Timestamps: Should You Remove Them From Your Blog?
There’s always been some debate over whether or not you should remove timestamps from your blog posts. Rather than go into some long-winded debate, I’m going to give you both sides of the story, and then I’m going to tell you what I do. Ready? Here we go….
Why you should remove timestamps from your blog
Removing the time and date from your blog posts gives it a timeless quality. If your readers look to see when a post was written and they don’t see a date then they don’t feel like they’re reading old content. They think it’s fresh and shiny and new.
Some readers won’t comment on a post or share it on the social sites if they think it’s old. They want to be the first to share something and nobody likes to leave comments on a post that’s been dead for a couple of years. Half the fun of commenting is seeing what kind of a response you get.
Your best chocolate cake recipe might have a December date on it and there are some readers out there who won’t look at it when they’re looking for a chocolate cake recipe for Easter. I know. It’s weird. But it’s true.
Why you should not remove timestamps from your blog
If your blog is technology-related or you’re blogging about time sensitive things like rock concert schedules or sporting events, then you’ll want to have the dates on your blog so readers know how fresh the information is. In any technological field there are advancements being made all the time. Your readers want to know they’re getting the latest updates. And sporting events and rock concert schedules? Well, it just makes good marketing sense to date your content.
Now, what would I do? I think bloggers who remove the timestamps are missing a tremendous promotional opportunity.
If those older posts are still relevant, you can write fresh posts and link back to them, turning them into strong pillar posts for your blog. If they’re not still relevant you can still link back to them as a comparison of the way things were, the changes that have taken place, and the effects and benefits of those changes.
Imagine the impact of your new blog post if you can say, “Just 10 months ago I recommended XYZ product and you guys all loved it (Link back to that old post to remind them that they loved it. ) Well, now it’s been upgraded and it’s even better! Take a look at what it does now!
The idea that by removing the timestamps you can somehow trick your reader into believing he’s reading something fresh and really rubs me the wrong way. And that’s exactly what I think when I see a blog with no dates on the posts – they’re trying to trick me. And then when I do find a date somewhere on the blog and confirm that they’re trying to trick me, it just turns me off to that blog, no matter how good the information is.
It’s never a good idea to base your marketing tactics on trickery just so you can avoid a little extra work. In the end, you’ll always get caught and your readers will always assume the worst.