I am based in the UK and currently working on a website about colour management but I’m not interested in geo targeting any particular location and welcome visitors from anywhere in the world.
My query is more about differences between British & US spelling and whether there is any kind of best practice to make sure I don’t automatically lose a lot of potential traffic from visitors who are looking for the same thing but spell it in a different way?
In this case it’s about colour or color and I figured it would look pretty silly if I change the spelling on the site repeatedly, so what is the best way forward here? This must happen with literally hundreds of words such as organise or organize for example.
Style manuals are a good place to start - in college I was taught both the
MLA style manual and Strunk & White’s Elements of Style. Professionally
I’ve also worked with the AP style guide. Wikipedia has it’s own very
interesting style manual -
It’s not just spelling - it’s also grammar and even punctuation. My first
time working with a brit – the first time I’d ever heard a living person
say “whilst” – I was, like, “you did not just f**king say that”.
I think Noah Webster has quite a lot to answer for, having introduced many of these spelling differences for largely political purposes. Two nations divided by a common language indeed.
You mentioned “I was like” when expressing your feelings about the use of the word whilst, which is a curious case in point, since this is a turn of phrase I hear used with increasing regularity on this side of the pond, yet it is decidedly un British so one can only assume it is being picked up from American TV.
Whilst I haven’t much given too much thought to the question of style one does wonder about this damnable spelling headache and the way it could affect the amount of received web traffic.
I was just adding the code for a Google +1 button to the header and noticed there is coding for the English localisation, which rather beggars belief for a silly button that people only need to click on if they like something.
In general I think Google does a reasonable job of sorting through this mess but it almost feels like something that a meta tag could be invented for and I know Google no longer looks at keywords.
As a first step I took the precaution of registering both spelling versions of the domain with an instant redirect to the main site. I can’t help feeling though that there ought to be an intelligent way of managing all this.
I wish I had a primary audience but it’s basically anybody who can read in English. I’ve registered domains with both variants of the spelling so one will redirect automatically to the other.
Apart from that I just have to hope that Google is clever enough or perhaps helpful enough to ensure that I don’t lose a big chunk of potential traffic. I shall stick with British spelling and hope the US visitors are not dissuaded.
I shall stick with British spelling and hope the US visitors are not dissuaded.
I don’t think most would be. If the information your site provides is useful, U.S. visitors will read it. If your spelling is consistent, the U.S. visitors will quickly pick up that the source is British and that you haven’t made a bunch of errors.
No it’s really just colour instead of color and -ise instead of -ize but I’ve noticed in the past that a lot of British sellers adopt US spelling in cases like this and I wondered if there was some commercial advantage to doing so because US viewers might be less amenable to a product with British spelling.
A few years ago I wrote another book with all British spelling and I received an email from somebody in the US who wanted to point out my numerous supposed spelling mistakes. I tried to point out this was British spelling and by his reaction I could tell he thought I was trying to wriggle out of my errors. I have wondered about this ever since but perhaps he was just a one off.
A few years ago I wrote another book with all British spelling and I
received an email from somebody in the US who wanted to point out my
numerous supposed spelling mistakes. I tried to point out this was British
spelling and by his reaction I could tell he thought I was trying to
wriggle out of my errors. I have wondered about this ever since but perhaps
he was just a one off.
Language may shade the perception that you’re not so much an international
expert on the subject of color management, but merely a British expert of
it. Americans already think most of you sound like King James driving on
the wrong side of the road.
UK spelling should be okay… we admire your adorable attempts at our
language, but I’d advise against obvious britishisms as those always
inflame our rebel side.
The late Bruce Fraser was a well known colour management expert with incredible knowledge who lived in the US but was a native of Scotland. He once complained to me that it was torture having to discuss the subject of colour in a country that couldn’t even spell the word properly!