I’ve been doing a lot of research lately. Pretty much all of this research has been online, scrolling through various websites.
And I’m getting angry.
Please, please, please proofread your website.
When I’m looking for a business or charity to support, I’m looking to see if you are conscientious, worth my time, will be pleasant to work with, and will provide what I expect. And when your website is full of errors, typos, and sentences that don’t make sense — I don’t want to work with you.
You’re losing customers. You’re losing clients. And you’re making your organization look untrustworthy. If I can’t trust your website to be error free (or at least error rare, because I get it, sometimes a typo or two slips through), then how can I trust your product or service?
Five Reasons to Proofread Your Website
- You’re setting a bad first impression.
- You’re making it hard for customers to understand you.
- You’re making it hard for clients to trust that you know what you’re doing.
- You’re decreasing the value of your product.
- You’re losing out on income.
You’re setting a bad first impression.
Your website is often the first place that potential customers or clients learn about you and what you can offer them. First impressions matter.
You’re making it hard for customers to understand you.
People are busy. If I can’t understand the gist of your business or product, the cost or what I’m going to get for my money in a few seconds (our attention spans online are super short), then I’m not sticking around to try and figure it out. I’ll try the next link in my Google search results.
You’re making it hard for clients to trust that you know what you’re doing.
If you’re an author and your website is full of errors, I probably won’t want to read your book. If you can’t take the time or don’t have the ability to see that “Abot Me” is missing a letter, how can I trust that your book will be legible? This applies to non-authors too because hey, we all end up writing something or other with our business, be it emails or product descriptions or instructions for use.
You’re decreasing the value of your product.
I recently heard about a local small business that puts inspirational quotes onto objects — wall plaques, glassware, clothing and the like — who gave away a product they had made. This item had multiple spelling errors. They couldn’t sell it. Why? Because it had no real value anymore. Now, if that product has spelling errors, how likely is it that their website is full of the same? Would you trust them on your custom order?
You’re losing out on income.
Studies have shown that spelling mistakes on your company website can drastically decrease online sales. Not only do potential customers lose trust in you, but they also have a harder time understanding you.
Now that you know why you should proofread, here’s how to do it well.
Five Tips to Proofread Well
Whether you’re proofreading your website, your email, or your book here are five tips to help you do it well and avoid embarrassing or costly errors.
(Also, errors is a weird word to type and I have missed that third r so many times while drafting this post. See, we all need to proofread!)
- Take a break, then go back to it.
- Read it aloud, suuuuupppppeeeerrrrr slowly.
- Do multiple passes, looking at different things each time.
- Get someone else to do proofread for you.
Take a break, then go back to it.
If you’ve written something, you definitely need to take a break before you try to proofread it. Give your eyes a rest. Give your brain a chance to clear that text and what you think it says out of your head. If you’ve been looking at the text for a long time and know what it’s supposed to say your brain automatically fills in the letters it knows should be there, even if they aren’t actually there.
Read it aloud, suuuuupppppeeeerrrrr slowly.
See what I did there? Reading slowly and reading aloud force you to look at each word in full before moving along to the next. You’ll catch a lot more typos this way than skimming along the text with your eyes and just hearing the words in your head.
Do multiple passes, looking at different things each time.
Your website or your article or your brochure have a lot of different parts. Websites, for instance, have menu items, headings, descriptions, body text, and links. Take the time to go through each part of the website separately. First pass, look just at the menu items. Are they all correct? Spelling, order, etc? Then, click through each page to look at headings and titles. Then, go slowly through each page to ensure the body text is correct. See what I mean? It takes time, but it’s worth it.
If you wrote the text in your office, grab your laptop and head to the conference room to do your proofreading. I know, it seems weird. But it’s another aspect of the taking a break idea. Different location helps your brain to refocus and not fill in the blanks quite so much.
Get someone else to do proofread for you.
If you wrote something, chances are that even with doing all of the above, you’ll still miss something. Your brain and your eyes are so familiar with the text that errors are skipped because your brain knows what the page is supposed to say. So, if you have a coworker or friend who can proofread for you, they’ll likely catch things you missed. But, they may very well miss things too. And that’s why it’s worth the money to hire a professional proofreader. We know what we’re doing. We’ve taken courses on the strategies of proofreading. (They aren’t as boring as they may sound, I swear.)
Along with this little blog, I offer proofreading services. I’ve quite a few years of experience proofreading marketing and business materials and helping authors prepare their manuscripts for submission or self-publication. If you have a project that you need proofread, let me know.
Now, I apologize. I did not mean for this post to become a sales pitch. I just wanted to let you know, that if you want some help, I’m here. 🙂