Ad.Money.Web // Bad Spelling Pays

Articles with Tips, Tricks, and Issues about the Internet, Advertising, and Websites.

Harnessing Errors and Stupidity


How poor spelling can help you earn cash.

Case Study:

One of my websites is a parody of my hometown's tourist information website, replete with many in jokes about minor absurdities with the way we do things where I live. One running gag on the web page is that I continually misspell the name of our town in a new and creative way each time it is mentioned, mocking the pronounciations spouted by many tourists who visit.

I found after awhile that my little joke website was getting a pretty steady flow of search engine traffic from users who were actually looking for said town but apparently didn't know how to spell it. Out of curiosity, I put Adsense ads on the webpage, and sure enough started earning a steady income off of what started out as a silly joke for friends and family to chuckle at.


In the world of online publishing, traffic means money, and search engine traffic is some of the best there is. Users who are specifically looking for something may come to your site and find what they're looking for -- in your advertisements. In this case, the users found the information about my town they were looking for - how to book a hotel, set a vacation, or see what there was to do when they came to my joke-page and saw ads about the town. It was an accidental yet happy coincidence for all involved. They found what they were looking for and maybe got a laugh or two out of my website, and I got to support my webhosting costs with the ad revenue.

But I took an even greater lesson away from the whole episode. Checking my server logs, I learned the majority of visitors were those well-intentioned searchers with sub-par spelling. They were looking for my little resort town, but couldn't manage yo get its (admittedly unusual) spelling just right. Now, for a professional travel page or official city website, my typos and intentional misspellings would be unforgivable errors.

This an advantage you, the smaller webmaster can use to your advantage. I'm not saying you should go around fucking up every word you can - but if you misspell something difficult, maybe you should just let it go. It could be to your advantage to forgo the usual spellcheck. Afterall, wasn't it President Andrew Jackson who said he despised those who could only come up with one way to spell a word?

Your potential users are the same way. People with bad spelling are just as good as people who know it all. If it won't hurt your website's presentation, just let go. Don't run spellcheck. Let it be, and you may run accross an accidental goldmine of traffic. Afterall, if you mess it up, surely there are people out there who will make the same common mistake.



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