One day a resident of Feilding was reading a newspaper when an article about a local retailer caught her eye. In the article Feilding, was referred to about six times and each time the town’s name was spelt Fielding.
Now Feilding does have a unique spelling that contradicts the English Grammar rule of “i before e” so it’s an easy mistake to make, and not one a spell-checker is likely to pick up. This reader though, was understandably annoyed about seeing her town’s name misrepresented in an article she really wanted to read. Consequently, the credibility of the article went down in her estimation, and with it that of its author. It’s a basic error and the story is one we can all relate to.
So what is the impact of a website that has basic errors? You’ve found the business you’re ready to send that enquiry form, add to the shopping cart, sign up for their special promotion…..but something holds you back. Something on that site makes you lose trust in that business. Is it one of these five simple errors?
1. Exaggerating the Product or Service
Chest-beating about a product or service without proof is a big turn-off. If you’re going to say you’re the ‘leading widget seller’ you’d better be able to back that up – with testimonials, social proof, comparisons and whatever else you can find. If you haven’t got any proof, then find another way to say what you’re good at.
2. Fake or Exaggerated Testimonials
Just don’t do it. Any testimonial you use must have the approval of the person who gave it and you need to be able to use their name with the testimonial. Are your testimonials the real deal? Even if they are, do they make you sound too good to be true? If they do, you might want to tone them down a bit.
3. Content on a Budget
Good content takes time to create. Bad content can take just as long. The difference is that bad content shows. Content is often the last thing people think about when they get a new website or update their existing one. In fact, it should be the first thing. A website without good content is an empty shell.
DIY content is often the way to reduce the up-front cost of a website build, but be careful it doesn’t come back to bite you. If you’re not a confident writer, someone who can engage an audience, then longer term, paying someone who can is probably a wise investment. Otherwise you might have a website that just doesn’t convert readers into customers.
4. Text Written for Search Engines Rather Than Humans
When you don’t know what you’re looking for, this just stands out as poor quality. When you do, it stands out a mile .
‘Check out our wide range of widgets. We have widgets in all shapes and sizes – big widgets, medium size widgets, small widgets. If it’s widgets you’re looking for we have the biggest stock of widgets in town.’ (there’s that exaggeration too!)
A few years ago, around the mid 2000’s, if you had a site optimised for the search engines, this may not have been uncommon. Things have changed and Google is much cleverer than it used to be. It doesn’t need to see your keyword phrase plastered all over the page. So if your website has that Google ‘noughties’ feel about , maybe it’s time to get it refreshed. You’re not doing your site visitors any favours and you might well be alienating the big G.
5. Bad Grammar and Spelling
Typos, grammatical errors and spelling mistakes just create a bad impression as we saw in the Feilding story. The woman reading the story lost trust in the credibility of the story and the writer. Your website is your shop-front. Really, you don’t want a sign with a silly error on your shop window, do you? Here is a jovial look at 15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly. Don’t be fooled by the light tone. The message is serious.
Have you ever been put off from buying because of mistakes like these? Does your website look credible? Does it make people trust you and your business? Would you buy from you if your website was all you had to go on?
Don’t forget to check out our last article for more tips on creating a website people will trust.
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