It’s my wedding anniversary today and, feeling nostalgic, I decided to look at the website of the hotel where we got married all those years ago.
Did my eyes light on the photos of the glorious gardens, the beautifully decorated function rooms, or the descriptions of the wedding feast? Did they heck. Instead of reminiscing, I ended up spluttering at the number of mistakes on the website.
There were random capitals (we offer Beauty treatments) and mixed-up words (you can have fine wines to compliment your meal” as well as complementary WiFi). There were very long sentences (42 words) and some that weren’t complete sentences at all.
I’ve got a bit of a Thing about Unnecessary Capitals. They shout at the reader and just make the page or screen look ugly. Writers tend to use them when they want to emphasise that something is important, but they just distract the reader.
On Sentence Works courses, we have a whole section on pairs of words that are often used incorrectly (including affect and effect, eg and ie, continuous and continual). Complement means that something goes well with something else (you can remember it by thinking it completes it). Compliment means either saying something nice to someone, or giving something for free. There’s a full blog post about it below if you want to know more.
We also look at the importance of writing in short sentences (top tip: avoid writing sentences of more than 30 words). Incomplete sentences can also confuse readers as they often have to read them twice.
Adrian and I got married so long ago that our wedding venue didn’t have a website back then. And it’s just as well. To me, a website full of errors shows a lack of attention to detail. It looks sloppy and unprofessional – and not the sort of place you’d want to trust with such an important day when everything needs to be right.
If this has sent you into a panic about your own website, don’t worry – come to a Sentence Works masterclass and we will improve your writing skills for life.