Angie Greiner

Dec 19 2016

3 Free Tools for Developing Online Content


free online content creation tools

Developing content isn’t always easy. You have website pages to write, blog posts to create, comments to engage with, along with finding interesting things to share with your followers. Sometimes it feels like you’re treading water just trying to keep up with it all. Like many small business owners, you have little time and staff dedicated to developing engaging content. Here are 3 free tools that help you develop online content.

1. Canva
For graphic content and imagery.

In my opinion, Canva is one of the best resources for small businesses trying to maintain a presence online. Graphics are an important component of content. They are more eye catching and shareable on social media than plain text. Canva makes graphic design easier for small businesses with limited time and resources.

Canva offers free photos (although not all designs and graphics are free) and templates for Facebook cover photos, Twitter posts, Instagram posts, and Pinterest graphics. You don’t have to know the size; Canva does it for you. Canva also has templates for posters, flyers, and business cards. If you have photos that you’d like to use, you can upload them into a template and add color and typography.

If you need a little design inspiration; Canva offers a place for that too! They have a wonderful Design School that helps you get started with fonts, colors, and images. It’s a great tool for small businesses who don’t have the resources to hire graphic designers, plus it’s a fun way to unleash your creativity!

2. Hemingway Editor
Proofreading tool.

The Hemmingway App’s free online editor makes suggestions for clear and concise writing. The Hemingway Editor color codes complex words and phrases, long sentences, too many adverbs, and passive voice. It also provides you with a readability grade using the Automated Readability Index. Studies show the average American reads at a 10th grade level, so 10th grade and lower is a good target.

My favorite feature of the Hemingway Editor is Read Time within Words. Words tells you how many paragraphs, sentences, words, characters, letters, and the read time of your writing.  By comparing read time to your website analytics, you can see how long visitors stay on your page or blog post. For example, if your Read Time is two minutes and web statistics say visitors were on your page for two minutes and 15 seconds, you can assume most visitors read your entire blog post–a valuable insights to see what’s working and what’s not so you can be as effective as possible.

3. Google Keyword Planner
For getting your website found on search engines.

To begin using Google’s Keyword Planner tool, you need to sign up for a free Google AdWords account. This tool is a fantastic way to find keywords that people may use to find your website. Plus, it provides statistics that help you decide what keywords to add to your webpage to help with search rankings. For example, as a bank that handles mortgage loans, Google’s Keyword Planner Tool can show other keywords that are most often searched, like “home loan” and “real estate loan.” From there, your text can be changed to include those terms on your webpage where applicable.

This tool also shows the way customers may search for your business instead of the way you may refer to your business. This can be true for the term “real estate” which may not be searched as often as “mortgage loans” or “home loans.” You can even break it down by region, so maybe in the Midwest, most searches are for “mortgage loans” but on the West Coast, people search “real estate loans” more often. In that situation, you could update webpages according to what was searched most often in that region.

Along with proving these insights, this is how you start advertising with Google Adwords.  Google Adwords is a great way for small businesses to get found on the first page of Google by bidding for relevant keywords. You might find Google Adwords is a great equalizer for your small business by allowing you to compete for keywords and the first page of Google with large online companies nationwide.

These are just a few of the many great tools available for content creation. What other online tools have you found success with? Start a conversation about what has worked for you in the comments below. Or, if you have any questions about online content creation, let me know and I’d be happy to try to help!

Angie Greiner

About Angie Greiner

Angie Greiner is Marketing Officer, Digital Content Manager at Hills Bank's Operation Center in Hills, IA. She has been at Hills Bank since 2006 working with online content creation. Angie can be reached at angie_greiner@hillsbank.com.


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