Why are website spelling and grammar important?
How often have you taken a look at your home page, sat back, and thought – wow, that looks really great?
We keep getting told that first impressions really count – and they do. When visitors arrive at your website, they expect it to load fast and deliver the information they are looking for. Indeed, Google, by launching its Page Experience update in 2021, is attempting to reward website owners who deliver a great visitor experience.
So, Google thinks that ‘experience’ is important, and having invested time and effort in getting that perfect visitor to your website, what do you think would happen if they were then confronted with a page full of poor spelling and grammar mistakes?
They are likely to bounce away to one of your competitors, that’s what. If that wasn’t bad enough, search engines will note your high bounce rate and could demote your page in favour of your competition.
Style over substance?
As a website owner, you have no doubt spent a lot of time and money getting the look and feel of your website just as you want it. The same care isn’t always applied to the words on the page, though.
This is kind of understandable. You want to make sure your brand is represented correctly on your site. However, although the design is important as a subliminal ‘first impression’, it’s actually your content that will keep the visitor on your website, and which will coax them through to a sale. Your design may grab your visitor, but it’s your content that will convert them into a customer.
Also, even though you might be using correctly spelled words, it’s worth making sure they are consistently used. For example, consider the use of ‘onsite’, ‘on-site’, and ‘on site’. There could be a good reason to use each of them in your content, but if you use the word repeatedly on your website it might be a good idea to be consistent if it is referring to the same thing each time.
Search engines like good website spelling and grammar
Search engines can see high bounce rates as a sign that your website is not satisfying your visitors’ needs. Over time, they may well rank your competitors above you because of this.
What’s more, poor use of language can impact your brand. Even though your own spelling errors may not go viral (some do… see later), potential customers might be put off if they see that you cannot spell commonplace industry words correctly. Imagine construction companies misspelling their building materials, or lawyers and training companies exhibiting poor grammar.
5 ways to improve your website spelling and grammar
Even if you’re not great at writing, all is not lost. There are plenty of tools and approaches you can use to deliver content which is spot on. Here are 5 of our own suggestions:
Use a professional copywriter.
Professional copywriting can be great for initial website content, but make sure that this quality carries through to all the blog posts and articles that you will ultimately be writing yourself. It would be a shame to have beautifully written sales pages, only to be let down by something you hurriedly published yourself.
Can be costly, but as well as being technically correct, you’ll get punchy copy that is more likely to convert visitors to customers.
Put your content through a spell checker before putting it on your website.
Many content writers fail to use spell checkers that exist in every word processing program. You only have to Google ‘spell checker’ to be presented with a range of free online tools that will check your content.
If you build your content in a word processing program, make sure you switch on the spell checker (and apply their recommendations). A great free option!
Get a friend or colleague to check it.
Colleagues might pick up issues relating to your business, service, or product, as well as spelling and grammar errors. If you work on your own, why not have a content buddy who can review your content in return for you reviewing theirs?
Good if you can find someone available and reliable. They might also pick up other issues with your copy.
Grammarly can be useful to pick up mistakes.
Grammarly is really good for identifying spelling and grammar issues in your content. Some SEO plugins (assuming you’re using WordPress) can also be helpful. If you are using an SEO plugin, such as Yoast, Rank Math, or All-in-One SEO, make sure you spend that extra time looking at their recommendations for your content.
Grammarly can be a bit intrusive, especially the free version. Paid versions start at $12 per month, so if you work with content regularly, this could be a good investment.
Ask us to audit your content for spelling and grammar errors.
We offer a regular, machine-based check, which covers not just your visible site content, but also the text used in your meta data, such as SEO title, meta description, etc. In fact, anything that search engines would see can get picked up!
By running the test regularly (e.g. monthly) we can educate the tool to ignore false positives, such as brand names not being recognised. Regular testing will also pick up errors with new, or changed, content.
We can either deliver the result to you after each audit, and let you take care of the changes yourself, or we can work through them for you. We can often find efficient ways of correcting errors that are repeated many times through a website.
If you are happy to make the changes yourself, then an initial spelling and grammar audit can be done for a nominal fee, depending on website size. If you are on one of our website care plans with retained time, we might even be able to run the report for you without charge.
Embarrassing spelling and grammar mistakes that brands have made
We couldn’t leave this topic without mentioning some of the absolute blunders that businesses have made, not just in their website copy but in other areas of their marketing.
Take a look at these howlers that Hubspot identified.
Lost sales due to poor spelling
Spelling mistakes = Lost sales
Charles Duncombe, who runs a range of internet-based businesses, says an analysis of website figures shows a single spelling mistake can cut online sales by 50 per cent. Misspellings put off consumers who may have concerns over the credibility of a website.
In conclusion – spelling and grammar are your SEO secret weapon
Of course, correct spelling and good grammar should permeate across not just your website, but also your other marketing materials, social media content, newsletters, and the emails you send.
Spelling and grammar are really your SEO secret weapons too.
Conventional SEO tactics involve things like building inbound links, making sure you have enough content on the page, having a good heading/sub-heading structure, keyword usage, strong meta information, etc. Everyone focuses on those things, but not all SEO experts will mention spelling and grammar.
If you were Google, wouldn’t you want to rank well-written content?
We aren’t all great with language. If you know you’re not good, then make sure you run your content past someone else or use one of the solutions mentioned above.
If you would like to find out more about our automated spelling and grammar checking, please ask us by completing the form below.