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Poor Spelling Cuts Sales Online

Updated on December 07, 2013
misspellings and typos are easily made
misspellings and typos are easily made

As more and more people turn to the internet to do their shopping, there has been a huge rise in the number of websites offering goods and services for sale.

Unfortunately, illiteracy rates are rising, and this is shown in many otherwise interesting websites.

Even one simple spelling error can put people off, and many websites owners do not bother to correct that error, even when it is pointed out to them.

The average browser looks at a site for just 6 seconds, and spelling errors and poor grammar have been proven to put them off and use the back button.

Studies have shown that by correcting errors, websites have seen their sales rocket by 50% overnight.

Charles Duncombe of the Just Say Please group
Charles Duncombe of the Just Say Please group | Source

Online Sales Increase when Spelling Errors are Corrected

Online entrepreneur Charles Duncombe, director of the Just Say Please Group which runs travel and clothing websites in the UK, carried out a study on his own sites after finding out that many university graduates who he tried to recruit could not spell, to the extent of having spelling errors in their job applications.

Out of those he chose to interview following successfully spelt applications, he discovered that none of them could spell without the use of a computer spell-checker.

He deliberately placed a single spelling error on a high-trafficked site, and watched as sales collapsed.

He then corrected the error, and sales sprang back.

"Poor spelling is costing websites operators millions in lost sales revenue", he is quoted as saying.

"Spelling is important to the credibilty of a website. When there are underlying concerns about fraud and safety, then getting the basics right is essential. Even cutting-edge companies depend upon old-fashioned skills, because when you sell or communicate on the internet, 99 per cent of the time it is done by the written word. Spelling is vitally important to the credibility of the website".

shopping online
shopping online

A Misspelt Word can Kill Sales

William Dutton, director of the Oxford Internet Institute based within Oxford University, agreed.

"When a consumer might be wary of spam or phishing efforts, a misspelt word could be a killer issue",

he said, before going to to explain that in some less formal areas of the internet, like Facebook, spelling and grammar are of less importance.

"However, there are other aspects, such as a home page or commercial offering that are not among friends and which raise concerns over trust and credibility," Professor Dutton went on to say.

common spelling errors
common spelling errors

Correct Spelling Errors as Soon as Possible to Increase Sales

The importance of error checking your website cannot be stressed enough. Check and double-check that your site, especially your main page, does not contain spelling or grammatical errors that can easily put people off.

If you are a poor speller and have not invested in a dictionary, consider employing a professional freelance writer to write your content for you.

With a potential 50% rise in sales, it is money well spent.

If you normally write well, but are, like all of us, victim of the occasional typo that we miss when editing or checking our own work, it is of especial importance that you correct that error the moment it is noticed, or pointed out to you by others.

A study in Spain showed that online businesses are losing up to 70% of their potential business and sales simply because of poorly written content and spelling errors that have not been corrected after having the errors pointed out, according to Michael Walsh, one of Spain's best known copywriters and journalists.

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    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas

      Excellent! Thank you! Voted up, useful, and shared! :)

    • Winflow FG profile image

      Winflow FG 5 years ago from Toronto

      Good article. It's amazing how many spelling mistakes there are online. Even with a spell check.

    • Azure11 profile image

      Azure11 5 years ago from UK

      Very true! Nothing puts me off a website more quickly than someone who cannot spell, it just says to me that it is done by someone who doesn't really care about the content.

      p.s. there is a typo in the caption for the first photo (sorry, couldn't resist!)

    • IzzyM profile image
      Author

      IzzyM 5 years ago from UK

      Thanks Azure for pointing that one out!! lol they are easily made and our eyes seem to miss them even when we double-check. Thankfully this is not a sales hub (unless someone actually wants to buy a dictionary).

      Justmesuzanne and Winflow, many thanks for commenting :)

    • applecsmith profile image

      Carrie Smith 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Very true! Great Hub and thank you for sharing. Voted up and interesting

    • IzzyM profile image
      Author

      IzzyM 5 years ago from UK

      I have always thought myself that spelling and grammar were important. Good to know studies prove it :)

    • profile image

      Sophia Angelique 5 years ago

      Excellent hub, Izzy!

    • IzzyM profile image
      Author

      IzzyM 5 years ago from UK

      Thanks Sophia, I thought myself it was an important issue that needs to be highlighted.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Great job on pointing out this very important part in online communication. I recently conducted an effective communication seminar and this drives the point dead on. I will definitely share this hub with my participants.

    • IzzyM profile image
      Author

      IzzyM 5 years ago from UK

      Thanks jpcmc! I cringe when I spot basic spelling errors on sites. I wouldn't buy from them either, so it's good to know it's not just me.

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan

      That goes for me too! If there is one or two words I may chalk it up to a typo (which still isn't much of an excuse) but when it is riddled with errors I won't bother. Thanks for this hub!

    • IzzyM profile image
      Author

      IzzyM 5 years ago from UK

      All the more reason to double check our own sites in case one or two slipped through.

    • 2uesday profile image

      2uesday 5 years ago

      This is a useful topic,voted up and as useful too. I often fail to spot my typos, so a spell checker is a useful tool. There is something that makes it harder to spot spelling errors on a screen than on a piece of paper for me, the topic of your hub has brought home the need to check my articles more carefully.

    • IzzyM profile image
      Author

      IzzyM 5 years ago from UK

      I'm glad I am not alone 2uesday in not spotting errors. Feel free to point mine out if you notice them :)

    • sleepylog profile image

      Sleepylog 4 years ago from Australia

      That's very true. I find it very hard to read a website where the grammar and spelling are poor. I will tolerate it if they're not trying to sell something, especially if it's funny or teaching me something, but when one is trying to sell you something, their poor spelling and/or grammar doesn't inspire much confidence in their or the products/services they're selling.

    • IzzyM profile image
      Author

      IzzyM 4 years ago from UK

      Totally agree with you, and studies have shown this to be true as well. It drives me daft when schools are more concerned in what a student has to say rather than how they spell it. Being able to spell is of vital importance, especially if you want to write online or become a marketer. Too many hubbers need to go back to school. I am frankly shocked when many come to the forums saying they get extra work writing articles for others. If they write there as badly as they write here, it is no wonder the internet is getting filled with junk! This creates a vicious circle because young surfers will think that is the correct spelling and will not know the difference. In 20 years time, poor spelling will not make a blind bit of difference as a whole generation will be as bad as the writers who couldn't write in the first place.

    • sleepylog profile image

      Sleepylog 4 years ago from Australia

      Yes and by then the spelling will be so bad and so full of acronyms that we, the ones who can spell, won't be able to read :) . Many school teachers, the young ones at least, are poor spellers themselves. I don't think they should be allowed to get their degree if they don't pass a basic spelling and grammar test but they don't even have to do that. So our kids can't spell, their teachers can't spell, what hope does the English language have?

    • IzzyM profile image
      Author

      IzzyM 4 years ago from UK

      Reminds me of the time my kids got a letter home from school from the science teacher talking about 'enviromental' studies instead of environmental studies. The error was repeated throughout the document, proving that whoever wrote it really couldn't spell it. This was from a teacher of environmental science! That was a few years ago, and things have gone downhill since then.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 4 years ago from Southern Georgia

      You thank cause I right bad it mite keep me form bean in the a-princess program? LOL!

      Couldn't resist, Izzy! :)

      SSSSS

    • IzzyM profile image
      Author

      IzzyM 4 years ago from UK

      I think poor writing is a requisite for joining the AP program lol -judging by the HOTD standards anyway! Honestly, I used to like helping newbies out in the forums, but now if you're not wearing a badge, you're not listened to. If that's the way they want it, I am outta there.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 4 years ago from Southern Georgia

      I agree, but there are a few good writers in the program. Unfortunately, most ARE newbies who have no idea of what this place used to be. Oh well, I tried to tell them about the badges and the trouble it would cause among the community. I kinda like the word "a-princess" though. Seems a bit apt in some cases. LOL!

      But I found out a while back spelling, grammar--and especially in the case of the "elite" badge--word meanings are not important to HP any longer. Traffic is the thing, no matter the content. Wow people are dumb these days if this is the future of the net.

      SSSSS

    • IzzyM profile image
      Author

      IzzyM 4 years ago from UK

      There are some great writers on the program. A couple of them have shown me nothing but kindness off-site. But the label thing is getting to me. HP have exchanged one form of elitism for another. I don't really like 'a-princess' because some of them will just love that label! Those that love labels that is.

      Traffic is everything. It's hard to get it when HP deliberately don't promote you. I might as well be writing on my own blog. At least then I wouldn't be seeing hundreds of views going elsewhere, like I am this evening. For 4/5 hours now, my Adsense views have not risen, despite Real Time Analytics seeing higher views than normal.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 4 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Yes, and I hope those great writers realize they are being taken advantage of here and start their own sites. LOL re the a-princess comment. Hadn't considered some would fall right into the title.

      The stats here do seem strange on occasion. What I find funny is I never have a day when I get a wide variance in my ad clicks or the earnings. You'd think just once in a while the odds would favor a large number of them. Flukes happen, but apparently not here. :)

      SSSSS

    • IzzyM profile image
      Author

      IzzyM 4 years ago from UK

      No because it is controlled. I don't know how, but obviously it is to their advantage.

      I'm hoping against hope that there is a problem with Adsense tonight, as my stats have still not moved. This is across 10 subdomains and God knows how many sites and blogs. None of which garner much traffic, but then again I don't put much work into. Even so, something is wrong tonight and it is not the first time.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 4 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Yes, I've noticed a few strange things in my time here. But it's like that on all content farms. They are always going to reap the majority of earnings by some quirk of the program or other. I know Jason slipped one time and said HP only made 50% or so of my earnings. Doh!

      SSSSS

    • IzzyM profile image
      Author

      IzzyM 4 years ago from UK

      Yes it is not transparent enough, is it? Then again, we knew that when we signed up, so can't really complain later. I don't mind splitting the earnings because this is(was) a tremendous platform. We can usually see from total views minus Adsense views that it works out at roughly 60/40, as it should be. Anyway, Adsense caught up just after I wrote that forum post. I should have written it hours earlier! lol

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 4 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Yep, things do seem to clear up rather quickly when someone posts a problem on the forums. Seldom an explanation given though. Most people here think a 60/40 split means a money division and not a random(?) time share of the affiliates. But who knows how they do it anymore? I think it would be easy to show us what share they get each month if they really wanted to be transparent and what harm would it be if everything is on the up-and-up?

      Glad you finally got caught up with the stats at any rate.

      SSSSS

    • IzzyM profile image
      Author

      IzzyM 4 years ago from UK

      Yes but my Amazon was way down yesterday. First Monday in December, and I took a hit? Hmmm! Then again, during the busiest period of the day, HP's code was on all my hubs.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 4 years ago from Southern Georgia

      My Amazon sales have fallen in the last few months to almost nothing. Only had 7 sales last month, fortunately one was almost $800 and gave a good commission, otherwise it was a wasted month.

      Why doesn't HP take the first 24 minutes of the hour and give us the last 36, then we wouldn't have to check every single hub to see whose affiliate code is being used at the time? I suspect HP knows when the best times of the day for earnings to occur and place their codes on our hubs then.

      A "glitch" when the peak sales time of the year occur--now being the time for xmas sales--is suspicious to say the least. Sorry, but with my many exchanges with TPTB here I don't trust them much at all. We need a more transparent method of earnings division on this site but don't look for this to happen any time soon.

      Too many strange happenings which coincidentally favor HP over the writers. Something stinks here more than usual.

      SSSSS

    • IzzyM profile image
      Author

      IzzyM 4 years ago from UK

      Your traffic is due to come back any day now. It was last December you saw a rise. I got a rise in the last 24 hours after editing every single hub I have to delete rss feeds, and my traffic rose by double. It all came from those damned 'direct hits', which is HP checking that I have not totally ruined previously featured hubs by updating them. I saw some reference on the forums about how all of our earnings have been annihilated by HP's ad positioning. I used to love updating Adsense, to see what I had earned. Now I couldn't even buy a cup of coffee with it. I sympathise with your loss of Amazon earnings. Me too. It hurts.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 4 years ago from Southern Georgia

      I get very few hits from Google now and am obviously on their $hit list for some reason I'm unaware of. If not for the Bing and Yahoo traffic I can't imagine how bad it would be.

      I'm sorry, but the Idle hubs thing stinks. The professionalism of the staff has been exposed as non-existent as far as communication is concerned and this does not bode well for any writing site.

      One of the staff showing up to try and answer technical questions seems to have a problem even understanding what folks are asking. Again, not good on a site dealing with the written word.

      One of my hubs is getting 1/3rd of my views and was written a couple of years ago in anticipation of a future event. It was idled shortly after the new program was instituted and thus lost some valuable links from Google which, at the time had sent most of the former views.

      All of the research was in vain as now Bing and Yahoo are furnishing 90% of the views. Imagine how much money this is costing me now. I have other examples of bad timing on the Idle feature but then, it's not worth bitching about to these folks. And besides, they have other folks to defend them now. LOL

      Been reading Sophia Angelique's thread about the fairness of the contests and featured hubs. Notice who is posting in favor of the way HP judges the winners? DUH! LOL!

      SSSSS

    • IzzyM profile image
      Author

      IzzyM 4 years ago from UK

      I have avoided that thread - read it of course - I do not want to be banned from the forums or I would have responded. There are some arguments we just cannot win, but are interesting to watch unfold to see who posts what, and this is just one thread.

      I totally agree that the whole idled hubs idea stinks. I have had 5 week old hubs idled that never got the initial boost because of the noindex tag in their first 24 hours. It is still happening now. Why should some people be permitted instant featuring, and the rest of us not? This has killed my sharks sub, and others. I used to be able to get #1 in google writing about the latest shark attack, but my latest hub in that section is due to get idled any day now, even though I wrote it within hours of it happening.

      I have already suffered what you are experiencing. I wrote a hub early this year about an event that happened a month ago, but the hub was idled by then.

      The staff on site seem to have the unfortunate ability of being unable to read what a hubber posts about. I cannot believe I was sent to a post by Cardisa of all people about the difference between views and impressions. Like who gives a F***, that was not what I pointed out went wrong.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 4 years ago from Southern Georgia

      The other sites I've written on all made the mistake of putting special badges on those they knew would defend them. Some titles for these people were Stewards, Featured Contributors, Channel Managers, among other quite misleading names in many cases.

      And oh yeah, they had special forums where they could discuss the common members--You and I--without us knowing it. On another site I had another disgruntled writer sending me the posts about me by the brown-nosers on the special forums. Wow did I get lambasted by them when I exposed the fact some of the so-called volunteers were getting paid and some were not.

      For some reason I was banned shortly after. LOL!

      Yep, my hurricane supplies hub was idled shortly before Sandy hit. Brilliant move, HP. LOL! They sent you to Cardisa? LOL! Sorry, but that is just sad. :(

      Oh, by the way, feel free to delete any of these comments if you are uncomfortable with them and I'll understand. :)

      Randy

      SSSSS

    • IzzyM profile image
      Author

      IzzyM 4 years ago from UK

      Well our comments have little to do with spelling, but who cares, no-one ever viewed it anyway!

      I really feel HP have shot themselves in the foot by introducing idle hubs. What they should have done is gone through their database, and unpublished every hub with a score less than 40, 45 even. Even my least viewed hubs never fell that low, but the spammy, short and copied ones do. Aren't those the ones that are bringing the site down? Or it is low-viewed but perfectly good quality hubs? Or maybe it has nothing to do with them at all?

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 4 years ago from Southern Georgia

      I don't think HP knows what to do and are merely doing things in hopes they hit the right solution. I do know they've sure pissed off Google if my traffic is any indication.

      Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

      SSSSS

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