Online entrepreneur Charles Duncombe claims that misspellings can foster major concerns about the credibility of a website, and therefore put off a slew of potential consumers – and potential income.
“Even cutting-edge companies depend upon old-fashioned skills,” says Mr Duncombe. “When you sell or communicate on the internet, 99% of the time it is done by the written word.”
By measuring the revenue per visitor to tightsplease.co.uk, he was able to ascertain that revenue is affected by deliberately placing small spelling errors on the homepage.
“You get about six seconds to capture the attention on a website,” he says, and getting it wrong can be very costly. “If you project [this research] across the whole of internet retail, then millions of pounds worth of business is probably being lost each week due to simple spelling mistakes,” concludes Mr Duncombe.
He’s not alone, either – this view about the importance of good English is shared by William Dutton, director of the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University, who says that spelling errors can “raise concerns over trust and credibility.” He argues that, on websites and in email communications, “when a consumer might be wary of spam or phishing efforts, a misspelt word could be a killer issue.”
So there you have it – in a modern world of expensive, interactive online sales techniques, it all still comes down to writing engaging, targeted copy that’s completely free of spelling and grammatical mistakes. Now how about that?