Eight of Our Favorite Sites for Writing-Related Tools and Diversions

How did we ever survive before the Internet came along? I honestly don’t know. As a Hired Pen, I give thanks every day for writing-related tools and diversions found on websites like these.

Word Count
The dude behind WordCount got ahold of “a 100 million word collection of samples of written and spoken language from a wide range of sources, designed to represent an accurate cross-section of current English usage.” He ranks ’em all, from 1 (“the”) to 86,800 (“conquistador”). Hours of fun.

Rhyme Zone
If you’re a budding poet or songwriter, you’ve probably spent some time with your nose in a rhyming dictionary. This site makes the process much more efficient. Type in “heart” and soak in the majesty of 114 possible rhymes. Need to fill in six syllables? Try on “organization chart” for size.

Gunning Fog Index
I wrote about this one last year. The Gunning Fog Index gauges the readability of your writing by weighing the average sentence length and percentage of words with three or more syllables. If you’re a writer who cares about readability, this tool is really worth checking out.

Website Grader
How effectively is your website marketing your business? Website Grader gives you the skinny. Plug in your URL, and it’ll spit out a “score that incorporates things like website traffic, SEO, social popularity and other technical factors.” TheHiredPens.com got a 90 – not bad, but room for improvement.

Press Release Grader
From the folks who brought you Website Grader … It does a similar thing for press releases, looking at factors such as language, content and SEO characteristics.

Word Spy
Much like Kardashian sisters and zits on teenagers, new words are cropping up all the time. Word Spy chronicles this evolution – and even tells you what the words mean. Wondering what a “vegangelical” is? How about a “mommy card”? Now you’ll know.

Acronym Finder
A pet peeve of mine: copy that references an acronym without telling you what the damn acronym stands for. If you’re a writer, don’t do this to your readers. Instead, use this tool to make sure you’re explaining yourself correctly. (Hey, who knew that DAN has such exciting meanings as “Data Accession Number” and “Desk Area Network”?)

As a marketing writer, there are some words to which I naturally gravitate: provide, offer, deliver. God, I hate those words. This site helps me mix in some good alternatives. (It also has something called the “Crossword Solver,” of which I do not approve.)

Have any additions to this list? Send ’em our way.

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