By Marcus Leach

Poor spelling is costing UK businesses millions of pounds each year in lost revenue for internet businesses according to an online entrepreneur.

Charles Duncombe said, based on research, that a single spelling mistake on a webpage can cut online sales by up to 50 per cent.

Mr Duncombe, who runs travel, mobile phones and clothing websites, said the main problem is not technology for online firms, but staff who can't spell.

"Often these cutting-edge companies depend upon old-fashioned skills," said Mr Duncombe to the BBC.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics published last month showed internet sales in the UK running at £527m per week.

"I know that industry bemoaning the education system is nothing new but it is becoming more and more of a problem with more companies going online.

"This is because when you sell or communicate on the internet 99% of the time it is done by the written word."

However, language expert Neil Taylor, from The Writer, believes there is more to an online business than just correct spelling.

"Yes, dodgy spelling can make you look unprofessional, or at the very least, that your attention to detail isn’t what it could be," he said.

"But accurate writing alone doesn’t make people warm to you, or be persuaded by you, or interested in you. Being a good proofreader doesn’t make you a best-selling novelist.

"That’s much more to do with the way you write. Lots of businesses write to customers ‘professionally’, but don’t give the sense that they really care, or understand what matters to customers.

"And lots of people produce faultless CVs, but they’re too anonymous to tempt anyone to interview them (and in fact, most people would forgive a few typos in a CV if that person looked interesting enough to meet).

"Spelling and grammar are hygiene factors. Personality makes the difference."

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