Blog — July 21, 2011 10:05 — 0 Comments
Is poor spelling costing you money?
Is spelling really that important? Surely with writing it’s what you say and how you say it which matters as much, if not more, than a few spelling errors?
You’d be forgiven for thinking that in this day and age of tweets, instant updates and abbrv8td txt msgs, that whether your website has typos or spelling errors is really neither hear nor they’re (if you no what aye mean).
The point is, words really do matter. They’re how we get across complex ideas in simple, easy-to-understand sentences. If the words aren’t easily grasped on the first pass, then neither is the proposition buried within them.
Spelling: a clear message
OK. That’s probably an easy win. Not many would argue the point that the message has to be clear and easily comprehended. But what then of sloppy spelling? Does it really matter that much if the words have the odd missing letter or stray apostrophe, just so long as the meaning is in there?
Well, it seems the answer is a resounding yes. According to a recent article on the BBC News website, spelling mistakes can potentially cripple online sales. That sounds a little far-fetched but the piece backs up this assertion based on research carried out by businessman Charles Duncombe.
He recently analysed the sales performance of a clothing accessories website before and after typos were corrected. He claims that revenues clearly rose after the misspellings were addressed.
Spelling: Counting the cost of poor website content
But how much of an impact can sorting a few grammatical gotchas really make? If the study is to be believed — a whole lot! Duncombe claims the corrected pages resulted in a doubling of revenues.
Now, it’s worth pointing out that this is just one study and there is little additional detail on the methodology, period of time the research was conducted over, or how many transactions were actually involved. Yet it seems reasonable to take the study as indicative.
One inference is that it suggests people find a lack of attention to detail off-putting – so much so that it may affect as many as one in every two potential online sales. That’s hugely significant if a large proportion of sales relies on an online retail presence.
Clearly people are put off if they spot spelling errors. It may be that this causes doubts to enter the reader’s mind over just how credible the website can be if elementary errors are left unaddressed. After all, if you saw an e-commerce site littered with poorly written pages, wouldn’t it discourage you from making a purchase?
Spelling on the web hasn’t been researched much as yet. But the Duncombe study suggest that it ought to be. Websites which focus resources on slickly designed pages and eye-catching graphics need to give just as much attention to the words. The web remains a textual medium at heart. Even if your website is only promoting your wares and not directly selling via e-commerce, poor spelling may be undermining your credibility and making people hesitate to do business with you.
Spelling: No room for complacency
So what’s the take-away from the original story? Quite simply that there’s really no room for complacency when it comes to spelling, be it on a website or any other marketing collateral. As Duncombe told the BBC, “If you project this across the whole of internet retail, then millions of (UK) pounds worth of business is probably being lost each week due to simple spelling mistakes.”
Q. Does spelling matter to you? Tell us what you think below.
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