Typos are making the news again.
This month the Chicago Tribune has reported that a number of journalism graduates received diplomas listing their major as “Itegrated Marketing Communications” rather than Integrated (see… with an N). I hope they get new certificates! It may not seem much to the casual observer, but after lots of hard work it must have been gutting for the students involved.
Closer to home an article has been written for the Telegraph on how typos are helping canny shoppers bag bargains on Ebay. It’s something I do occasionally… type common typos into the search box to see what comes up. A few years back I could have bagged myself a gorgeous pair of Manolo Blahniks for next to nothing because the seller had gloriously mis-spelled the designer’s name. Shame they were too big. Obviously you have to be careful and stay safe online (check the seller’s reputation and do all you can to make sure the products are real), but I knew for a fact that these were on the level.
It can be good to find a bargain, and it can be soul destroying to receive a badly worded official document of achievement, but it just goes to show that everyone needs to take care. Typos can cost money, and in some cases they can cost big bucks.
When you are in business, you really do need to take care. I’ve said this all before, but really it can’t be highlighted enough.
As editors we sometimes have to take a deep intake of breath and move on… we can’t save everyone. Well, actually we probably can, but there are people out there who don’t want to be saved. There are a few times I’ve happened upon a business website where the typos and incorrect information were too much to bear… contacted them politely with corrections they really should make (never be condescending, always be polite)… and gone back months later to see the website still proudly displaying bad grammar, typos and incorrect postal addresses. Perhaps the businesses thought I was being cheeky, perhaps they were too embarrassed to take any notice, or perhaps they just didn’t care. They may have cared more if I had sent them a dummy bill and a mock-up of how much business they were probably losing as a result of their lacksadaisical attitude. Then again maybe not. Don’t worry, I don’t make a habit of falling upon websites with my imaginary red pen, but sometimes the errors are so painful that you wonder how the business attracts any customers at all.
So, in the rules of fair play I’ve put together a little check list for any businesses out there who may be interested. Who knows, a five-minute check could save you a red face and perhaps a few quid?
People are less likely to trust a website that is riddled with typos. After you’ve created your site, leave it a few days before uploading, then go back and re-read it. You are bound to find some things that are screaming for attention.
You may create your own website, or you may hire someone to do it for you, but it is extremely important that you check for mistakes and typos. Don’t rush into publishing your site, the excitement may be there, but it’s best to be your best and not have to contend with the embarrassment of spotting a howler down the line.