It’s Official, I’m Dating My Blog…

No, I’m not talking dinner and a movie.

If you look at the title of this post, you will now see a date stamp following my name.

Personally, I like not having the date stamp, but let’s call this an experiment.

And if it’s an experiment, we need some background and rulez…

Why Date Your Blog?

Why not you may ask? That’s the way they come after all right?

But did you ever stop to question why? What purpose does that date really serve?

I don’t think very much.

In most cases the blog date is just holdover from the ‘my blog is my online journal’ days (sort of like your little toes or nipples on guys; sure they may look good, but you don’t really need them any more!)

In some cases there’s a perfectly valid reason to date every post. For instance, if you’re using your blog as an online journal, or to report on niche news that may be date relevent…

I don’t think they need to be banned from blogs, but I also don’t think dates should be turned on as a default; in most cases it’s pretty much just evolutionary holdover.

Why Not Date Your Blog?

  1. It makes your blog look like a journal (which is perfectly ok… if your blog is your online journal!)
  2. Relevency

Relevency you ask? Yes, relevency.

The internet has trained us to consume content fast and fresh. And dating your blog is pretty much the equivelent of slapping each post with a ‘Best Before’ date.

One of the first things most readers do on a blog post following a topic search is look to see when the post was made. If the post is older than a couple of months, there will automatically be questions as to how relevent your content is.

In some cases this is good, but most of the time it just doesn’t make any sense. Why bother put any effort into SEO for your blog when you’re content is questionable after a couple of months anyway?

And while we’re on the topic of SEO, while writing this I did some searching to see if there were any conversations going on around this topic… T

There arent! so you may very well be hearing it here first (and i really would LOVE to hear what YOU have to say on the topic, so leave a comment below or look me up on twitter or your prefered network).

BUT… I did find a recent related SearchEngineLand article by Aaron Wall; and I quote:

Everything you do has a chance to provide a clean or dirty signal of relevancy to search engines and searchers.

And I paraphrase:

  • Dates convey irrelevant information
  • Dates suggest old, stale news

So When Should You Use a Date on Your Blog?

I would say the only time you should use a date on your blog is if you know it serves a purpose. Of course, this should be the philosophy guiding pretty much everything you do online…

But unless you are running some type of news service, I would rather see the date worked into the content when necessary, not earmarked on every single post just for the sake of “Just ‘Cause”

So, you said something about an experiment?

Here’s the deal…

I removed the dates from my blog in November. And since then, my incoming search engine traffic has risen by about 100%, especially from Google.

Now, this site is still relatively new and I do put a little effort into SEO once in awhile, so I would naturally expect my search traffic to increase…

But there was a definite jump starting in December and I want to know how much of that may be due to dating my blog (or not dating it as the case may be).

So at least for awhile, you’re going to see some dating going on around here.

Twitter and Social Media

A new friend on Twitter, Christine Taylor, or MouseWords as I know her on Twitter (if you are on Twitter you should friend Christine!), recently asked me a few questions after I live-Twittered the birth of my third kid…

A Baby Girl!

A daughter, born January 11!

I’m going to dig (that’s dig with a single ‘g’) into the whole social media question more in the coming weeks and thought these questions were as good a place as any for me to get started…

Why Twitter our child’s birth:

This was our third child and one of the things that we noticed the first two times through was that there were always people we forgot to phone right away.

Social media provided a great way to remedy the problem.

From my cell phone I uploaded images to my flickr account, and sent regular updates via twitter.

I also setup my twitter account to forward to my facebook profile status.

It turned out to be a great way to include our family and friends (new and old) through the whole process without having to worry about who to call next!

An unexpected side benefit was the fact that it was really exciting for us to read the real-time encouragement and congratulations sent back to us via facebook and twitter (funnelled back to my phone via text messaging).

We were really happy with how it turned out and happy to share with everyone!

What is your opinion of Social Media’s influence on society in general?

For the general public, Social Media provides a variety of great and fun tools to stay connected with friends and family as well as connect with lost friends and acquaintances. I think SM services are getting more savvy all the time and we’re going to see more and more platforms that ‘do it all’, which will be a good thing; preventing us from having to log into 10 different sites to check up on all our friends.

From a business point of view, Social Media is becoming more and more valuable as more of the general public integrates their lives in the social web. SM is quickly changing the way we look at and think about media and its influence on our buyers.

Look at it this way… When most people make a purchase, it’s an emotional decision, and logic generally only enters to justify the transaction. As a company, we need to connect with our customers more powerfully than our competitors have in order to create a brand loyalty that will see people through a transaction. The better the connection we’ve made, the greater the emotional tie people have to our brands; and social media provides incredible ways to communicate and connect directly with the people who are already looking for us.

I like to tell people that in the wild pre-internet days companies would communicate with their customers via ads, in print, TV or radio; a communication style that isn’t unlike standing on top of a soapbox and yelling through a bullhorn, hoping your voice will be heard by the right people. All the advances, and globalization of TV and Radio that occurred by the end of the last century didn’t change any of that… they just provided bigger and bigger bullhorns to yell at audiences through.

But SM HAS changed all that. Social networks and social media and the internet in general allow us to find the people who are already interested in us and our products; talk to our customers one-on-one; and even proactively find disgruntled or dissatisfied customers instantly!

SM will likely never replace the 30 second spot (TV commercial), but any company that doesn’t invest a little time and energy to at least BE where their customers are, are going to find themselves losing out to their more savvy competition who realize Social media is an increasingly integral part of any marketers toolbox.