If you are not a writer, content writing can become a difficult task. Even ecommerce businesses must know some basic writing in order to create product descriptions and other pages of the website, not including blog posts, articles and other media to be distributed on the web.
Thankfully, website content does not need to be ready for the New York Times best seller list, but it must be grammatically correct if businesses want to be viewed as professional and legitimate.
When working with clients, I see the same grammar sins being committed time and time again.
Though there are many, here are my top 4:
1. Lose vs. Loose
Which sentence is correct?
This product will help you loose 10 pounds in one month.
This product will help you lose 10 pounds in one month.
The word “loose” refers to “not tight” as in a loose belt. The word “lose” refers to being deprived of something as in “losing” weight.
2. Their vs. There
Here are two examples:
Did you see the number of grammatical errors on their website?
This is the correct use of the word “their” because it is talking about more than one person and it is something they possess.
Go there if you want the best prices.
“There” refers to a place or can be used as a pronoun (There is a place).
If you need help deciding which one to use, ask yourself, “Am I referring to something that belongs to a group of people?” If so, use “their”.
3. It’s vs. Its
Though this one is harder to spot, it should still be avoided.
“It’s” is simply a contraction of “it is”. “Its” is a possessive pronoun.
The easiest method of figuring out which one is correct is to use “it’s” and state the sentence out loud by replacing “it’s” with “it is”. If the sentence sounds correct, you used the right word.
It’s looking like a rainy day outside. (If replaced with “it is”, the sentence still sounds correct)
It is looking like a rainy day outside.
This website has lost it’s ability to attract visitors. (Replacing with “it is” makes it sound incorrect, so “it’s” is not the correct word).
This website has lost it is ability to attract visitors.
4. Your vs. You’re
Though this error is one of the most common, it is also one of the easiest to avoid.
“You’re” is a contraction of “you are”, while “your” is a possessive pronoun. Insert “you are” in the sentence when using “you’re” and read it aloud to see if it fits. If not, you are using the wrong word.
You’re not using the correct grammar. (Inserting “you are” still sounds correct)
You are not using the correct grammar.
You’re blog is full of grammar mistakes. (By inserting “you are”, the sentence does not read correctly. Use “your” instead)
You are blog is full of grammar mistakes.
Is it possible to run an influential website or blog when it contains a few of these grammar mistakes? There is no hard fast rule, but from personal experience in this industry, I would put extra effort into crafting cleaner copy.
When perusing businesses online, I have decided to avoid working with people who run websites that contain excessive grammar mistakes. Why? Here’s what it says to me…
- They did not take the extra time to correct the mistakes…why would they take the extra time to make sure I was a valued customer?
- They did not hire a professional to write copy for their website. Are they not making enough money to hire a writer? They are probably not an established business.
If you are concerned about building a valued reputation, pay attention to these simple grammar mistakes by taking a few extra minutes to review your copy. Avoiding these mistakes does not require a lot of work, but it can save you your reputation.