Previously, I highlighted some websites and blogs that I found to be awesome. In the yin to that yang, here’s the awesome-not-so-much. I won’t pick on anyone specific, but there were some booboos I noticed over and over that really griped my cookies:
Typo’s, Typos, mispellings, misspellings, wrong words, missing words, dense text, text that didn’t make any sense. Punctuation was a crap shoot. Hyphens? What are those? Since I was mostly looking at writer websites, I was nonplussed. Sometimes on writer, agent and editor sites and in their fixed content, not their blog content. Seriously. I’m serious.
2. Bad formatting that either didn’t translate on my browser or was seriously jacked to begin with. Blog name enormous or off-center or–
But to go back to number one, there was one group writers’ site that misspelled a word in their banner. We’re talking the banner, people. It’s, like, the first thing anyone sees. And it wasn’t just one writer who missed a giant screaming misspelling on their own site, it was a group site. I’m not making this up…
Sorry, let’s move on.
3. Difficult to navigate home pages with obscure menus or tabs. It’s possible some of these sites were being intentionally obtuse and I just wasn’t cool enough to figure it out. But it’s probable they overestimated the usability of their own–
Okay, so dig this. I found a professionally-done literary agency website. (How do you know they’re professionally done? Check the photos. If the person’s hands are being held up to their faces with no visible means of support, that’s probably a professional site.) So on the submissions page, which is, just to be clear, fixed content, this high-powered literary agency cautions writers to submit clean, copy-edited copy. And then they themselves proceed to have at least three, count ’em, three typos on their submissions page. Is it just me, or is that crazypants? No one, none of their own readers, authors, editors–no one has ever checked their fixed content for errors?
I have to wonder–does it just not matter anymore? Have the immediacy and rapidly-evolving language of the web rendered former ideas of clean copy obsolete? Is there truly no value in holding onto the old ways? (And you kids, get off my lawn!)
Though I realize I’m setting myself up like a bowling pin to be knocked down by my own hubris and hoist by my own petard, I’d like to issue an offer. If you want me to critique your website’s fixed content for basic grammar, spelling and punctuation errors, contact me and let me know. I’ll ask that you do the same for my website–“Quid pro quo, Clarice.” No hard feelings.
Let’s clean up this mess, okay?