There. Did you catch it? The missing apostrophe in the title? One tiny mistake like that can affect the credibility of your website and your entire company!
Misspellings, incorrect word usage and grammatical errors are common on even the best websites.
Think no one will notice one little error? Dead wrong. Potential clients can be unforgiving when it comes to misspelling or incorrect word usage. This instant loss of credibility translates into lost sales opportunities. (The more educated the user, the more likely they are to notice errors. And the more likely they are to have a higher income and more to spend – or not spend – on your products and services.)
Think I’m exaggerating? A recent British analysis of website figures shows a single spelling mistake can cut online sales in half.
Not only that, but spelling mistakes distract users from the information you are trying to convey. Like hitting a speed bump at 40 miles per hour. Major communications deterrent.
What impression are you giving your website visitors?
Use this checklist to make sure your copy isn’t turning potential customers away from your site.
1. Get at least 2 other people you know to read your site and look for errors. You might consider hiring an experienced proofreader and/or copywriter (such as myself) to go over your site with a fine-toothed comb.
2. Cut and paste all of your website copy into Word or a similar program and run it through a spell check. This will catch some of the errors in spelling and grammar, but not all. Spellcheck won’t know if you meant to use “bear” or “bare” since both stand-alone spellings are correct. Don’t neglect step 1.
3. Make sure you are not using too much industry jargon. Non-technical people will be visiting your site. Don’t assume they are familiar with the buzzwords of your business. Use plain language. Or if you do use a buzzword, give a little explanation of the term.
4. Beware of homophones (its or it’s, their or they’re or there) and make sure you’re using the correct word. Homophone mistakes are extremely common on websites. Spellcheck doesn’t always find these. (See step 2.) There are plenty of sites that can help you if you are not sure which form to use. I like Grammar Girl at [grammar.quickanddirtytips.com].
5. Use the right voice. If you are writing in the first-person point of view, make sure you do so throughout the site. Same thing for second or third person. Be consistent.
First person (I, we, me, us my, our)
Our company will complete the job on time and on budget.
Second person ( you, your, yours)
Before you get burned by a fly-by-night outfit, you need to check business references.
Third person (he, she, his, hers, it, they, them)
Many businesses have grammatical errors on their web pages; they need to have them properly proofread.
(Ok. So I threw a semi-colon in that last sentence just to show off.
And to remind everyone that I am a copywriter as well as a graphic designer.)