Have you ever read a sentence over and over again without it sinking in? Do you sometimes find yourself wondering how one person could possibly fit so many spelling errors in such a short Facebook post? Does the distinctively long-winded and profoundly superfluous nature of this sentence make you feel like reading a thesaurus would be easier?
Writing is usually something that, like the service at a restaurant, isn’t noticeable unless it’s either really good or really bad. And really bad writing isn’t just frustrating for the reader, it can cost a business a lot in potential revenue.
How so? We’re glad you asked.
1. The credibility killer
If you’ve ever received a spam email, you’ll know that one of the biggest red flags (aside from a Nigerian Prince supposedly being a bit short on cash) is poor grammar and spelling. When you’re reading it, this immediately takes credibility away from the sender. It helps you recognise that it is not from a legitimate source.
Unsurprisingly, bad grammar, spelling, and writing in general on a business’ website has the same affect. You may think that being able to spell a certain word doesn’t impact your ability to make candles or fix a busted pipe, but it does quite often create a red flag in the mind of users browsing your website. Most people (especially if they’re discovering a business for the first time) aren’t likely to trust a company they believe lacks credibility.
2. Bye readers (and rankings)
SEO (or search engine optimisation) is the process of trying to get a website to appear when people search relevant terms in Google and other search engines. There are many, many factors that go into the SEO process, including content.
Two things that Google in particular looks for when determining where a company will appear in their search results include quality content and bounce rate. Let’s start with quality content. Basically, Google has designed what we refer to as ‘spiders’ (scary) or ‘Googlebots’ (less scary) that crawl through your website and check the quality level of copy. Google doesnt want to send its users to a page with poorly written, irrelevant, and unreadable copy, so that’s exactly what it checks for (you can read more about that in our blog post on the impact of content on SEO).
The other factor, to a lesser extent, is bounce rate. This is the number of people who have visited a page on your website and then exited, without exploring further. It’s measured by Google Analytics, which you can learn more about in our handy 101 guide to Google Analytics.
Now, there can be many reasons why someone may visit one page of your website and leave (they might call you straight away, for example), but bounce rate can definitely still tell you a lot about the way people are interacting with your website. If you’re finding a lot of people are bouncing, it could very well be thanks to, you guessed it, bad copy.
3. The ultimate time waster
The next time you’re investigating productivity levels in your workplace, consider this: how much time do you or your staff spend answering the same questions to potential and/or new clients?
It’s true that not every aspect of a business (particularly those in technical industries) can be explained on a website. Plus, some customers will always prefer to just call rather than read information. With that said, it’s still highly likely that you can cut down a significant amount of wasted time by making sure that important information is on your website in a clear, concise, and interesting way.
As you can see, bad copy can really make an impact on your bottom line, from changing the way potential customers view you as a business, through to affecting where (or if!) you appear in Google search results.
If you want to make sure your website copy is turning readers into customers instead of away, why not get the experts on the case? Shuttle Rocket specialises in transforming website copy for small businesses across Australia, and we have a great range of affordable content packages to choose from.