One very important factor in your online business success is writing, so watch your grammar. I’m not talking about writing bestsellers, or being the world’s best copywriter. I’m referring to avoiding silly mistakes in your writing which will not do your content any justice.
If you’re a blogger, if you have an online shop, or if you’re providing people with a service, whatever you write will reflect on your abilities to the whole world. I know that if your written word is not brilliant, this will not reflect your talents in other aspects, but for those who don’t know you, your writing is your calling card. Whoever comes to visit your website might be disappointed if your content doesn’t touch the element of being professional.
In other words, bad writing drastically taints the quality of your site.
Call me a freak, or a grammar Nazi, but if there is something that really puts me off reading an article is finding a collection of spelling mistakes, coupled with horrible grammar and bad use of punctuation.
This sort of writing sends all the bad signals under the sun not to trust what you’re reading. Granted, it may be the best article about a particular subject that’s currently hot on the internet, but it is quite painful going through something which is riddled through and through with mistakes.
If there are these mistakes dotted all over the place, I just close the browser window and look somewhere else, no matter how brilliant the article might be.
How can I put it in simple English…
Put together, the result of bad spelling, poor punctuation, and awful grammar in any piece of writing is…Arghhhhh!
English grammar aids
One of the greatest things about it is that these things can be avoided without a great deal of difficulty.
Thank the stars, there are now writing aids which really do help.
I tend to be extra careful when I write something, but when I filter my content through these programs, I’m usually amazed by the things I’ve missed. The scary part is that some are totally silly, and shouldn’t have been missed, yet, I still managed to do it.
In a nutshell, what I’m trying to say here is that anybody can make a mistake, or a few, but that doesn’t mean you can carry on to write carelessly. Remember, people will be reading your content, and people don’t enjoy reading articles which are not properly written.
Bad writing destroys your Google ranking
Incidentally, badly written content is now noted by Google, and your ranking position might suffer if your writing is a load of rubbish.
Having said that, some words and grammar aren’t picked up by these writing tools, so you’ve really got to be on your guard when you use them. After all, these are just programs, and they are programmed to check out certain situations, under certain parameters. If all is good for them, they won’t send up the red flag, and your content goes up on the internet, along with all the mistakes in it.
Being in the internet marketing business, we really need to show off our content, and in an ideal world, this would be 100% error-free.
We are not born copywriters or proofreaders, but along the passage of years, we should be cautious of what goes to print. How you write, your voice and the errors tell people who you are. It tells them to either trust you or not.
This doesn’t do you any good, as for anybody to purchase something from you, whatever that something might be, they would need to have to build a certain amount of trust towards you.
15 common mistakes when writing for the web
I have come across these three words, There, Their, and They’re, used in the wrong context so many times. Often enough, if I’m not careful of what I’m reading, these might go past my radar until I realize that the whole sentence doesn’t make much sense.
To add insult to injury, by not using the proper words may easily deviate the meaning of whatever message you intend to relay.
The most misused words, by far, are:
- Your, You’re
- Their, There and They’re
- Two, To and Too.
“I think your car just bumped into mine.”
‘Your‘ is a possessive pronoun, and it indicates ownership, in this case, of the car.
“You’re my worst enemy.”
The word ‘You’re’ is a contraction of the words ‘you‘ and ‘are‘.
“Why are those boys sticking their fingers up their noses for?”
The word ‘their’ is a possessive adjective, and it indicates ownership of a noun, in this case, fingers and noses.
“Why do you have to go there?”
The word ‘there’ points towards a direction, a place.
“They’re going to give me hell when they catch me.”
This is another contraction of the words ‘they‘ and ‘are‘.
( Tip: It is not recommended to use contractions when writing professionally.)
“We have two eyes to be able to judge distances better.”
This simply means the number 2.
“Will you be going to prison in the morning?”
This indicates motion, like ending up in prison.
“And I too hope they’ll throw the key away.”
This means also, or excessively.
Other words which are often confused, although not as widely as the above examples, are:
- We’re – a contraction of the words ‘We’ and ‘Are’
- Were – This is the past tense of ‘Are’
- Where – Refers to a place.
- Then – This means a point in time.
- Than – This is used when comparing things.
Writing for the web guidelines
When you write for the web using proper punctuation and grammar, you tend to build trust with your readers. You’ll be looked at as an expert, or somebody who knows what they are talking about. I really can’t emphasize the importance of writing properly, and here are a few things to also keep in mind when you’re caressing your keys.
The only rule to follow here is to always put your punctuation inside your quoted section. “This is really the way to write,” James said. “When James said all the quotation marks, he meant it includes commas and stops.”
If you can help it, don’t make use of them. If you feel you really need to use the odd one, please do so, but don’t go crazy over them. Overusing these just makes your writing, well, sort of forced. Don’t hammer a sentence down our reader’s throat. Let your readers enjoy your content, and your writing has to flow and not thrown in their face.
There is really no point, apart from it being grammatically incorrect, to capitalize words in titles that shouldn’t be capitalized in the first place. A few examples of these are ‘and’, ‘the’, ‘of’, ‘be’, among others. Of course, if these are at the beginning of the title, then these need to be written with a capital letter.
For a more in-depth explanation of this, I suggest you visit Grammar Check. You’ll find all the rules there to follow to your heart’s content.
Numbers from one to nine have to be written out, and above 10, in numbers. On the other hand, I’ve also seen numbers above 10 being written, so this area is a bit vague.
The use of commas can make or break a sentence. These also give your readers time to catch their breath, and their use helps to make your writing flow so much better. Too many or too little aren’t recommended, so be wary when these are needed, or not.
Parentheses can be found in a sentence (to explain better what you mean), and you should note that the punctuation is placed on the outside.
These are taboo on the internet. You can use them in any document you wish, but they don’t have a place on the internet.
Free grammar check
There are quite a few sources which are great at pinpointing some of these errors.
I think one of the best ever, and one which I use regularly, is Grammarly. It does not cover everything, but for normal day-to-day writing, it is more than sufficient.
If you are super confident in your writing abilities, then I can tell you that you don’t need it.
However, since nobody is perfect, I do suggest you take a look and get the feel of it. It’s pretty easy to use, and you can use the free version, which is what I use.
It is very accurate, and it actually works. No matter how good your proofreading may be, you still need another ‘pair of eyes’ to go over your work, just in case you’ve missed something. As it would happen, the thing you’ve missed would be so obvious a mistake, that it will only serve to embarrass you, so avoid it if you can.
Another free source is Paperrater.
This is a very versatile tool and it carries out an extensive review of your work on various levels. These include grammar, word choice, vocabulary, style, punctuation, and spelling. You can also adjust it to the kind of writing you are creating, be it of a professional type, or just for a blog.
A great advantage of using this is that you can even have your work checked out for plagiarism, so you won’t be shot at dawn if you’re accused of copying somebody else’s work.
English Grammar Tests
If you wish to test out your grammar, go over to English Grammar Lessons. Here, you can download the sections you need some help with, and they also have the answers included.