Updated 11.16.2023 by Kathy Widenhouse, award-winning content writer, website publisher, and author of 9 books.
Why use an online word count tool? Especially when Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Apple Pages offer a built-in word count function.
These built-ins are mighty easy to use.
You just click on that word count number on your document’s lower left bar or in Tools or Review at the top. Basic word count statistics pop up including the number of pages, number of words, number of characters (no spaces), number of characters (with spaces), number of paragraphs, and number of lines in your document.
And if you enable your device’s Spelling and Grammar check, you can get additional readability stats, including a Flesch-Kincaid reading level score.
All of this is very useful when a project has a word count limit.
But putting aside convenience, I’ve found other reasons to use a more robust word count tool.
I decided to test a published post from my website to see if there was anything I missed by not using an online word count tool in the self-editing process.
What I found surprised me.
I found that these tools can help me simplify my content, improve its readability, and make it as appealing as possible to search engines with appropriate keywords. At no cost! That's right ... F-R-E-E.
Online tools give me more information about the words in my text: the number of short words (< 3 letters), long words (>7 letters), average word length, average sentence length, and number of difficult words. I use this valuable information to replace difficult, long words and change sentence length to simplify the content.
Built-in software reported that my blog post ranked at a 5.1 grade reading level on the Flesch-Kincaid scale – that’s a reading level of Grade 5, Month 1. It’s a good score when shooting for a maximum Grade 8 for online writing.
But wait. Other online word count tools showed the text’s readability at 7.7 (Dale-Chall), 7.4 (Gunning Fog), and 8.4 (Automated Readability). Those numbers drive me back to my text to see if I can streamline the syntax to make it easier to read. Self-checks like this allow me to self-edit more thoroughly.
Online word count tools count and list top keywords in the selection. This allows me to see which keywords I used in the text, how often I used them, and how to correct my content to include certain words more and eliminate ones that are too repetitive.
Below I’ve listed just three of the are dozens of online word count tools you can use – for free.
Just go to the app, copy and paste your text into the text box, and the application returns its results right away.
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