I read a lot of blogs, newsletters, and other online publications, and there are various mistakes that frequently catch my eye. I know I’m a trained editor and that I spend over eight hours writing and proofing copy, but some of these errors are basic things! Whenever I see some of these errors, I assume the author is an amateur.
Because not everyone’s a writer and not every blogger or business owner can afford an editorial team, I decided to make a list of these common mistakes.
I’m going to be real for a minute. The following mistakes are common among bloggers and business owners, like really common. I haven’t compiled statistics on it, but I see posts, emails, and messages with these problems all the time. If I see a blog, sales page, or email riddled with silly mistakes, I run screaming in the other direction.
Proofread, people! You don’t need fancy courses or certifications to recognize bad grammar and such.
The good news is that they’re errors that can be fixed in a jiffy to increase credibility and authority. Check ‘em out!
1. Bad grammar
I’m sure you’ve seen people complaining about the use of words like their/they’re/there and two/too/to on the Internet. Some of those posts are annoying and condescending but knowing and using correct grammar is important. When I see a consistent misuse of grammar, I automatically assume the writer is an amateur. Depending on the material I’m reading, these errors can also turn me off of buying a product or service from a business.
I’ll be rolling out a free mini course on grammar in the next few weeks, so be sure to subscribe to my email list or check back soon!
2. Misspelling or using the wrong name
Something that really irks me is when people respond to an email and misspell my name or, worse, use the wrong name. My name is in my email address and in my signature at the bottom of every message I send, yet business owners consistently misspell my name or call me “Anna” instead. In my view (and the views of many others I’ve spoken to), a business owner who doesn’t bother to spell my name properly isn’t serious about their business!
I don’t usually respond to pitches or inquiries I receive that have my name spelled incorrectly or just wrong (“Anna”). I know many other business owners and writers who won’t respond, either! We had a whole Facebook discussion about it recently in a private group I belong to.
The point is, this mistake is easily avoidable. Check and double check your emails and messages before sending the to a client or business partner. It pays off to check those details, literally!
3. Inconsistent voice
Voice is the way you represent your personality and brand in your writing. Like any good element of branding, you need to be consistent to establish authority and help people recognize you. Repetition builds trust, and establishing a consistent voice helps too. When I visit a blog and the writing style and graphic elements are inconsistent, I wonder if the owner has any authority in their business.
I discuss voice in my Five Days to Better Blogging email course. Check it out to learn more!
Running spell check is not hard, friends! When I happen upon blog posts or other marketing materials riddled with typos, that obvious lack of attention is disheartening. Every word processor has a built-in spell-checking program, and WordPress and other blogging platforms do too. Run a spell check and quickly proofread your posts before hitting publish.
Whether you’re writing a blog post, email campaign, or working on your manuscript, make sure you’re using consistent and easy-to-read formatting. Use the same fonts, font sizes, and alignments. Make sure you’re doing this in your graphics, too! Also use bold, italics, and underline consistently and sparingly. Ensuring your posts and marketing materials are easy to read will keep readers (and potential customers) interested.
We’re all human and we all make mistakes, but some are worse than others. The five I outlined above are easy to spot and fix on your own! Producing polished work will keep your image professional, authentic, and customers will trust you.