Don Crowther
Don Crowther

Proven Strategies and Techniques To Build YOUR Business

Proven Strategies and Techniques To Build YOUR Business

Just because it’s tradition, doesn’t mean it’s right! And in the case of dating your blog posts, there are lots more disadvantages to putting dates on your blog posts than there are advantages.

Think through your last year of blogging. What percentage of your posts really needed to have a date attached? Unless you’re a cutting edge blogger on highly time-sensitive issues, (most of us aren’t) those dates on each of your blog posts probably hurt you more than they helped you.

Hurt you? How?

Unless the visitor to your site arrives within a day of your writing the post, once they see any date other than that day’s date, they’re probably viewing that post as old or outdated…

Even if the content that you wrote is evergreen – not time-based at all!

As a consequence, they immediately, before they’ve even started reading, have been negatively predisposed against the information you are presenting in the post.

Is that what you want to burden yourself with?

I could give you lots more reasons, but I won’t.

With one exception – what if you’re a busy person who’s committed to blogging, but just doesn’t get to it every day? By putting dates on all of your posts, you clearly point that fact out to everyone else. I know, the purist bloggers are hating me for saying this, but why would you want to advertise the fact that you don’t post every day?

Note: I’ve received so much feedback from this post that I’ve written a companion post here: Why NOT To Date Your Blog Posts Revisited. Check it out!

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are concepts that should definitely be dated. If you’re giving investment advice on which stock to buy right now, links to coupons, software updates or anything else that’s truly time-sensitive, you owe it to your audience to have a date in the post.

But, what value is there in having a date on an article on how to have a better relationship with your spouse, how to organize your closet, or the quadratic formula? To paraphrase Yoda “timeless, they are.”

So how do you get rid of the dates on your posts?

Watch this 5-minute video to learn how.

Finally, remember that not everyone agrees with this strategy – that’s terrific! Make your own choice whether you implement it or not!

Update: if you find that the solution recommended in the video doesn’t solve your problem or if you need to remove dates from comments, you can always go deeper and edit the .php files.

Do you have any other suggestions for removing dates from blog posts? Let me know by leaving a comment below. And don’t forget to like and tweet it!

I’ve received so much feedback from this post that I’ve revisted the concept here: Why NOT To Date Your Blog Posts Revisited. Check it out!

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  1. I join in with the large number of sensible people who disagree with this post. I will also add that if the content is “evergreen” then is it really a blog post? I read many older posts. I am actually more likely to disregard a post that does NOT have a date! A blog is a “web log”. That means that it is supposed to log something… so of course you will want a date. The date is one of the first things I look for. It is up to me to decide whether something is out of date or not.

    Just because someone has a reputation for being well versed in social media does not mean that cannot be wrong. Being popular does not make someone correct. I would think about that very carefully before removing dates from posts! If the original poster can provide some genuine evidence of his hypothesis then it could possibly be taken more seriously. For all I know this could be a devious attempt to beat the competition lol.

  2. Thanks very much for this – which by the way I found by searching for how to get rid of dates since I’m very much in that camp. I don’t think I’ve ever been bothered online that I can recall by not seeing a date but I am completely bummed out by well ranking posts of mine that have an irrelevant 2009 date on them in the search results. For me, it’s the A-#1 lesson of If I Had to Start Over. For time sensitive postings I sprinkle the date all over the post – but for search results automatic date inclusion is a total bummer for many if not most blogs.

  3. Dear doncrowther:
    I have familiarized myself with the slightly differing opinions on the true meaning of evergreen content. What I discovered is that leaving the date off is one characteristic of evergreen.
    If that is true, than you are correct in that evergreen by definition is that which has no dates attached and to date it makes it not evergreen.
    Opinions change, individuals’ opinions, and societal opininions. All beliefs and currently held truths will all change in time as we increase our knowledge of our worlds and ourselves.
    Some of our greatest discoveries have been achieved by someone looking back to find something that was overlooked by those with means, authorities, both political and financial and intellectual. The dates of writings, experiments, and etc. and the correlation between parties all become significant when having to look back.

  4. Don, can you also please explain why, when I submitted my reply, it appeared above your undated response “I appreciate your right to disagree…” even though that was there before I started writing? Is there an “evergreen last word” feature in the blog software?

    Ian, 5 minutes later.

  5. Interesting Don, but wrong – I agree completely with Mike. I am not a blogger but someone who searches for information that will be useful or interesting – presumably the people you want to read your stuff. The irony is that I was initially looking up the reasons why we have daylight saving when we do, and found a blog with no date. So, frustrated, like Mike I searched “why do blog entries not show the date” and you were on page 1. The top result by the way was “Why You Should NOT Remove Dates from Your WordPress Blog Posts” by Syed Balkhi, helpfully and considerately dated 28th February 2013.

    If I find an otherwise relevant blog page that has no date, I am initially frustrated then very surprised. I need to know when it was written. If it is not brand new, that may show me that thinking has moved on since publication, or that the information is as relevant now as it first was. Dates are essential.

    All information ages and that is definitely not a bad thing. There is no such thing as evergreen information. It is only your opinion that says it is timeless, and others may disagree. By omitting a date you show one or more of the following:

    1. Carelessness. My usual thought is that the author was sloppy and doesn’t realise the value of a date
    2. Lack of consideration for your potential readers. There is no advantage to your audience in omitting the date from the post, and leaving one out greatly diminishes its value.
    3. The reasons you give above show that you probably blog for your own gratification not for the benefit of your readers.

    I will usually ignore an undated article as I have no idea of its relevance, unless I go to the trouble of using Google’s tools.

    How to find the publication date:
    Google “inurl:https://doncrowther.com postdating”

    Cheers, Ian

    1. You’re totally ignoring my key point – IF the content has date-specific information, it DEFINITELY SHOULD be dated. However, if not, there is NO REASON to date it.

      You state:
      There is no advantage to your audience in omitting the date from the post, and leaving one out greatly diminishes its value.

      I totally disagree. The advantage to my audience is that they won’t immediately discount and as a result, not read a post which has incredibly valuable information in it, leaving them less informed.

      That’s why I do it, and why I still hold to it.

      I have NEVER yet had anyone give me a valid reason why I should date the posts. The only reasons they provide are either examples where the content is NOT evergreen (where, I fully agree that the content should be dated) or where the content presumed evergreen changes, in which case you owe it to yourself and your audience to go back and correct your data.

      I am not being careless, I’m being purposeful.
      I’m not ignoring the interests of my audience, in fact I’m giving them more by exposing them to content they would immediately reject otherwise and not read.
      And I’m not only blogging for my own gratification, I have totally different aims, which is why you almost NEVER see me talk about myself in my blogs.

      Still waiting for a valid reason why I should date posts. Anyone?

      Don

  6. “Here’s the key question – does it make a bit of difference when I wrote this? The world has not changed since I did.”

    If the world is so static then why bother sharing your opinions for others to change—improve, supposedly—in the first place?

    I found this post by searching for why on earth people don’t date blog posts. It’s becoming more and more frequent, and more and more annoying. Here are a couple examples of blog posts that I REALLY wish had been dated:

    * I found a software program with the latest news indicating they were working on several features people had been asking for and to expect more information soon. I wasted an extra 10 minutes reading about it before I learned the project has been dead for 2 years.

    * I just read a post about available parental control settings for mobile devices. Because it had no date, I really have no idea if it’s been improved upon since.

    You say you don’t want people to devalue your content because of its age, but the fact is it’s the age—not the people—that erodes the content’s value. There have been plenty of developments on the Internet and around the world since this post was published, and many of them should influence your opinion. Ignoring or denying that fact will result in people devaluing your opinion, regardless of your content.

    This is an unfortunately popular trend.

    1. Thank you for your opinion. I value it, though I still continue to respectfully disagree.

      You stated two situations where blog posts definitely SHOULD be dated, implying that I disagree with that point. Somehow, you must have missed this statement in my post:

      “Now, don’t get me wrong, there are concepts that should definitely be dated. If you’re giving investment advice on which stock to buy right now, links to coupons, software updates or anything else that’s truly time-sensitive, you owe it to your audience to have a date in the post.
      But, what value is there in having a date on an article on how to have a better relationship with your spouse, how to organize your closet, or the quadratic formula? To paraphrase Yoda “timeless, they are.”

      When you’re posting time-sensitive information, those posts should be dated (and that date can be added manually if 90% of your content is not time-sensitive but 10% is.) But I still hold that timeless posts definitely should NOT be dated.

      Nobody has yet given me a good argument for why evergreen posts should be dated. The only thing I hear are consistent reasons why posts that I AGREE should be dated should have that date.

      I’m VERY interested in hearing a viable reason why an article on “6 ways to build a deeper bond with your spouse” should have a date. Or “How to organize your closet.”

      Anyone care to give me a reason? Besides tradition?

      Don

  7. One last comment. The modern web is designed around social media in case nobody noticed. If your comments are linked to Facebook or other media your visitors will get irritated that their messages are not dated. Some one writes “The Steelers just killed the Packers today!” but it was written in 2010. Someone reads it in 2013 and thinks your an idiot, because the Packers crushed the Steelers this year. Get it?

    No dates are so irritating, Don. I’m already wondering when I wrote this…LOL

  8. Don said: Here’s the key question – does it make a bit of difference when I wrote this?

    It most certainly does. Any kind of tutorial should be dated. A few versions from now WordPress might not have the same interface, and you’ll have people looking in vain for things that are long gone. Bad idea my fried. No dates on web pages drive me INSANE!

  9. Go to Settings > General > scroll down to Time Format > check Custom > delete any letters in the input box > Save changes…BOOM! Your done, no more date & time. How easy is that?

  10. And when did you write this?

    How can you be a judge of what is evergreen? That is like saying you know the future. Everything is always changing.

    I would argue that you are hurting your credibility. When I see a blog without dates I am pretty sure the blogger is trying to obscure his or her laziness in keeping their blog up to date. By providing a publishing date it might show that you have not made a new post in a while, but at least that is honest. By saying that you get more people to share by removing the date is admitting that you are successfully fooling your readers. If the content can’t stand on it’s own with an honest date, maybe it is not that relevant. If the content is relevant, people will share it regardless of the publishing date.

    If a blog does not have dates it not a blog, so maybe you should not call it that. You might be using blog CMS for the convenience, but without dates to add the context that this is a log of events over time it’s just a series of pages with content.

    1. Thanks for your comment Nick.

      Here’s the key question – does it make a bit of difference when I wrote this? The world has not changed since I did. People still judge whether a post is relevant or not based on the date on the blog post. But this post is still just as important and valid today as it was when I wrote it.

      I understand your points about blogging. But I have to ask a much more important question:

      Which would you rather have – credibility in the blogging world or tons more traffic to your individual posts?

      Because, when you put a date on the post, far more people judge the accuracy and credibility of that post by the date than by the quality of the content. Even the world’s best and still most accurate post on X may not get clicks from people seeing it on the search engines because people see that “it’s dated.” That then negatively affects your search engine rankings, and the world, because now the most best and most accurate post on x is no longer seen by most people simply because that person followed “tradition” and dated his blog post.

      Tradition said if man was meant to fly he would have been born with wings.

      Example, I have a post that I wrote back in December of 2009, which still gets thousands of clicks every month. It’s about the importance of strategic planning. Nothing’s changed since then – it’s still vital to strategic plan.

      If I would have put a date on that post, it would have been relegated to the billions of pages on the web that “no longer are valuable because they’re dated.”

      I strongly encourage you to rethink your priorities here. This isn’t an issue of honesty versus dishonesty. It’s a issue of tradition versus what works.

      Oh, and your question about evergreen? It’s evergreen as long as it is still accurate. It becomes not evergreen when something changes making it inaccurate. Then it needs to change. Obviously, we need to change it when that happens.

      Thanks again for your comments.
      Don

  11. This is the WORST advice I have heard in months:

    ALWAYS add a date to every thing you post online. PERIOD.

    People want to know if it is current… If it is 7 months after the fact… who gives a $#it.

    If your blog is timeless information for the ages, repost & repost and see if the noodles can stick… if not, move on.

  12. Thank you so much for pointing me to the Date Format in Settings. I’d discovered that I can’t access PHP files to get rid of the date from the Theme, and couldn’t find a theme that didn’t display the date (at least not one I liked) but this is a good alternative. It won’t let me leave the field blank, though, but at least I can reduce it to the year (Y). 🙂

  13. WOW!….You have just written out loud one of my biggest recurring thoughts.Often when i get to my blog site these past few months i think about it.It s something i have been thinking about how to achieve.thanks for speaking my mind…meanwhile i feel also that the idea should be open to personal choice and decision.whether one wants to do that or not is strictly up to him/her. For me and most peeps who enjoy writing but don’t get to do it in a consistent pattern,its a great relief. thanks for sharing again.

    I follow your works and writtings a lot.You inspire me.Thanks
    [Post edited to remove URL]

  14. I think this is horrid advice. I can’t tell you how often I search for a date on a post when I want to add it to my article as a link and a date is not there. This drives me insane.

    Blogging is publishing; since when do you read a newspaper or magazine without a date on it? Everyone wants to know your material is current, but they also want realize it’s a blog and it takes people awhile to visit.

    Always, always date your blog posts.

    1. I agree with you Jayme. Just yesterday I was looking for “how to” information and I wound up trying things that were clearly outdated. Very frustrating, indeed!

    2. I appreciate your right to disagree.

      However, I still disagree.

      Remember, I’m ONLY recommending that one does this if their content is EVERGREEN. Can anyone tell me a reason, other than tradition, why there would be an advantage in putting a date on an evergreen blog post? Wouldn’t that just drive people away?

      Don

  15. Great article Don! I have been blogging for a while and never thought of not dating my blog posts. Thanks for the tips 🙂

  16. Realize that if you delete the visual indication of the time/date stamp on the blog-entry, that you will probably need to delete the “Archives” widget. However, in accessing older entries, beyond the “Recent Posts” of 5 by default, you are unable to access efficiently these as a visitor unless you sequentially go through the order of posts, that you have written. The words “Posted on” and then nothing afterwords seems a little incomplete, although one could probably creatively write something like the emotional state of the writer rather than submitting to the default tradition.

    Enjoyed your article immensely, and thanks for putting purpose and relevancy back into my blogs without the burden of updating for the sake of updating.

  17. Hi Don

    thanks for info agree with you about dates, if content is good and written in a way not to expire then
    it speaks for itself changed values as instructed but dates still remain on posts does it only affect new posts
    need to learn wordpress better do you know any books you recommend

    kind regards Si

  18. Hi Don, I just tried this & WordPress would not allow me to do this. I tried on 2 different blogs that I have. Do I first have to select a WordPress template that does not “show” dates before the General settings will accept this? Thanks in advance for your reply!

    Best, Rose from Jackson Hole, Wyoming

    1. Some themes don’t allow you to do this in the way I indicated. That’s why I have included a link at the bottom of the post showing what to do if it doesn’t work. That process is harder, but it removes the template issue.

      Don

  19. Hi Don,

    Brilliant tip – thanks.

    I have often wondered about how to get ris of them because, like you, I believe they harm your blog in terms of your readers perception.

    Good on ya!

    Jonathan

  20. ha!

    I have been doing this for a long time now so I agree with your post. Someone shared this on FB and I find myself here for the first time and I *like* it.

    By the way, do you hang out with Robert Munsch? You sound so much like him 🙂 — a great voice, very animated!

    What I do find to be VERY compelling is the *note at the bottom about how to remove the dates from the comments — this could be very cool and I have not yet ventured into this side of the issue yet.

  21. Hi Don

    Followed all your steps, rechecked and rechecked but for some reason it does not want to remove the dates any suggestions?

    Many thanks for all your help.
    Helen

  22. A dated blog post, doesn’t necessarily mean that the content is dated. Just that’s what the author, (Okay, me), was thinking at the time of the post. At some point, I’m going to need to search through the various sites/blogs I write for, in order to put together the book, and when I wrote them will be relevant.

  23. I am sorry, but I also have to disagree. Content is written for the benefit of the visitor and evergreen content is obviously so, most of the time. Good content written in the past in my opinion only strengthens the feeling of respect and appreciation for the author. It causes me to anticipate similar good content and the desire to read more from the writer.

    For content obviously out of date because of an improved version of software for instance, it is imperative to know the date of writing otherwise it really gets frustrating.

    Not having a date with content has a greater risk of creating a negative predisposition, because if the content is outdated from the smallest perspective then the visitor will detect it some time or other and trying to hide it will only result in a loss of respect later on, not even mentioning the frustration after having wasted time on reading it.

    The assumption that a visitor would consider information as outdated just by looking at the date, is an insult to intelligence. The fact that the information is old, does not mean that it is outdated. I don’t believe a visitor gets negatively predisposed against the information in the post. In my opinion it helps to give the visitor a proper perspective of the circumstances of the writer, and improves the understanding of the content.

    I personally would more likely skip the reading of an article that does not have a date when having to choose between a number of search results and I’m pressed for time. A reader that enjoys the writing of a certain writer however will be loyal irrespective of the date of the article.

    The internet has so much information on it that it has become imperative to know the date at which it was written and it will become more important as time goes on.

    Chris

  24. Don, I always wanted to know how to do this, since I’m not a regular Blogger. This is great information. I like the idea of not showing the dates for the Blogs older than seven days.

    Thanks,

    Angela

  25. Okay guys, found the answer thanks to Antoinette above.

    The plugin has never worked for me, even though I am using the bog standard WP twentyten theme on my blog.

    So the answer, as Antoinette suggested, is to use the date settings.

    1) goto General Settings
    2) change the Date Format to Custom
    3) select a custom attribute or attributes:

    l = Full name for day of the week (lower-case L).
    F = Full name for the month.
    j = The day of the month.
    Y = The year in 4 digits. (lower-case y gives the year’s last 2 digits)

    I just used ‘l’ so that is just displays the day of the week (hovering your mouse over it will also display the time).

    That way it is evergreen but still fits the dating aspect of your theme & you won’t need to do any php edits 🙂

      1. Probably a caching issue. Clear cache (though you realize that sometimes chaching occurs at the ISP level, so you may have to try some other methods to break cache to see.)

        Don

  26. There’s also an art to writing posts so that they’re relevant yet evergreen. For example, you won’t want to say “last month” in a post, because that automatically makes it not evergreen…

    You always have your choice – if something that I recommend won’t work for you, then don’t do it! But for the majority of people, this is a solid strategy.

    Don

  27. I’ve been doing that for a few years now. I knew I wasn’t going to be able blog regularly (especially since I blog for customers too), so I didn’t want my most recent posts to appear old. Love this plugin – thanks for sharing! Now if I could just remove the dates from the ‘comments’, I could completely erase all evidence! 🙂

  28. I ve to agree… the only blogs which need news are “magazine styled”. I own a MMA-related news site and it has date.
    But for most site i use the /%postnumber%/postname.html

    %postnumber% is also useless i think, but it s a legacy of turn around for an old WP bug which saved my a** years ago i don’t feel like drop it now. 🙂

  29. Thanks for this trick !

    So what I did is leave the Date format (in General Settings) blank. Not very nice because it says:

    Posted on by…

    But never mind, at least the date’s not there anymore

  30. I don’t date my posts for the very reason you said. Most of my material is evergreen.

    However I have searched on material trying to find the most recent (example search “best facebook ad practices 2011”) so I can see where it might also work against me.

    1. Here’s a better way to search. Using Google’s search tools on the left side of Google’s results, click the More search tools link, then choose a time modifer, like last week, or last month or last year.

      Don

  31. I see the point of not dating blogs but how do you get the date off the WP blogs – seems to go automatically – will work on this because I know in searching myself, old date and I don’t look at the material even if it might be timeless

  32. Question: If we remove the dates from blog postings in WordPress as you’ve explained in your video, how will WordPress handle the order of older posts? Does it keep them in the same order even though we’ve removed the dates when we have WordPress set up so that only the first x number of posts show on the first page and you have to click on the link “older posts” to see the rest of the posts?

    1. Nancy,

      WordPress does keep the published date internally in it’s database, in Don’s scenario it just doesn’t display it for the world to see.

      So you don’t need to worry about it keeping track of the blog posts and, as Don mentioned, you can also see the dates yourself when you are in the administration dashboard in the posts section.

  33. Your #1 reason not to date blog posts made me groan — but in a good way! LOL. And I agree with your #2 and #3 reasons.

    I installed, activated, and set up the Exclude Date plug-in you mention, but it’s not stopping dates from being posted/shown on my blog. Maybe the theme I’m using overrides the date function or something. Oh well… I’ll keep looking for a way to stop dating.
    Thanks Don.

  34. sorry I have to disagree. Dating a blog posts puts them into a context. For example if I look for a solution to a software problem knowing how old this blog post is will help me to find out quickly whether it is helpful. It could even be more helpful if the blog post is as old as e.g. my phone or my computer. In fact I find it hard to think of any content that is not time sensitive.

    1. How about business strategy, how to fix your car, relationship issues, business building techniques, how to choose the right grass seed for your area – I’m having trouble thinking of many things that need a date to be accurate.

      Ultimately, this is up to you and your business. If you feel strongly, and I know some people do, then don’t follow my advice on this one!

      Don

  35. Hi Don,

    I’ve been thinking about doing this on my websites/blogs for a while and your post has just given me that extra push to actually do it. So guess how I shall be spending my evening…

    I have quite a lot of posts on one of them, so any tips for redirecting the URL’s so that URL of the old post structure eg: 2010/07/postname points to the new one without having to do each one individually?

    Kyle

  36. Thanks Don,

    I’d always wondered how bloggers got the name of the post in the URL, so you answered that one for me! Cool! 😉

    And I’m putting your suggestions about the dates into action too.

  37. Great point, I never though about removing the dates. It’s great especially for blogs that one has that don’t get updated regularly but still gets Search engine traffic.

  38. Don, I have been removing dates from older posts (using the plugin you recommend) for exactly the reasons you give in the video. I like having dates on my most recent posts because it lets visitors see that the blog has been updated recently, but I don’t want someone who finds an “old” post in a search to avoid clicking on the link to the post because they see it as being out of date. My content is almost all evergreen, so it doesn’t matter if it was written last night or last year, it has valuable information.

  39. Dan – You’re videos are great – you have a real joy in sharing knowledge with others that is always so refreshing! But I have a question: Is the special code only good for WordPress.ORG blogs? Or can you use them with the free Worpress.COM blogs, too?
    That’s my question!
    Thanks!
    Ruth

      1. Dear Don – GOOD NEWS! I got my question answered! My web host tech support at APlus.net were great and installed the correct files for me – so now I have a WordPress.org blog under my own site! These are technical things that take a while to ‘get’, so I surely appreciate your help in giving us the extra advantage. My blog is for our non profit which helps develop children’s character. I can see YOU already have great character by YOUR actions – but if you know any parents or teachers that need our free art resources or books please tell them to go to:
        [Post edited to remove URL’s. Sorry, but our company policy is to not allow people to put promotional links in comments.]
        Ruth

  40. I’ve heard of deleting blog posts dates before but have kept the dates on my post. I’ll have to think about it. I understand the point-of-view of ‘dating’ a blog post. It could make sense to delete the date.

  41. What great timing! Just this morning I had opened an email from one of my blog subscriptions and clicked to open a mentioned blog post. When I got to the post, I saw a date from early 2010, and even though in my mind I could see that this info. was still relevant, I couldn’t get past that old date! I had to keep forcing myself to continue reading! Such a simple thing, but the date really does have a strong pull on us labeling something as relevant. Good advice, and thanks for the name of that plugin!

  42. Don, another great post! I heard Tim Ferris mention this in a webinar last week, but he didn’t mention how to do it. Thanks for the tips! You rock!

  43. I disagree. As a reader, I can tell what is evergreen content, and last year’s date doesn’t bother me if it gives good information. But if there’s something in it that could have changed — which is about 95% of marketing content — then without a date, I have no way of knowing the time context. It makes even “out-of-date” content even less useful, in my experience.

    1. Interesting that you mention “95% of marketing content.” Frankly, the principles of marketing haven’t changed much in centuries. Sometimes the tactics change, with new vehicles for promotion, etc. but I’m still using, very successfully, things that I first learned about 35 years ago…

      Just challenging assumptions :<) Don

  44. Don,

    Your idea has challenged my thinking, and I’m prepared to agree with you — mostly. Every blogger has experienced the problems you mention. Evergreen content becomes stigmatized as being passe solely because of its date. Any interruption in posting frequency is immediately visible to your visitors, and it may lead them to question your commitment.

    On the other hand, I believe you have to think about serving your readers. As I read a blog, I almost always want to know whether an opinion the author expresses is, say, from before the Great Recession that started in 2008, or from a more current vantage point. This time context can often be highly relevant in interpreting the context of the blogger’s opinion and in judging its credibility.

    As a reader I want to be able to see how regularly a blogger posts, because it is the best indication of the blogger’s seriousness and commitment.

    As a writer, I want to be able to cite the work of other blogger’s. I will be much more confident in doing so if their posts are dated.

    Maybe a compromise could work. Its effectiveness would depend on the nature of the topic a blogger is covering. Maybe for many topics it’s enough to use broader date designations, such as “August 2011,” “Q3 2011,” or even just the year, as in “2011.”

    I’m reluctant to accept your recommendation that some posts should go entirely undated. Isn’t the whole point of a blog to be timely? If the material is evergreen, why not include it as an article on a permanent page? You then have the big advantage of attracting more natural search traffic over a longer period of time.

    Thanks for your thought-provoking ideas.

    Regards,

    Dave

  45. Well, there are many reasons to put dates on blog posts:
    First, it adds value to your users. I’m always looking for the date. If it adds value to your users, Google will love it.
    Second, if you have a blog for a long time, people can actually see that. Imagin that you have blog posts for the past 5 years, don’t you think you’ll look more of an authority to your users (and Google) if one will be able to see that.

    There are many more reasons to date your posts but I’m not going to give it all to you. Your conclusion is very short sighted and manipulative.

    Sorry.

    1. There are real, valid reasons for putting on dates – and some will choose not to. But categorizing my conclusion as “very short sighted and manipulative” is harsh. I don’t see how I’m being manipulative here, and frankly, I see my arguments as long-term and brand building, rather than short sighted. Just my humble opinion.

      Don

      1. Don….I found your post to be great…it created a ton of conversation…..and isn’t that what Social Networking is about? SMILE

        The cool thing about blogs is that you can date them for whenever. Which means if you are just starting blogging….you can back date the blog post so it looks like you have been blogging longer. OR….post the date for a future date so you can schedule several posts out. AND….you can change the dates of your posts…..so if you really like a certain post and want to “bring it back to life” you can change the date to a current one.

        The possibilities are endless. So in a sense…..us….as blog owners….can be “manipulative” with our posts.

        I believe when someone points a finger and calls out a name….there are 3 fingers pointing back to them. And hey Guy “who peed in your wheaties?”

        Sabrina

  46. THIS IS SUCH GOOD ADVICE, DON! you are so generous to help others by sharing it! I started a non profit with ‘timeless’ or “evergreen” ideas to help children with, and your tip is JUST WHAT I NEEDED!
    BLESS YOU!
    Ruth

  47. Thanks, Don, for timely information about date exclusion seo plugin.

    On most of my sites, I don’t use dates for all the wise reasons you pointed out. However, on one of my real estate sites, I’ve not been able to eliminate (most) dates.

    Perhaps it was custom coding…I don’t know.

    [Comment edited for content]

    Thanks,
    Mike

    1. Yes it does! They are automatically assigned by Google. Remember, if your blog is being spidered frequently by Google, it will discover your new posts within days, oftentimes minutes after you post them.

      1. The other thing to think about is whether your post copyright worthy or if it doesn’t matter. The way I understand the “NEW” Penguin & Panda updates this may not matter much for SEO, but as Anne asked above “What about establishing with Google that you own the copyright to your post? I think the date on the blog helps them determine whose content to rank in cases of duplication.” Don can you give your opinion on this and about using a blog as a repository for informational purposes?

  48. Hi Don, this is a great tip. I came across an Internet Marketer about 2 years ago that believed the same way. His recommendations made sense but I never took time to implement. Thanks for the reminder today. I will make sure to implement that for all my blogs and blog post. Great suggestions, as usual!

    Thanks for continually providing lots of FREE value!

  49. I’d really, really like to agree, but I can’t seem to get over a certain selfish sentiment: Many of the searches I do, and pages I consequently read, are about things affected by time. Software instructions which may become outdated with updates, for example, or ways in which certain social phenomena are seen or used (not necessarily social media).

    I’d say I would feel ‘more served’ if things were datemarked, in probably half the cases. But again, it’s selfish motives talking here.

  50. I disagree. Much of the time when I’m searching–especially when looking at anything related to technology, such as social media or marketing, the first question on my mind is “when was this written?” I have often been irritated by blog posts that do NOT show a date. I need context. Let’s say the post is reviewing some social media service, and points out some issues and the workarounds. If the post was written a month ago, I take it as is. If the post was written a year or two ago, then maybe that service no longer has those issues, so perhaps I should look at it. Or I might even compare multiple posts from the same person with different recommendations to see what was most recent.

    Old post dates aren’t always a bad thing. If I’m reading an evergreen post on a blog from five years ago, what does that tell me? That the blog has been an authority source for what is, in Internet terms. a long time.

    Hiding such pertinent information from the viewers just seems to be unethical. A better solution, IMHO, is to go back and update old posts as new information comes out. This ensures you are providing the best information, and when your readers see those “update” notes, they know you are committed to maintaining quality content.

    1. I have to agree with Chad….I want to know the date relevancy. Many times when I do a search I will add the current year to it to ensure I am getting the most current information. I have sent older posts out to my Social Networks asking them about it and what they would change.

      1. Chad and Sabrina,

        Don’t confuse what you personally like with what works best from a marketing standpoint.

        Like you I want to know but I also know that dates will, in general, hurt you. Minimally in the form of getting less people reading and hearing your messages and it’s likely it will impact your bottom line because of it.

        Many people will just stop reading if they see what they perceive is an “old post” and this will be true whether the content is dated or it is evergreen.

        In fact, it actually hurts most people since they don’t read and it might help them if they did. To me, the greater good of wider readership because of no dates is better than having some people read it who might not be as happy.

        To me that is more ethical, particularly if you do what Don suggests and only date those that are time sensitive. Otherwise, don’t date you you don’t restrict readership.

        Anyway, my personal experiences have shown that, by far, most people won;t read it although I don’t want to generalize to people outside my niches and my personal sphere but I have heard others of wider and deeper experience say the same thing.

        If you’re constantly providing good information then dates shouldn’t matter anyhow.

        Plus, generally people aren’t marketing to themselves so it usually harmful to the marketing efforts to follow your personal opinions. I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve had to argue that with and I don’t remember one of them who wasn’t happy they “lost” the discussion.

  51. Hey, Don,
    What about establishing with Google that you own the copyright to your post? I think the date on the blog helps them determine whose content to rank in cases of duplication.
    Thanks.

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