What is good quality content for a web site? We can usually recognize quality content when we see it. It is a total package deal; words used, grammar, presentation, supporting artwork. Daily I receive articles from people giving advice that quality content is one of golden rules of Internet. Without quality content your visitors just donít stay, and never return.
An entire industry has grown to support and help companies develop their web sites to present quality content. There are editors and copy writers, localization experts to name a few. These companies specialize in web sites. They help to develop compelling language, usually designed for visitor who skim reads. They recognize that visitor might devote two minutes or less, and unless in those few moments they Ďare capturedí, they wont read anything in depth and result: NO SALE.
If we can hold these fleeting visitors to actually read our words with some care, and hence take our product offer seriously, our language has to support their initial good impression. Spelling errors, poor grammar, slow loading art, and countless other factors will all debase quality.
Little inconsistencies in our written language bother visitors. For example, hyphenating a word on one page and not hyphenating same word on a different page. Visitors arenít necessarily even conscious of errors; but they are left with negative feelings.
When we first develop a web site we devote considerable resources. We check and edit and test, may be take user surveys and then check it all again. And finally our web site can be described as finished. If only it were so simple. As most people who manage a web site will know, things change. And changes, improvements and enhancements to our web site are usually a continuing effort.
And because we are working mainly with that wonderful tool called language, weíre working with a changing foundation. The Internet itself has added a whole new set of words. Over past few months Iíve been developing an Internet support web site intended to help small businesses (it is http://www.selling-it.com/ ). Throughout project Iíve been faced with choices about how to spell words. Should I write an e-book or an ebook? Which letters do I capitalize? If Iím a Webmaster why do I run a web site? Is it a Unix or a UNIX or a unix server that Iím using? Will people buy my products using checks or cheques? Technical words like php, .htaccess file and MySQL were all problems. In fact new words and phrases are continuously added to our language.
Then we have traditional problems that English presents. Some words allow two quite acceptable spelling forms; i.e. inquire and enquire. Is it best to use British or American spelling on a web site? Numbers present special problems. Were there 25 enthusiastic testimonials or twenty five?
Initially I tried to rely on my spell checker but sadly it wasnít much help. I worked hard researching a variety of web sites providing advice on quality content. But no where was I able to find a categorical definition of correct spelling and capitalization of many technology related words. And you bet I tried dictionaries.
Many words are so new that there isnít a definitive spelling. On positive side there was a message I could follow. When there isnít an accepted spelling, and to maintain quality content; spell word consistently throughout web site. I hope youíll agree thatís great advice. It certainly simplifies issue. But I was still left with a problem.