5 Content Mistakes to Avoid

March 6th, 2013 by Allison Warmbir

You work hard to promote your business, providing your clients with the best services and customer experience possible. However, in order to develop a loyal customer base, it’s necessary to first attract potential clients who may be interested in the services that you offer. This often begins with their first glance at your webpage. Not only is web content important for these same visitors to reach your site, it’s instrumental in keeping their attention on your company.

No matter how wonderful the products and services your business provides may be, one look at your webpage can make or break a potential client’s commitment to the company. For example, improper grammar, punctuation, or spelling not only makes you look foolish, it ultimately detracts from the overall credibility of the organization itself. That’s why copyediting is important to everyone, whether you specialize in legal services or auto repair.

While there are hundreds, or even thousands, of words that are misspelled, misused, and generally abused regularly in sales copy, here are a few particularly common mistakes to look out for:

Words to Watch:

1. Effect/Affect
In general, effect is used as a noun, while affect is used as a verb. E.g.
“The effects of water damage in your home can be severe.”
“Mold and other toxins can greatly affect the air quality in your home or business.”

2. Premier/Premiere
If your services are the highest quality in the area, you are the “premier” service provider. A “premiere” is the opening night of a film or production. E.g.
“We are the premier carpet cleaning service in the state, providing affordable rates and guaranteed customer satisfaction.”
“Did you catch the premiere of ‘Game of Thrones’ last night?”

3. Lose/Loose
This is a common typo, yet can make such a bad impression on a potential client. For example, an educated consumer may think twice about enlisting the services of a lawyer who guarantees no fees in the occasion that you “loose your case.” E.g.
“You have nothing to lose when working with us, because we offer a free case evaluation, and charge no fees unless you are compensated for your losses.”
“If your plumbing fixtures are loose or in need of repair, trust the skilled professionals at our company.”

4. Insure/Ensure
In the same vein, informed customers would never choose to purchase a flood protection policy from a company who “insures complete customer satisfaction.” Insure is used exclusively in limiting financial loss or liability; that is, providing or obtaining an insurance policy. Ensure, on the other hand, means to guarantee a condition, term, or event. E.g.
“We insure boats, trucks, cars, and ATVs.”
“We will work hard to ensure you are satisfied with the quality of our products.”

5. Team/Staff
Team, staff, and other collective nouns are always singular. E.g.
“Our team is dedicated to providing high quality service and repairs.”
“The staff at our company is highly trained, and capable of handling any job you need completed.”

As you can see, there are a number of linguistic pitfalls that should be avoided when posting content to your website. Make sure to carefully look over your page, or hire a team of competent copy editors to ensure the quality of your content matches that of the product you work so hard to promote.