Poor Website Spelling Cut Sales by Half

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14 Jul 2011 12:00 AM by mike_walsh Star rating in Torrevieja. 594 posts Send private message

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They can’t write – will they listen? I have been banging on about this business failing for years. I estimate that 70 percent of websites on the Costas lose credibility and business because of poorly written content. Depressingly few business owners do anything about it. They are trying to sell ships with holes in their hulls.  

POOR SPELLING CUTS SALES BY HALF
 
THE BBC. July 14, 2011. An analysis of website figures shows a single spelling mistake can cut online sales in half. Charles Duncombe says “Poor spelling is costing the UK millions of pounds in lost revenue.” The online entrepreneur goes on to say: “I am shocked at the poor quality of written English.”
 
He says it is possible to identify the specific impact of a spelling mistake on sales. His company measured the revenue per visitor and found that revenue was twice as high after an error was corrected. “Spelling is important to the credibility 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% of the time it is done by the written word. Spelling is important to the credibility of the website.”
 
His findings are endorsed by business organisations. James Fothergill the Confederation of British Industry’s head of education and skills, warned that too many employers had to invest in remedial literacy lessons for their staff. The William Dutton Oxford Internet Institute agree: “When a consumer might be wary of span or phishing efforts, a misspelt word could be a killer issue.”


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14 Jul 2011 10:00 AM by Piltonian Star rating in Madrid. 36 posts Send private message

Is "span"in the final sentence by any chance a misspelling of "spam"?





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14 Jul 2011 10:22 AM by mike_walsh Star rating in Torrevieja. 594 posts Send private message

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Well spotted, sir. You must have eyes like .......................................  I could do with a proof reader. I tried correcting it but the 'edit' opportunity doesn't seem to be there. The one downside to my job is there are some who for fun, and others for less charitable reason, will go through every word to spot a single error. Although small that item has 1,617 character keys to hit correctly. It was found that many spectators go to car racing circuits not to see the racing and the victories but to see the accidents. Some mistakes are genuine, as in this case. We are all human.

Private Eye magazine used to call the Guardian the Grauniad because of the poor spelling in its editorial content. It is all part of life's rich tapestry. Far better to be a doctor. A surgeon friend once told me: 'I chose this profession because we can bury our mistakes.'


 



This message was last edited by mike_walsh on 14/07/2011.

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14 Jul 2011 10:42 AM by Piltonian Star rating in Madrid. 36 posts Send private message

Indeed - I should say that my last post was only in friendly jest. This said, I'm afraid I do seem to be a born pedant - reading or listening to any material, I invariably find myself straining for a virtual red pen.

Listening to HM's speech during the State Visit to Ireland earlier in the year, I was horrified to hear a split infinitive.

And they call it the Queen's English....





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14 Jul 2011 10:52 AM by mike_walsh Star rating in Torrevieja. 594 posts Send private message

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Ha Ha! Taken in good form and I owe you a favour. I was just about to send it out as a press release and I corrected it just in time. To err is human; pedants are the bane of our lives. Don’t you sometimes wish you were less well educmicated? As the saying goes; ‘Ignorance is bliss.’ How true. Thanks for your input and good humour; it is appreciated – Mike



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15 Jul 2011 2:52 PM by crostrad Star rating. 90 posts Send private message

Mike,I have to agree with you on this one.

Many years ago I did a stint as a temporary proof reader with a company that started publishing English versions of Marvel comics.

The job consisted of reading the original American version of the comic and marking up any words or phrases that had the American spelling or unique meaning, and then replacing the offending words with "English as she is spoken".

The legacy is that I constantly-and without thinking about it-"log" weird spelling or convoluted phrasing.

Last night I listened to a sales webinair, and was interested enough to visit the website for more information.

The sales letter page had a couple of spelling errors in the first few lines, and that was enough for me to think "Would I be happy to give these guys some hard earned wedge to learn their secrets of success?"

I do admit that my use of punctuation marks is fairly rubbish.





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15 Jul 2011 9:15 PM by mike_walsh Star rating in Torrevieja. 594 posts Send private message

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Sure, my friend. No one is perfect and what is perfection when teachers of English aren’t necessarily that good at expressing themselves through the written word? Car mechanics are usually poor drivers.

I checked out the website of a Costa television station. On their home page was a single paragraph introduction that contained several appalling spelling mistakes. We are not talking difficult words; for instance, ‘coastal’ was spelt costal and there spelt their.

None of us will always get it right; besides, language and expression is fluid so what was acceptable yesterday isn’t today. As with everything else in life you will never make everyone happy.


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15 Jul 2011 9:56 PM by crostrad Star rating. 90 posts Send private message

Hey Mike, watch it with the car mechanics remark. In the distant past I've also worked as a car mechanic !  Still do in fact-it's good to keep up a hands on approach to car servicing--and of course, think of the money I save.

I am a fantastic driver of course !





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15 Jul 2011 10:14 PM by Marksfish Star rating in Vera, Almeria. 2584 posts Send private message

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 I have boycotted sites in the past for their spelling, I have to admit, I have also pointed out to website owners their mistakes but they are mostly ignored. By far the worst I have come across are a couple of local recruitment agencies. These people vet a customer's workforce on their suitability, including the written word, yet their websites are littered with spelling errors!!

I'm sorry, but Americanisms have slowly crept in and degraded our language, to the point where even shools are teaching incorrect spellings. The teachers know no difference and when pointed out answer with "that is how the LEA say it must be spelt".

Spell checkers are common in all word processing and most website design packages (but not on this forum and I tend to not press keys hard enough), so there really is no excuse. Although, it won't be able to differentiate between there, their and they're as they are all correct spellings.

Mark





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15 Jul 2011 10:33 PM by mike_walsh Star rating in Torrevieja. 594 posts Send private message

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Whoops! I should have said ‘usually but not necessarily.’ As an aside have you ever noticed that if practice makes perfect why is it that some of the lousiest drivers are cab drivers? The ladies spend their lives shopping but only when the tally is complete at the check out do they remember the procedure is to pay. Then, the purse is somewhere at the bottom of the bag, but which bag?

Don’t get me on Americanisms: At the end of the day and at this moment in time they do get on my nerves. I just thought I would take this window of opportunity to say that.


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16 Jul 2011 8:52 AM by Piltonian Star rating in Madrid. 36 posts Send private message

There's a good article on the BBC website on Americanisms, reminding us how many words we need to excise to avoid them - lengthy, reliable, talented, influential and tremendous, for example.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/14130942





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16 Jul 2011 11:50 AM by Roberto Star rating in Torremolinos. 4545 posts Send private message

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Markfish - I take it you meant "schools" rather than "shools"? (Just wanting to keep the thread correct!)

Mike, thanks for starting this one, it's a particular bug-bear of mine. I'm not a literary person myself, but I think I received a good education and it appalls me to see some of the shocking spelling and grammar nowadays, especially on-line. I hope you have been following the highly entertaining thread titled "sick of england"? http://www.eyeonspain.com/forums/posts-long-13814.aspx The original poster is a perfect case in point.

On Americanisms, is it not true that many words they use are in fact the original English words, and it's the old country that moved on, while those in the new world were unaware of developments in the language and kept to the original? (fall / autumn being the obvious example)

I do believe that the use of technology is largely responsible for the decline in personal standards, since younger people have grown up with spell checkers doing the thinking for them (when they remember to use them). I am aware that my mental arithmetic is not as sharp as that of people slightly older than me, who did not have the use of pocket calculators in school. Also, text messaging and its associated abbreviations have brought about a whole new swathe of aberrations. You could call it evolution - personally I prefer bastardisation. An amusing little anecdote on that subject - last night I was "chatting" online with a Swedish friend, who referred to me as M8. Since it intrigued me how such an abbreviation has become familiar even to non-native English speakers, i asked him how he would say M8 in Swedish, to which he replied "meight". I'll wager there's a good many younger native English speakers who not only lack the wit to play with our language like that, but also would struggle to spell meight correctly anyway!

Mike, I think on this forum you can only edit the most recent post on the thread. I hope therefore I spot my errors before anyone else replies, so that I can correct them before getting slated!



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16 Jul 2011 1:25 PM by EOS Team Star rating in In Spain of course!. 4015 posts Send private message

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I dont no wot yu ar all goin on abowt.  We can all maik meestakes wen tiepin fast on the kebord so it hapens alot on websites and stuff.

May b we just stic to txt speek cos thats much cwicker and esier.

Gr8t thred btw

J



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16 Jul 2011 3:17 PM by mike_walsh Star rating in Torrevieja. 594 posts Send private message

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Smiles: Just today I received a chatty e-mail from a friend back home in which she brings me up to date with all the local gossip. In its near 150 words there isn’t a pause; comma, sentence or full stop (period?). Oh well; I figured out what is going on.

Yes, I later gathered that my damage limitation exercise was thwarted by the opportunity to edit having been passed. I am still blushing.
 
I kid you not; I regularly pen 600 word newspaper articles and before I press the send button I carefully go over each article again and again. I assiduously look for any imperfection at all; constantly tweaking. At last, satisfied, I send it in. This is sometimes followed by the horror of seeing it in print and a mistake that only then stands out a mile. Such is life.


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