Spelling errors on a business website say something about its owner(s): lack of attention to detail, lack of knowledge, lack of pride in their business; even more so when the misspelled words are related to their business.
Would you trust this dog trainer?
Unless you have other information about this person, like recommendations from people you trust, this kind of sloppiness is reason enough to try the next website you found in your search.
And this isn’t just about reputation or trust. Spelling errors can lead to confusion for visitors or misunderstandings that can cost you money, such as a misplaced zero.
Of course there will be situations when spelling isn’t a deal-breaker, but the point is that misspelling is such an easy thing to prevent, catch, or correct, that it makes no sense to take chances with your company’s reputation and potential sales.
A 2013 study of frustrations with social media found that people’s biggest turn-off was poor spelling and grammar. Yes, we’re all in a hurry, in particular with social media, but the amount of text we’re talking about is so small, even on a website, and the tools at our disposal are so numerous, that it should almost be inconceivable in this day and age for there to be spelling errors. Which makes the existence of errors all the more glaring.
Not that there can’t still be errors, even when you’re diligent. I remember opening my first published book when it arrived from the printers, so excited to see what it looked like. The first page I opened had a spelling error! Despite my best efforts and those of four editors, we all missed a very simple spelling mistake. So don’t beat yourself up when you find one – be glad that anything on the web is easy to fix, unlike the thousands of printed copies of my book!
Use A Spell-checker
If you write your website material in Word or some other writing program, make sure you have spell-checker turned on. If you write directly in your content management software – like WordPress – make sure your browser’s spell-check function is on (most are on by default) or if you prefer, get an extension or add-on for your browser that has a more sophisticated or user-friendly spell-check function.
But remember, most spell-checkers don’t catch correctly spelled, but misused words, like “there” and “their” and “they’re” – for that you’ll need your own eyes and/or a good grammar-checking program.
Be Your Own Spell-checker
Even if you used spell-check tools during the writing process, reading over a piece you’ve written – not just for spelling – is crucial. Most of the work of writing lies in the editing. Use that process to catch spelling errors. This is often best done by reading the piece backwards because your eye is more likely to spot problems – it’s harder to gloss over a word when you’re reading it backwards.
Ask A Friend
Having someone else read over your content is a great idea. They didn’t write it, so they’re more likely to spot issues, like spelling.
Check After Publishing
Even if you’ve been proofing your piece during the writing and editing process, read it again after you’ve hit the Publish button. It’s a final chance to get things right, and it will look different to you, even if you’ve seen it in preview mode.
And review your material a week or so after it’s been published – it’s never too late to correct a problem.