A BBC article published last week has claimed that spelling mistakes on your website can halve online sales.
In an age when everyone has access to a spellchecking program, is this just scaremongering? And is poor spelling really such a problem?
Well, spellcheckers are fallible – especially when it comes to proprietary terms such as company and product names. If you miss out the “i” when trying to type “chief” your spellchecker won’t bat an eyelid. Content can start out accurate but have errors introduced during edits especially if they are performed under time pressure. And of course, corporate websites often have people publishing content in their non-native languages.
Another problem is when your spellchecker fails you, staff can’t always pick up the slack. In fact, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has warned that many employers have to invest in remedial literacy lessons for their staff.
The power of words
Good spelling may be “old-fashioned” in the sense that fewer people have it as a skill, but as a business issue, it’s bang up to date.
Online sales are heavily reliant on the written word – a customer purchasing online relies on what they read to make their decision. By extension, the more important online sales become to your business, the more vital it becomes to have accurate content. It might seem like a schoolboy concern, but poor spelling diminishes the credibility of a website – and can even call into question its legitimacy.
According to online entrepreneur Charlie Duncombe who runs travel, mobile phone and clothing websites, there’s concrete evidence to show that spelling matters. He measured the revenue per visitor on the website tightsplease.co.uk before and after a spelling mistake was corrected. The revenue was twice as high following the correction. I doubt many businesses can afford to lose that 50%!
Spelling it out
So if you can’t trust your spell checker and can’t rely on your staff, how can you make sure your site content isn’t damaging your credibility and your business? At Magus, we’ve answered this problem by building spell checking – including proprietary business terms – into ActiveStandards. Crucially for international organisations, ActiveStandards is able to analyse pages to detect the language the page is written in, and apply the appropriate lexicon. It can even check pages containing content in multiple languages.