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Is Removing the Dates from Your Blog Posts a Good Idea?

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dates One of the defining characteristics of a blog is that they’re updated instead of just being a static website. Over the past few years, however, more and more bloggers are opting to remove the dates from blog posts, so if you land on a single post/page, you have no idea when it was actually published.

Here’s why some people are doing it:

  • People will judge a post because it is older, even if the content is completely evergreen.
  • People hesitate to share older posts, even if they enjoyed the content.

Advocates of removing dates from their blog posts point to their traffic. When tested, bounce rate decreased and pageviews increased for many bloggers, so it seems like a really great argument for at least trying this out on your own blog.

I’m not sold, though. Just because something is good for your stats doesn’t mean that it is good for your readers. This is the same argument we see with pop-up advertisements. Time and time again, bloggers who use them point to the fact that their stats show that pop-ups work. However, people hate them so violently that you’re also potentially driving away your community if you use them.

Here’s why I’m not sold on removing dates:

  • Readers should be allowed to make the decision about whether or not a post is evergreen.

When you remove the dates from a blog post, you’re not allowing a reader to make the decision about whether or not a post is relevant. As a reader, that annoys me. I should have the ability to think, “You know what? Even though the blogger thinks this post is evergreen, I don’t want to read advice from 2008. I want to read advice from 2013.” I actually make a point to stop reading blogs that no longer include dates and I will rarely link to them. It just makes me feel like they don’t value me as a reader. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.

  • Evergreen content is rarely actually evergreen.

I don’t know about you, but my opinions shift over time as I learn and grow. I also like to link out to other posts, which might not be as evergreen as the post I’m writing, and whenever possible, I like to use examples and data in my post, which both get outdated pretty quickly.

  • Few of us only write evergreen posts.

Removing dates might sound great for your evergreen posts, but what if you want to write a post that is dated? In this case, you’re doing a disservice to your readers if the post doesn’t have a date on it. You also have to stay away from saying stuff like “recently” and “yesterday” in your posts, since readers will have no concept of what that was. Syed Balkhi wrote about how removing the dates hurt his community because so many of the posts he writes are not evergreen, even though so many large blog have opted to remove their dates.

  • The comments could be non-evergreen.

One of the great things about blogging is that your community can add to a post by leaving comments. Sometimes, the comments have a better discussion than the actual post! But your commenters can say stuff that is dated, even if the post is fairly evergreen. I’ve seen some bloggers keep dates on comments even though they are removed on the post, but that seems a little counter-productive. However, once you remove the dates from comments, you’re risking giving future readers outdated information by mistake. As a commenter, I would also worry about looking dumb if I left a comment and someone read it three years later when it was no longer relevant even though someone might assume I said it last week.

  • Sometimes we don’t realize that what we’re writing isn’t evergreen.

The world changes. New services pop up. Platforms’ popularity waxes and wanes. Scandals happen. Having a post dated is almost like protection against a changing world. For example, I might do an awesome evergreen interview with someone today and a year from now find out that the person is scamming people. If my post is dated, anyone who comes to it can clearly see that I sang my praises for the person before they were outed as a scam artist. Or as another example, I might give people advice based on the face that Facebook doesn’t have certain features. If Facebook introduces those features next year, my advice would sound stupid or incomplete.

Even though there might be traffic benefits, I truly believe that removing the date is the wrong choice for most blogs. Notice I said most but not all. Ultimately, you have to make the decision that’s best for your content. I just encourage you to not only look at your stats when testing, but also to think about what your community of readers really want and need.

Do you have dates on your blog posts? Why or why not?

Allison Boyer freelance writer and content marketing consultant. She also runs the food blog The PinterTest Kitchen with her mom and sister. You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (@allison_boyer) or contact her at allisonmboyer@gmail.com.


Feedback

13
  • Kevin Carlton

    Yep, Allison, it’s very tempting to remove those dates to keep those website stats looking good.

    But, when you do come across posts which haven’t been dated, you often feel you’re being deprived of information that you really should be given.

    I also think that if you put the needs of your readers first then you usually can’t go too far wrong.

    • Allison

      I know that it annoys me when I’m a reader! The exception is maybe humor posts. Like, I don’t care if Buzzfeed dates their posts haha. But if it’s opinion, how-to, etc. I want to see a date. Golden Rule – treat my readers how I want to be treated as a reader.

  • Connie Brentford

    I agree with keeping the dates on. I do, however, like it when the blogger has updated a post and mentions this at the top. I’ll read it no matter the year.

    • Allison

      Yeah, I like Syed’s approach, specifically because of his blog topic. It’s really helpful to know that something technical is updated.

  • Mark Andrew

    I removed dates on my blog. I don’t want someone to see a blog post for a venue and see its 3 years old. I want them to see my photography and what I did at the venue. Not when. Also, when I get busy and don’t blog for 2 months no one questions why is he not posting wondering if I don’t have work bs too busy to post.

    • Allison

      I think you make some valuable points…but I also think a venue can change a lot over the years. As someone reading one of your blog posts, I would want to know when those pictures were taken. A place that looked beautiful when it was photographed three years ago might look rundown now (or vice versa). That’s just my opinion though – there are lots of bloggers who advocate taking dates of posts.

  • Douglas Karr

    We’ve moved our dates down to the base of our posts and it’s resulted in greater readership. I don’t disagree that it should be a decision of the reader when it comes to the age of the post, it’s just that having a prominent date often discourages a reader from reading your post and they just return to search results and move to the next blog – regardless of the quality of your post. I don’t want to hide them, but I don’t want to discourage readers, either. It’s been a successful move for our blog – pages per session increased when we pushed the dates to the base of the posts.

  • Mary Jo Manzanares

    You know those hotel photos that show a beautiful pool, but it was taken 10 years ago and they didn’t mention it? Or those dating sites when people use a photo that’s 5 years old and doesn’t look like them any longer? Or those restaurants reviews that wax poetically about the fabulous seafood dishes, but the restaurant was sold last year and now is the best vegan place in town.

    Yeah, all of those – and more – are why I think dates are a critical piece of information. And why I skip past blogs that don’t use them.

  • Alan Jardinico

    Date on demand, to those who wants to know information the age of your post. People has the right to correct information. Other visitors do not mind or pay attention to your blogpost dates as long as they get the information what they wanted on your blogpost contents.
    I prefer both with dates and without date, just hide dates and can be displayed once the viewer click to know.

  • Jason Ellis

    I just removed my blog post dates today. My reasoning behind it is that I’d like to use some of my best posts as repurposed content in my autoresponder series. Having dates makes this content less evergreen in nature because as I continue to grow my content and business, I need the older written articles to provide just as much of a fresh perception as my newest ones. Being that my niche has many unchanging laws of practice, the benefit of removing the dates outweighed the negatives.

  • Thom Westergren

    I’m in the middle of this mental debate myself. If the information is really timeless, or “evergreen” then perhaps is belongs within your website, either in a tab or as a whitepaper download (of course that may cause search problems). I’m in the middle of this debate, because I don’t consider myself a writer and don’t care to blog, but my customers need, and are seeking out the information.

    I’m debating simply putting an “information” tab on my website with a really long scrolling list of topics. Not too user-friendly, but if they get their through search, it doesn’t matter.

    Any suggestions, after looking at my website and product, would be extremely welcomed.

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