Dates on a Blog?

Has the need for dates on a blog outlived their necessity?

Are they simply a holdover from the online journal days that don’t really have a place on a modern blog.

Reasons NOT to use dates in a blog:

  • A date DATES your post. People have been trained to look at the dates in a post; even knowing this I still find myself looking. And what happens if someone finds one of your posts in the search engines that happens to be more than a month or two old? Chances are they won’t read it, or will only scan it quickly. It will be PERCIEVED as dated material, regardless of whether or not that actually matters within your subject matter.
  • Duplicate Content! This is bad! Take wordpress for example. By default, most templates will offer a date based categorization of all your posts. If you click on a particular month you will be taken to a paginated section containing all the posts from the specified month. These are the same posts that can be found under the pagination on the main page of your BLOG, or from the Categories pages, but now under yet another URL. Remove this as soon as possible.
  • People don’t search by date. Check your Stats. I doubt any of your date category pages have had many hits. People don’t care what you wrote in June of 2006. They DO care what you wrote about the particular topic they are searching for and you should therefore only offer category based options and a search bar.

I think we general date all our posts on our blogs for no better reason than the fact that most blogging software (or possibly even ALL blogging software) uses dates as a default. It’s a holdover; done not on purpose, but out of despondance.

We don’t date all our pages on our website (except maybe within a Google Sitemap), so unless you’re actually recording an online journal, stop using dates!

A single copy write date in the footer of your blog will suffice.

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