Why spelling mistakes sell you short

Posted on January 17, 2019


In business, no matter how good your product or service might be, nothing lets it down like poor spelling and grammar.

To illustrate this, when you receive one of those phishing emails telling you to pay your TV licence, provide your details to your bank or settle your outstanding Netflix bill, what tends to be the main giveaway that it’s a hoax? For me, it’s that the spelling and grammar is usually terrible, and that prestigious organisations would never send emails out as sloppy as these.

Anti-cybercrime group Action Fraud has recently issued advice on how to spot scams following a huge number of reports of TV licence hoaxes received by email. One of the biggest pointers given is to look out for spelling errors. Indeed, since many scams originate from overseas, the perpetrators often don’t speak English as their first language, hence some phrases get lost in translation and result in mangled grammar.

This shows us that accurate spelling and grammar is not just a way to get the pedants off your back, but a crucial factor in making an organisation look professional and authentic. It shows a business takes pride in itself and how it communicates.

The same is true for the people businesses want to have working for them, yet a new study shows that job applicants generally don’t take as much care when putting themselves forward as they should do. Research from recruitment website Adzuna.co.uk shows that the vast majority of CVs contain spelling and grammar errors. In fact, out of 20,000 analysed, only 1,134 had no faults – just 5.6% of the total. A classic error was found to be the use of the rogue apostrophe in plurals such as ‘GCSEs’, ‘KPIs’ and ‘A Levels’.

Worse still, most employers are very fussy about this. A study from 2006 shows that 77% of company decision-makers saw poor spelling and grammar as a black mark, dwarfing the 34% who were put off by exaggerated claims on CVs. In 2010, another survey saw half of employers admit to binning CVs due to typos and grammatical glitches.

The message is clear that poor grammar gives the impression that you don’t care and don’t take yourself seriously, which is why it’s so important to have flawless content throughout your site. Many business owners decide to write the content for the website themselves, but aside from using up time they could be spending on their business, this overlooks the fact that there are trained people who could do it for them, and ensure it is accurate and SEO focused.

If you’re looking for web content that won’t spell trouble, why not speak to Engage Web today?

Content Team Leader at Engage Web
John works for Engage Web as a Content Team Leader and regularly contributes to the website and programmes of his beloved Chester F.C.
John Murray
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