Don Crowther
Don Crowther

Proven Strategies and Techniques To Build YOUR Business

Proven Strategies and Techniques To Build YOUR Business

Why not to put dates on your blog posts

A while ago I wrote a blog post about why you should consider not dating your blog posts which has brought on a firestorm of discussion, and in some cases vitriolic (definition: bitterly scathing, caustic) criticism.

(I suggest that you read that post here before reading this: Why NOT to date your blog posts.)

This reminds me of the apocryphal story. A woman was teaching her daughter how to cook a ham. “The first thing you do,” she said, “is to cut the end off the ham.”

“Why,” asked the daughter, “that seems like perfectly good meat.”

“I don’t know,” mom replied, “that’s what my mother taught me.” They decided to ask later that day when the extended family came over for dinner.

When they asked the girl’s grandmother, she told them she didn’t know either, but that’s what she’d always seen her mother do, so she’d always done it that way too.

Finally, they asked the feisty old great grandmother. “You mean you still cut off part of the ham?” she roared. “That’s ridiculous. The only reason I did that was because the only pan I had that could cook a ham was too small to fit the whole ham.”

Lesson learned – if something doesn’t seem right, question. There may not be a good reason, or the reason may no longer be valid.

That’s what I’m doing here. Questioning.

Yes, there’s a very valid reason to date your posts if you are writing time-sensitive material. If you are, you absolutely should be putting dates on your blog posts. (And, if your content becomes dated, you should fix it or remove it, whether or not you are putting dates on your posts.)

But for most of us, this tradition, this norm, this “rule” is holding us back. Your content probably is not time sensitive, even if you think it is. And I’m inviting you to consider whether tradition is a useful norm for you to follow.

The purists in the world (and there are lots of them on this subject,) accuse me of heresy for even thinking the thought, but that doesn’t mean that it actually isn’t worth thinking. Galileo probably felt the same way…

Think of it this way, there are those who look at a date on a blog post, and use that to determine whether or not they should even read the content. If that piece of content is valuable and timeless, why would you want to give people a reason not to read your content?

Think about it, and let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below. And don’t forget to like, tweet and pin this article! Negative opinions are absolutely appreciated! Let’s get to the bottom of this!

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  1. Don

    I have just replied to your original article, and as I explain there I strongly disagree, because as a reader I put great value in the date and I am driven away by the lack of one.

    It is interesting that you start this article with “A while ago…”. Passage of time is therefore important to you. Don’t you think the reader will wonder “How long ago?”. According to Google both posts were published on the same day. So Google has failed me and I am not much wiser.

    You equate yourself to Galileo as a heretic. The Roman Church in 1616 decreed that his heliocentric ideas were false, thus preserving the evergreen status of the Earth-centred universe. Thankfully somebody wrote down the date.

    Ian

    1. I had to smile at your last point. What does the date matter? The real point is THAT they declared him a heretic and eventually rescinded that. Yes, if that date was just last week, it would be important. But what difference does it make if it was 1616 or 1617? Today, it doesn’t matter in the least!

      And if you were writing an article on that and didn’t mention the date but stated that it wasn’t rescinded in the 17th century, would it matter?

      In fact, I don’t think anyone really cares when it happened, just that it did.

      Thanks for helping to prove my point for me.

      Don

  2. If you’re in marketing, a lot of the content you produce is timeless, so why date it and make a visitor feel it’s not relevant or a quality piece. If you’re in a sports or news niche, then the date is important, as it is time-sensitive information. Just my “2 cents”.

  3. Another reason not to date your posts, is if you are like me and do not blog very frequently. I just don’t have the time to blog often, and I don’t want the appearance that my blog is not kept up to date. It actually is, I am just on a less regular schedule that most bloggers.

  4. If the subject matter is time sensitive, then you owe it to your visitors to put a date on it. If it’s not time sensitive, I don’t know why it would hurt to put a date on it – is anyone going to think less of your delicious fried asparagus recipe if it’s 3 years old? I mean, the asparagus is still fresh.

    Part of the “controversy” here is that people often use Posts where they should be using Pages. In WordPress and other platforms, both exist. If it’s truly evergreen, then it probably deserves a permanent location in your site’s structure and navigation – that’s a Page, not a Post.

    But it’s easy enough Don, as you pointed out, to “have it both ways” with Posts. It’s easy enough to set up a custom post type that doesn’t carry the date, for example. (I kinda like Richard’s approach too.)

    Anyway, thanks for writing interesting stuff Don – I need to read your blog more often.

  5. I have a blog on diabetic cookbook reviews. Some of the information I have is very time sensitive, especially when it comes to health concepts, ideas, technologies and implementation. However, the ones on the diabetic cookbooks themselves are not very time sensitive. How do I approach this type of concept, and is there an easy way to change the date based on a particular post type in WP?

  6. Don: Your point about updating the post if it is outdated is the key. If a blogger is going to put content out there and it becomes outdated, he (or she) looks unprofessional if the outdated content sits there for ages.

  7. Don, good reminder – periodically, I try to review my posts and if the dated ones contain information that remains useful over time, I replace the date with the word: “EVERGREEN”. I seldom delete really old and no longer useful posts – maybe I should reconsider this

    1. I agree with NoelaniR. Testing is the only way to figure out whether or not ANY technique you use will work for you. The OLD ADAGE “TEST, TEST, TEST, AND TEST AGAIN” is valid for anyone’s niche. What works for one niche doesn’t necessarily work for all niches. So I completely agree, TEST!!!

      1. How the heck do you plan on testing that? What’s your “conversion” metric? You can’t TEST TEST TEST everything, it doesn’t work that way.

        1. I’ve already tested this multiple times. The measured metric was traffic, and the difference was HUGE.

          Yes, you can’t test everything, but you can test most things.

          Don

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