Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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Sloppy Writing WILL Cost You Sales. Here’s Why.

June 17, 2015

Are common mistakes in your writing sending readers away?

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Throughout our school days, from elementary school to college, we heard this line from every teacher: “Spelling, punctuation and grammar are important.” We got that, but not everyone was an A student in English class. We often don’t recognize the errors we make as we write.

Multiple proofreading passes in blog articles, web pages, emails and memos don’t work if we can’t spot the problems. Even professional writers sometimes miss grammar and punctuation mistakes. Spelling checkers now catch our typos and misspellings almost everywhere, but punctuation and grammar are another matter. Going over the rules yet again isn’t the answer. Here’s what you need to know:

Why Correct Writing Is Crucial

Whatever we write represents us, from a brief Twitter post to a complex web page. In business, it’s also the voice of our brand. Awkward writing, sprinkled liberally with grammar and punctuation errors, makes readers cringe. Even people who can’t write well recognize ungrammatical writing and are confused by poor punctuation. “Let’s eat Grandma” does not mean the same thing as “Let’s eat, Grandma.” Readers who encounter sloppy writing leave quickly and don’t return.

Google Measures Content Quality

For websites and blogs, great search engine results rankings are everyone’s goal. Current Google ranking algorithms look closely at your content, including its spelling, grammar and punctuation. They also check readability and how long visitors remain on your pages. All of those factors have a heavy impact on rankings. Keeping all online content clean and correct will boost your SEO performance.

Today’s Grammar Checking Tools Work Well

The automatic grammar checker in all versions of Microsoft Word finds and helps to eliminate most common errors, but Todd Martin 061715 image 2only if you use it. Use Word not only for printed documents, but also as your editor for website content and other projects. For all browser-based writing, install Grammarly as an add-on to your favorite browser. Even the free version will automatically flag and help you fix grammar, punctuation and word usage errors as you write. Pay attention as you use these tools, and your writing skills will improve, too.

Simplify Your Writing Style to Reduce Errors

The more complex your sentences are, the more likely you’ll make grammar and punctuation errors. By simplifying sentence structure, you’ll find it easier to write clean, problem-free copy. At the same time, you’ll improve the readability of your content and convey your message more clearly. By emulating Hemingway (simple) rather than Dickens (complex), you’ll get better reader retention and conversion. That’s the overriding goal of all business content.

Focus on Content Quality and Boost Your Bottom Line
The content you create doesn’t have to be a literary masterpiece. It just has to get your message across to readers effectively without sending them to their browser’s back button. Errors in any copy tend to jar readers, even if they don’t know exactly why. Clean writing, free of spelling, punctuation and grammar errors, keeps them reading.

Stock images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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