Should you allow the date a post was published to be displayed? That’s a question that keeps coming up for bloggers. But I think if you’re doing to omit post dates, you have to be willing to do a little extra work.
From time to time, I see bloggers engaging in the debate about post dates: some say that keeping the date of publication on a post allows readers to see how fresh and updated the blog is. Others argue that dates hurt your blog because no one will want to read a post that hasn’t been very recently written.
I toyed briefly with the idea of deleting post dates here at Patrick’s Place, but for now, I’ve decided to leave the dates there.
As a reader, I want to know when a post was written.
Especially if it’s about a “current” event, I need to know how current the event actually is. And if it has something to do with social media or technology, when I refer to something that’s “brand new,” I need to be able to have a way to put that qualifier in perspective: it’s no longer “brand new” if the post was written in 2010, and I reach a lot of blog posts by Google search, not by navigating through a blog’s archive calendar.
If you’ve decided to delete post dates from your blog, for whatever reason, you have a new responsibility.
You need to make sure an undated blog post isn’t confusing because of a time reference.
I visited someone’s blog recently and read a post about an event that was coming up for the weekend.
But the blogger had removed dates from the blog post URLs and from appearing anywhere on the screen in the posts themselves. So when the blogger wrote about something happening that weekend, which weekend did the blogger mean?
It turns out, unfortunately, that the blogger was referring to the previous weekend. But as a reader, I had no way to know that without leaving the blog and doing additional research on the topic.
If you’re going to remove post dates, be clear about date references within your blog posts.
Consider your audience. Be clear. These are basic concepts bloggers shouldn’t lose sight of.
If no date will display to give readers an idea of a date you’re referring to, you need to add the date to the post:
I’m looking forward to attending a big show this weekend (5/11).
If you don’t publish dates, and particularly if you don’t publish often or in a consistent schedule, you are potentially causing confusion.
And your readers remember things like that.