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BizReport : Internet : July 21, 2011

Pour spelling halfs sails

Have you ever visited a website and found that "there deals" are better than anyone else's or that the "benifits" of using their online store are too numerous to mention? Did you click away? Many do and, according to one online entrepreneur, bad spelling can cost a business dearly in revenues.

by Helen Leggatt

If you're anything like me bad spelling jumps off a page and sounds alarm bells. While there are some arenas, such as social networks, in which bad spelling is overlooked or, worse still, tolerated, occurrences on a professional website have a much more adverse affect on consumer trust.

Online entrepreneur, Charles Duncombe, recently ascertained that British firms doing business online are missing out on millions in revenue because of bad spelling and grammatical errors.

To prove his theory he measured the revenue per visitor to one of his websites,, and found revenues were twice as high once a single spelling error had been corrected.

"If you project this across the whole of Internet retail, then millions of pounds worth of business is probably being lost each week due to simple spelling mistakes," said Duncombe, who is director of the Just Say Please group.

There are a few things that can be done to minimize the chance of spelling mistakes rearing their ugly heads on a website.

- Don't rely on spelling and grammar checkers
- Be consistent using American or British spelling
- Use a dictionary and thesaurus - online or hardcopy
- Read the final text out loud - a well-used writing trick
- We can all do with a refresher course at some point, so consider some study.
- Refer to this list of the "100 Most Often Misspelled Words in English"

Tags: ecommerce, online revenues, online shopping, website design

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  • Hello,

    This is absolutely true. I would add the following though:

    Our company develops error-tolerant search engines for online stores and web sites. This is what we learned. Our engines correct spelling mistakes and typos whether they are contained in user queries or in the online content itself. Doing this, we have seen revenues of clients who used non-error-tolerant search before grow exponentially as well. The harmful impact of misspellings is therefore not only about perceptions only. At a time where so much content has made search the main way of travelling across the web misspelling can just keep people away from content, products and services, simply completely away.



    Managing Dir.

  • And bad spelling and bad grammar are often a danger sign for a bogus offshore scam. Not to mention if they are sloppy with language they are likely sloppy inn how they run their business.



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