Do you see errors in a blog post and wonder if the author has bothered to proofread? One or two errors may not be bothersome, but how many errors does it take before you’re distracted from the message? Do you have a hard time believing a blogger’s message, and do errors really hurt credibility?
When there are obvious errors on a website or blog post, the credibility of the author’s or company’s message is damaged. As an experienced writer and editor, I’m likely to notice if there are glaring errors in a blog post or on a website. Surely, other people do too. If a lot of people are hitting the back button instead of staying engaged with your content, it can harm your ability to gain an audience.
This is because credibility is built on the trust an audience has in the source of information. If your information or facts are not accurate, then of course your audience won’t trust you. Even if your facts are accurate and well-researched, but your writing is full of errors, your readers will find it hard to stick with your content. Readers will start counting the errors instead of concentrating on the message. If you didn’t bother to proofread, why should your audience wade through the errors to get your message?
There are several possible reasons so many errors occur online. Maybe it’s the urge to publish first and fast or the lack of editors in news organizations. Maybe the writer has been out of school for so many years he or she has forgotten the fundamentals of grammar.
Most people also don’t point out errors online. You might be thinking you’re producing easily readable content. Instead, you’re letting errors get through and your potential audience is quietly backing away and finding a better written site.
Poor writing may also hurt you in search engine rankings. I saw an article a few weeks ago that said Bing will rank pages with poor spelling and grammar lower than pages with no errors. Bing isn’t as popular as Google (no one is), and so far, Google has not taken such a stand. If they ever do, we will all have to be on notice to correct our errors as best we can.
Bing’s Senior Product Manager Duane Forrester wrote a post about Bing’s stance. His argument is well explained, but I noticed several sentence fragments and punctuation errors, and a couple of spelling errors in his post. Forrester’s words apply not only to himself, but to all of us who communicate online: “Mistakes happen and in the end, it’s still humans editing things, so it’s completely plausible that the odd typo gets through. … Like it or not, we’re judged by the quality of the results we show.”
Readers, what is your impression of a blog when you see many errors? Do you think it harms the author’s credibility? Let us know in the comments.