Today I received a rather smug email from some random person who had happened upon the website of one of my clients, and wanted to point out to me the multitude of spelling errors on it. She had clearly found the website through my portfolio, had identified me as the author of the text, and, therefore, the author of the errors. These, she gleefully informed me, were numerous.
She wasn’t wrong. When I looked at the site I almost threw up. These weren’t just typos – even basic words were spelt incorrectly, the grammar was all over the place, the copy was completely unrecognisable from what I had submitted. This, I found, was for a very good reason: it wasn’t the copy I had submitted. (Cue huge sigh of relief).
This particular client is someone I dealt with quite some time ago. The site owner was very “hands on” – constantly adding new pages to his site, changing things around, playing around with the design, layout, and, it transpires, the copy. At some point along the line he had messed with the homepage text to such an extent that it was barely literate. And thanks to the link in my portfolio, it was all credited to me.
Horrified wasn’t the word. I quickly replied to my random emailer, explaining that this text was not produced by me, and begged Terry to remove the link from my portfolio. A valuable lesson has been learned, though: if you write for the web, make sure you keep an eye on the sites you’ve written for so that if the owner decided to introduce errors into your text, you’re no longer associated with it.
And pay attention to the smug randoms who delight in pointing out typos!