Quick! How to test your freelance / consulting blog right now!
Click on your blog. Right now!
Now check the date of your most recent post.
Here is how to score it.
Not older than 7 days A
Between 8 days and 13 days old B
14 days to 1 month old C
1 month and 1 day to 3 months old D
More than 3 months old F
More than one year old Unspeakably appalling
These classifications are somewhat arbitrary. Some experts recommend daily blogging. They would claim that anything more than a day or two old is pretty bad.
I am much more flexible. That’s because I assume that you have a freelance or consulting practice that is not specifically about blogging and that you don’t earn your income via blog advertising or any other type of monetization. So your first priority is serving clients.
Does it matter if time gets away from us and we are not so rigid about updating?
It does matter.
Potential clients and associates judge us by what they see online. When a blog is not reliably updated, it reflects on our professionalism. We appear unreliable and undisciplined.
Possible customers think twice about committing to a service provider who appears to have gone into business for the freedom at the expense of responsibility.
Blogs can have all sorts of purposes. There are mommy blogs, travel blogs, political-issue blogs, self-expression blogs, and such. Those blogs are allowed greater flexibility. However, a business blog should be more businesslike.
Sometimes life happens. If you’ve been run over by a bus or have given birth to quadruplets, there will naturally be a lapse.
However, under those conditions you are probably not available for assignments. In other words, a stale blog says you are too busy for more work.
If you posted three posts on a single day two years ago and have not been back since, that’s a problem too. Perhaps you are too much of a free spirit to live within a schedule.
Some blogs don’t show the dates of posts. This avoids the immediate problem but I detest that solution. I need to see how old the post is in order to evaluate it.
I especially dislike this nondating practice in fields that change frequently. This includes blogs about search engine optimization that explain Google’s latest practices as well as blogs with advice on how to use social media.
It happened to me
Years ago I decided to blog in support of my freelance practice. Then I would send out a newsletter for my freelance writing / marketing research practice and use the same article from the blog.
I couldn’t think of content that I wanted to write about consistently until I decided to write brief summaries about relevant, recent marketing research data that would be of interest to marketing professionals in the insurance and asset management industries (my target market).
These would be quick to write and somewhat useful to my audience. So I started in.
However, I was lax about sending out new content. While my original goal was to post at least once a month, I’d find myself frequently behind schedule.
Eventually I admitted to myself that I had a problem. I took down the page and the sign-up form from my website. Problem solved.
It would be better to have continued my newsletter and blog, but apparently my heart wasn’t in it. Taking it down was better than not updating it.
Originally posted 8-24-15