Whether you use free hosted platforms such as Blogger or host your own WordPress site, most blogging content mangement systems allow you to decide whether you want to display a posted date when you publish a new piece of work.
In this post, as part of series on 29 debates bloggers have about blogging, we look at whether you should publish the post date or not.
Should I Publish Dates on my Blog Posts?
As you can see, here at Blogercise I do not publish dates with my posts. This is because the content I write is not time sensitive – in the short term at least. In fact this site will only have a limited number of pages. There is the series, and the famous 10 step blog site building guide and I plan to keep all of these pages up to date as time goes on. And in future I plan to a detailed case study that applies my arguments to a real life example which I will share with everyone. You won’t want to miss that, subscribe to our RSS feed!
A well written complete article can be the leading Internet resource on a topic for years. A new article might come along, but that doesn’t make it more relevant or more complete.
So for this reason I don’t think the date is useful to anyone, the information here will always be useful whether it was published yesterday or six months ago. The Internet is constantly evolving – Blogercise will need continuous reviews – but I love going back over each page and editing in the latest information.
So in run a website that has slow moving content that will be relevant far into the future then I recommend not including dates. Your indepth review of Aristophene’s 5th century BC play “Peace” will still be useful to readers in 5 years time. It is unlikely there will be a sequel!
What is the Advantage of Omitting the Date from Blog Posts?
By leaving out the date you avoid prematurely aging your articles. The problem is that a visitor might see that the article was published 5 years ago and will skip right past it. Some search engines even show the published date in the results.
A reader is simply going to favour a newer article over an older one – but the reality is an older article might actually be better. As per my previous example, if you are running a site all about ancient Athenian plays then the age of your content is to all intents and purposes irrelevant. It is no indicator as to whether your article can fulfil the user’s need or not.
When is Including the Date in Blog Posts Criticial?
There is an important exception, there are some blogs that require up to date information and if you run one of these then the argument is reversed.
- Technology websites. Things move so quickly in this area that it is important that your site has the latest news and information. No one wants to read about a 6 month old mobile phone and if a reader lands on your page they’ll want to see the date.
- Sporting blogs. Sports fans are always after the latest result and gossip regarding their team’s latest exploits. When they see that their star center forward has been injured they need to know when it happened!
- News sites. It goes without saying that news needs to be up to date. If you can’t get articles out on time a news site is not for you!
In these cases people will be specifically looking for up to date information and therefore need reassuring that your content is up to date. Not including the date would be a big mistake on such time sensitive projects.