Last time, I shared three easy ways to improve your writing. They’re really simple: read, write without thinking of SEO, etc. and get feedback.
Today, I want to raise the oft-talked about topic of bloggers being good writers yet again. Practice makes perfect, and the more you write, the better you get at it.
Make writing well a habit, and you’ll improve daily.
More than just writing, however, there is the matter of proofreading, which I believe to be just as important. We have to admit that not all bloggers are excellent writers, but as I have said before, that doesn’t have to be the case. Many mistakes in blog posts are the result of not editing or proofreading carefully.
That’s where tools like Grammarly can help you.
Truth to be told, I never really relied on such tools before, as I have made it a habit to proofread as much as I can. I do realize, however, that spell-check and grammar-check tools can be useful. So, when the people at Grammarly reached out to me, I decided to give it a test run and see if it can be helpful to other bloggers.
What is Grammarly?
It is a web app that serves as a checker for spelling, grammar, plagiarism, and word usage. While there are word processors have these functions – to some degree – Grammarly takes things to a new level with these functions:
- Checks for contextual errors like there, they’re, their
- Offers error explanations and correction tips
- Assists with citations to help you avoid plagiarism
There is also a free Grammarly Chrome Extension, which:
- Has 100 checks for sentence structure, writing style issues, and effective vocabulary
- Integrates with all your online writing like emails, WordPress posts, and Facebook messages
If you don’t use Chrome, the Grammarly extension will be available on all other browsers later this year.
The web app is free to use, so that is a plus for bloggers! If you try it out, and you like what you see, you can get the Premium plan, which costs $11.66. This plan has more features, naturally, including:
- Over 250+ checks for sentence structure, writing style issues, and effective vocabulary suggestions
- Web Editor
- Microsoft Office Add-in
- Customized writing corrections for over 30 document types like student essays, professional emails, and personal blogs
Some people don’t like paying for services, but if you think about it, having a tool that helps you write better-quality blog posts, you’ll only benefit from it. From this perspective, the cost is justifiable, isn’t it? (Look at it as 2-3 coffees from Starbucks.)
What do I think of Grammarly?
Now that I’ve given an overview of Grammarly, much like in press release-style, I can stop there, and not care if you buy the “PR” or not. Then again, as I stated in the beginning of this article, my goal was to determine if bloggers can benefit from using the web app in real life.
Features on paper is one thing. Application in real life is another.
When I logged into my account, my first impression was how simple the interface looked.
As you can see, the options are very few, without making it confusing for the user. You are prompted to install the Chrome Extension, and you see the option to create a new document or upload one.
I went for the Chrome Extension, which is probably what is best for most bloggers. Imagine creating a blog post on WordPress, updating your Facebook status, writing a tweet, or participating in a thread on Quora and seeing potential mistakes before you hit publish. That’s what the extension can do, and I love how it does it!
Check out this Facebook status.
The underlined words are incorrect – or potentially incorrect, and when you hover over them, you’ll see suggestions and explanations. The red circle at the bottom right shows the number of the errors in your text. Before you see that red circle, you’ll see a green one with a rotating arrow. This indicates that Grammarly is at work, checking your writing. If you don’t see the red circle, you’re doing great!
Even better, Grammarly works with email, too.
No more sloppy emails!
If you think this is cool, then you’ll be even more pleased because you’ll have this experience with anything you do/write – as long as you’re on Chrome. No more typos or mistakes that can be embarrassing or turn off readers and potential clients.
If your work requires you to work with a document instead of Chrome, then you can still use Grammarly. Here’s a look at working with documents.
You can choose the document type.
And you’ll see error alerts as you write.
There are different types of error alerts which you can turn on and off, depending on what you want to be monitored.
This is what I like about Grammarly – it gives you alerts, suggestions, and explanations (which you learn from), but it doesn’t force you to follow those suggestions. Remember, it is an automated tool, and while expert linguists were part of creating it, you’re still the creator of your work at the end of the day. You have a brain, and you ought to use it to decide whether a suggestion should be followed or not.
That being said, the web app does help you catch mistakes that are easily overlooked. Additionally, if you’re not that good with grammar, sentence structure, and word usage, Grammarly can improve your knowledge with its explanations.
The result? Blog posts that are well-written and more polished. And what blogger wouldn’t want that?
Should you use Grammarly?
It’s really up to you, but in my opinion, every blogger should take advantage of the free tool, at the very least. If you want to make a reputation as a meticulous writer, take a look at Grammarly and decide for yourself.