Cost of poor grammar

Errors Small Business Website owners make which is killing their Sales

Write to Right - beat Google at its gameSmart business owners know that the best place to sell, outside of their bricks and mortar, is online. Some have tried Facebook, but with declining reach, the smartest ones are moving to web sales. Sadly, it’s no ‘Field of Dreams”, if you build it, there’s no guarantee that they will come. Sound familiar? Struggling to get customers to your site?

Languishing in the back pages of Google

Google is the most used search engine. Like Facebook, Google has its own methods for working out the ranking for pages in a search result. I don’t know of many small businesses that would pay for Google rankings, and to be honest if you pay, your result is only as good as the amount you or your competitor pays (the more the better).

Focusing on the following hints will boost you through Google. How do I know? I did it. I moved my website from page 16 at launch to the first listing on page 2. I also have related content listed on page 1, they also link to my website. So I am on page 1 and 2 of Google Search. Follow these steps to get there too.

Complacent about Key words

Key words are that, key. If you do not use the words in your website that your customers use in their searches then you are starting behind the eight ball. There are a number of ways to find out what these words are: trial and error, ask your customers, put yourself in your customer’s shoes, Google Analytics, paying SEO experts.

But be warned, don’t make your website a gobbledegook mess of keywords. Google has its ways of weeding out nonsensical pages. This is where SEO experts and copywriters can fail. These businesses don’t understand the intricate details of your business, quite like you. You know the benefits for your customers, you know how they use your goods or services. You know what makes your business unique.

Skimping on spelling

Don’t think spelling on your website is important, think again.

Research shows that 59% of customers will not buy from a website with spelling errors. That’s a lot of lost revenue. Why? Quality. Customers believe that if you don’t value the basic skill of spelling, then you are less likely to value them or quality service.

But what does this have to do with Google? Have you ever misspelt something in a Google search? It autocorrects. I’m sorry to say Google will not autocorrect your website. If you type words incorrectly in your website, then that is how they will be indexed by Google and how people will have to type them in a search. Small problem, Google autocorrects searches. See the problem?

Skimping on links

Remember how I said I was on page 2 AND page 1, well my page 1 results are my social media pages (Google + and Facebook). I know many businesses start of Facebook and with the declining reach they have developed a website, you might be one of them.

Don’t get caught up trying to fill Facebook or G+ (or any other platform) with new content, link to your website. Links on Facebook are not just a simple way to populate posts, they are actually a highly respected (and ranked) post type for the platform. Using links to your site drives traffic to where the sales take place. (You can also set up a tab to import your shop into Facebook, more on that another post) Google likes inbound links (coming in to your site) as they are third party endorsements.

Link within your site. Linking within your site allows for cross promotion and cross or upselling. Internal links also work as when Google searches your page the internal links direct it through your site. The more pages Google sees, the more pages it knows of to put in its search results, the more often you are seen in Google.

Like to know more? Not sure you could do this all yourself? Don’t have enough time to go through it all yourself?

Based on my experience managing websites and proofreading and copy editing for the federal government I am offering my skills to businesses to improve their website results. Having your website appear higher in Google search results will mean more customers to your site, most people will stop searching at page 3 of Google.

What is involved?

Write to Right offer two levels of health checks. The first is for larger sites or those businesses after a more comprehensive service; the second is for smaller sites or those looking to brush up their essential pages.

To book you website health check, contact us.

What do others say about the Website Health Check?

“Kara has provided me with feedback on many aspects of my business page with regard to professional written communication. She is very knowledgeable, helpful and does not miss a thing! I know I can rely on her to pick up on my typos, spelling errors, punctuation and even grammatical errors. It is worth having Kara take a look at your written communication, whether you are in business and would like to appear professional, or whether you are doing a job  application that needs to be perfect! Highly recommended!” – Jacqui, Celestial Photography

Comprehensive Website Health Check

This health check is for businesses looking to grab those 59% of customers who are put off by errors on their website. It’s for businesses that rely on their website to sell their products and services 24/7. It’s a check for businesses that pride themselves on their excellence and attention to detail.

This check will:

• Focus on the top ten non-product pages on your site
• Advise if your content achieves its aim
• Includes at least ten, researched, keyword suggestions for you to use to help increase your search engine ranking
• Assess your content for optimal layout, helping to get your message across sooner and potentially reduce ‘bouncing’ from your site
• Ensure links on these pages are functional and appropriate
• Check for your social media integration and offer suggestions for your site as a whole
• Include an Excel spreadsheet report for you, or your developer, to keep for implementation, and
• Free email follow-up one month after the report is delivered.

This premium service is offered to you for the introductory price of $185. It is a small price to pay when it has the potential to turn up to 59% of your web traffic into paying clients.

 Book your comprehensive website health check by contacting us.

 Essentials website health check

This health check is for those smaller sites with fewer non-product pages. It is perfect for those businesses just starting out but still pride themselves on how their business is presented to the public.

This check will:

• Focus on the top five non-product pages on your site
• Advise if your content achieves its aim
• Includes at least five, researched, keyword suggestions for you to use to help increase your search engine ranking
• Ensure links on these pages are functional and appropriate
• Check for your social media integration and offer suggestions for your site as a whole, and
• Include an Excel spreadsheet report for you, or your developer, to keep for implementation.

This essentials health check is a wise investment at $95 and a fantastic way to ensure you are starting out on the right foot.

Is your site larger than average or do you want more?

If your site has more than ten non-product pages, or you would like to include your product pages, we can perform a more comprehensive check for $80/hr and includes all of the elements in the comprehensive website health check. Write to Right is able to offer proofreading & copy editing for all other documents, please contact us for our full list of fees.

 To book your website in for a health check contact us.

 

5 secrets your lecturer wishes they could share to get you better grades

Improve your grades by making it easier for your lecturer - Write to rightSome students believe grades are born from hard work and determination, some coast them in on a flying Frisbee, while others pull them from thin air. There is a magic to good grades and there are some secrets. These are the secrets that lecturers wish they could say, but can’t.

Your grade can depend on where your assignment is in the pile
Sure if you answer the question you will get the grade, but what if you are the tenth student to miss the point of the essay? What if you’re the tenth person to hand up a rushed piece of work at the eleventh hour (and we’ve all done that)? What if your essay is riddled with spelling errors and the lecturer is trying to get all of your assignments back before your exam in a fortnight and it’s 11pm?

These factors can influence your grade. Let’s face it they are human and there is only a certain limit to their tolerance. Yes, this is what they get paid to do, but along with the planning, recording, publishing (yes, they need to publish notes and handouts), writing (yes, they need to write your exam), delivering lectures, answering questions (in person, by phone, and email), marking, and writing up reports. This is in addition to the professional development they are expected to undertake, business meetings they have to attend, research they need to undertake to keep their job, and travel they have to do to keep money coming into the University to help pay for your course. Everyone has their limits, even lecturers, if you want the grade you need to make it easy for the lecturer to give it to you.

They can tell you have rushed it
After proofreading a number of PhD assignments I can tell when a student is getting to their wits end. You make more spelling and grammatical errors, some of them are often quite silly. Your sentences are shorter. You don’t reference as much as you have earlier. Your tone changes to one that is quite abrupt. Plan your time, not just your essay!

Not answering the question is annoying
In the main, lecturers offer time up to assist students with their work. This could be through tutorials, contact time where you can visit and chat, and via email. In all of my years of study I have seldom come across a lecturer who will baulk at the idea of you bouncing your idea at them. Don’t get me wrong, they won’t give you the answer nor will they tell you if you are on the right track to getting a Distinction, but they will steer you in the right direction. Lecturers don’t want their students to fail, remember they too were students and can remember how it felt; they also get assessed on their pass rate. Make sure you plan your essay, check it against the question at the start and check your essay against it at the end.

Lecturers are happy to give reasonable feedback
Everyone has their own definition of reasonable, the one which counts here is the lecturer’s. Don’t expect a warm reception if you demand feedback on why you only received 90% on your assignment, when they have students who are scraping through who they know could do better. Conversely, don’t expect them to detail, chapter and verse, how you could have gotten that Distinction when you actually failed or scraped through. What they will do is point out some of the things discussed in this post, like, how you failed to answer the question, how your spelling made it difficult to read, how poor grammar made your assignment difficult to understand and therefore the lecturer was uncertain of the point you were trying to make, or the importance of references in backing up your argument and the consideration given to them professionally.

Lecturers have ears and do talk to one another
We all gossip and they are no different. They will compare students, they will whinge about students and they will wonder why you are doing well in one class but not theirs (they can be vain beasts). This means, don’t gripe about them in earshot of another. Don’t whinge to your tutor about your lecturer. Conversely, show them that you are an open, honest and willing to learn and see how that goes. All of these things will help to create a picture in their mind of the kind of person you are and rightly or wrongly, for some, that can influence your grade.

Lecturers do a heck of a lot. If you want the grades you need to make your lecturer’s job easier. (No one appreciates having stuff made more difficult for them) Here are the things you should do to improve your grades:

  • Talk to them early if you have questions
  • Make their job easy:
    o   Plan your assignment and check your question and work against it, and
    o   Have your work checked (we can help you with this)
  • Try not to submit it at the last minute (they can spot a rush job)
  • Ask for feedback if you are prepared to take on their recommendations, and
  • Be considerate, they are human and have a life outside Uni too.

 

 

 

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I Won’t Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar. Here’s Why.

Harvard Business Review:

“Good grammar is credibility, especially on the internet. In blog posts, on Facebook statuses, in e-mails, and on company websites, your words are all you have. They are a projection of you in your physical absence.”
Your website is promoting your business 24/7, the words that form the site should not be letting down your business.

Originally posted on HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review:

If you think an apostrophe was one of the 12 disciples of Jesus, you will never work for me. If you think a semicolon is a regular colon with an identity crisis, I will not hire you. If you scatter commas into a sentence with all the discrimination of a shotgun, you might make it to the foyer before we politely escort you from the building.

Some might call my approach to grammar extreme, but I prefer Lynne Truss’s more cuddly phraseology: I am a grammar “stickler.” And, like Truss ? author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves ? I have a “zero tolerance approach” to grammar mistakes that make people look stupid.

Now, Truss and I disagree on what it means to have “zero tolerance.” She thinks that people who mix up their itses “deserve to be struck by lightning, hacked up on the spot and buried in an…

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