Two days ago I posted my Part Two on SEO. The first comment that I received, was a listing of my grammatical errors and typos. I did fix them (except one) but decided to leave the comment, instead of deleting it.
Why? I thought “What a great topic!”
Have you been seeing more typos in recent years? I believe I have. So I decided to research the topic. Bob Bly has an interesting post from a year ago that asks “Do Typos Matter?” Thirty-one comments and the opinions are all across the board.
As I contemplated this, it occurred to me that typos are greater today because publishing is greater today. Do I mean we create better publications? No. We create more publications. More web pages, more blogs, more letters, more cards,… more, more, more! And we do it ourselves.
My last year in the Marine Corps, I was a Sergeant and a secretary. For a year, all I did was type and file. I typed for Captains, Majors, and Colonels. They would submit the hand-written text, I would type, I would read, I would re-type, they would correct in pencil, and like the shampoo bottle says… “lather, rinse, repeat.”
A professional, putting out a professional document/memo/letter, would edit so much that it took three days to put anything out in print. I believe this is still important for long-term publications such as books, websites, flyers, ads, etc. (My spell-checker says “flyers” is spelled wrong but I am keeping it.) This shows the world that you are serious, that you pay attention to details, and that you can create a quality product. These types of publications will be around a long time, showing themselves to the world, and more importantly, your prospective clients and partners.
However, times have changed. Blogs are everywhere and everyone is putting them out. Most people with blogs, don’t have an editing team behind them and must do the best they can while keeping posts coming in a timely fashion. Blogging on a regular basis is key to people coming back and some don’t know the secret of post-dating.
Besides publishing blogs, you can now publish ebooks and regular books yourself. I believe this has created an atmosphere in which typos and grammatical errors are more accepted. Does this mean it’s okay?
I believe it all depends on the situation. My commenter, whoever they may be, may have just been trying to be helpful. He or she pointed out that I am in the image business. That I am. Therefore he or she is correct.
If you wish to be accepted as a professional, providing a professional product or service, you must pay attention to the details. Yes, it means I will read this post at least 27 times, and make 42 corrections, before posting.
However, I recall a story that my mentor Craig Valentine told. He and his wife once sat for 10 minutes reading a flyer from a local woman, who cleaned houses for a living. She had so many typos and mistakes that they kept looking for more. His reaction when he realized what had happened… “This is a direct marketer’s dream! I wouldn’t be surprised if she did this on purpose.”
When the main goal is to get someone’s attention and remember you, and your service (yes, he did hire her), you sometimes use whatever methods will work. You certainly can’t rule out mistakes and typos.
Another thing I wonder about is the future of publishing. As we pre-PC generations move up and out, the PC generations are moving in. (Personal Computers not Politically Correct) Will they bring a typos-are-ok attitude with them and their fast thumbs? (If you are under 25, you’ll get the reference to the thumbs) Will rotfl, brb, lol and others take the place of correct spelling? (Please consult someone under 25 if you didn’t understand the last sentence) Will speed and the end result be more important than professional appearance?
I can’t answer that. For now, I want the respect of my clients and prospective clients. (prospective not perspective) So I will continue to watch my grammar. How about you?
By the way (btw), did you find the mistake which I did not correct?