If you’re a content creator who believes that leftover grammatical errors and typos in your online content doesn’t affect your sales, this article is for you.
If you believe nobody notices typos in your content because they’re too busy admiring and implementing your amazing work, this article is for you.
Errors in your content can and do affect your sales. Customers notice.
My own business, Proofread Anywhere, proves that bar none. A LOT of people care about typo-free content.
And with a blog called Proofread Anywhere, I’m certainly not exempt from the rule. In fact, I’m practically murdered when I miss a typo. All kinds of jerks have emailed me in disgust over the misuse of a single comma. Errors have definitely cost me sales.
I also know I’m not alone. I’ve seen countless bloggers and course creators comment as the grammar police come out if they miss that one typo in their latest course.
It’s about more than your paying customers
Most course creators recognize it’s important to have error-free content on their sales pages and in their courses… but that the same doesn’t apply to their social media content.
In a recent Facebook discussion on this topic, one exceptionally well-known course creator even wrote: “Having typos or grammar errors isn’t important on social media.”
Nope nope nope.
I vehemently disagree.
Does everything have to be perfect? No. But there’s something to be said for those who at least try. Because online communication is about so much more than just getting your point across. It’s about readability, credibility, and making your sales funnel as seamless as possible.
It’s about readability
Sol Orwell, the founder of Examine.com, recently shared this via email about readability.
He wrote, “The easier it is for someone to read your stuff, the more likely they are to share it. The more likely they are to spend time on your site. They more likely they are to buy from you!”
A statement like that makes my little word-nerd heart go pitter-patter!! He’s right.
Typos and missing punctuation, wrong words, etc. make it harder to read your stuff.
Ever been on a waterslide where the way down was less than smooth? Same deal. The harder it is for your audience to read your content (especially your sales page), the less likely they are to buy from you.
What about social media? If you consider the fact that social media is often a potential client’s very first exposure to you, then top-notch readability is still critical.
Your social media content connects you to your audience and builds that “know, like, and trust” factor that turns potential customers into paying customers.
But if your posts are hard to read — because you left out all the punctuation perhaps — then it’s harder to make that connection. You need that connection to make sales.
Which means the more mistakes you have in your content, the harder it is to read, and the more sales you’re losing.
Don’t believe me? According to one survey, close to half of the overall respondents — 42.5 percent — said that spelling or grammar mistakes are most likely to damage their opinion of a brand in social media.
Also, it’s just sloppy. It sends a message that you can’t be bothered to care about that aspect of the reader’s experience.
And we should care about every aspect of the reader’s experience.
So the #1 thing you can do to improve readability is to get as many typos out of your writing as possible.
I look at typos as potholes on the way to a sale. It doesn’t matter how fabulous what you’re selling is if your readers get thrown off course thinking about grammar or typos.
Why give potential customers anything to trip over if you can avoid it, right?
Now you might think people will “see beyond” the errors to the brilliant things you’re selling, and that’s partly true because there is a chunk of the population that won’t even notice.
But for the people who do notice — and I think the success of Proofread Anywhere proves those people are not as uncommon as we all thought! — errors can make you look like an idiot.
It’s about credibility
It isn’t cool to look like an idiot when you’re selling stuff… so I think we can all agree that appearing uneducated in the online space affects credibility.
Many factors affect your credibility, and one of the main factors is poor grammar.
Let’s use Proofread Anywhere as an example. If only 5% of the people who’ve enrolled in one of my courses in the last three years had decided NOT to enroll because typos and poor punctuation/grammar in my content lowered my perceived credibility as a proofreading instructor, that would mean a loss of $175,000 in sales over those three years ($3,500,000 * 0.05).
And that’s only with 5%! Because my entire business is built on creating excellent content, I can safely assume that the percentage of subscribers who care is a LOT higher than 5%… which means it’s quite likely that the percentage of people who notice errors on a non-proofreading related subscriber list is at least 5%.
If that 5 % perceive what you offer as lower quality because of your content — even your social media posts — and they decide not to buy because they perceive you as less credible or educated, the lost sales can add up.
Make your sales funnel as seamless as possible
We don’t know what everyone in our audience is thinking, so the best course of action is to prevent them from thinking about typos and grammar mistakes at all. Make the ride through your sales funnel as seamless as possible.
I’m not alone in this view. According to Laura Casselman, CEO of JVZoo, “studies show that even one spelling error can reduce a company’s online sales in half.”
My 5% example from Proofread Anywhere is really just a drop in the bucket. What if getting the errors out of your sales funnel — or off your homepage — doubled your conversions?!
Maybe it’s time to proofread your ego
If you’re still struggling with the idea that you need to proofread your content, then maybe your ego is what needs a proofreader first.
We’re all human. Mistakes will happen. Heck, I’ve been a proofreader for more than ten years now; I’ve taught courses in it since 2014… and people still find errors in content I wrote years ago.
I wasn’t that great of a writer when I started, and I made a lot of mistakes. I’ll admit it. I struggled with this when I first started Proofread Anywhere.
People called me out left and right for errors. I even got an email from someone saying they wouldn’t enroll in my proofreading course because they saw a grammar error in a blog post, and “that doesn’t bode well.”
The truth was, even though I thought I was an excellent proofreader, I had a lot of room for improvement. I really did need to check my ego.
But at first, I didn’t.
When people called me out on errors, I got offended. I know exactly how much it sucks to have a rude know-it-all tell you they’re not going to buy your product because of an error in your blog post or your social media post. It sucks, and mean people suck.
And truly, if they don’t buy what you’re selling because of a single typo, then it’s their loss; not yours.
But I’m not talking about a minor error here and there; I’m talking about consistent errors — the kind that add up quickly to severely affect sales when you dismiss proofreading as unnecessary.
The thought of potentially losing HALF of my sales over proofreading errors is enough for me.
So I proofread my ego real fast!
How to deal with the grammar police
So what do you do with the people who point out the errors in your content?
Well, it depends on how they approach it.
Personally, I like it when the grammar police point out a mistake — IF they’re nice about it. I like to think of it as free assistance for which I’ll never be billed. It was like that when I was creating my first online course too. At first, I’d get frustrated when someone didn’t “get” something I was teaching, but then I reframed their questions into little puzzle pieces I could use to create a better product.
Ask yourself: What can I learn from this?
Think of people who point out errors the same way. If they’re nice about it, consider hiring them. The proofreaders I train via my courses do great work and have excellent rates for the value you receive (which is more polished content)!
On the other hand, if someone’s a jerk about finding an error, I either delete the comment or move the email into my “Fruits and Nuts” folder. Especially in the case of my proofreading students, anyone who’s mean toward a content creator because they made an error is shooting themselves in the foot — because all content creators are potential customers for proofreaders!
But all jerks aside, you never know who’s watching — and even if they really love you, sloppy content is very likely costing you sales.Opinions expressed here are the opinions of the author. Influencive does not endorse or review brands mentioned; does not and can not investigate relationships with brands, products, and people mentioned and is up to the author to disclose. VIP Contributors and Contributors, amongst other accounts and articles, are professional fee-based.
Caitlin Pyle is a 30-year-old former freelance proofreader turned multimillion-dollar mediapreneur.
As the founder of the ultra-niche, multi 7-figure blog Proofread Anywhere, Caitlin has been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, Business Insider and Foundr, and she enjoys using her words to swiftly kick budding business owners in the pants. She writes primarily about skill development, mindset, and authentic marketing.
Caitlin lives in Orlando, Florida with her husband Ben and their not-a-Corgi dog, Buffett. She enjoys eating tacos.