With the type of work I do I often have to check out websites. They could be shop websites, private businesses or blogs. They come in all shapes and sizes, from small one-page shop fronts, to large corporate websites. But there is one thing that I come across time after time – badly presented sites.
If you are an entrepreneur starting out, or a long-standing business, you want your visitors to be able to trust your brand, and a website full of typos, bad formatting and pictures uploaded at the wrong resolution will put visitors off. Just today I visited a site that had me wondering if it was a legitimate business… it probably was but the shoddy presentation put me off completely – consumers these days are very wary of where they spend their hard-earned cash.
You need to see your website as the face you present to the world. It needs to be smart, up-to-date and approachable. It’s doesn’t have to be all-singing, all-dancing, but it does need to be professional.
So here’s a little tick list to check against your website, to help you make it the best it can be (although, of course, it’s always best to have it professionally proofread).
- Check your spelling and grammar
I’ve lost count of the amount of websites I’ve come across with bad spelling. It may be that you are dyslexic, naturally bad at spelling, or you were just in a hurry… but nothing looks worse than bad text on a website, especially the front page. Don’t just concentrate on the spelling, read everything you have written out loud… does it make sense? If you stumble when reading it, so will your customers.
Common errors to check for:
Their / they’re / there
Their shows belonging to people or things.
Their all-day breakfast was the best.
They’re is short for they are .
They’re the best camera shop.
There means in, at or to a place or position.
We went there for a rest.
They’re going there to get their tickets.
Where / were / we’re
Where denotes a place or position
Where are you going?
Were is the past tense of ‘to be’
We were happy to be there
We’re is short for we are
We’re going to the cinema tonight
We’re going back to where we were happy.
This is a punctuation mark use to show possession or missing letters or numbers.
It sounds simple but many, many people have problems with apostrophes. It may sound stupid, but if in doubt just ask yourself… is something missing, and if not who does it belong to. An apostrophe does NOT indicate a plural.
Omission of letters are commonly:
can’t for cannot, don’t for do not, she’s for she is, he’s for he is, they’re for they are, we’re for we are.
Possessives fall into two categories, singular and plural:
It belonged to Helen.
We played on Helen’s new skateboard.
It belonged to all of the students.
We joined the Students’ Association.
- Check your formatting
Have a look at your website. Are things sitting where they are supposed to be? It’s easy to spent time sorting out the text for a site and then to forget to look at how it is set out. If you don’t use a website developing site such as WordPress or Blogger, which can automatically make your site suitable for mobile viewing, try to have a look at your website though different formats – access it on different browsers, and on different devices. See if everything still sits where it is supposed to. Check each page. It may take some tweaking, but it will be worth the time spent on it in the end.
- Check your images
We all like pictures, but make sure that the pictures you use really do convey what you want them to.
- Don’t use images that are too low resolution, they will look grainy and out of focus.
- Don’t use images that are too high a resolution, they will take forever to upload and slow your site.
- Don’t take images just from anywhere. I’ve written about image theft before, and you really don’t want to find yourself in trouble and facing a lawsuit. Create your own images, buy them from a reputable image sharing site or use images that have been labelled for re-use. There really is no excuse not to.
- Make sure that the images in your shop are the correct ones… you don’t want an image of one product sitting next to the wrong description. You could end up in trouble!
- Check links
If you include links on your website don’t forget to regularly check them. Pages may disappear so it makes sense to take some time out and see if things are still the same as when you added them.
Yes, it’s a pain, and yes it can take ages if you have a large site. But it really needs to be done – alternatively you can look for broken link checker websites and plugins.
- Check that your details are still current
Finally, make sure that the details on your website are still current. Have you changed address or telephone number? Are your staff still the same… if they appear on your website you need to make sure that only current employees are listed. Is your email address correct?
A simple detail but one easy to overlook.
So there we are, a quick five-point checklist. I hope it helps, and remember… a professional proofread of your website is worth every penny.