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Why should I proofread?

How typos and errors are driving readers away from your site.

There it is. An error. A typo. Auto-correct took over and you just didn’t notice. Google translate didn’t do as well as you thought it did, and now someone is clicking on the next search result in their query. Typos and errors can be the critical factor that drives a potential client or customer away from your business.

We are writers. We are translators, linguists, content-generators. We pay attention to detail and publish excellent, high-quality material. So why are there still so many examples of poor content on the internet? Why aren’t we taking the time to proofread? Would you hire someone with an incredibly obvious typo or error on their C.V.? Chances are, you would note a lack of attention to detail, and when compared to an equally qualified candidate, you would opt for the person who took the time to double check.

This happens in business ALL. THE. TIME. I know I personally click away from a professional page if I notice sloppy errors that could have easily been avoided. To err is human, but to do so on a professional website is just laziness. Your brand’s online presence is an investment, so it is worth it to take the time and make sure that presence is of high quality.

There is something to be said of the way the internet is changing language use. Now more than ever we tend to write in an informal tone, shortening phrases and sometimes even words to get our point across quickly and effectively. This is okay! If we are aware of our audience. The formality of your brand’s communication should be completely dependent on the message you are communicating to your readers/clients/followers.

If I write for a university magazine, it makes sense that I would use certain slang words to reach my student body audience, whereas if I am communicating with law offices I will want to be sure my language is concise and professional. What is not okay are sloppy typos in any case that can be easily avoided with an extra once-over before publication. Auto-correct is great as an extra help, but sometimes it auto-corrects incorrectly, so the only surefire way to know your content is perfect is having a pair of human eyes proofread.

Consistently perfect and accurate content is also how you build your brand’s worth and your customers’ loyalty, leading to more time spent on your site’s pages and more revenue for your business. Readers who trust your site’s content and find it useful are also more likely to share your content, generating leads and creating a community of customers. You’ll receive more subscriptions and achieve an engaging audience that leaves comments and (hopefully positive) feedback about your site.

So, what is the best way to proceed? First, plan your site content. Then, determine your target audience and develop a voice that speaks directly to them. Find the right people! Are you working in a language other than your native tongue? Then it’s probably worth it to hire a translator or copywriter who is a native speaker of your target language. This will avoid many simple grammatical errors or strange expressions that turn people off to a business in the first place. Things like word order and vocabulary are important when reading, and sometimes only a native speaker can produce effective content that engages your audience. Finally, proofread! Take the extra five or ten minutes to re-read what you’ve written before hitting “publish” on your site. You will be doing your business a huge favor!