Remember "let's eat Grandma" vs "let's eat, Grandma"? Dodgy punctuation and spelling can be hilarious at times but, when it comes to business, it's no laughing matter at all.
Step into the shoes of a buyer, for a moment, and have a look-see at these:
Spelling errors from household names with solid brand images? Say it ain't so!
Naturally, these errors caught a lot of attention on the interwebs, not least because they came from popular companies that otherwise had a pretty solid brand image.
And if popular brands drew flak for seemingly innocent spelling mistakes, you can be sure that businesses that are just starting out will be hit much, much harder where it hurts.
According to a London-based survey, nearly 50% of participants said they wouldn't buy a product off of a website if they spotted even one error. And if your website content has multiple errors, the math is scary.
So why do customers get scared off by a spelling error, anyway?
Poor spelling looks like spam
Sure, not all customers are pedants off to win the next spelling bee. But lousy spelling and weirdly framed sentences are almost always synonymous with spam or malware, so customers might develop the same reaction to your website if it has errors. It doesn't make you look 'legit', so chances of customers being okay with paying on your website or entering their personal details are much lesser.
Poor spelling can affect your search ranking
Google's algorithms are advanced enough to spot well-written, error-free content on websites when they're crawling for new links. While there have been mixed signals on this aspect of SERP rankings, the common standing is that spelling errors and generally incorrect sentences are often penalised by search engines because, again, they read like spam content.
Poor spelling reduces trust
If you haven't prioritised grammar-checking your website content, chances are customers aren't going to trust your website and, by extension, your goods and services. It translates to the company being careless with their website or not prioritising user experience which, in effect, is true of spelling errors. Poor spelling creates mistrust and second-guessing, especially when compared with other indicators such as a 'not secure' warning sign.
How to pick up the slack on spellings
Given to err is human and all that, a few spelling mistakes here and there are perfectly excusable. After all, we're not infallible. But more than one error gives off a sloppy experience. The solution lies not in putting the pen down once and for all, but in paying a little more attention (or getting someone to do it for you).
Use a grammar checker
This is one of the easiest ways to spot errors in your copy. Grammarly, ProwritingAid and similar other tools go through your copy with a fine-tooth comb and flag any errors or potential structural issues. It's worth mentioning that these tools don't always catch all the errors in your copy, but an extra check is better than none at all.
Hire someone to check (or write) your copy
To spot any errors your grammar checker of choice might have glossed over, it's advisable to hire an expert to check your copy. A fresh pear – sorry, pair – of eyes is always beneficial because you'll get copy that's free of errors and any other stumbling blocks your tired eyes might have missed. Freelance content writers (like me) and proofreaders do this to earn your bread, so you're better off leaving the work to them and getting on with the rest of your business.
Have a dictionary handy
Yes, people still use them. Keep a physical copy nearby to consult, or have an online one ready to use. It's always best to stick to one dictionary, especially if the word you're using has multiple spellings in different kinds of English. This way, you'll ensure consistency across all copy that your brand puts out.
The bottom line? A business looking to succeed never overlooks basic grammar and spelling– even if they have to hire someone to ensure it.