The importance of good spelling and grammar in online copy

In this article we look at why it is important to have good spelling and grammar in online text copy. We also list six ways of checking your text copy to minimise mistakes.

Why is this essential to any business?

It is important, if not essential, because professionals and businesses of all different sizes all use text copy; on paper, in books and in promotional material as well as online. They will not stand for any mistakes in spelling or grammar in any of these and so will adopt the same attitude towards online text copy

Anything that is online and part of your business is a possible touch point for potential customers. Any mistakes and use of poor language in the text copy create the impression that the credentials of a business or professional are not as trustworthy as they claim.

Another reason why good spelling and grammar are essential is that a reader’s attention span is pretty short and therefore the message you intend to convey must be made quickly and unambiguously.

Despite the importance of good spelling and grammar, it is surprising that even now large businesses including banks and building societies occasionally use poor English in communications sent to their clients.

This is also true for the vast number of online blogs, news and articles.

How do can you minimise mistakes in your text copy?

Here are five ways in which you reduce the number of mistakes made in your text copy.

1) Check you text copy

This is a simple method and also common sense. You should check over any text and look for spelling mistakes, and editing mistakes made when deleting words or joining up sentences. 

2) Read it out load

Another simple method is to read your text out loud. This can show you how it all flows off the tongue. If it doesn’t flow well for you, it will not flow well for someone else. You may need to break up the paragraph more, or add punctuation.

3) Get someone else to check you text copy

This is a tried and tested method for checking your text copy. Someone else will be more likely to spot any mistakes you have made because they will not have seen it before. It can be of great benefit because when you have worked for a long time on something such as a webpage with text, text links or an article, it can become hard to spot such mistakes.

4) Do not rely on the spell checker

The spell checker is a useful tool. Once they were found only in word processors and now they are part of everything that involves typing or tapping when using a tablet or mobile keyboard. They do show what words are obviously spelt incorrectly but they do not always show spelling errors where a word has different spellings or words that are plurals and singulars. Also, some spell checkers such as those in Microsoft Word tend to use the American spelling for an English word and you should watch out for this when checking your text copy. Spell checkers should be used alongside your own checking.

5) Remember the difference between checking and editing

Checking your work involves looking for mistakes in spelling, punctuation, and perhaps even separating paragraphs and checking the flow of the piece you have written.

Checking your work involves looking for mistakes in spelling, punctuation, and perhaps even separating paragraphs and checking the flow of the piece you have written.

Editing involves many things including adding more text to a paragraph or page. It is usually more in depth, and focused more on the subject matter of your text. Your text should be checked again once you have finished editing.

6) Set a standard

Styles of English vary and so you should choose a style that best fits your purpose and stick to it. This way you show that the business is organised, is professional, and even has high standards!