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Poor spelling could cost websites millions

July 19, 2011
Poor spelling could cost e-retailers millions in lost sales - with a single spelling mistake estimated to cut online sales by half. 

According to BBC News, both a leading entrepreneur and e-commerce experts believe that a single spelling error could be enough to shake consumer confidence and devastate online sales.

Charles Duncombe, director of Just Say Please - a group that runs travel, mobile phones and clothing websites, urged companies to look to professional copywriters after finding his own e-revenues doubled after simple on-site spelling errors were corrected. 

Spelling, Duncombe said, is important to the credibility of a website. Poor spelling, he argued, can undermine a website's authority, causing users to question whether it is legitimate and safe to use.

He further added that spelling has become increasingly important to e-retailers as web users have become increasingly concerned with fraud and identity theft. 

Poor education standards had caused many graduates and prospective employees to display poor English language and communication skills, Duncombe said, making it difficult for online businesses to secure staff that can produce effective copy for the web. 

"I know that the industry bemoaning the education system is nothing new, but it is becoming more and more of a problem with more companies going online," he said.

"This is because when you sell or communicate on the internet, 99 per cent of the time it is done by the written word."

William Dutton, director of the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University, supported Mr Duncombe's views, adding: "when a consumer might be wary of spam or phishing efforts, a misspelt word could be a killer issue." 

Dutton added that while spelling and grammar errors may be tolerated among friends or on social networks, spelling mistakes on a home page or commercial offering could raise serious sale-slowing concerns regards trust and credibility. 


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