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Poor spelling online costs UK millions

Poor spelling online costs UK millions

Spelling mistakes on websites are costing ‘millions’ in online sales revenue, web expert Charles Duncombe has told the BBC.

Duncombe who runs mobile, travel and clothing websites, conducted an analysis of revenue accumulated by online sales.

The results showed that, in the instance of a spelling mistake, the income for a site halved.

Online sales for the UK reach £527m a week, figures published by the Office of National Statistics found. Once applied to all internet retail sites, these findings mean that the UK is losing millions of pounds from incorrect spelling.

"This is because when you sell or communicate on the internet 99% of the time it is done by the written word,” explained Duncombe. Inaccuracies compromise the credibility of a website.

Cutting edge technological companies require employees to have these traditional “old-fashioned” skills. James Fothergill, the CBI’s head of education and skills, told the BBC that a worrying 42% of employers are not happy with the level of literacy in their staff. This has led to extra spending on improving basic reading and writing skills.

Despite current education standards, blame extends to increased reliance on automated spelling checks. William Dutton, director of the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University, also points to informal spaces online that encourage short hand text speak, such as Facebook and Twitter.

However language expert Neil Taylor argues that accurate writing alone doesn’t make people warm to you, be persuaded by you or interested in you. Taylor, of business language consultancy The Writer argues that the way in which brands write on their sites is of equal if not more importance.

“Lots of businesses write to customers ‘professionally’, but don’t give the sense that they really care, or understand what matters to customers.
 
And lots of people produce faultless CVs, but they’re too anonymous to tempt anyone to interview them (and in fact, most people would forgive a few typos in a CV if that person looked interesting enough to meet)."
 
It would seem for Taylor that it's personality that makes all the difference, and spelling and grammar are just a matter of course.

 

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