Online Content Creation Tools – Quick Links
Online Creation Tools I Use To Write & Create
This is a personal links dashboard. It contains some of the most commonly used content creation tools I use for blogging, video, podcasting, and social media posting.
I’ve included a ★ icon on links I frequently use. I did this for myself, but you can quickly see what I’m currently using the most.
The links below are just quick links for my use, so there’s little to no write-up or explanation, although, over time, I’ve updated more descriptions as I build this page. Again, this isn’t a how-to or do-this post. It’s a link page to tools I use. It’s a mix of free and paid tools I use, some with affiliate links but most link directly to the site.
More Time Creating – Less Time Searching For Online Content Creation Tools
I believe I can save some time by having all of the links organized on a single page. You’d totally understand if you could see my browser bookmark’s bar. This page saves me time searching my bookmarks or running endless online searches to find that one online tool I need. It also helps me remember my options since I’ve accumulated so many. Too many tools create an issue of it’s own.
Office Tools I Use
- ★Voilà – Personal AI assistant. I use the Voilà Chrome extension to help edit, improve, and correct my blog content, emails (It works great in Gmail), and research. I use Voilà to generate headlines, drafts, outlines, and social media content. I love being able to improve a paragraph that I wrote that just doesn’t look write. I also have a habit of going on and on, so I can use Voilà to shorten it down for me. Nobody wants to read all that, Brian. Can you believe I’ve generated articles on AI, heavily edited them in my own voice (Like you’re supposed to), and then used Voilà to improve sections even better. And you thought I was just a genius. Here’s an on-the-spot example. I’ll use Voilà to improve this very paragraph with one click and paste it below.
★Voilà – Personal AI assistant. I confidently leverage the Voilà Chrome extension to effortlessly enhance, refine, and perfect my blog content, emails (Works flawlessly in Gmail), and research. Voilà empowers me to effortlessly generate captivating headlines, compelling drafts, precise outlines, and engaging social media content. I relish the opportunity to elevate any paragraph that falls short of perfection. Moreover, with my tendency to be verbose, Voilà readily condenses my words without sacrificing impact. Trust me Brian, no one wants to sift through unnecessary fluff. Can you fathom that I’ve not only generated articles on AI but also meticulously edited them in my authentic voice (as intended) before employing Voilà to further enhance their quality? Genius is an understatement. Witness this real-time demonstration as I employ Voilà to refine this very paragraph below.
- ★TextExpander – I’m getting pretty addicted to this shortcut app and Chrome extension. For example, every time I want to type my email address, I just type
xemail, and my email address magically appears. I’ve been using TextExpander for years, and it can get a little buggy, but I like it.
- MySignature – Dashboard – I use MySignature in Gmail, which helps my emails look more professional with my photo, contact info, site links, CTAs, social icons, and even a marketing banner on one. I have signatures for several different email addresses and websites that I access from my main Gmail account so it’s convenient to switch between different signatures depending on the website or email I’m working with. I even have plain text signatures for places images cause an issue, such as moderation approval. You can see some of their examples here.
- Start.me – You know that page you see when you click on a new tab or page? Mine loads my personal Start.me start page, as does my ‘HOME’ browser button. This brings me to a bunch of my most used links and tools. I have many different tabs I can click from there for various categories, including news, reading, social media sites, imported bookmarks, etc. Start.me has a bunch of different widgets like a Calculator, a Calendar that syncs with Gmail, Clocks, Currency Converter, Google AdSense & Analytics & Tasks, Search, Twitter, Trello, Weather, and even PreSearch. This is probably my most visited page, and I use it like I do this page but for more than just Content Creation Tools & Resource Links, such as links to my banks, social media profiles, etc. My to-do lists are there, as well as my shopping list and research. It’s a very handy online tool. You can see my public profile, but I only have a few of my tabs public, and those are a mess. They’ll give you an idea of why I need to stay organized – my mind is a firehose of confusion. The rest are privately secured.
Productivity Tools I Use
- ★Notion – I can’t believe this is free. I love the free personal account. Notion can become an overwhelming jumbled mess if you let it. Ensure you keep everything organized and resist adding templates simply because they’re available. I recently had to do a massive cleanup, and now life is good again.
- Trello – Trello is an excellent tool for creating, updating, and moving to-do lists, especially if you’re working with teams. I also use Trello to create a roadmap for personal projects I’m working on.
My Main Blogging/Writing Tools
- ★Grammarly – I get ticked off about how much I rely on Grammarly because it’s so expensive. I simply NEED it. By the way, if you do make the purchase, here’s a tip to save 40% off Grammarly that worked once for me. Don’t worry – It’s not an ad or trick. It’s just an article I wrote on how I got the deal.
- ★Blogely – I use Blogely as an AI writing assistant for generating articles, ideas, titles, social media content, and much more. This is one of my favorite tools when it comes to writing for my niche sites.
- ★Magai – Ok, I bought Magai just today and have only used it one time but Wow! It’s an AI assistant that uses ChatGTB but is better. I used Magia to help me write this satire piece this morning, and I was pretty impressed. The final product, after my additions and edits, is four times the size and completely different, but AI did help me a lot. I’ll probably write an article on Magai once I’ve got more experience with it.
- ★Castmagic – I tried several apps looking for an easy-to-use video transcription tool for my videos. I hit the jackpot with Castmagic after a podcasting buddy told me about it. Not only does Castmagic generate amazing transcripts that require little editing, but it also generates amazing show notes with timestamps and topics. It gives me a short summary of the video broken down by each speaker. Castmagic gives me tweet threads, Linkedin Posts, Quotes with timestampts!, Hooks, CTAs, and far more. I was blown away by Castmagic the very first time I tried it. In fact, you get so much content to use, your biggest issue will be to resist using all of it. To see what I’m talking about, check out the first article I was talking about, where I did an author interview here. I even included the full transcript, but you’ll need to click a link to open up that section. In our second video interview, I was able to control myself a bit, and I’m very happy with the final result.
- ★AutoBlogging – AI Article Writer. Autoblogging is one of the easier AI writing tools I use. There are several modes, such as Quick Mode, Pro Mode, and God-Like Mode. It even has a Bulk Generate mode, which I’ve never used. Here’s an article a100% generated by Autoblogging – not recommended. I didn’t spend more than fifteen minutes on the post. I didn’t even include any of the meta and SEO stuff I’d normally do. We’re talking less than half an hour from idea to publish – including the image, which I resized and added my title and logo. Again, this was for illustration and not recommended. App/Login
- WordHero – AI Content Writer I’ve used WordHero to write headlines, draft outlines, write paragraphs, intros, ads, and social media content. You can even have WordHero re-write content, answer questions, or write songs, poems, or recipes. Login page.
- Simplified – Simplified is an AI tacklebox of marketing tools such as image editing, video editing, generating AI copy, and more.
Blog & Podcast Hosting
- SiteGround – I’ve been using SiteGround Website Hosting for years – for all of my sites. I’ve used many hosting companies over the years, and SiteGround has been fantastic. There are cheaper options, but I’m not leaving something so dependable and stress-free.
- Podbean – I’m using Podbean to embed audio inside Next Step Survival, and I’ve found it super simple, reliable, and elegant. See my profile at briandhawkinscom.podbean.com.
- Spotify – I use Spotify to embed the audio for The Opinion Blog. Subscribe/Listen on Spotify.
- Simplified – Create, collaborate, and scale all your content creation in one place. Simplified is an AI tacklebox of marketing tools such as image editing, video editing, generating AI copy, and more.
- The Graphics Creator Online – Laughingbird’s Graphics Creator is one of those fantastic tools I bought access to and don’t use enough. It’s great for social media and content marketing. I need to start marketing my content more. The founders are a nice couple, and they put a ton of effort into adding new features and creating video tutorials.
- YayImages StartUps – Member Log-in. I got this free on AppSumo, and it’s still available as of this update on July 2, 2023. I should mention one thing, however. Even though they advertise unlimited downloads, you’re restricted to ten a day with the free account. Fair enough, but a little deceptive.
- VectorGrove – I purchased an extended license last year via AppSumo. I use VectorGrove when I need a vector image or just need a little variety. For example, I used VectorGrove to create this funny meme and this featured image, both here on my opinion blog.
- Paint.net – I tried to learn Photoshop (“Way back in the early 2000s, before YouTube was born,” he says in a shaky old man voice), and I hated myself. Then I fell in love with a much simpler and cheaper paint program called PaintShop Pro, but I stopped upgrading. Over ten years ago, a friend told me about Paint.net, and I haven’t looked back since. In fact, here’s an article I published in 2013 on an old blog I rarely update. With that said, I haven’t looked for another program in a decade, so there are sure to be other options I’m unaware of. I am seriously considering trying PaintShop Pro again. It looks amazing.
- GIMP! GNU Image Manipulation Program. I use GIMP when I’m working with a Photoshop format. Otherwise, I find Paint.net easier, but they’re both free.
- Clean PNG – Somewhat limited in selection, but I use Clean PNG often – usually to find a transparent image to overlay onto another image.
- Pixabay – Pixabay is another go-to image resource I use. It’s free as well.
- StickPNG – Another website for free transparent PNGs. I use it less often whenever I can’t find what I’m looking for on Clean PNG. A last-ditch effort before I move on, so to speak.
- Aspect Ratio Calculator – Such a simple tool, but it’s a quick solution when I need to create an image of an odd width with either a 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio. That’s why I have it bookmarked here.
- Remove Image Background – This tool is fantastic. It’s simple and does a better job than most. It’s free for smaller images, and I keep a handful of credits banked for larger images that I need to remove the background for transparency.
- ★UTRRR – I only purchased UTRRR through AppSumo a week ago and have only used it a few times. It works as well as Listnr did before they fell off a cliff, but they don’t offer audio hosting and embedding.
- ★Spotify For Podcasters – I really like Spotify for Podcasters, formally Anchor. Plus, it’s free! I only wish there was an option to host more than a single podcast under one account, even if it was a paid version. Podcaster log-in.
- ★PodBean – Audio hosting & publishing. PodBean came highly recommended, and now that I’ve been using it a bit, I can see why. I signed up for Unlimited Audio, subject to their Fair Usage Policy – as with all shared hosting companies ($14/ mo., but I got it for $9/ mo. by paying $108/yr.)
- AudioDirector 365 – Audio editing software. There’s a bit of a learning curve, and this program can be a little taxing for slower computers, but it works well.
ListnrCrap! I can no longer recommend Listnr. They’ve been letting me down for months. I’m using UTRRR to generate the audio file and Spotify to embed the audio for The Opinion Blog. Subscribe/Listen on Spotify. I’m using PodBean to embed the audio for NextStepSurvival. You can see my Podbean profile here. I’m mad at you Listnr, but at least it led me to discover UTRRR as well as more reliable audio hosting sites.
- ★Pictory – Use Promo Code:
brian52to get 20% off your subscription until you cancel. Pictory, using the power of AL, creates a script into a video in minutes. Using your brand, you can turn blog posts into videos using either your voice or AI. Pictory can automatically add captions and allows you to edit videos using text. Automatically caption videos, webinars, tutorials, demos, trailers, and video podcasts, and create fast social media reels and videos. Pictory’s AI automatically produces short summary videos from your webinars, podcasts, and Zoom recordings in just minutes. Great for turning long-written content into short repurposed videos for repurposing, updating, promoting, or even recapping and summarizing your articles to get one step ahead of your competition. Pictory works on PC & Mac because it runs in the cloud. Here’s the very first video I created with Pictory – it really is pretty simple.
- DaVinci Resolve 18 – DaVinci Resolve 18 by Blackmagic Design falls into the same price category as Notion – I can’t believe it’s free. This is a top-notch professional editing program that can do FAR more than I will ever need. It’s a little complicated at first, but it’s a dream.
- Lumen5 – Lumen5 is similar to Pictory but with the power of AI assistance.
- BIGVU – I still need to use BIGVU, I just bought it, but I’m pretty excited about the app. BIGVU is an AI-driven app that will help me record videos from my phone that won’t look like it was shot from my phone. It has a teleprompter, AI scripts, captions, and more.
- DownloadGram – A decent way to download photos and videos from Instagram. Please don’t steal other people’s content.
Social Media Tools
- Wp Social Pro – The All-In-One Social Plugin for WordPress.
- Social Web Suite – A Hootsuite alternative.
Online Research Tools
- AnswerThePublic – Search listening tool for market, customer & content research. Great for marketing and keyword research.
- Wayback Machine – I love Web Archieve’s Wayback Machine for research. Much of what’s been changed online or even deleted websites can be found here.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- AnswerThePublic – Search listening tool for market, customer & content research. Great for marketing and keyword research.
Email Marketing / List Building
- ★Substack – All the way, baby. Another “I Can’t Believe It’s Free” tool. Subscribe to The Opinion Blog & Next Step Survival.
- elink – Bookmarking & email newsletter tool
- UpContent – Currated Content Finder / Formatter
- EasyBib – Citation Generator | Create Manual Citation
- Word Counter
Free Online Writing Tools
- Copy and Paste Emoji
- Arrows & Symbols
- Text Backwards – Online converter
- Smile Emojis
- Free Plagiarism Checker | Small SEO Tools
Word Find Tools
- Power Thesaurus
- Thesaurus and Word Tools | WordHippo
- Reverse Dictionary / Describing Words / Related Words
- Cheat Sheets For Writing Body Language
Online Sales & Resources
- ★AppSumo – Stop paying monthly for software. Here’s $10 to get started.
- Presearch – Earn cryptocurrency as you search privately.
Learning / Reference Tools & Resources
- Copyscape – Online plagiarism detection. I’ve been using Copyscape since 2009, so there are probably other alternatives to use, maybe even better ones. I started using Copyscape when I was excepting guest posts, which I no longer do. I found that many people would submit the same articles they’ve written, or worse, they stole, to multiple blogs trying to game the SEO system. Today I use it to check AI content to be sure I’m not using other people’s work. Another option for checking AI content is Originality.AI (Below), and that’s looking for more than plagiarism. It’s looking for no-human indicators.
- Originality.AI – AI Content Detector | Dashboard | Content Scan Page | Content Optimizer
- Natural Reader
- File Format Converter
- WAV to MP3 Converter
- WordPress Theme Detector / What WordPress Theme Is That?
- Hosting Finder – Find out who is hosting any website
- Logo Fonts Generator & Download
- RSS Feed Generator / Create RSS feeds from URL
- Time Calculator – Seems random, but I use this tool for my freeze drier.