One of the most challenging parts of internet marketing is writing great copy. Even a well designed, site won’t get conversions if the copy is weak. And now it has to do more than ever: copy must hold readers’ attention, inspire shares and comments, keep Google happy and, of course, bring you leads. Unless you have a team of professional writers, keeping the content fresh isn’t easy.
But you can take a lot of the headache out of it with a (free) writing tool call Hemingway App. Inspired by the bold, concise prose of the famous author, it looks at your copy and identifies everywhere you can make it tighter, clearer, and better. Drafts go in, powerhouses come out. At least that’s the idea.
I decided to take a look at Hemingway App and see how well it really does its job. As a copy writer, I’m very familiar with watered down grammar and style correctors that don’t really pull their weight. Would Hemingway be any different?
Sit at a Typewriter and…
The interface of Hemingway App is simple. You type (or paste in) your text, and it highlights the sentences that slow readers down or turn them off. The color coded highlighting lets you to spot several things:
- Yellow means a sentence is long or contains common errors. Generally, a single glance at a sentence like this will allow you to see how you can make it shorter or easier to read.
- Red means a sentence is very complex—the kind reserved for college level reading (and bad sales copy). Hemingway App seems to find these by looking at how many clauses are crammed into a single sentence, with commas, semicolons and dashes. You may have to think for a minute to clean these sentences up, because they’re basically several sentences crammed into one, but it will pay off in readability.
- Green sentences show phrases in the passive voice. Passive is something few non-writers understand, but we all use it on a daily basis. The problem is it sounds weak and makes sentences harder to follow. For example, “The errors have been found and are being fixed by our editorial team,” instead of, “Our editorial team found the errors. We’re fixing them.”
- Blue shows adverbs. Adverbs are part of any healthy blog post, but they tend to get overused. (Any word ending in -ly is an adverb.) Hemingway App’s suggestion is to look at the verb they modify and see if you can just use a stronger one. For example, instead of, “we quickly went to our client’s aid,” just say, “We ran to our client’s aid.”
- Purple just shows long words. In English, longer words tend to have a Latin root and give a formal, even snobby feeling to a sentence. Shorter words tend to have Saxon roots and are the language of the people. Think of the difference between, “We shall initiate the project in May,” versus, “We’ll start the job in May.”
But those are just the in-the-text benefits. Hemingway also gives a simple “grade level” readability rating and a live count of all the metrics you might need: word count, character count, paragraphs and sentences.
The real Hemingway once said that writing is easy: “All you have to do is sit at a typewriter and bleed.” If he’d had this app, his desk may have been a little less messy.
Trying It Out
The easiest way to try out Hemingway App is just to surf over to their site and start typing: the sales copy on their front page is the app, and you can just clear it and paste in your own to get to work. This online version is totally free.
A desktop version (currently US $6.99) offers a little more: you can save files to your computer, and a new beta version allows formatting (bold, italic, etc.) as well. That makes life a lot easier than copying your text to the internet, editing it, and then copying it back to Word.
As one of EverSpark’s professional writers I was skeptical of Hemingway App, but it does its job well and gets out of the way. If you like to write your own sales copy, it will help you make it clearer and stronger.
Or you can call EverSpark and get original, compelling content written to order. Need blog posts, sales pages or a brand new website? Call us for a free consultation today.