Content Writing Starter Pack: All the free tools a prospective Content Writer needs to start writing

Content is indeed the King: Imagine what a website would look like without any words to describe it, a website with just videos and Images and zero captions or text.  

How will you navigate through that page? 

A picture might be worth a hundred words, but without words, how would you describe a picture? Even the game of Charades requires the opposite team member to guess the correct word.

Websites, on the whole, are full of content, be it the descriptions of services, a few words about the company, or a website blog that educates the people. These words are written by either the website owner or they hire an appropriate niche-specific content writer. 

Now, do you think you can do that? Can you write quality content for a website or blog? Those are the first steps. To make your journey easier, I have created a list of tools that I have been using ever since I began my journey as a content writer. Some, like Canva, I have recently re-discovered, and others like plagiarism checker and Grammarly are tools of the Content Writing trade that are as important as the air we breathe.

Table Of Contents:

9. Frequently Asked Questions:

9.1. What is the Payment Threshold For Freelance Content Writing?
9.2. What's the difference between a content writer and a copy writer?
9.3. How many Revisions Should I Offer a Client?

I love Google Docs for its simplicity. Unlike Microsoft Office that'll cost you a pretty penny or a year subscription, Google Doc will cost you nothing. Though there are options such as LibreOffice and WPSOffice, they have just too many options. 

Also, when you are doing your research, you can quickly note down things into the online browser rather than switching to another application such as WPS Office. It's one of the mistakes newbies tend to make. You'll lose a lot of time switching between the applications. 

You probably have a Google account. If not, you can create one: Once you do, you can sign up for Google drive. It allows you to not only access Google docs but a myriad of other options.

Getting back to Google Doc: It has all the essential writing features, such as heading tags, content outlines, voice typing, translate document, and extensions. 

1.1 Headings Example: 

The following image shows Headings 1 to 5 varying in size as well as Title and Subtitle:

1.2 Document Outline Example: 

Here's the Outline for the above headings:

This outline will let you easily navigate through the pages. If the document outline isn't visible by default, you can enable it from the View menu as follows:

1.3. Voice Typing: 

You can enable it from the Tools Menu: 

Once you enable the Voice Typing feature, allow Google the permission to record your voice:

I can't believe I haven't used this till now: But then I prefer typing. There's just something about putting your hands on the keyboard and putting your fingers at work.

It might not seem like a useful tool for a full-time content writer working in a corporate office, but it might work brilliantly for the freelance content writers working from home. That's an opinion. We can always find ways around to make our jobs simpler. 

Now that I have discovered this gem, I'm going to experiment with Voice Typing. So far, the issues I detected have been with pronunciation detection. 

For example: 
First Try ->First cry
So far -> Sofa

1.4: Translating Documents:

Select the Translate Document Feature from the tools menu: 

You can edit the document Title. Once you translate your document, Google Docs will open a newly translated document with that title. Now, pick a language you want to translate to. I have chosen Greek: 

Before Translation (In English): 

After Translation (In Greek): 

1.5: Google Doc Add-ons

Next: you can add more functionally from the Add-on section: 

There are other alternative like Zoho docs as well.

Let's be honest now: 

There are very few writers who understand the use of the correct grammar. Not only does this application help a content writer send their clients clean Grammarly approved work, but it also helps us learn in a new way.

A majority of us learn things by doing. Grammarly is a great solution for those interested in improving their work.

Let me show you some of its features.

First: Here's a preview of my content before I added it to Grammarly: 

Notice the Overall Score in the corner: 67 

That score is not acceptable. The document not only has spelling mistakes, but it also has atrocious grammar. It would be a cause for worry if Grammarly didn't exist. Grammarly instantly runs spell-check, apostrophe-check, improper capitalization check, and so on. Correcting your text with the help of Grammarly's suggestion will give you at least a score above 80. 

After that, you have to fix the writing mistakes. We'll talk about some of the common mistakes we make. 

Common Grammarly mistakes:

2.1. Punctuation in compound/complex Sentence:

The second most tricky grammar element after clauses, punctuation can be flexible in a broader term, which makes them even harder to use. 

The most challenging amongst them are commas. We have to be very intuitive while using commas. Where some sentences beg for commas, others don't make any sense when you add commas. Now, let's talk about the above example. I'm missing commas in two places, and I haven't added a full stop/period.

Here's what the statement with proper punctuation and word usage looks like:

2.2. Passive voice misuse:

Now, this might not be an issue for you, but it is for me. Yes, it still bothers me now and then. But you should also notice that strips away any individuality from your writing, turning it into a generally accepted standard.

Now, remember that with this mistake, you have an open field. First, you can keep the sentence. Or you can rephrase the sentence, or you can change it to something better suited as I have done.

2.3. Use of Apostrophe:

The image sums up how to properly use an apostrophe with contractions. Adding 's' at the end of numerous English words turns them into a plural. But with an apostrophe, now we have a completely different scenario. 

2.4. Word Choice Error

If you aren't a native English speaker or writer, chances are you'll be making these mistakes a lot. Because sometimes the meaning gets lost in translation. And the words that seem perfect in the sentence are anything but perfect. 

Grammarly does the role of your editor, who tells you what works and what doesn't. Like the following sentences:

If you are a beginner with little to no knowledge about writing, you should immediately start writing with Grammarly.

As you use Grammarly, you start to identify your own mistakes, detecting a pattern that you can rectify.

When writers start working on a project that they are passionate about, they usually ignore grammar. Initially, they want to get their ideas on paper or document. These are the times when Grammarly can help you get a quick fix. For content writers, Grammarly is the best thing ever invented.

Why do you need this when you know your entire content is unique? What's the world population? And how many of them write in English? Out of all these people there are atleast a few who have a similar writing style so they might use similar words. 

You'll be surprised by what is considered as plagiarism. You might unknowingly use a sentence you have commonly heard from movies or you have read in a book. That's the kind of mistakes a plagiarism checker helps with you. 

Here are a list of plagiarism checkers I run my content through:

3.1. SmallSeotools Plagiarism Checker

This one is my favorite. An authentic plagiarism checker that provides n number of plagiarism checks provided that the content limit is less than 1000 words.

3.2. Copyscape Plagiarism Checker

I have rarely used this Plagiarism Checker. And for all it claims of free plagiarism checks, the free version usually displays the msg "You have reached your daily limit."

Here's Copyscape's answer to the above error:

Image Source: Copyscape

3.3. Grammarly Plagiarism Checker

Grammarly is my second choice for a plagiarism checker. I use it only in case small SEO Tools' plagiarism checker isn't available. It works brilliantly!

This one is a no brainer. It helps you take a snapshot in a browser. At least one person in your house has either a smartphone, desktop computer, or laptop (or similar such devices). So, you are no stranger to taking snapshots or screenshots.

Of course, you could use the 'Prnt Sc' button on your keyboard and then copy the image for easy access. Or you can copy something that you liked on the internet and might someday want to go back to again.

You can also bookmark the website, but some long-form content can be tiresome to scroll through. So maybe taking a quick screenshot might help.


Add this snapshot extension from google: 

Lightshot (Screenshot Tool)

Which websites or sources do you use as a reference or for your research?

Most of the time, content writers tend to stick to the reputed sources for reference and citations. But in some rare cases, when they don't have much to go on, they move on to other sources. These are the times when you could do with some insights on these websites.

Although DA, PA, and Moz Rank are SEO terms, which some writers might find irrelevant, they help in determining the authority of a website.

Domain Authority Checker can help you determine the authority of a website that is how strong based on backlinks (Authentic websites that have found the content useful and shared it providing a backlink to the current website). The DA also determines the websites rank on a search engine. 

The Page Authority, in turn, determines the page rank and authority on the search engine. The Moz Rank is an overall website rank which ultimately makes uses of DA & PA to assign a rank to a website.

It also gives you the age of a website: Telling you how long the website has been on the internet.   

5.1. SeoReviewTools: 

With SEO Review Tool's Website Authority checker, you get detailed Page Authority Score and Domain Authority Score: 

5.2. SmallSEOTools: 

Small SEO Tools gives you a quick peek at the domain authority data and covers: DA, PA, and Moz Rank. 

For information about backlinks, domain ratings, and website SEO scores, you can click on the check link in front of the respective option. 

Or you can click on the More link for a detailed report. 

5.3. Ahref Authority Checker: 

Preferred by the top SEO experts in the world, ahrefs must be of the least utilized content writing or ideation tool.  

Every creative design I have used on this website comes from Canva, be it the website design, my Instagram posts

(@obsessive_readers_problems and @armedwithkeyboard), or the Featured Post Image for this particular post.

It's free: It's an extensive tool that allows you to make videos, add short video clips, audio, and several functionalities to your creation:
Here's something quick I created for this example:

7.1.   Pixabay: 

Most of the images do not require attribution, but the owner always appreciates a link back. The Pixabay License, as shown in the image: Free for commercial use, No attribution required.

You'll have to get through the captcha. Sometimes just clicking on the box will get you through. Other times, you have to solve a captcha to proceed to download.


Once you have downloaded an image, the following message will be displayed: 

Now, copy and paste the text below the image you have downloaded to show the image author your appreciation for their work. 

The text generates a code, which you can copy in your editor's HTML view. 

Using Pixabay, I found an image of this beautiful water lily in all its glory: 

Image by Couleur from Pixabay

7.2. Pexels

One unique feature about Pexels and one of it's the newest addition: You can download an image of Custom Size. For example, Featured image sizes required for several different CRMs such as WordPress or  Blogger, varies based on some criteria. So, with the custom size, you can directly download an image in your preferred size rather than resizing it later. 

Just like Before with Pixabay, you provide image attribution by copying the text and pasting it below your image. 

Fun story: 

I was looking for a picture of a flower to continue with the earlier theme when I came across an image that I had to share. I had to stop and marvel at the beauty of the pic that I'm sharing next: It has flowers, but the captivating part of the image is this beautiful lady enjoying nature's beauty. 

Photo by Edu Carvalho from Pexels

Regardless of which way you choose to go, be it a freelance content writer juggling few worthy clients or a full-time content writer for a Digital Marketing Agency, you'll always be looking for your next big blog topic. 

Being a content writer for three years has taught me that you need to use all the tools at your disposal to make your content stand out. And believe it or not, sometimes you are under a lot of pressure to come up with original content (be it a blog title or a blog).  

A blog title is just as important. I admit I suck at coming up with these so-called catchy titles, but that comes under copywriting and is a story for another day, which we will never talk about. (I can only take so much embarrassment for a day)

When I was working as a full-time content writer, my boss at the time gave us half an hour to come up with some catchy titles.

Now get this, we were tired and almost packed and ready to leave for the day.

P.S: Not really up for a challenge that was presented to us.

So, there were three of us, we put together our heads and came up with some shitty titles. Those titles were ultimately rejected and got us, "What am I going to do with you?" looks from our boss.

There will be clients and bosses who'll expect you to get shit done at an inhuman pace. So, when your mind refuses to co-operate, tools like Blog Topic Generator are a huge help. Additionally, they also provide comedic relief in stressful situations.

For example, Portent gave me this unique gem of an Idea: 
Darth Vader's Guide To Content Writing

If only Darth Vader could find the time to create content writing tutorials

Darth Vader's Two Cents on the topic: 


So, anyway here are the two of the best tools to find content writing topics, it by using these super easy blog topic Ideas generators (that even I need to start using):

8.1. Portent's Idea Generator: 

The fun part about Portent is that you can keep clicking on the See another title button until you find something remotely close to what you are looking for:

Idea 1: 

Idea 2:

You can add up to 5 Nouns in the text box: But this will treat each noun as a single entity for a new topic: 

For example:

Ideas Generated For the Noun: Content Writing

Ideas Generated For the Noun: Tips

So, no, they do not use the five nouns to compose a title. Instead, they are used separately and sometimes provide drastic results.

Let's talk about the payment terms and what's an acceptable threshold for a beginner. We'll also tackle the difference between a content writer and a copywriter. And finally, the number of acceptable revisions. 

9.1. What is the Payment Threshold For Freelance Content Writing?

As a freelance content writer, you have to compete not just with content writers whose writing skills match yours but also with those who are willing to settle for low payment. 

There are writers out there who accept work for 10 PPW, 20 PPW, or 50 PPW. I have to admit I have been desperate enough to do it as well. Experience counts, with experience, comes the maturity to stand firm not be hoodwinked by an expert negotiator.

Everyone, including us, is interested in affordable services, but that's doesn't mean you undervalue your work. If you are sure about the quality of your work: Stand Strong. You should at least charge 1 Rupee Per Word, if not more. 

If you are unsure of the quality, you can drop me an email at I can take a look at your content and give you my honest opinion. Also, remember, it might not be what you want to hear.

When you are sure about your content's quality, as a Freelance content writer, you can approach prospective clients with instilled confidence, which helps you convince them.

9.2. What's the difference between a content writer and a copy writer?

I have been a content writer for three years now (as of 2020). I have been asked to do the job of both. Also, there are article writers, which by the name is self-explanatory.

To understand the roles of Content writer and Copywriter, you can refer to the LinkedIn Post By Manivanna Sadasivam. It highlights the differences between Content Writer & Copy Writer. And to be honest, no one could have summed it up better. It might also clear up any queries you have regarding a content writer job description and what's expected of a content writer.

9.3. How many Revisions Should I Offer a Client?

In a perfect world, I would say none. But there needs to be a little flexibility. 1 Revision is more than enough as long as you meet the client's requirement first time around.  

If the client comes around with new requirements, that's on him: Let the client know that you can't start everything from scratch. Set up a cost for extra revisions: Perhaps 10-15% of the original price of writing the content.

When you set such boundaries, clients are more precise with their requirements, which makes the whole process smoother.