Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar: What Your Website Tells Customers About You

The internet is rife with spelling, grammar and punctuation errors: spam, text-speak, chat-speak, LOLcats and other memes, and much more. Despite this, the need to make a professional, literate impression on potential customers has never been more important.

On the one hand, you might feel that your customers won’t notice or care if you have the odd apostrophe or comma out of place. On the other, such tiny details might cost you a significant deal, purchase or subscription, because a customer has noticed a spelling error and automatically clicked the ‘back’ button.

Take me, for example. I place a high value on literacy and accuracy, and I’m likely to be guilty of the above pickiness. If I see a header advertising “accessorys”, or instructions to “contact us for detail’s”, I’m more than likely to click right back to Google and shop elsewhere.

And I’m not alone. There are entire societies campaigning for correct use of the English language, and for more emphasis on correct spelling, punctuation and grammar in school curriculums. By overlooking errors in your website text, you could be shutting the door to a significant portion of your target market.

There is, of course, a downside to perfect, grammatically correct website copy. It’s very hard to write lively, engaging copy that gives a sense of what your business offers the consumer, while still making your website search engine friendly. After all, practically no one uses 100% grammatically correct search terms when Googling for the product or service they want.

Luckily, search bots often acknowledge that words like “and”, “the” and “in” are common enough to ignore, when they sweep a site for content. If you want to be safe and include a few major search terms as they are, keywords such as “ironing service Bristol” can be difficult to integrate into your copy; I’ve had to be creative to manage it without sacrificing my obsessive need for correct grammar. In the end, I managed to come up with “We provide the best ironing service Bristol has to offer’”– so it is possible!

A competent SEO – search engine optimisation – copywriter can ensure that you present a literate impression to potential customers, while still generating decent natural positions on search engines. It might cost a little time – or money, if you choose to hire someone to do it for you – but you’ll find the investment is definitely worth it in the long term.