The army of people who love to go around the internet correcting grammar is quite big. Thankfully these days it’s not as bad as it used to be. Unfortunately, there are more bullies and trolls than ever. Social media hasn’t helped. Don’t let them get you down, profit from them!
If your errors are constant, sluggish and obvious then fair enough, visitors can politely point out the areas you need to improve. And in turn, it’s your job to act on it and sharpen up. But some commenters go way too far at the smallest things. Rudeness also seems to be commonplace.
This is quite a long article, here are the key points of the article if you’re short of time.
Let’s get stuck in with the full article.
Have appreciation for kind feedback
First off let’s just say the manner in which people report the mistake is important. Some people are respectful and report the error because they care. That’s to be appreciated, they’re not a bully. What we don’t want are the nasty people. Over the years I’ve been called all sorts, one of my personal faves was “an illiterate f**kwit”. And why did they call me that? Because I had used the word “less” when the correct word should have been “fewer”. And apparently, that justified someone calling me such a horrible name.
Ironically many of the nasty people are inevitably cowards. We all know it’s highly unlikely they’d say it to your face in real life. But what shows how cowardly they are is that many don’t include their real email in the comment form let alone use their real name. You have no way of contacting them. They leave the comment and scarper.
Thank people who are kind and leave friendly and helpful feedback. It’s nice to show them your appreciation with a quick reply to them.
Learn and improve yourself to increase profits
Here’s the thing. Without most realizing it, most of these people are going to make you more money. That’s because you can learn and grow from what they say.
That’s right, the individual who decided to call you such a horrible thing is helping you increase your profits! But how you say? Because Google use many factors in how they rank websites, and it’s highly probable one of them is spelling and grammar. Why is it probable? Because quality is a key factor in user experience. A post filled with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors is a sign of poor quality.
If you are selling something, buyers will expect you to be professional. Grammatical errors may put people off. Perfect grammar may end up achieving more sakes. Either way, correcting your grammar can only be a good thing for your blog or website.
How to react to comments
Here are a few ideas of things you could do.
Create a ‘report form’
One thing you can do is have a ‘report form’ on your website. This will keep the grammar army out of your comments. The whole point of the comments section is for discussing the topic. A report form can help keep it that way.
Research the error reported by the visitor
Make sure you research the error which has been pointed out. The person saying you’ve made a mistake isn’t always right. I’ve had this happen a few times, where I’ve looked into what they’ve said, and in fact, they’re wrong. Some people think they’re smarter than they actually are. Some people think they know everything. Some people are just trolls! Whatever the case, look into what they’ve said to be crystal clear on what’s correct. It’s also worth noting that the AP Stylebook has had many changes. Sometimes it can be the case that different people have learned from different editions.
Once you are clear on the correct grammar then update the article.
If the person notified you in a respectful way (obviously they don’t fall into the “bully” category), after the update is done reply to them politely thanking them in a gracious way. You may also want to give an honest reason why it happened, but you don’t have to.
If the individual called you nasty names, or they didn’t have the guts to leave a real email address, then simply correct the error. Don’t even bother replying to them.
Why it doesn’t actually matter that much
If you’re an English teacher then yes, obviously it matters! But on this website and many other content websites very few people have English degrees. When you read a personal finance blog post the key thing is the person being honest and helpful. Not whether their grammar is perfect.
If you’re a blogger, then why should perfect grammar actually matter. You aren’t writing for the Guardian or any other national newspaper. They may have gold standards, but as bloggers it’s different, it’s a more relaxed form of media. Having high standards is important, and healthy, but we don’t have to be perfect. At all times it’s healthy to aim for spelling to be spot on. The text should be as easy as possible for the reader to understand. We shouldn’t waste the readers time figuring out what we’re saying! But after that getting nitpicky doesn’t matter.
We are human, mistakes happen. This is one thing that always makes me smile. It would be like a soccer-playing never misplacing a pass. It’s a mistake, we all do them. Yet for some reason, bloggers can get hung out to dry by some people.
People who leave comments calling others disgusting names (such as “an illiterate f**kwit”) shows they have issues themselves. Any decent well-rounded human being would politely point out the error and suggest it be changed. Remember that you clearly have a better life than them if they need to go around calling names like that to make themselves feel better. Rather than being angry at them, feel sorry for them, and remember they’re helping make your website better and potentially get better search rankings! Wahoo!
Life is too short
A final thought then. Whilst the grammar bullies and comment trolls go about wasting their time, you are happy doing what you love. So don’t worry about them, life is too short!
Thanks for reading, happy writing, and good luck with your website.