To communicate in a professional way it is critical to use correct spelling, incorrect spelling will quickly harm your website presence and potentially hamper sales. Research shows that typos and misspellings can be as damaging as a poorly designed website.
Clients are generally responsible for their own website content, unless the client is using our copywriting services. But we strive to improve our clients online businesses and we'll often inform our clients of any errors or quickly correct any issues we happen to come across. We understand the misconceptions these typos and misspellings may cause.
Potential clients or customers are judging your ability to offer what they need based on what they see directly in front of them, be it a brochure or your website. They’ll be subconsciously evaluating your design, photography, wording... and spelling.
Why good spelling matters
Simply put, good spelling indicates that you’re professional and pay attention to detail. Poor spelling indicates that maybe you’re not quite so professional, and while we can’t all be spelling experts, there are some common words people get wrong time and time again.
As Web Designers & Developers we ourselves are not the best spellers in the world. Our creative people work on producing ecellent graphical work and our developers spend a lot of time creating the building blocks of the websites we create. We understand the importance of spelling ourselves, but still fall victim to the same problems in our own websites!
Even computerised spell checkers don’t pick up all the misspellings, especially when the word is not incorrect - just used in its wrong format (e.g. weather / whether). So hopefully the tips below will act as a quick guide to getting the spelling right for not just you but for us all.
- It’s: This is short for “it is” – the apostrophe indicates the contraction (shortening). For example: “It’s raining.”
- Its: This shows possession. For example: “The dog likes to chew its bone.”
- You’re: This is short for “you are” – again, the apostrophe indicates that there’s a contraction. For example: “You’re learning about spelling.”
- Your: This shows possession. For example: “Your business is very professional.”
- They’re: This is short for “they are” with the apostrophe indicating the contraction. For example: “They’re going on vacation.”
- There: This is used when you’re talking about a place, idea or situation. For example: “There is no milk in the fridge”, or “I went there yesterday.”
- Their: This shows possession. For example: “Their car broke down.”
- Lose: When you can’t find something, i.e. have lost something. For example: “I always lose at card games.”
- Loose: The opposite of tight, i.e. when something is baggy. For example: “My jeans are loose on me since I lost weight.”
- Stationery: things you write with or on. For example: “I need to add pens and envelopes to my stationery order.”
- Stationary: not moving. For example: “The car was stationary in the traffic.”
I should be fine, I use my spell checker
As mentioned above, some misspellings are actually real words, so will not be picked up by your spell-checker. Are you using the right language settings? You may initially think this is a silly question, but it's not. Much of today's software from your email client to your Operating System has been produced by American companies. By Default of the software we use today has the default US English language setting or gives you the option to choose which language you wish to use when you install it. More often then not we have noticed how people do not read the installation steps, quickly getting to the install progress bar as soon as possible. We have been known to do this quite often - so your not alone.
A new computer should be set up with your correct localisation but this is not always the case. If you are living in New Zealand, Australia or the UK for example you could be typing important documents or your latest professional blog post and spelling many words incorrectly and without that red underline you are blissfully unaware without heavy proof reading.
Theater or Theatre
Some interesting links
Here are some interesting links containing some common misspellings.
Website Spell Checkers
Here are some links that may help you spell check your entire website in one hit. These are very handy and worth the small amount of money most are requiring for the time and potential customers they will save.
Some of these sites are free, some require email addresses and some will allow a free trial but require further payment at some point.
www.spellcheck.net/website-spellcheck - Free website spell checker (requires email) and has various paid options, uses TextTrust technology below.
www.texttrust.com - Paid professional spell checker with various options.
www.checkdog.com - Free website spell checker (requires email) and has various paid options