Archive for the ‘Content’ Category

Be one step closer to being a better Writer, with Hemingway App

What does every writer-in-the-making need? The right inspiration, the right plot, helpful tools, or the proper environment? Truthfully, all of these! But there’s something he needs when he’s done with all of these, and that something eventually proves to be more critical than everything else. That’s a qualified, patient, and honest editor.

While there are heaps of professionals out there who can do the job of an editor extremely well, every small time writer might not be able to afford them. What he needs is someone to do the job for him equally well, but at a much reasonable price. And that’s where the Hemingway App steps in.

Hemingway App is a one of a kind online editor that allows you not just to pen down your thoughts, but helps you improve your writing performance by highlighting grammatical, syntactical, as well as prose and voice related errors so that you can make your writing bolder, stronger, and clearer. Check out the amazing features and working of this tool in our complete review here.

Hemingway App – Making your writing bolder and clearer!

Hemingway App is an online writing and editing tool that offers users a distraction-free environment to jot down their creativity. It is a rather simplistic tool with only and only what’s needed for it to do its job. When you visit the tool’s homepage, you land up right in front of the editor with a sample text written within it and suggested changes highlighted in different colors. Each color is associated with a kind of change that the tool suggests you should make. The tool indicates what kind of edit you should make to make your text more descriptive, meet it’s intended goal, hit the audience in the way it is supposed to, and be interesting too!

For example, in the sentence “You can utilize a shorter word in place of a purple one”, the word utilize is highlighted to indicate that the user should make an edit here. If the user hovers the mouse over the highlighted word, an appropriate suggestion is made by the tool to make the sentence more readable and easily comprehendible. In this case the suggestion was to replace the word “utilize” with a simpler word like “use”. So basically, the tool helps you tone down your content where needed and also makes it more forceful where applicable.

The key features of Hemingway App are:

  • It cuts the dead weight from your writing by highlighting wordy sentences in yellow and fiercer ones in red
  • Highlights adverbs, passive voice, and dull, complicated words while suggesting you to change them thus making your writing more powerful and clear
  • The tool can be downloaded as a desktop app and used without Internet
  • Includes text formatting options like bold, italics, headlines, and bullets
  • Supports one-click integrations with Medium and any WordPress blog
  • Handles everything you need for a web page, including HTML headings, formatting and links
  • Once you’re ready to publish, it allows you to export your content as HTML or Markdown for your blogging platform or CMS
  • Can work alongside other editors like Notepad, PDF, or Word by facilitating direct import options

This is how the tool works

Much of the tool’s working has been described in the previous section, however, here’s a concise account of the steps to use it:

  1. Visit hemingwayapp.com and start writing in the middle of the screen
  2. Wherever you make errors, words or phrases will be highlighted with one of the following colors indicating appropriate edits as described below:
    1. Yellow for length, complex sentences. These should be shortened or simplified to help readers understand them easily
    2. Red for extremely complicated sentences. This sentence should be edited to remove typically difficult words.
    3. Purple for words that have a simpler alternative
    4. Green for passive voice. This should be replaced with active voice words
    5. Blue for adverbs. These words can be omitted to make your writing stronger.
  3. By default, the “Edit” mode is selected which will highlight errors on the fly. If you’d like to finish writing first and then make all the edits at one go, switch to the Writing mode by clicking on the “Write” tab on the top-right corner of the screen. This actually helps focus.
  4. Text formatting options can be found in a horizontal menu placed at the top of the editor. Highlight the text you wish to format and click the appropriate formatting option to apply. Standard keyboard shortcuts also work.
  5. Interestingly, the tool also displays a summary of the kind of read your writing is. To see this click on the “Show more” label from the right hand panel of the screen. You should find the following attributes:
    1. Reading time
    2. Letters
    3. Characters
    4. Words
    5. Sentences
    6. Paragraphs

This should help you get an idea of how your readers will perceive your writing.

Pros and Cons

The pros obviously include user-friendliness and utility. However, there are a few negatives too.

  • Many of the tool’s features cannot be experienced with the free online editor.
  • To take advantage of features like platform integrations, publishing, etc. you’ll need to buy the desktop version of the product
  • Write bolder, writer clearer, with the @HemingwayApp hemingwayapp.com/ via @supermonitoring

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On the whole

Hemingwayapp is a useful tool. And priced at $19.99, it isn’t too costly either. If a basic editor with correctional abilities is what you’re looking for, this is the app for you. For advanced features however, you might want to look elsewhere.

Put your screen recording woes to rest with Screencast-o-matic

A successful blog post is made of three important elements: text, images, and video. While you may think that your text should be enough to describe your concept properly, walking that extra mile with an image doesn’t hurt. A picture speaks more than a thousand words, doesn’t it? But what works better than images, are videos; especially when you are trying to explain a complex concept. You need to monitor your post traffic to understand if your audience gets hitched on to your content easily without getting confused or intimidated with long and complex words. Videos are the best thing that have happened to the Internet; which is why more and more organizations are opting for video instructions than textual documentation.

A live walkthrough of the application that you are giving to the market, a quick demo of the new concept you are going to teach in class, tutorials to educate your team on the new tool, all of these require videos. While there are quite a few software applications available in the market that will help you create videos, what will be really nice is creating a video without actually learning the mechanics of recording combined videos.

Enter Screencast-o-matic!

Screencast-o-matic: All you need to know about this cool video creating tool

The simplicity of Screencast-o-matic is its USP. Once you perform a video recording of your screen, all you have to do is upload it to your sharing platform and that is it. Take a look at few of the many amazing features of this tool.

  • Free version entitles you to 15-minute recordings. With Pro you can record longer videos.
  • Editing Tools to make your videos more appealing (Pro version)
  • Option to add audio scripts to your recordings (Pro version)
  • Simultaneous recording of the screen along with the Webcam turned on. Or you could record only the screen or only with the Webcam turned on.
  • Direct publishing of content to YouTube. Also, you can save your content online as a video file on Screencast-o-matic’s portal.
  • Option to publish videos to Google Drive, Vimeo, and Dropbox (Pro version)
  • Easy to use. Even if you are beginner, you will find no trouble learning how to record videos of the screen.
  • They have a free version available, which comes with only a few hindrances. What’s more! The Paid version (Pro) is pretty cheap at $15 a year.

This is how it rolls

Visit Screencast-o-matic’s homepage and click on the blue button that says “Start Recording”. You’ll be directed to a page where you can choose between using a free trial or registering for a paid pro version. Our suggestion would be to try the tool out first before investing in it, so click on the green button that says “Launch Recorder”. This will download the tool launcher to your system. The executable will be named WebLaunchRecorder.exe. It is a legitimate download so you don’t need to worry about malware.

Once the download is complete, install and run the set-up file. After the setup is complete, the system will prompt you to select an option. For the free version, select the Use FREE Recorder option. You can start recording with one of the following options:

  • Record with the Webcam switched on without the screen
  • Record only the screen without the Webcam switched on
  • Record both the screen and the Webcam

To start recording, click the Rec button at the bottom left of the screen. The system displays a small timer that times everything that is being recorded. To pause or stop the recording, click the Rec button again. When you press the button for the second time, the system will display the following message:

Delete everything and start over?

Don’t panic, simply choose an appropriate option. If you have finished recording, click Done and the system will display a preview of your recording. If you want to delete your recording, click the Trash Can icon. To save your recording, choose one of the following options:

  • Save the video locally on your system with one of the following extensions: AVI, MP4, etc.
  • Upload your video to YouTube.
  • Upload your video to Screencast-o-matic.

The Good and the Bad

Let’s visit the plus points of the tool first:

  • Once you start working on the tool, it is pretty simple to navigate and get stuff done.
  • Since the tool allows you to directly upload your content to YouTube you don’t need to waste any extra time in saving it locally and going through the tedious procedure of publishing.
  • Screecast-o-matic allows you to record from both sources simultaneously, which means you save the time you would have spent if using more than one software application to combine both videos.

Now for the negatives:

  • Because Screencast-o-matic requires a constant internet connection to record everything, it gets inconvenient for users to work offline.
  • For users trying out the free version, full-screen recording is not enabled. You will have to buy the Pro version for full-screen recording.
  • The free version comes with a 15 minute limit of recording time. Of course, the Pro version does not have this limitation.
  • Another disadvantage of using the free version is that it comes without the ability to use the computer’s audio recording system. The Pro version can be used to overcome this limitation.
  • Record on-screen activity without any hassle, try @screencasto screencast-o-matic.com/ today via @supermonitoring

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Wrapping it up

While the free version is quite limited in functionality, it is still pretty useful for people wanting to make a quick recording of a short presentation or video call. Most of the limitations of the free version are not applicable to the Pro version, which in turn is not very expensive. We urge you to give Screencast-o-matic a try. Since videos are quickly becoming a must in all blog posts, Screencast-o-matic could become quite a handy tool for you.

Whiteboard animation made easy by VideoScribe

Vibrant colors coming to life, hand drawings of complicated charts, ideas that demand a world of their own; you get all this and more if you have your animation down pat! With the increase in its trend, animation is one of the most sought-after marketing techniques. It is widely used in branding, imaging, education, and a lot of other fields. Until now, Microsoft PowerPoint was the popular choice to help with those arrow tricks and zooming gradients. But that has changed; with the rising demand for cool animation tricks, comes the increase in the number of animation software options available in the online market. However, one fact remains established: Animation is the key to any marketing proposition you make to capture your audiences’ attention.

Now that that’s established, if you wanted to use animation marketing for your latest project, how would you go about selecting the right tool? Of course you’d need something easy to use so you can avoid the need of seeking help from a professional. At the same time, you need to avoid doing a sloppy job of it. You need to ensure that the end product looks as good and as professional as an expert would do it.

That’s exactly where tools like VideoScribe come into the picture.

VideoScribe – Making Doodling Fun!

Created by Sparkol in 2012, VideoScribe has seen a surge in their number of customers, and for excellent reasons too. They are at the top of their game when it comes to whiteboard animation, and have gained customers in not only the marketing industry but also in government agencies. VideoScribe has been used to create presentations by the US government, the Swedish parliament, and the UK government.

The animation software allows you to create engaging presentations without the help of a professional. It can be installed as a desktop program on both, Mac and Windows. What’s more, you can download its application on tablets running Android or iOS. The interface that VideoScribe provides is intuitive. A little playing around with the application and you will know what all the icons do and what templates are available. Additionally, you get guidebooks and tutorials to help you create engaging presentations.

Some of the most attractive features of the tool include:

  • A huge library of high-quality images to add to your presentation. You have the option to purchase premium images if you can’t find a suitable free one.
  • Support for video size and resolution modification.
  • Vast collection of royalty-free music to add your video.
  • Voiceovers can be imported or recorded.
  • Ability to add your own watermark / logo (premium feature).
  • MOV, WMV, and AVI file formats for your video output. JPG and PNG sequence offered too.
  • Facility to share whiteboard presentations on Facebook and YouTube or covert them to Microsoft PowerPoint presentations.
  • Saving projects online while working on them offline.

Created on one device, your VideoScribe presentations can be downloaded to multiple other devices.

Tool working

After you have downloaded and installed VideoScribe, you can start creating your very first scribe. While the software does come with a guidebook and tutorial, here are a few easy steps that will help you monitor your ideas come to life:

  • Launch VideoScribe and click on ‘Create a New Scribe’.
  • Click on ‘Add an image to the canvas’ and type what you are looking for in the keyword search field.
  • After you select the image, you can make changes to its resolution, size, or color in the ‘Image Properties’ window. All effects that you add to your image come with a preview.
  • Click ‘Add text to the canvas’ and type the text in the ‘Add text’ window. You can change the font, size, and color of the text.
  • Click on ‘Add a chart to the canvas’ and select the type of chart, dates for data depiction, and color in the Add chart window.
  • Click ‘Add or change a music track for this scribe’ and select a track by browsing for it in the ‘Browse music’ window.
  • Click ‘Add or change the voiceover for this scribe’ and click Record in the Voiceover window.
  • You can also change the background paper for your whiteboard presentation by clicking ‘Change the paper texture and color’ and selecting one of the available options in the ‘Paper options’ window.
  • Click ‘Select a different default hand for this scribe’ and select one of the options in the ‘Select hand’ window. You could even add something of your own by clicking the ADD YOUR OWN button.
  • To save your creation, click on Save or export this scribe -> Take a single snapshot to a PDF document. To save the scribe locally, type the name of the scribe in the ‘Save scribe’ window and save it on your system. To save your scribe online, click on ‘Save (export) online’. To export your scribe, click ‘Export to a “scribe” file’. To import your file back, click ‘Import’ and save it locally.
  • To publish your project, you must create a video file. Click ‘Publish (render) your scribe video’ and you will be able to share your video on Facebook and YouTube.

Pros VS Cons

Why we love VideoScribe

  • Ease of use.
  • The massive library of high-quality images and sound tracks.
  • Eliminates the need of a professional.

What we wish it would offer

  • Something that the others in its competition are offering: sketch to video. The sketching of a video before it plays is a good-to-have feature, and bundled with VideoScribe, it would really be the whole package.
  • The lifetime package of this software does come at a price too steep. If you are just starting out, investing in an expensive product like this one might not be a good idea.
  • Create whiteboard-style animation videos easily with VideoScribe videoscribe.co/ by @SparkolHQ via @supermonitoring

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Verdict

Overall, we’d say that VideoScribe does the job and does it well! The best part about it is that you can find out for yourself and test its mettle by trying it out for free. So go, download it right away!

Analyze the questions people ask most with Bloomberry

Most of us try to find the Google answers to at least 3 – 4 questions on a daily basis. Considering this, the apps or websites which host content about which people ask questions are bound to have huge traffic rates. Wouldn’t you want your website or app to be one of the most talked-about ones? Wouldn’t you want to put up content which prompts user discussions and helps keep you in the news?

Finding content ideas that trigger user interaction to bring about a real change in your field of work is a very challenging task. All the more if you need to put up such content on a regular basis. What would help would be a way in which you could find what makes users tick every now and then. What are things people like talking or asking questions about? Bloomberry is a unique online tool that lets you find out just that.

Bloomberry – Discover the most popular questions asked online

Bloomberry can be viewed as a database of real questions asked over the Internet. The database keeps expanding as more questions are added each day, and the tool, quite intuitively groups questions into topics so that its users can perform easy analysis. This tool is ideal for content writers, copywriters, market researchers, product innovators, and all those who’re constantly monitoring the Internet to come up with ideas that can catch people’s attention.

Bloomberry is like an elixir for the marketing industry. It lets you know exactly what it is about your industry or brand that people discuss the most.
Alternatively, you can use it to find out the most popular questions asked by your target buyer. Consider this scenario – you’re an online marketer who has been given the task of promoting a new product for a renowned company. You know what the product is about but can’t come up with the exact lines to hit the perfect sales pitch. Wouldn’t it be great if you could know the exact aspect of that product that people are most talking about? That would help you design your promotional strategy around that very aspect and sell your content like hotcakes, wouldn’t it?

That’s where Bloomberry steps in. It introduces you to questions that are already engaging audiences across the globe. It lets you know what topics people are talking about most on social platforms, so that you can use that knowledge to create the perfect marketing strategy. The tool has been created by the team behind BuzzSumo and it is extremely easy to use.

Bloomberry Beta is currently available for use so you can expect some nice finishing touches to it in the full version. However, here are the features it already has that we love:

  • Scrapes tons of different sites that people ask questions on saving you from going through them manually
  • Sorts results based on popularity
  • Groups results into different topics
  • Includes numerous filters like Time Range, Excluded Sources, Included Sources, etc. to help you find the exact topics you are interested in
  • Allows exporting topics and questions in CSV or Excel formats

It’s simple and it’s neat, and that’s what’s awesome about Bloomberry.

Tool Usage

To start using the tool without having to register, just land up on its homepage and you’ll see a large textbox waiting to accept your input. Type the name of a product or a topic about which you wish to find the questions asked over the Internet. We typed in a rather common word searched by millions of users across the globe, ‘recipe’, and clicked on ‘Go’.

We were directed to a results page that had a few options to customize our search. While the tool loaded the questions related to the word ‘recipe’, we cast a quick glance on the left hand side panel that had the following options:

  • Time Range – to narrow down the time range of the search, for example, questions asked over the past 6 months, or part year, or past 5 years, etc.
  • Excluded Sources – to exclude particular question sites from our search results which we might have already searched, for example, yahoo, aol, quora, etc.
  • Included Sources – to limit our search to particular sites only
  • Filter by TLD – to filter our search results by country by specifying country extensions, for example, .uk, .de, .au, etc.

This was our first trial of the tool so we decided against using any filters. The tool didn’t take much time to display the results and when it did, we were impressed. We would like to state here that if you didn’t really understand the purpose behind building the tool up until this point, after viewing the tool’s result page and the way it groups data by topic, you’ll have no doubts.

The results showed us some of the most asked questions about recipes grouped by topics which were created based on phrases using the word ‘recipe’. So in effect, when we searched for questions about ‘recipe’, what we got was a page filled with the most asked questions mentioning the phrase ‘best recipe’, ‘favorite recipe’, ‘substitute’, ‘easy recipe’, ‘recipe ideas’, and so on. A mere look at the questions and we could think of almost a hundred recipes mentioning ingredients or dishes that people find most over the Internet. And we could very well imagine the kind of response we’d get if we posted such a recipe on a blog / website.

Thus the tool actually did what it promised – showed us what people talk most about regarding our industry and helped us come up with content ideas that would spark real conversations among our target audience.

Additional Features

In addition to achieving its core purpose, Bloomberry offers analysis capabilities through a convenient ‘Analysis’ tab on the results page. It depicts the contents of the results page graphically and in a listed manner to allow you to quick draw insights and make decisions.

You can also view all questions without any particular grouping through an ‘All Questions’ tab. Exporting data to CSV and Excel is also offered.

  • Find out the most trending questions about your brand / industry with bloomberry.com/ by @BuzzSumo via @supermonitoring

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Finally

The reason there’s no pros and cons section in this review is that we actually couldn’t find a downside to Bloomberry in its current state. Maybe when its full paid version is launched and free features become limited, we’ll have better luck at spotting downsides. Thumbs up to this brilliant tool.

Write in Markdown hassle-freely with StackEdit

The modern world recognizes the power of words. With Internet being transformed into an information hub, more and more people hook onto it to monitor all sorts of stuff ranging from food to technology to travel and leisure. In such a setting, one of the best ways to make oneself useful is by being a part of the community that makes such valuable information available. Writers and bloggers are an enormous part of this community. And this post is about a tool that is bound to make the work of bloggers and writers easy. We’re talking about StackEdit here and trying to find out how much water this online in-browser editor holds.

StackEdit – In Browser Editor for Smart Writers

When you hear the name StackEdit, it hardly strikes you as an online writing tool with awesome features that can simplify the work of bloggers and writers to a great extent. But that’s exactly what it is. StackEdit is an in-browser Markdown editor that promises to deliver an unrivalled writing experience. It lets you create articles and blog posts that you can publish on a number of social platforms simultaneously. And if you’re thinking there’s nothing great about it, wait till you hear about all the controls it offers you.

The tool encompasses almost the range of capabilities packed into NotePad++ or WordPad or other offline popular writing tools. Of course it isn’t as diverse as Microsoft Word, but as far as blogging or posting articles is concerned, it lets you achieve everything you need. Powered by What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get controls, the editor helps you visualize the final rendering of your documents before you actually post them online. What’s more, you can integrate StackEdit with Google Drive and Dropbox to save your documents directly to the cloud.

Additional highlights of the tool include:

  • “Scroll Sync” extension to bind the editors’ scrollbars so that you can keep a constant eye on the output’s final look while writing
  • Built-in “Spell checker” to carry out multilingual spelling checks and display suggestions for correction
  • Various customizable options available to personalize writing settings and create personal extensions
  • Allows direct upload of documents to Blogger, GitHub, Tumblr, WordPress, etc
  • Documents can be uploaded in Markdown format, HTML, or using Underscore template engine
  • Facilitates collaboration on common documents, automatically merges modifications from multiple collaborators
  • Supports insertion of inline comments and discussions like Word or Google Docs
  • Includes an offline mode that allows you to write on the move just like a desktop application

With advanced capabilities of inserting mathematical expressions into documents and creating UML diagrams using simple syntax, StackEdit is quickly becoming one of the most popular in-browser writing editors of all time.

Here’s how to use StackEdit

Visit the tool’s homepage and click on “Start writing now!” in the top menu. This will redirect you to a screen divided into 2 panels – left one for editing and right one to preview the output. The preview window is toggle-able and you can close it if distracts you while writing. By default you’ll see some text displayed in the editor. It is dummy text that you can delete but we’ll advise against it since going through it can give you helpful pointers about the tool’s syntax.

The syntax of the tool resembles HTML with tags specifying text attributes, for example, to insert icons tags are used. Catching the other shortcuts is simple too. We quickly made out that to make some text bold we had to enclose it within asterix pairs (**text**) and marking some text as headings (H3) required prefixing it with the same number of hash signs (###). Similarly, figuring out the trick behind inserting bullet lists and keyboard button images was easy.

We recommend that you read the full dummy text displayed in the editor to know about StackEdit’s features in detail. If you do need to delete the text, copy-past it elsewhere and then go ahead. This could save many of your potential work hours that you might have to spend in the future to find out precious shortcuts about the tool (like how to insert a table of contents or create UML diagrams using text syntax).

In addition to the text you’ll find a host of other editing options in the file menu including Bold, Italics, Hyperlink, Code-Sample, Image, etc. Simply click on any of them to insert the respective tags in the text and you’ll be good to go. In the same menu you’ll find undo-redo buttons as well as a button that allows you to insert comments into the documents you create.

On the left-most corner of the file menu you’ll find a hash button which reveals additional options like import / export document, share, publish, convert to Markdown, etc. It will also give you access to account settings. Lastly, on the right-most corner of the file menu, a folder button will allow you to create new document, delete an existing document, as well as manage your documents.

Plus VS Minus

We were actually quite impressed by StackEdit. The tool was so simple, yet so brilliant. It gave us access to all options needed to create perfect looking documents and upload them to various social platforms easily. Moreover, it included a bunch of editing options and features at par with popular offline editors like Word.

But, there were also a few drawbacks we noticed, the biggest one being the absence of a ‘Save’ button. The documents were stored only in the browser’s local storage. There was no option to create an account wherein you could perhaps save the documents you create. So in case the browser crashed, we could lose all our text and changes. Another one was that although once connected to the tool’s site, you can get disconnected and work offline, to initially establish a session you need an Internet connection. This contradicts the tool’s claim to support offline working.

  • Brilliant in-browser Markdown editor for writers / bloggers – @stackedit stackedit.io/ via @supermonitoring

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Final Verdict

StackEdit is actually a great tool, though with a few limitations. But then considering it doesn’t need you to pay even a single penny, not having to sign up could be counted as a benefit if the makers can provide a way to save documents.

Write flawlessly with Grammarly

How often have you heard the remark, “I’ve always struggled with my grammar”? Mastering the proper use of written English language is tricky even for native speakers of the language, let alone, people foreign to it. The punctuations, articles, phrases, similes, etc. that make up the language are sometimes too much to handle. And if the use of English is not directly linked to your livelihood, you can still manage. But if you’re a writer, a teacher, or a professor, the wrong choice of words could mean make or break for your career.

At this point if you’re thinking, ‘that’s why Microsoft built Word with spell and grammar check’, well, it’s time to expand your area of thought. ‘Coz we’re going to introduce you to a free online tool that will let you master written English language like never before. Presenting – Grammarly.

grammarly

Grammarly – a writer’s best friend

Literally! If you’re among those who like to run a quick spell and grammar check on your documents before you submit them, you will fall in love with this tool instantly. It is slick, it’s simple, and it’s free! Grammarly not only points out errors in your documents, but also gives you suggestions to fix them. And we agree, MS Word does that too. But here’s what really sets the online tool apart from the document editor. Grammarly lets you fix highlighted errors with just one click. You read it right – one click only! Click on a suggested fix for an error, and it will be done.

The intuitive tool monitors your documents to make sure everything you write is mistake-free, easy to read and effective. And that applies not just to spelling errors, but also to misplaced words / phrases, incorrect grammar, wrong punctuation, verb mistakes and anything “grammar-y” you can think of.
Still thinking of your trusty Word spell check? These features might help in convincing you:

  • Grammarly instantly fixes over 250 different types of errors, most of which MS Word cannot find
  • You can find the perfect word for a sentence each time through context-optimized synonym suggestions
  • It even points out correctly spelled words used in the wrong context so that you can avoid embarrassment
  • The mistakes in your work are highlighted in a very subtle and interesting manner so that you can better learn about them and avoid them in future
  • It lets you correct your grammar on any platform including emailing, social media, document editors and more through specialized add-ins.

With algorithms developed by the world’s leading authorities on linguistic technology, Grammarly goes beyond basic grammar and spell check and helps you become a better writer.

grammarly1

This is how it rolls

To start using the tool, you’ll need to create a free account with Grammarly. A simple signup later, you’ll be assigned your dashboard. In the dashboard you’ll be able to find various options in the left-hand panel that will help you perform different operations with the tool.

  • My Grammarly – your work page containing all the documents you upload to the tool for correction.
  • Profile – here you can view your account settings (name, email, password, etc), add words to your personal dictionary (so that words particular to your work are no longer flagged as misspellings), and / or select if you want to work with American English or British English.
  • Apps – lists all apps suited to your account type. A free account is entitled to a browser extension, an MS Word add-in, and a native app for your desktop.
  • Premium – page that shows what’s available with the premium edition (paid edition) of Grammarly and how much it will cost you (you can of course stick to the free account and still use the tool for as long as you want).
  • Support – your help guide to the tool.

Once you’ve made the basic settings, you can start using the tool by uploading a document to be checked. If you need a little hands-on practice, Grammarly provides a Demo document with mistakes that you can open to work with yourself. Try it and you’ll get a pretty clear idea of how to use the tool (and how good it can make your work). Additionally, once you open a document inside Grammarly editor, you’re provided with a number of options to enhance it:

  • You can turn specific checks on or off (contextual spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, style)
  • Check for Plagiarism issues (available with Premium account)
  • Enhance the vocabulary used (available with Premium account)
  • Get your document proofread by a professional (available with Premium account)

Additionally, you can paste content directly into the editor or create a new document directly in the editor (so the tool becomes your online writing pad).

Just for fun and for really testing Grammarly’s capabilities, download the Demo document to your computer (there’s an option to do that). Once you have the document, run MS Word’s spell and grammar check on it and then compare the experience with the Grammarly experience. We bet you’ll choose the latter instantly!

Pros VS Cons

There’s no doubt about the pros.

  • It’s way better than the simple grammar and spell check of Word.
  • It includes features like vocabulary enhancement, plagiarism check, professional proofreading.
  • It allows you to create new documents and check them right inside the editor.
  • You may upload and download documents to / from the tool.

There is literally no con to this awesome tool. There is a free basic account that you can use for as many documents and for as long as you want. But, in order to access really helpful features like plagiarism checker, vocabulary enhancer or proofreading, you’ll need to fish out some money (the prices are quite affordable actually).

  • Create brilliant, mistake-free documents easily with @grammarly grammarly.com/ via @supermonitoring

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Final Verdict

A must try tool for writers and bloggers. Give it a try for its sheer usefulness; but it you truly want to realize its potential, sign up for the premium account. You won’t regret it!

Access & freely use hundreds of stock photos with Pexels

Bloggers, article writers, online content writers / editors while good at writing, might not be great at clicking pictures. But that doesn’t mean they don’t use pictures to adorn their writings. After all, if you’re into creating read-worthy material, you know how much weight a photo can add to your writing. Various studies point to the same fact that as compared to a write-up full of paragraphs, a write-up with photos, infographs and charts attracts more traffic. So if you’re ready with your next brilliant article or blog post but just can’t seem to find the perfect picture to go with it, hop-in at Pexels – the amazing free stock photo collection.

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Pexels – Discover and Submit beautiful pictures for free!

Pexels is a huge online photo library that allows anybody to use any of the pictures present therein in any way they want. Also, it allows people to upload awesome shots that they take and garner attention for their work. There’s no money or attribution involved anywhere. A user doesn’t need to pay for any picture, nor is a photographer paid for his submission. It all works in a mutually beneficial way – the submitter dedicates his work to the public domain and the user utilizes the work attributing the photo to the taker (if he wants to); even if the work isn’t attributed, well, it isn’t a loss for the photographer since it is eventually his work that’s circling the Internet.

Pictures in Pexels’ database are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero License that waives off all rights on the work. A user can copy, modify, and/or distribute the work even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission. All the guys running the platform ask for is your support by way of a donation or by submitting your own photos and sharing them with the world. If only all things in the world were just as beautiful!

In addition to offering free stock photos, Pexels also partners with Shutterstock to offer sponsored photos. These are pictures that are available for sale through Shutterstock. Just click on any of the sponsored photos and you’ll be redirected to Shutterstock’s page where you can buy it.

Pexels can be your best launch-pad if you’re ambitious about photography and are looking for a break. Just create an account with the platform and start submitting your master-pieces. Who knows, your inspiration just might stumble upon one of your photos and really like it?

And as a food, travel, history, business, wildlife blogger, if you’ve been waiting for a limit-less photo library where you can get as many beautiful pictures as you want with no strings attached, you need to look no further than Pexels.

All-in-all, it’s a win-win platform for everyone.

How to use Pexels

As a user

To start using Pexels just visit the tool’s website and scroll through their collection. Once you reach a picture you like, click on it to view it along with the following details about it:

  • Name of the submitter
  • Picture size in pixels
  • Size on disk
  • Aspect ratio
  • The license applicable to the photo (CC0 for most)
  • Other photos submitted by the same submitter

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Other than this information, there are several little tricks that you can play with the tool. For example, there is a timeline displaying photos similar to the one you’re viewing; click on any to view its details.

Additionally, there are several tags applied to each photo. Click on any tag to view other photos included under it. For example, if you click on the tag “people”, you’ll be able to see all photos that have been tagged under “people”.

Moreover, another unique feature is color-specific photos. All pictures have a small color menu displayed beneath them which contains prominent colors used in the photo you’re viewing. Click on any of the color from the menu to see all images which use that color as a prominent one. Cool eh?

You can “like” photos by signing up with the tool for free. It’s simple and quick! Once you have an account, you can also directly share photos from Pexels on your Facebook and Twitter profiles.

As a photographer

If you wish to use Pexels to show off your work to the world, create a free account. Once through, you can start uploading photos. Once submitted, the Pexels team scrutinizes the photos and selects the best of the lot that are fit to be published.

Additional Features

If you thought that was all, well, here’s a little more. Pexels also offers free stock videos under the Creative Commons Zero License. Of course, the videos are typically short, but they are high definition beautiful ones that can liven up any blog-post or article. Do check out their collection of free stock video by clicking on the three dots (…) at the upper-right corner of the screen. What’s more, the tool even has an API to offer.

Didn’t they leave anything out?

Pros VS Cons

This section is actually pointless with regard to Pexels since the tool has absolutely no negative points. At least we couldn’t find any. Do let us know if you manage to.

As far as the plus points are concerned, they’re pretty evident from the tool description above.

  • Unlimited free stock photos to copy, modify, or share at pexels.com/ @PexelsPhotos via @supermonitoring

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To sum it up

Sign up with Pexels as soon as you can to keep monitoring their amazing photo library if nothing else. After all, as mentioned earlier, Pexels is a win-win tool for everyone. We need more such tools/services/people out there to create the perfect world!

Create super-shareable images with Pablo

“As an avid blogger, my mind often throws situations at me that I try to put into words and share with the world. But I’m not great at taking or collecting photos. Thus, often, my personal blog posts don’t feature an image. And I’m well aware that reading a blog post without an appropriate picture takes away half the fun from it. So I usually rely on the Internet for copyright free images. However, recently, I’ve been having a little trouble finding the perfect photos for my blog. Can anyone suggest any good tools or websites where I can find great pictures of random shots? I don’t mind buying them at a nominal price too.”

pablo

Sorry, if that went on for a little too much! But what we wanted to share was a problem quite a few bloggers and social media marketers come across. A picture adds weight to any post, thought or expression. You can’t express as much with words as you can with photos. Thus, people are always monitoring different photo-sharing websites in search of the perfect shots to adorn their blogs or social media pages. If you like sharing beautiful shots on your social media timelines or blog posts, Pablo is one tool you should definitely check out.

Pablo – Create the perfect social-media sharable images!

Pablo is an online tool that lets you upload photos or search photos from a huge library and add quotations, statistics or logos to make them sharable on social media and blogs for personal or professional purposes. The makers of the tool quite aptly recognize the fact that a blog post or a Facebook / Twitter share with a picture is read and further shared a lot more than one without a picture. Similarly, consider the case of a lengthy blog post. If it’s just an array of paragraphs with continuous text or statistics, no matter how interested you are in the subject matter, as a reader, you will get bored at one point. But if that same post contains 2 – 3 photos with appropriate quotations, percentage figures etc. the post engagement would be much more.

This is where Pablo steps in. This unique tool lets you transform beautifully captured random shots into pieces of art or information by adding custom text or quotations to it and then share them on popular social networking websites. You may also choose to download the photos to your computer and use them on your personal blogs or professional articles. Neat!

Here’s how you can use Pablo

To start using Pablo, you can click on the big blue button that says “Try Pablo it’s free!” on the homepage or click on the “Menu” button on the upper right corner of the screen and select the option to Try Pablo. If you’re expecting to find a sign-up page, here’s another good news – it’s not required. Could it be any simpler?

As soon as you click on the ‘Try’ button, you’re redirected to the image editor page. Before you start using the tool, in order to help you out with the nitty-gritties, a quick tour of the app is displayed in quite an interactive manner. Once you’re through, you can start playing around.

Towards the upper left side of the tool’s screen, you’ll find a “Search” box. Enter a keyword for the kind of picture you wish to search. For example, type ‘Pasta’ and hit enter. All images of pasta that exist in Pablo’s database will be listed vertically. Select any of the images by clicking on it and it will be enlarged in the space adjacent to the list. Now comes the interesting part – the edits.

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You can:

  • Alter the size of the image as per the social media platform or technique through which you wish to share the image: Pinterest, Email, Facebook / Twitter
  • If you’ve uploaded a photo that doesn’t make a good background, you can apply effects (Contrast, Blur, Black-and-White) to it to fix it
  • Insert Text on the image. The text can be something you type (custom) or a random quote from Pablo’s database. You can also alter the font size, type, alignment, and color of the text.
  • You may share the image to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Buffer directly from Pablo or Download it to your computer.

Additional Features

In addition to the above mentioned way to use it, you may also choose to join the Pablo community in order to receive articles about how to create engaging social images and other interesting things (this is where you need to sign up).

Moreover, you may also install the browser extension for Pablo to make using it easier.

Pros VS Cons

There are several plus points to the tool:

  • A photo library with more than 50K beautiful photos
  • No sign-up required, no hidden costs involved
  • Option to upload self-taken photos and share with the world
  • Facility to apply edits on pictures
  • Facility to share or download pictures without any strict license requirements

As far as the negative are concerned, there was only a single noticeable one:

  • There should be more advanced edits available
  • Prepare perfect images for social media with pablo.buffer.com/ @pablobybuffer via @supermonitoring

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Final Words

Pablo is one tool that won’t disappoint you. So the next time you wish to grab your 10 seconds of fame by sharing something awesome with the world, create the perfect image with this simple, yet brilliant tool.

Depict information easily with Infogr.am

A simple collection of random data can often be confusing and unintelligible. However, if you organize it and attach meaning to it, it can depict useful information for different purposes. When it comes to depicting information the right way, there are quite a few alternatives. More often than not, information about systems and procedures is depicted through various diagrams such as charts, graphs, flow charts, use cases and more. However, unless one has extensive experience in making them, people often commit embarrassing errors while creating simple charts or graphs.

infogram

To avoid giving a wrong impression to clients or customers and to create easy to understand charts / graphs / diagrams that present correct information about your business in a concise way, the best option is to use an automated tool that takes data as input and gives ready diagrams as output. In this discussion we’re focusing on one such online tool that serves as a haven for those hoping to create great charts in a few simple clicks. Presenting – Infogr.am!

Infogr.am – Create & Publish Interactive & Engaging Charts / Graphs

Infogr.am lets you create and publish beautiful visualizations of your data. Highly interactive and responsive charts let users play around with data representations like never before.

Picture this scenario – You see a complex graph in-front of you but don’t understand it. How the data on the x-axis affects the data on the y-axis is something you just cannot comprehend in a single look. You wish there was some explanation with the chart that would make things easier. With Infogr.am, you don’t need any explanation. You can click-and-drag or touch-and-drag around data values in the charts to see their real-time effect on other values and understand all intricacies.

Infogr.am lets you make your charts move at your commands. Its interactive visualizations add a new dimension of engagement and experience for readers across a wide range of devices. What’s more, you can connect live data sources to Infogr.am’s infographics so that charts are updated in real-time to reflect the latest values. Using static data to make charts is so old-school! Additionally, with Infogr.am, you can embed and share infographics and charts anywhere – documents, web-pages etc. You can even download them and share them privately. Above all, this unique tool lets you brand-ize your charts. Whenever you need to add life to a report, insert a custom, attractive, branded infographic from Infogr.am in a few clicks.

With over 30 chart types (bar graphs, line graphs, area graphs, map distributions etc.) to choose from, Infogr.am makes sure it has at least one chart suited to every organization’s need.

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This is how it works

There are 4 legs of the tool’s scope. Depending upon your purpose, you can use Infogr.am for:

  • Media & Blogs
  • Education
  • Brands
  • Organizations

For each, you’ll first need to create a free account with the tool. For this all you need to supply is your full name, email id and the purpose for which you wish to use the tool (choose from one of the options listed above).

Once your account is created, you can start with the design. Choose what you wish to create: Infrographic or Report / Chart or Graph / Map. All these options are displayed within small blue squares and on hovering on each a plus sign appears indicating a prompt to add new. You can create a folder for each project and store the diagrams you create accordingly.

Infographic or Report

Clicking on this option expands the page to display various themes for your project. There are free themes and pro themes. For starters, you may want to stick to the free themes. Each theme has different color and font schemes and to select a theme all you need to do is hover over it and click on the “Use Design” prompt that appears. Once selected, a sample graph is displayed in a pop-up with helpful tips showing how to work with it. Follow the tips to get a basic know-how. Double-clicking on values opens up an Excel like editor on the left hand side of the screen wherein you can edit values. Here you can also change the kind of graph. To directly upload values, you can also upload CSV or Excel files to the tool.

Chart or Graph

Clicking on this option opens a pop-up with graph options on the left hand side and format options on the right. For example, a bar graph in radial format will display a radial formed with colored bars depicting information. The editing and other options can be accessed as described above.

Map

Clicking on this option opens a pop-up with a black-and-white world map. Other available countries are listed in the left hand side and their respective maps open up on the right on clicking on the country names. For the free account, only the world map and the map of U.S.A are available. For maps of specific countries you’ll need to upgrade your membership. Editing options are described above.

In addition to these options, you can choose to import data or source from Google Spreadsheet, Dropbox, OneDrive or JSON feed.

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Additional Features

Infogr.am can also be used for team collaboration. Shared folders, access permissions and a simple per-seat pricing can allow your team to efficiently make your data look its best with Infogr.am. However, this feature is not available on a basic account. You’ll need to sign up for a Business or Enterprise plan to avail this.

Pros Vs Cons

The high points of the tool are evident from its description above.

As far as the low points are concerned, it all comes down to the price. At $25 per per person per month under a Pro plan and $79 for a single / team license under a business plan, the tool is a bit on the pricy side.

  • Who knew creating Infographics could be so much fun? Check out infogr.am/ @infogram via @supermonitoring

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Final Words

This one is actually a great tool. With no learning curve it lets you create attractive and interactive charts and reports to make your work more fun. If you’re not looking for very extensive features, this tool might be all you need. But if you want more, well, you gotta pay for it!

Use Buzzsumo to be the Master of Online Content

Got a blog or website but often struggle to create the perfect content that achieves its intended purpose? Tried without success to grasp the basics of SEO and other techniques needed to make your online content stand among if not apart from the top contenders of the trade? Well, you’ve managed to reach the correct article. In here we’re solving one of the biggest mysteries of online content writing – creating SEO friendly, key content that performs best for any topic and if you’re lucky, to know what content performs best for your competitors.

buzzsumo

Let’s start with the first step – knowing the tool that can actually help; introducing Buzzsumo!

Buzzsumo – Helps find key influencers that promote content

Content is what first attracts a customer to an organization. Today, most people rely on feedback and reviews for products and services on online forums before finalizing their transactions. After studying that aspect they move on to an organization’s webpage to dive deeper. While getting good testimonials and reviews is not that tough a task, especially for those who don’t mind getting a little unethical, building an impressive, hard-hitting website is not a piece of cake. More than the layout, color schemes and graphics, website content is what decides whether a casual visitor will turn into a prospective customer or not.

When the content is so important, do you make sure you spend the amount of time and resources you should on it? If you have doubts or would like to improve, trust Buzzsumo to help you out.

Buzzsumo.com is an online analyzer that lets you know what content works best for an industry and who the major influencers are. It assists you in identifying the topics related to your business that get the most attention. The tool is easy to use and most users claim it gives them immediate value by enabling search for terms/phrases that quickly identify content that’s performing well in a niche or with an audience. In a nutshell, Buzzsumo makes sure you publish exactly what your intended audience wants to see on your website. End result – more business!

Key benefits of the tool

There’s actually a whole lot of cool stuff packed within the tool, so much so that dedicating a section to it would be justified. Here are the 4 key ways in which you can use Buzzsumo:

Content Discovery

Buzzsumo filters out the content most-accessed by people (trending) and the one that’s about to trend across all major social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+ etc. Moreover, it lets you customize the filtering based on criteria such as Time Period, Social Network, Content Type, Author, Domain and more.

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Monitoring

The tools enables you to set alerts for trending content, keywords, authors, domains and competitor sites. You can even create a personalized dashboard to monitor all alerts you’ve set. Plus, you can choose to have alerts delivered to your mailbox or setup an RSS feed.

Influencers & Outreach

Influencers are people who already have an audience that follows them. Discovering and understanding their methodology can give crucial insights as to how to capture people’s interest and also drive some of their traffic to your website. Buzzsumo lets you find, analyze and follow influencers, see what content they share, export all findings to a trackable format (like CSV/Excel) and maintain outreach lists.

Competitive Intelligence

For promoting yourself better, you need to know your competitors well. Buzzsumo enables you to find out your competitors’ most shared content, amplifiers who share your competitors’ content, set alerts every time your competitor publishes content, create competitor content performance reports and more.

Tool Usage

Diving straight in is really simple. Just click on the “Try Buzzsumo for Free Now” button on the main page to be redirected to the search screen. In the search box, type a topic, keyword or domain to search and hit Enter. You can start looking at results immediately – what all related to the keyword you typed has been published, where and how much buzz has it created on social networks. You can play around for 5 keywords after which you’ll be asked to sign-up for free for a 14-day trial on the Pro plan.

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Thereafter you’ll be led through a quick startup tour that you can skip if desired to end up on the search page again with some results related to the information you entered during setup. Now here’s where you can start to play. Filter search results by:

  • Date (24 hours, past week, past month, past 6 months, past year, specific date range)
  • Language
  • Country
  • Domains (inclusive or exclusive)
  • Content Type (Article, Infographics, Guest Posts, Giveaways, Interviews, Videos)

Alter what you want and start exploring. Every result that turns up can be analyzed to find out what kind of stuff readers want and how enthusiastically they share or link to it. If the numbers don’t match up to your expectations, you’ll know where to improve instantly. You can choose to view your content sharers, export result data to CSV/Excel, set alerts and lots more.

Pros VS Cons

The pros of the tool can be deduced from the features section. Highlights include:

  • Uniquely simple to use and understand
  • Achieves its purpose 100%
  • Helps publishers serve better content and get more attention
  • Helps track where the maximum traffic is coming from
  • Offers monitoring capabilities
  • Affordable

As far as cons are concerned, they’re truly aren’t many except where the tool forgets to mention that you won’t find the results much helpful if you’re a newbie at publishing and have only a few social network followers. You need to have at least 20 followers on Twitter to be able to view who is sharing your content too. So don’t bother if you’re yet to get there. For large players though, the tool is a win-win.

  • Analyze the best performing content for any topic or competitor with @BuzzSumo buzzsumo.com/ via @supermonitoring

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Final Words

Great tool with an awesome purpose; every organization looking to expand its online reach should try Buzzsumo out!

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