An impact on what? Your audience? Your traffic? Your message? The answer to all of these questions is yes. Let’s take a look at each category to see how and why.
We the People
It can be fairly distracting for a reader to have to stumble over a lot of grammatical errors and mistakes in your blog posts. It can also be frustrating for a reader to have to continuously read entries that have not been edited properly.
One or two little mistakes won’t make you lose your audience. After all, no one is perfect – not even editors. There are spelling and grammar mistakes published in major newspapers and magazines across the country, and all over the world. We’re only human. But if all of your entries contain missed periods, misspelled words, incomplete sentences and the like, it can have a negative impact on your audience.
Think of your reader as a driver, and your content as the road that leads them to their destination. As a driver, would you rather drive over a fairly smooth road with one or two bumps, or a road riddled with craters, potholes, bumps, cracks and missing chunks of pavement? Both roads lead to the same place, but one path is unnecessarily unpleasant and difficult to get through. However the other road is a smooth ride, and those one or two minor bumps could be ignored.
Given the choice, most drivers would take the fairly smooth road.
Grammar, Spelling & Your Traffic
Drawing from the above illustration, traffic on the first road may be slow and steady, while traffic on the second road would be virtually nonexistent.
When you run into a bad route as a driver, the normal thing to do is to complain about it. “I don’t go that way. The potholes killed my tires!” Now think about your audience complaining to their circle of friends about your blog. “I don’t read that blog. There’s so many grammatical errors!” This is the part where they usually recommend another blog.
Detracting From the Message
Dictionary.com defines detract as
1. to take away a part, as from quality, value, or reputation;
2. to draw away or divert; distract: to detract another’s attention from more important issues.
If you’re trying to tell someone you’re the best plumber in your area, but your website or blog is riddled with errors, you are detracting from your message. That can be dangerous if you have a business or you’re trying to make a living off of your blog.
Let’s go back to the illustration of a driver. The destination is your services. The content is the road to get there. How many customers are willing to travel down the second road? Not very many. More than likely they’ll go down the first road to your competition, who offers the same services you do.
Can you understand how important spelling and grammar is now? Some bloggers and business owners blow it off, but it can make or break your business.
“But I don’t know how to edit my own material!” you say. “I’m not very good at checking my own spelling and grammar!”
Don’t panic. In the next post we’ll cover editing in detail.