January 20, 2012
Liz published this at 8:08 am
Careful or Careless?
In today’s social media-driven society, where more interpersonal interaction takes place on the Internet than ever before, one of the best things a small business can do to steer themselves toward success is develop a strong Internet-based presence. From a functional webpage to well-managed accounts with top social networking sites, consumers need to access and learn about your business from their laptops and smart phones during their busy and often Internet-focused lives.
Your website should be a snapshot of your business, introducing clients and consumers to your brand and influencing them to trust in your services. Because of that, it is imperative that you avoid these common, easy-to-make writing errors that may broadcast your business in the wrong light.
- Incorrect or no punctuation. A missing or improperly placed comma can change the entire meaning of a sentence, and over-zealous use of exclamation points may read as campy or unprofessional to your website viewers. Have a member of your team who is well-versed in the rules of punctuation look over any copy before you hit “publish.”
- Mixing up homophones. They’re, their, there. Two, too, to. Than, then. Your, you’re. Affect, effect. When typing, especially in a hurry, it can be easy to mix up these homophones and use the wrong one. When you do that, not only does your sentence take on a new meaning, but also, people notice. For many, mixing up those words is the visual equivalent to running nails across a chalkboard.
- Writing chunky blocks of text without any visual appeal. Though not a grammatical error, improperly forming paragraphs or not minding the visual structure of a paragraph can be just as irritating for a reader. We tweet in 140 characters, update our statuses in a sentence or two, and skim the book jacket before opening up to the first page: we’re busy, and we want our information quickly. When visiting a business’s website, readers don’t want to read a novel. They want quick, accessible information that gets to the point and tells them what they need to know without searching through blocks of text to get there.
The problem with these errors is that they send the message of carelessness or neglect to your readers. While we’ve all made mistakes, such as misplacing an apostrophe or writing who’s instead of whose, consumers want to bring their business to companies who take care of the details of their brand. It isn’t uncommon for consumers to even leave a webpage after finding a few of these errors.
The subconscious thought process for many consumers is that if the business can’t even proofread their webpage, why should I trust them to give me the best service possible?
To ensure your small business’s website and online content is presenting potential clients and consumers with the best possible image of itself, take care to avoid seemingly small writing mistakes and blunders. People will see how much you care about your presentation as an indicator of how you will care for them if they decide to bring their business to your company.
Amanda Valenti is a writer and content editor for College.com She also writes and publishes for a variety of other blogs/websites on the topics of traditional campus schools as well as accredited online colleges
Thank you, Amanda.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz on your business!!