We have previously talked about why you should write your blog posts in Google Docs, and briefly mentioned add-ons. Add-ons are a way in which software developers outside of Google can enhance or extend the built-in features of the Google Docs editor.
The Add-ons Store offers a wide selection of add-ons across categories such as Business Tools, Education, Productivity and more. In this blog post, we will introduce you to several add-ons which we think will enhance your blogging workflow.
Installing an Add-on
Before we dive into the add-ons, let’s look at how you can search for and install an add-on.
You can find new add-ons in the Add-ons Store which you can open from the Add-ons > Get add-ons menu item in the Google Docs editor. This will open the landing page for the store.
If you know the add-on you are looking for, you can search for it by name, or you can search for a keyword that you think the add-on or its description may contain. Let’s say you want to find an add-on to insert animated GIFs into your document; then you can search for the keyword “gif”.
If you just want to look around and browse the store to see what is available, you can narrow down by category by clicking on the hamburger menu at the top left of the add-ons dialog and narrow it down to a specific category or even the most popular add-ons.
Installing an add-on
Installing an add-on is pretty straightforward. Once you have located the add-on you want to install, click on the add-on to go to its details page. Depending on if you wish to install the add-on for all accounts in your domain or just your personal account, click on either the Domain Install or the Individual Install button.
During installation, Google may prompt you to give the add-on access to your account. It is essential to review the access any add-on requires to ensure that they do not ask for excessive permissions, or permissions to perform actions outside of the scope of their functionality.
Remove an add-on
If you find yourself in a position where you want to remove an add-on, you can do so by selecting the Add-ons > Manage add-ons menu item. This will display a dialog listing all the add-ons you have installed. To remove an add-on, click on the options menu (the three dots) for the relevant add-on, then select Uninstall.
Our top add-ons for bloggers
OK, let’s get into the list of our top add-ons for bloggers.
Google Docs already comes with a spelling and grammar checker, but if you want to move beyond that, LanguageTool is an excellent choice. It supports 25 languages and prides itself on the fact that it can detect many more spelling errors and grammar mistakes than the built-in Google Docs tool can.
The free version provides limited spelling and grammar checking, and if you want to go beyond that, you can upgrade to the Premium version for $59 per year. This adds 5,000 additional checks across all the supported languages as well as suggestions to improve style and tone, detection of incorrect names and salutations, detection of incorrect numbers and more.
As a bonus, LanguageTool also has a browser extension allowing you to correct spelling errors and grammar mistakes on many other websites beyond just Google Docs.
2. SemRush SEO Writing assistant
If you’re using Google Docs to write website content such as blog posts, it is crucial to ensure that your content meets the correct SEO requirements for the keywords you are targeting.
SEMRush displays an overall quality score for your content based on metrics such as readability, text length and target keywords. SEMRush will recommend semantically related keywords to add to your text as well as check for things like plagiarism, tone of voice, and broken links.
The free version allows you to create one recommendation set per document, but if you want to go beyond that, you will need a SEMRush subscription. Prices start from $99.95 per month for the Pro subscription, up to $399.95 per month for the Business subscription.
3. OneLook Thesaurus
We all tend to stick to a common set of words that we are familiar with. OneLook is a wonderful tool that will help you expand your vocabulary.
You can search for synonyms and will find suitable alternatives for you to use. You don’t have to limit yourself to single word searches either - search for a phrase and OneLook will display a list of suitable words to describe the phrase you searched for.
You can also search for adjectives and nouns that are commonly used to describe your search word.
4. Haiku Image Search
The web search that is part of Google Docs’ built-in Explore feature allows you to search the web for images to use in your document, but it gives no indication of the licensing restrictions for the particular images.
This is where Haiku Image search comes in handy. It allows you to search across more than 40 million royalty-free images that you are free to use in your own content. It will also give you a heads-up if the image requires attribution and allows you to quickly copy the required attribution information to include in your document.
BONUS: Export your documents to your Content Management System with Cloudpress
Many bloggers prefer using Google Docs for the great writing experience it offers. However, getting that content into your Content Management System such as WordPress can be painful. Cloudpress allows you to export your content to WordPress, Contentful, Kentico and more with the click of a button.
You can also read more about using installing and using the Cloudpress Add-on for Google Docs.
Add-ons are a great way to extend the functionality of Google Docs. In this blog post, we looked at several add-ons that will help you to speed up your blog writing and publishing workflow.