Websites That Fail

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.Ā  I won’t pick on anyone specific, but there were some booboos I noticed over and over that really griped my cookies:

1. 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?

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4 Responses to Websites That Fail

  1. Well, I hope my site never falls into this dreaded category. I do check all of my content for typos and misspellings, but I’m not all that great with punctuation (namely the comma), and my grammar is probably a bit weak. šŸ™‚

    I think my site is fairly well laid out and easy to follow, but I’m always looking to improve, so I’d love feedback and critique, even down to the smallest detail and the nitty-gritty. Blast away, my friend. šŸ˜‰


  2. Chris Devlin says:

    Hope I didn’t scare you! Your website is AH-MAZE-ing, really topnotch. And your fixed content is very clean. I’ll always let you know if I notice anything–please, do the same for me.
    I was just truly boggled by how many sites I found out there that really didn’t bother with even the most rudimentary proofreading. I guess it’s a sign o’ the times–in the rush to get a web presence and start blogging, many people just blew past the part where you have to have some sense of professionalism. That’s not a big deal if you’re casually blogging, but if you want to sell yourself as a writer, it kind of becomes a bigger deal.
    But again, don’t worry a bit about it. Anyone looking at your site would be impressed with its professionalism and the creativity and the sheer volume of content you already have. Definitely a website that wins, not a fail. šŸ˜‰


    • Aww, thanks Chris. I’m glad to hear you think it’s a winner . . . I think yours is too. You have so many great posts already.

      Professionalism is important. People must realize that when you put your words out there for other people to read that it is a reflection of yourself. To show such sloppy work is embarrassing, or at least it should be, casual blogger or not. I mean this isn’t text messaging to a friend . . . or maybe some of these people don’t make a distinction between the two. Don’t know.

      Keep on winning, my friend. šŸ™‚


  3. Chris Devlin says:

    Thanks! And I probably should have been more clear about this–I make a distinction when I’m looking at a website or blog between fixed content and something that’s dashed off on the spur of the moment. If you’ve spent some time setting up your website, and especially if you’ve paid someone to set it up for you, that should be reflected in at least having fairly error-free content. Blogging I don’t pick on, because that’s supposed to be more casual and off-the-cuff.
    Now watch, I’ll get hit with all kinds of feedback from people more grammar-educated than me that I have a bunch of boo-boos. It’s fair-bring it on.


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