Can One Typo Really Cause a 50% Drop in Online Sales?

Can One Typo Really Cause a 50% Drop in Online Sales?

If there were a museum of unintended consequences, the grammatically challenged website just might be the most prominent exhibit. Regular readers of this blog know that we stress the importance of website proofreading because it can have an impact on a site’s credibility. But can a lack of proofreading actually hurt sales? An Internet entrepreneur interviewed by the BBC claims his research shows that one spelling error can cut online sales in half.

Charles Duncombe contends that poor spelling alone is costing websites millions in lost revenue. His analysis suggests that misspellings repel consumers and cause them to doubt a website’s credibility.

The owner of cellular phone, clothing and travel websites, Duncombe tested one of his established sites by planting an intentional misspelling. He then measured the per-visitor revenue and discovered that revenue was twice as high after the misspelled word was corrected.

Duncombe points out that gaining a consumer’s attention must be accomplished during the first six seconds that a visitor lands on a website. Users who are already wary of online fraud find misspelled words a compelling reason to question a site’s integrity.

His findings are supported by William Dutton of Oxford University, who says that a single typo “could be a killer issue.” He acknowledges that greater tolerance toward spelling and grammar errors exists on social media sites such as Facebook, but warns that those errors can cause concerns over trust and credibility when they appear on a business website.

Don’t let careless errors make you a victim of lost sales. By following these easy proofreading steps, you can win customers and protect your website’s reputation.


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