A professionally presented business website is a powerful
and essential marketing tool: it's the first thing prospective
customers will look at before they decide to contact
you. If the copy on your website is not written to an
acceptable standard, it may be losing you customers.
Its not enough just to have amazing graphics and
imagery: you need the words to make it complete. Is
the spelling correct? Are punctuation marks in place?
Does the copy make sense? These are questions that website
designers should be asking themselves before they upload
a new site.
One of the biggest flaws with website copy is inconsistency:
for example the word website. Some sites
spell it as one word, some as two words; as far as I
am aware both are acceptable, but not both versions
on the same site! In my opinion, a lack of consistency
will deter a significant amount of would-be customers
from using the services of a company that has not taken
the trouble to proofread their website.
Poor spelling on a website is another costly but avoidable
The majority of visitors will leave the site very quickly
if they find too many spelling errors. This again will
give them the impression that the site owners dont
really care; and they would be right! I am also convinced
that copy that has been padded out with
insignificant trivia is also a big turn-off for visitors
clear, concise and informative is the order of
Anything containing textual content should as a matter
of course be proofread: it's important that not only
are mistakes in spelling, punctuation and grammar found
and corrected, but that the text flows smoothly for
the reader. The copy on a website should not be treated
as the 'poor relation' of the project. You can have
the most up-to-date, eye-catching graphics available
but you will still need well-written copy to compliment
There are the odd few web design companies around that
will happily inform visitors how they can supply them
with a state-of-the-art website but then insert second-rate
copy, which totally negates any good work they have
achieved. This will reduce the initial impact of the
site, and more often than not will have an adverse effect
It pays to have the copy checked professionally, whether
the design company has written it themselves or had
it supplied by the client; it may cost a lot less than
you think to have a website proofread - it could cost
you considerably more if you don't!
Remember: if visitors to your site cannot find the
information they are looking for because of badly written
copy they will simply leave the site. The only people
to benefit will be your competitors.
About the author:
John Sheridan is a professional proofreader of hard
copy items and website copy. He also writes web copy
and occasionally accepts small copy-editing assignments.
He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org website: