News article

Why bad grammar and spelling is costing you business (and love)

A couple of weeks ago, you may have read about the Apostrophe Protection Society’s decision to shut down. (You may not, of course. I understand there have been other pressing matters in the headlines).

Founder of the Society, John Richards, said: “Fewer organisations and individuals are now caring about the correct use of the apostrophe in the English language.

“We, and our many supporters worldwide, have done our best but the ignorance and laziness present in modern times have won!”

In a world where writing is becoming an unintelligible series of acronyms and lower-case drivel, defending the correct use of grammar and spelling might be seen as Canute trying to hold back the tide.

Putting an apostrophe in the right place? lol grandad.

But, not so fast. Research has found that poor spelling or grammar can be a massive turn-off, not just when you’re trying to attract clients but also when you’re trying to attract a partner.

Strong and stable

Who needs a copywriter or proofreader, right? We can spell! We can write! And Kieran, who works on our reception desk, got a ‘B’ in his GCSE English!

Going it alone when it comes to written communication can be fine. A lot of the time, though, it isn’t.

Here’s Michael Gove’s campaign leaflet for the recent General Election. There’s not a chance in Surrey Heath that this would have got past a copywriter, even on their first day in the job.

It’s a tiny mistake, but what are the consequences?

  • Terrible publicity (this story made the Metro and Independent among others)
  • The cost of reprinting a ton of correctly spelled leaflets

You might think that small mistakes don’t matter. However, research by web services comparison site Website Planet shows they do.

Research into website visits found that US-based businesses with bad grammar and spelling mistakes on their websites will lose almost double the number of potential customers than those with typo-free sites.

An analysis of more than 5,000 site visits over a two-week period found that the bounce rate — the percentage of visitors who leave a website after only looking at a single page — on landing pages with sloppy spelling and grammar was 85% higher than those that were correctly written and spell-checked.

In addition, the time on site was reduced by 8% on landing pages with deliberate typos and grammatical errors placed in them.

Bad grammar and spelling = people don’t stick around on your website

You might not be bothered about a few people not staying on your website. However, you should be bothered by the consequences of a high bounce rate.

That’s because users quickly leaving your site will see it penalised by Google in search results (because one of the metrics Google uses to rank your site is the bounce rate).

High bounce rates tell Google that a site is not trustworthy and therefore lowers its position in the organic Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

Bad grammar and spelling = lower ranking in Google search

The same principles apply to Google AdWords. The research found that web visitors are 70% less likely to click on Google Ads with a spelling or grammar mistake.

Since these ads receive fewer clicks, Google also lowered their position and businesses paid:

  • 72% more for ads with grammar errors
  • 20% more for ads with spelling mistakes

Bad grammar and spelling = increase in the cost of Google Ads

Still think that getting your website professionally written and checked isn’t important?

Looking for love? Hire a copywriter

It’s not just clients that you’ll fail to attract with poor spelling and grammar. Many studies and surveys have also found that typos and a lack of care will also put off potential partners.

A recent study of online daters in the Netherlands has found that spelling mistakes in a dating profile are perceived as signals of sloppiness or lack of care, which in turn affects the profile holder’s perceived attractiveness.

The researchers, from Tilburg University, found that people whose grammar was more formal were rated as warmer people. Language errors can be interpreted as an indicator of poor education or being inattentive, clumsy or ignorant.

Other research backs up these findings. Research by The Wall Street Journal revealed that bad grammar is the biggest turn off for online daters.

A study found that a huge majority of women think that good grammar is essential, with 96% rating good grammar over the confidence of their future partner or even the condition of their teeth.

And analysis by proofreading company Grammarly revealed that a man with two spelling mistakes in his online profile was 14% less likely to receive a positive response.

Bad grammar and spelling = Fewer positive responses to your dating profile

Hire a professional

Here at Yardstick, we have a team of copywriters and proofreaders on hand to write interesting and engaging content for you and your clients.

From former University lecturers in professional writing to proofreaders with the keenest eye for detail, our team will make sure your content is both accurate and targeted to your audience.

Whether you’re looking for regular blog content, or you want someone to tidy up your Tinder profile, get in touch. Email or call 0115 8965 300.

Stay in touch


Sign up to receive our hints, tips & ideas to improve your marketing.
As you’d expect, we’ll never pass your details to anyone else and if you don’t like what we have to say, you can unsubscribe at any time.