What is the best online writing platform

Tools for copywriters

Just read the summary?

A good editor encourages concentrated writing

Well-tried writing programs such as Microsoft Word can do too much: text, font, clip art, tables, images: everything works in Word.

However, they mix form and function: writers are constantly concerned with what their text could look like. Much more important: All the buttons, ribbons and bars in a conventional word processor distract:

Modern writing tools such as iA-Writer, the online writing platform Draftin, the web publication platform Medium.com, but also traditional code editors such as notepad ++, sublime text or Adobe's Brackets-Editor have one thing in common:

You reduce the operating elements to an absolute minimum. This makes it easier for writers to concentrate on their work:

Toolbar maze versus keyboard shortcuts and markdown

Two techniques make these reduced text interfaces possible: coding and keyboard shortcuts.

Markdown: Structure from the keyboard

iA-Writer and Draftin, Medium and the puristic blogging platform Ghost rely on the text-to-HTML conversion tool markdown. With Markdown, Web Writers create semantically structured content without resorting to cluttered toolbars (and your mouse).

Of course, the most important codings in Markdown need to be learned. Many Markdown editors (for Windows such as MarkdownPad or the best Markdown editors for Mac) show Markdown and HTML side by side, which quickly shows how Markdown works and how much time it can save web copywriters.

Keyboard shortcut: Invisible toolbar

Keyboard shortcuts are the second way to replace toolbars, ribbons, and menus.

The possible time savings are enormous: from searching for a text passage, inserting a quotation, marking words, lines or sentences, to more complex tasks such as searching for and replacing text patterns (regex); Everything works by entering an abbreviation.

The same applies here: no hard work, no price. After all, what use are the best shortcuts if they are not part of the flesh and blood? This is where Gameification helps those who are hesitant: Sites like ShortcutFoo turn learning new keyboard shortcuts into a game and a competition. So the necessary motivation when changing trains is provided.

Write better thanks to different contexts

The biggest advantage of modern writing tools for the web is that they separate the story from the presentation of the story.

This allows web copywriters to optically derive very different versions of their stories. A few lines of CSS or a view in another browser are often sufficient. But why is this important?

When writing, copywriters lose the distance to critical questioning of their own work.

When writing, copywriters lose the necessary distance to be able to critically question their work. If a story takes on very different forms, copywriters regain part of this distance. If a text looks different, authors perceive it with new eyes. Criticism of one's own work becomes possible again, mistakes that have been overlooked reappear.

In the past, an expression was often the only way to regain this distance. As online copywriters, we have many more (and more ecological) opportunities to present our stories in a new way. The prerequisite for this: The source format of our content must allow this flexibility - like Markdown.

Versions, revisions and feedback from the cloud

No good text is created in one throw. In my experience, it is only the many revisions, the many small optimizations and corrections that distinguish notes from professionally edited text.

This means that a professional text always arises from several texts: The final product is the result of all previous versions. The history of these versions is important, especially when several people are working together on a document.

But it is also an advantage for lone fighters to be able to fall back on the genesis of their texts. Because not every revision is an improvement. Sometimes we want nothing more than the just overwritten text version back.

Tools like Draftin clearly display the different text versions next to one another. In this way, it is possible to revert to discarded versions at any time. Without any folder chaos, file naming conventions, version conflicts and the like:

With modern versioning software (e.g. git, Wordpress receives the versions of an entry automatically), the history of text-based projects can be recorded regardless of the system and preferred document type.

Here, too, the advantage is that it is always clear which document is the most recent. At the same time, older and alternative versions are always available.

When it comes to feedback, Word has long ceased to be the measure of all things. Web-based platforms such as Ghost or Wordpress, or dedicated platforms such as Draftin, but also Google Docs make forms of collaboration possible that are at least as good as the comments in Word.

The social content platform Medium.com is deeply committed to the idea that good stories are only thanks to you lots of different feedback become possible:

On medium, you're not alone. You write beside and with other people. This means your posts link to each other, your ideas bump into each other, and instead of living on an island somewhere out on the web, you're part of a dynamic whole, where each part makes the others better.

So are we about to open sourcing the writing process? I wish it!

& nbsp

In a nutshell

  • Choose an editor that focuses on what you need. Save time with markdown and shortcuts. Benefit from the geek bonus.
  • Use a tool that can give your texts many different faces.
  • Good writing is based on versions, revisions, and feedback. A good text tool makes all of this easier.