Recently I was asked to check out a writing tool called InboundWriter.
I’ve written about tools like this in the past like Clickbump SEO, so I was very interested in how this one would stack up.
InboundWriter is a little different and it’s a multifaceted tool. If I had to describe it I would say it’s a professional writing tool for people researching topics online and wanting to culminate all that information into an article.
To give you an overview, here’s a little video:
There’s basically two parts to the product. Their hosted web interface, which is pretty amazing for a web app. Then there is a WordPress plugin for web dev junkies like you and I.
Here’s the web interface:
And here’s a look at the plugin which installs as a sidebar on your posts and pages:
As you can see the WordPress plugin is quite trimmed down (click the images to zoom).
I played around with the web interface, but then decided that the bulk of this review would need to focus on the WordPress plugin. So, being the practical person I am, I wrote an article with it for the blog on my product’s website (ThirstyAffiliates).
Turns out the workflow is pretty similar with the WordPress plugin as it is in the Web App, but I’d say that it’s a little more fluid in the web app because there’s more room to work and you get a bigger dashboard like interface.
You can also fine tune your targeting in the web app which you can’t quite do with the WordPress plugin.
Back to the plugin though, you’ll see on the right there that you start by plugging in some phrases that describe the topic you’re planning on writing about. when you hit “Start Research” the plugin then goes off and starts collating articles from around the web, analyzing them and figuring out what other types of terminology belong around your topic to help you as you write.
Once you reach 200 words, InboundWriter has enough to work with to begin helping you refine your content and make suggestions that will improve your SEO score.
It’s not quite as aggressive as some other SEO optimizing writing plugins that I’ve used. This is actually a good thing, especially if you want your article to make sense rather than just looking like it’s stuffed full of keywords.
The top section starts peppering you with suggestions on what subtle changes could help your article, like moving the keyword you’re focusing on toward the front of your title. Or including more mentions of that keyword in the article.
It then gives you a rating out of 100 as to how well you’re doing. After I’d written my article on affiliate marketing I was able to get the score up to the mid-90′s but I couldn’t figure out how to get it to tick up to 100 and it stopped giving me suggestions of things to change.
I was only focusing on one term though to give it a good comparison with the other types of plugins I’ve used for optimizing articles for SEO. It seems to handle multiple terms quite well which is a big plus if you’re looking for more keywords to bring to your articles as a blogger on a certain topic. I know sometimes I get stuck writing about affiliate marketing and this is helping a lot.
Lastly I like the fact that it refreshes all this data in real time, so really all you have to do is write. Whereas in other similar plugins you have to safe your draft again to get the recommendations. This is great use of Ajax, more plugins should be doing this in WordPress.
InboundWriter Review Summary
So it seems that the plugin is simple and straightforward to use. I didn’t need any user manuals or anything so the feedback from the product was great. The web interface is even nicer to use.
Actually on thinking about it, I think the web app is definitely aimed more at professional writers as it has more tools for research and it seems more polished.
My only gripe is that they aren’t charging enough. It kind of breaks my heart that there’s this awesome writing tool which would really be great in the hands of a professional writer and worth potentially thousands to them in saved hours of research, but they aren’t even charging for the basic use of it.
I guess that’s probably just the capitalist in me. Currently with the web app if you want to optimize more than 8 articles you’ll need to upgrade your account. The upgrade option isn’t very well advertised though, you’ll find a little option on the My Account page to upgrade to a $19.95 p/m plan. I think they need to communicate what the benefits of upgrading are before asking for a credit card as well.
Overall InboundWriter’s product is very polished. As a professional writing suite it’s a godsend and for amateur writers like me doing blogging and research on various topics I’ve found it incredibly useful so far.
It’s no wonder InboundWriter is starting to get some traction around the place.
If you’d like to check out InboundWriter I suggest you do it soon before they catch on that maybe they’re giving away too much for free!
UPDATE: A spokesperson for InboundWriter just updated me in regards to the pricing thing and here’s what she had to say:
We’re actually in the middle of reworking our website – the new site will better address your pricing questions. But, to answer them for you now, the free account gives you 8 documents/mo within the InboundWriter web application and unlimited WordPress posts WITH advertising – there’s a badge that is automatically included on your posts. The $20/mo account gives you unlimited documents — both for the web app and WordPress plugin — and NO advertising.
We’ll be focusing more on promoting the Pro account in the future as well. Our goal is to get people to try it for free and if they like it, they can get the paid account, and down the road, perhaps get their organization to use it too – this would be ideal for publishers/media organizations/interactive agencies and other types of online marketers.
So the future of this product sounds very promising indeed. If you don’t mind having a little bit of advertising to promote the product with the WordPress plugin you can stick with just using the WP plugin with unlimited articles. But if you want to use more than 8 articles and kill off all advertising just upgrade to the pro account. Click here to check it out and download the WP plugin.