Please hire a proofreader

I just made this comment on a Mashable article  (sure, it was clickbait, but Mashable is a more reputable source than some, and I expect more from them):

Please hire a proofreader.

I find myself saying this in my head a lot lately. I don’t usually post any comments about it (posting comments online is perhaps one of the biggest wastes of time and energy one could indulge in), but this morning I had a weak moment. But Mashable isn’t alone. Companies and organizations that present themselves as professional no longer seem to have editorial oversight or any sort of quality assurance.

Here are a couple of local examples: Boston.com and Bostonology. Boston.com has turned into an editor’s nightmare. The writing is poor and the site is rife with typos. (The layout and overall user experience are not a picnic either.) I used to read the site regularly, but now I cringe whenever I look at it. I had recently subscribed to Bostonology‘s emails and eventually unsubscribed because every single email I read had multiple typos and the content was often poorly written and structured. As a Bostonian, I love the concept of this email subscription, but I was so distracted by the lack of quality that I couldn’t read it anymore.

The Mashable article I read today had at least two typos in the introduction (one in the first sentence) and a duplicate screenshot in the body copy. People will say I am a stickler (and I am), but there are three main reasons (other than having pride in your work product) why typos, missing words, and poorly structured content matter:

  1. They are distracting. Readers who notice these issues (and there are many of us) are thrown off from the point of the article and may stop reading and go elsewhere. So you might get our click-throughs, but you won’t get return visits and you won’t get conversions (“likes” or subscriptions, etc.) We certainly won’t continue clicking around your website to read more content.
  2. They make you look unprofessional. Clients, customers, readers, and would-be partners could decide not to do business with you or buy your product because it looks like you do not care about quality.
  3. They make you look untrustworthy. If your content is sloppy, readers won’t trust you. They’ll assume you did not do your research since you didn’t bother to review the information you’ve presented.

Please hire a proofreader. Readers and customers everywhere will thank you.

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