It’s not easy crafting effective content. Even the most experienced writers can get tangled in clunky sentences, awkward phrasing and typos. The good news is, proofreading and copyediting software can help smooth out your content and add a little polish.
Whether you want a quick grammar check or higher-ranking content in search engines, you’ve got plenty of writing tools to choose from. We asked a few marketers, writers and SEOs to tell us about their favorite copyediting software.
Choosing the Right Copyediting Software
Artificial intelligence is making copyediting software incredibly robust. Unlike rule-based grammar checkers, software that uses AI can analyze enormous amounts of writing to learn patterns in sentence construction. It uses these patterns to suggest ways of refining your writing.
Powered by machine learning, copyediting software can perform simple and complex tasks:
- Correct spelling and grammar mistakes
- Identify hard-to-read sentences
- Detect passive vs active voice
- Help with word choice
- Recommend changes in tone
- Evaluate reading level
- Detect duplicate text or plagiarism
- Make SEO keyword recommendations
The best copyediting software depends on your needs. Are you looking for a quick grammar check or real-time feedback? How important is SEO? You may want a couple of programs on hand based on the task.
Dale Cornshaw, a technical writer, produces up to 3,000 words per day. “There is a huge difference in editing for your everyday needs, like letters or Facebook messages, and professional editing,” he says.
Let’s see what professional writers, marketers and SEOs are using when crafting content.
Copyediting Software for Overall Style
Grammarly has been around for more than a decade, and, like other programs, has evolved in sophistication. It can detect spelling and grammar mistakes and suggest ways to improve style, clarity and tone.
Rebekah Edwards, co-founder of Content Creators Agency, has been using the software for several years. “It definitely doesn’t catch everything, but [does] help catch common errors that I otherwise miss when proofreading content,” she says.
The tool works with a variety of programs, including Messenger, Slack, Google Docs and MS Word. “The best thing about Grammarly is how well it integrates everywhere I write,” Edwards adds.
Features of Grammarly
- Free version offers basic writing suggestions and checks spelling, grammar and punctuation
- Premium version detects plagiarism and evaluates clarity, tone and word choice
- Business version lets you create a company style guide for teams of up to 149 employees
Cornshaw ranks ProWritingAid as his favorite copyediting software because of its flexibility.
“I can start with a short check of my grammar, style and structure,” he says. “The tool can highlight overused words or repeats, and suggest alternatives to make the text smooth. It helps improve readability.”
Edwards also reaches for ProWritingAid, highlighting its in-depth reports that focus on different elements of your writing.
“Most reports are included in the free version and span helpful results from words I use too often to clichés,” she says. “I’ll be honest — my biggest struggle is not accidentally speaking in a passive voice. Both Grammarly and ProWritingAid help me catch those instances when I fall into old habits.”
While ProWritingAid is powerful, Cornshaw notes that speed can be an issue. “[It] can be a bit laggy sometimes and is not as fast and user-friendly as…competitors like Grammarly,” he adds.
ProWritingAid at a Glance
- Integrates with MS Word, Google Docs, Scrivener, Open Office and Final Draft. Browser extensions are also available.
- Generates reports focused on grammar, readability, consistency, sentence length, transitions and pacing
- Options for monthly, annual or lifetime subscriptions
Copyediting Software for Quick Grammar Checks
“You just type your content right into the checker. The website will point out errors in grammar, spelling, structure, punctuation, tense and more,” Raby explains.
Raby likes the ability to choose what the software scans for, such as passive voice, repetitive sentence structure or weak descriptions. You can do “an initial check for grammar and structure, and then a final check for spelling,” he explains.
Slick Write at a Glance
- Free web-based tool
- Provides a readability index
- Looks for variety in sentence structure and word length
- Highlights content that may be repetitive or difficult to read
While Cornshaw turns to ProWritingAid for detailed edits, he opts for Hemingway Editor for a quick readability check.
“The tool gives you a readability score from 1 to 15 and highlights sentences that are hard to read,” he says. “Basically, it’s a fast way to see which parts of my paper might require additional work.”
Hemingway at a Glance
- Free web-based tool
- Simple interface that groups similar mistakes by color
- Highlights hard-to-read sentences and passive voice
- Identifies weak phrasing or word choice
Copyediting Software for SEO
“POP actively provides SEO recommendations as you write,” explains Bliss. “[It] has contributed to our content’s ability to rank in position four, on average, in the first 90 days after publishing.”
PageOptimizer Pro at a Glance
- Analyzes content against top competitors
- Makes suggestions about keywords, LSI terms, word count and header tags
- Recommends where to use keywords in copy (title, subheadings and main content)
- Scores content based on keyword usage
- Monthly subscription packages
“Much of my work involves hitting the same beats as the competition who are already ranking in Google,” he says. Bedford notes it’s important to not let content optimization tools control your writing, but is seeing tangible SERP results. “I’m finding the first pass of each long-tail article now has a much higher chance of breaking through the noise,” he says.
Bedford monitors his content and reworks it over time. “Those that don’t perform within a reasonable time period get a second or third pass. Each time, I focus the scope of the article to more closely touch on the broader search intent of any given topic. Slowly but surely, you’ll see performance gains,” he says.
Surfer at a Glance
- Integrates with WordPress and Google Docs
- Compares keywords on competitor pages to develop content guidelines
- Additional tools to help plan content strategies
- Monthly subscription plans
Cornshaw’s favorite copyediting software for SEO is Copywritely. He uses the software to check for keywords, duplicate content and redundant phrases. “It’s easy to use and is pretty cheap,” he explains. “Just $18 a month for 50 checks, which is enough for me.”
Copywritely at a Glance
- Scans content with the goal of ranking higher in search engines
- Makes suggestions for replacing low-quality content
- Identifies plagiarism and keyword stuffing
- Provides readability scores
- Grammar checker
- Monthly plans for personal, business and enterprise use
Still Looking for Your Favorite Copyediting Software?
If the programs touched on in this article aren’t right for you, here are a few more to consider. It may take a few tries to find the copyediting software that works best for your needs.
Crowd Content offers flexible content solutions for small businesses, agencies, brands and retailers. Contact us today to learn how our professional freelance writers can provide you with high quality content that’s ready to publish.