A new tool for checking spelling on websites has been built by a software developer frustrated at not being able to find a simple, easy to use tool already out there.
Software developer Carl Blanchard knew the job of spell-checking his own website for new business C3 Software was going to take a while, plus he wanted to be sure of picking everything up, so he went looking for a tool to help, thinking he would just pop his website URL into a box for scanning and it would then generate a list if the errors for him.
But that’s not what he found; instead, he found services that were clunky to use, requiring every page URL to be entered and reports that left you hunting for the mistake across the website – almost as time-consuming as just looking for mistakes yourself.
Spell checking not available
Dorset-based Carl couldn’t find a good enough service, so he built his own – WebsiteSpellChecker has been launched.
He’s taken all of the negative points of the existing services and created a new one that scans a whole website from one URL and generates a visual report, showing exactly where the mistakes are on pages and what to correct them to, including from HTML and metadata.
All reports are human-checked before they go out to remove anything obviously wrong and the user can also choose their preferred English setting from UK, USA, New Zealand, Australia and Canada.
There’s also an automated quote tool so people can find out the cost before they book a scan.
Since it was launched, WebsiteSpellChecker has attracted a varying client base of small businesses, large corporates, local authority, public sector and clients with vast amounts of historical content on.
And some surprising mistakes have been uncovered, which would have been hard to spot.
C3’s Business Operations Director, Victoria Sly explains. “We’ve had all sorts, including a blog about journalism with ‘journalist’ spelt incorrectly, to mistakes around ‘i before e’, and misspelt email addresses, which is obviously bad for business if people can’t get in touch.
“One of our favourites was a firm that offers ‘rigorously checked services’ but had unfortunately misspelt ‘rigorously’.
“It’s only been made clearer to us since launching and looking through the generated reports, that it’s easy for the human eye to miss all kinds of mistakes, many mistakes in some cases.”
- Website pages with spelling errors lost over twice the number of potential customers than a typo-free page.
- Time spent on web pages with spelling and grammatical errors was 8% less than on the error-free page.
- The bounce rate on landing pages with bad spelling and grammar was over 85% higher than on pages with immaculate spelling.
In 2013, research from Global Lingo revealed that 9% of Brits would not use a company that had obvious grammar or spelling mistakes on its website or marketing material. They also found that 74% said they notice the quality of spelling and grammar, whilst 59% said they would stop them from purchasing.
Harvard Business Review
In 2016, Harvard Business review’s study revealed that 81% of business people agree that poorly written material is a waste of time.
In 2021, John Mueller from Google said that poor spelling can affect SEO because if the content can’t be read, the search won’t find it and Google ranks better quality content higher, because they want users to get the best information. That includes proofed copy that is error-free.
The damage poor spelling can do
Carl said: “Google will rank your page lower in the search results if it finds grammar and spelling mistakes. Google’s ranking algorithm rates well-written content over content ridden with errors, so basic mistakes and typos could cost you precious spots in search engine rankings, drastically reducing your site’s visibility.”
Mistakes could be very damaging indeed, costing your business sales, or potential engagements.
Firstly, incorrect spelling looks unprofessional – it looks like you don’t know or don’t care to check. Some spellings could also make you look very silly indeed.
Poor spelling can also reduce trust and confidence in you and your brand – correct spelling is an expectation and getting it wrong could undermine.
SEO could also be affected; if people are going onto your website but leaving quickly, put off by the poor spelling they spot, it creates a low dwell time (they don’t stay very long and don’t look at other pages) plus a high bounce rate (they leave quickly). These two combined, tell the search engine spiders that your website didn’t answer their question, didn’t give a good user experience and wasn’t what they needed and starts to rank you lower in the search results.
Carl said: “Spelling errors on a website can undermine a brand, or actually give a different meaning. Correct spelling is an expectation, but it’s not always possible to allocate the job to someone.
“This might be because of the sheer amount of content, or that there’s no one able to do it, but mostly it’s down to time.
“Even on a smaller, 10-page website, spell checking every page, header and meta-tags would take someone a lot of time to read at a slow enough pace to spot the errors and as we know, the brain very cleverly skims over mistakes because it knows what should be there.
“Once the report is generated, the user can go back to their website to very easily find and correct the spelling errors using the hyperlinks and screenshots to locate the offending spelling.
“It’s a huge time saver for people who want to spell check their website as a one-off job, or regularly if content is added frequently, highlighting only new errors, to avoid endless duplication.
“It also allows copywriters, web developers and marketing professionals to offer a reliable service as part of their packages to clients to ensure absolutely every single spelling error is picked up before they launch a new website.”