Are you good at talking but less so at writing?
Perhaps you know what you want to say but when it comes to writing, you’re not always sure of your spelling and grammar?
You may be of the school of thought that so long as you get your message across, no-one’s really going to care about your grammar and spelling.
But when you are writing on your website, these things will affect perceptions of your brand and professionalism.
So unless you’re striving to appeal to a market that wouldn’t know a past participle from a past simple, or for which poor spelling and defective grammar are a passport to street credibility, you probably should care!
1. Perceptions of professionalism
If your website copy contains bad grammar and spelling mistakes, your business is likely to come across as sloppy and unprofessional to those who know what good grammar and correct spelling looks like.
If you can’t be bothered to check and correct your own work when representing yourself, why should potential customers trust you to complete and check your work for them to a professional standard?
2. Perceptions of competence
Even if your potential clients are willing to give you the benefit of the doubt with regard to your professionalism, your using poor grammar and incorrect spelling can give the impression of a lack of basic competence or know-how.
Such perceptions transferred to your other professional activities can influence clients’ expectations in terms of the results they are going to get from your work, or the quality of the products you have to sell.
3. Clarity of communication
No matter how much you might feel that your intended meaning is clear, the rules of grammar are mostly in place for good reasons, and if you don’t follow them, your sentences are likely to be harder to follow and understand.
4. Linguistic aesthetics
Even when your intended meaning is clear, if your grammar is all over the place, your use of language is likely to come across as clumsy to the discerning and aesthetically sensitive reader.
This will negatively impact upon perceptions of beauty or harmony associated with the products and services you are proposing to deliver.
5. Perceptions of brand value
Anything on your website that reads poorly or as being incorrect by formal standards of English language may negatively affect potential customers’ perceptions of the value of your brand.
Do you want to come across as downmarket, or to differentiate yourself from the competition in terms of the overall quality and class of your brand?
I know my grammar and spelling aren’t very good. What should I do?
If grammar isn’t your strong point, you are probably not the best person to be making the final edits to the copy on your website, though you may still want to draft it because you will probably know what you want to get across better than anyone.
One of the best solutions is to employ a copywriter with copy-editing skills and a high standard of written English to correct and enhance your draft copy.
There are various automated tools available on the Internet that aim to detect and notify users of problems with their grammar and spelling. These can be useful training tools. However, they are only as reliable as the programming that went into them. You might find that they only go so far towards achieving your aims of a satisfactory verbal presentation on your website, that they flag up correct grammar as wrong if your sentences are relatively long and complex, or that they attempt to correct British English spellings and grammar to the American English equivalent, which may not be helpful if you are targeting the UK market.
If you found this article of interest, you might like our Digital Copywriting Guide to Best Practice. Alternatively, if you are looking for extra help with copywriting for your business, explore our Digital Copywriting Services to see how we could help.