Spellchecker can lull even the most detail oriented person to sleep. Sometimes, as you push a late night deadline, or pull and all nighter to finish that big project, you can help but start hitting “Change” or even “Change All” whenever the spell check box pops up on the screen.
Then, one day you are reading your copy and you notice that you have implored people to heel the warnings instead of heed the warnings.
This is especially funny in legal copywriting where many words really are spelled that way (mostly because they are Latin phrases) and some young or not especially bright attorney assumes that Microsoft Word must know more than someone who went to law school.
Today, I wrote up a blog post, proofed it, tweaked it, checked the keywords, tweaked it again, added a couple of higher value phrases, changed the title, did spell check (a good one), and then hit Publish.
The article was one I had been meaning to write for a while. It was something for a client and knowing how happy they would be that it was live, I closed the Windows Live Writer window, and the browser window in order to open up Thunderbird and fire off an email letting them know about it.
So, it was with some dismay that I read their email back stating that they couldn’t find it, and that the search they finally did showed it published back in December.
Flummoxed, I opened the site and dug through. Sure enough, there it was sitting dutifully, and uselessly in the December 2008 archives.
It appears that when one starts a blog post and then saves it, that post is tagged with the time and date. Unless you tell it otherwise, that is the date stamp it will use when the post is published. I had never come across this before because I generally don’t take long to finish drafts and when I do, they are still the most recent post.
So, after explanations, apologies, and fixes, and we are back in business, but all of this could have been avoided if only I had followed my spellchecker rule.
Never trust a spellchecker without verifying it is correct.
I trusted Windows Live Writer and WordPress, neither of whom is at fault, to do what I wanted them to do and then did not verify the outcome. If I had spent just 3 seconds looking at the site, I would have realized that the posting hadn’t worked properly and I would have found it and fixed it before the client even knew it was on the site.
Then, instead of, “Glad we got that fixed,” it would be, “Thanks for the great job.” Guess which one a successful freelancer prefers?