How to be a more effective spell checker

Last week it was reported on the BBC that poor spelling is costing British internet businesses dearly in lost revenue.

When selling online, many entrepreneurs forget that products don’t speak for themselves as they would in a physical shop. In an e-commerce setting, good (or bad) copywriting can make the difference between no sales and early retirement to the south of France. This is because your copy has to work harder to persuade customers to part with their cash.

According to the article, figures from the Office for National Statistics say that internet sales reach £527m per week.

As an online business, you may certainly want a bigger slice of the action, so if you think that your website loses sales due to poor spelling (or poor copywriting in general!) then here are a few tips to address this:

- May sound like stating the blinking obvious, but use your spell check.

- Ask someone else to proofread. If you have spent hours writing and re-writing the same page then you will be oblivious to any mistakes you might have made. A fresh pair of eyes can really help you
Search for the ‘usual suspects’, such as words that are correctly spelled but have a different meaning from the one you have intended e.g. ‘they’re’, ‘there’ and ‘their’… or ‘meet’ and ‘meat’. These are called homonyms and our beautiful English language is full of them.

- Check for Americanism if your website is aimed at the British market. Many spell checkers default to American spellings e.g. ‘organize’ or ‘color’. Not only does this mistake deeply irritate English language purists but it may lead some customers to believe that you are based in the US. This could lead to customers wrongly believing that if they make a purchase with you then they may receive an inferior product that doesn’t meet CE standards, that they may have to pay extra for delivery or wait longer for delivery. Internet users are notoriously fickle and may not check to find out where you are based if they make this judgement soon after landing on your website for the first time.

- Print your work out – may people find it easier to notice mistakes in print rather than on the computer screen.

If you require copywriting services for your website then contact David Wiltshire on 0845 1766 544.

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