62
- How to Write Persuasive Links63
- A Guide to Becoming a Better Writer: 15 Practical Tips64
- 21 Must-Read Tips To Write Better Web Content65
5. Copywriting Blogs Link
Now that blogging has become the smartest strategy for growing an authoritative web site, it’s your copywriting skills that will set you apart and help you succeed. And this is where Copyblogger comes into play. Brian Clark’s popular blog covers useful copywriting tips, guidelines and ideas.
Write to Done68
Leo Babuta’s blog about the craft and the art of writing. The blog covers many topics: journalism, blog writing, freelance writing, fiction, non-fiction, getting a book deal, the business of writing, the habit of writing. Updated twice weekly.
Daily Writing Posts73
“Whether you are an attorney, manager, student or blogger, writing skills are essential for your success. Considering the rise of the information age, they are even more important, as people are surrounded by e-mails, wikis, social networks and so on.
“It can be difficult to hone one’s writing skills within this fast paced environment. Daily Writing Tips is a blog where you will find simple yet effective tips to improve your writing.”
“Copywriting website is jam-packed with useful information, articles, resources and services geared to show you how to write mouth-watering, profit-generating copy. Copy that changes minds and dramatically boosts your results. So come right in… you’re going to like what you see! It has copywriting courses, tools, articles and much more.”
6. Tools Link
Merriam Webster: Visual Dictionary86
The Visual Dictionary Online is an interactive dictionary with an innovative approach. From the image to the word and its definition, the Visual Dictionary Online is an all-in-one reference. Search the themes to quickly locate words, or find the meaning of a word by viewing the image it represents. What’s more, the Visual Dictionary Online helps you learn English in a visual and accessible way.
OneLook Reverse Dictionary88
OneLook’s reverse dictionary lets you describe a concept and get back a list of words and phrases related to that concept. Your description can be a few words, a sentence, a question, or even just a single word.
GNU Aspell is a Free and Open Source spell checker designed to eventually replace Ispell. It can either be used as a library or as an independent spell checker. Its main feature is that it does a superior job of suggesting possible replacements for a misspelled word than just about any other spell checker out there for the English language.
A one-click English thesaurus and dictionary for Windows that can look up words in almost any program. It works off-line, but can also look up words in web references such as the Wikipedia encyclopedia. Features of the free version include definitions and synonyms, proper nouns, 150 000 root words and 120 000 synonym sets.
Wordcounter ranks the most frequently used words in any given body of text. Use this to see what words you overuse or maybe just to find some keywords from a document. Text Statistics Generator97 is an alternative tool: it gives you a quick analysis of number of word occurrences.
Advanced Text Analyzer98 (requires registration)
This free tool analyzes texts, calculating the number of words, lexical density, words per sentence, character per word and the readability of the text as well as word analysis, phrase analysis and graded analysis. Useful!
Graviax Grammar Checker100
Grammar rules (XML files containing regular expressions) and grammar checker. Currently only for the English language, although it could be extended. Unit tests are built into the rules. Might form the basis of a grammar checker for OpenOffice.
Txt2tags is a document generator. It reads a text file with minimal markup as **bold** and //italic// and converts it to the formats HTML, LaTeX, MediaWiki, Google Code Wiki, DokuWiki, Plain text and more.
Markdown is a text-to-HTML conversion tool for web writers. Markdown allows you to write using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text format, then convert it to structurally valid XHTML (or HTML). Requires Perl 5.6.0 or later.
7. Further Resources Link
50 Useful Open Source Resources For Writers and Writing Majors103
And if you’re a writing major, why not take advantage of all the opportunities to get great free and open source resources that can help you to write, edit and organize your work? Here’s a list of fifty open source tools that you can use to make your writing even better.
- 1 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2012/05/quick-course-on-effective-website-copywriting/
- 2 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/07/an-interview-with-some-smashing-authors/
- 3 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/01/we-can-do-better-the-overlooked-importance-of-professional-journalism/
- 4 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2016/07/getting-practical-with-microcopy/
- 5 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/06/five-copywriting-errors-that-can-ruin-a-company-website/
- 6 http://www.wikihow.com/Use-English-Punctuation-Correctly
- 7 http://www.uottawa.ca/academic/arts/writcent/hypergrammar/
- 8 http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/
- 9 http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/
- 10 http://www.betterwritingskills.com/writing-tips.html
- 11 http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/index.htm
- 12 http://www.uottawa.ca/academic/arts/writcent/hypergrammar/
- 13 http://www.powa.org
- 14 http://ncistudent.net/articles/
- 15 http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Writing/
- 16 http://www.economist.com/styleguide/introduction
- 17 http://www.rbs0.com/tw.htm
- 18 https://owl.english.purdue.edu/
- 19 http://owl.english.purdue.edu/
- 20 http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/errors.html
- 21 http://www.askoxford.com/betterwriting/
- 22 http://www.askoxford.com/betterwriting/
- 23 http://web.mst.edu/~zhengyr/resource/Dr.%20Grammar%20-%20Frequently%20Asked%20Questions.html
- 24 http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jlawler/aue/
- 25 http://www.writersdigest.com/GeneralMenu/
- 26 http://www.infoplease.com/homework/writingskills1.html
- 27 http://www.infoplease.com/homework/writingskills1.html
- 28 http://www.bartleby.com/141/index.html
- 29 http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=78&switch=true
- 30 http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=78&switch=true
- 31 http://www.dlsweb.rmit.edu.au/lsu/content/4_WritingSkills/00writingskills.htm
- 32 http://www.usingenglish.com/
- 33 http://diplomaguide.com/articles/Online_Creative_Writing_Courses_Offered_Free_by_Top_Universities_and_Educational_Websites.html
- 34 http://www.copyblogger.com/copywriting-101/
- 35 http://www.copyblogger.com/copywriting-101/
- 36 http://www.copyblogger.com/copywriting-101/
- 37 http://www.copyblogger.com/trigger-words/
- 38 http://www.copyblogger.com/21-traffic-triggers-for-social-media-marketing/
- 39 http://www.copyblogger.com/magnetic-headlines/
- 40 http://trevorcrookblog.com/2008/05/21/8-different-types-of-headlines/
- 41 http://www.copyblogger.com/headline-swipe-file/
- 42 http://www.copyblogger.com/proven-headline-formulas/
- 43 http://www.useit.com/alertbox/passive-voice.html
- 44 http://www.copyblogger.com/5-simple-ways-to-open-your-blog-post-with-a-bang/
- 45 http://www.copyblogger.com/landing-pages/
- 46 http://thinkvitamin.com/features/biz/copywriting-for-ecommerce/
- 47 http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10-things/10-flagrant-grammar-mistakes-that-make-you-look-stupid-97444/
- 48 http://www.michelfortin.com/the-seven-deadly-sins-of-website-copy/
- 49 http://www.copyblogger.com/punctuation-mistakes/
- 50 http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/art-of-writing/?
- 51 http://www.writingclasses.com/InformationPages/index.php/PageID/300
- 52 http://www.positivityblog.com/index.php/2007/10/08/stephen-kings-top-7-tips-for-becoming-a-better-writer/
- 53 http://www.copyblogger.com/ernest-hemingway-top-5-tips-for-writing-well/
- 54 http://www.scottberkun.com/essays/54-writing-hacks-part-1-starting/
- 55 http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/advice-for-students-10-steps-toward-better-writing.html
- 56 http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/nine-tips-to-productive-revision.html
- 57 http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10-things/10-simple-things-you-can-do-to-improve-your-writing/
- 58 http://freelancefolder.com/7-cant-miss-ways-to-kick-start-the-writing-habit/
- 59 http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2009/02/10-writing-tips-for-web-designers/
- 60 http://lucindaatwood.com/active-verbs-increase-interest-and-clarity/
- 61 http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/how-to-write-faster-better-and-easier/
- 62 http://whatever.scalzi.com/2006/02/12/writing-tips-for-non-writers-who-dont-want-to-work-at-writing/
- 63 http://writetodone.com/a-step-by-step-approach-to-persuasive-writing/
- 64 http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/a-guide-to-becoming-a-better-writer-15-practical-tips.html
- 65 http://www.dumblittleman.com/2008/08/21-must-read-tips-to-write-better-web.html
- 66 http://www.copyblogger.com/
- 67 http://www.copyblogger.com/
- 68 http://writetodone.com/
- 69 http://www.problogger.net/archives/category/writing-content/
- 70 http://www.problogger.net/archives/category/writing-content/
- 71 http://menwithpens.ca/
- 72 http://www.timetowrite.blogs.com/
- 73 http://www.dailywritingtips.com/
- 74 http://www.copywriting.com/
- 75 http://www.copywriting.com/
- 76 http://copywriterunderground.com/
- 77 http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/the-ultimate-writing-productivity-resource.html
- 78 http://www.onelook.com
- 79 http://www.onelook.com
- 80 http://definr.com/
- 81 http://lifehacker.com/software/dictionary/instantly-translate-words-with-definr-326098.php
- 82 http://lifehacker.com/395368/best-online-language-tools-for-word-nerds
- 83 http://definr.com/
- 84 http://www.visuwords.com/
- 85 http://www.visuwords.com/
- 86 http://visual.merriam-webster.com/
- 87 http://visual.merriam-webster.com/
- 88 http://onelook.com/reverse-dictionary.shtml
- 89 http://www.reverso.net/spell-checker/english-spelling-grammar/
- 90 http://aspell.net/
- 91 http://www.wordweb.co.uk/free/
- 92 http://www.wordweb.co.uk/free/
- 93 http://www.writerhymes.com/
- 94 http://www.writerhymes.com/
- 95 http://www.verbix.com/languages/english.shtml
- 96 http://www.wordcounter.com/
- 97 http://textstats.sourceforge.net/
- 98 http://www.usingenglish.com/members/text-analysis/
- 99 http://www.usingenglish.com/members/text-analysis/
- 100 http://sourceforge.net/projects/graviax
- 101 http://txt2tags.sourceforge.net/
- 102 http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/
- 103 http://www.pearltrees.com/u/74741234-awesome-resources-jobprofiles
- 104 http://www.englishforums.com/
- 105 http://www.englishforums.com/
- 106 http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/the-ultimate-writing-productivity-resource.html
- 107 http://www.collegedegrees.com/blog/2008/06/11/100-useful-web-tools-for-writers/