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How to Decide Whether to Include the Date on Your Blog Posts

Today’s episode is all about how to decide whether to include the date on your blog posts. I received this question from a listener, who noticed that I use timestamps on one of my blogs, but not on the other. Dates can either add or take away from your blog. I share how I decided what to do with each of my blogs and tips for you to work out what is right for you.

The Apprentice: you

In This Episode

You can listen to today’s episode above or in iTunes or Stitcher (where we’d also LOVE to get your reviews on those platforms if you have a moment). In today’s episode:

  • Why including the date on your blog posts can be a good or bad thing
  • How to work out if the date is relevant to each blog post
  • Why I don’t include dates on my blog posts on the Digital Photography School blog
  • Where to include dates on your blog posts
  • Why it might be useful to include dates on some blog posts but not others
  • Why some bloggers choose to include dates on blog posts for 3-6 months and then remove them
  • Why some bloggers include dates on the front page of their blog but not on each individual blog posts

Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view
Welcome to episode 58 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and today, we’re talking about timestamps on blogs. I received this question from Bernadeth who wrote, “I’m in the process of redesigning my blog and was wondering if I should use timestamps on my blog posts. When I look at your blogs, I noticed that one does and one doesn’t. Can you tell us why you made that decision?” You can find today’s show notes at

Bernadeth’s question is one that I get quite a bit. A lot of my readers do read both of my blogs, ProBlogger and Digital Photography School, and have realized that on one, the date that the post was written does appear on the blog, that’s ProBlogger and over on Digital Photography School, there are no dates as to when the post was written. My theory is that dates can either add to or take away from your blog posts. Let me explain that a little further.

When you put a date on your blog post, you signal to your readers when the post was written. There are no record signs there, that’s pretty obvious, I know. This is useful to your readers who want to make a judgment on how relevant the post is for them at any point in time. It signals to them that a post is either current, recent, or that it is dated when the year is older and dated.

There’s a problem here and that is when you have a timeless or evergreen piece of content. By that piece of content, that doesn’t really date. The principles that you write about today might still be relevant in 10 years’ time. When you put a date on that type of content, it can act as a distraction to your reader. 

When they arrive at a blog post and see it was written in 2007, like many of the posts on Digital Photography School, a little warning bell goes off in their mind that they are reading a post that is not current. I’ve had comments on this type of post, numerous times, saying, “This post is out of date,” or, “This post is old,” even when the content in the post is still completely relevant for today. When a reader has this reaction, no matter what information your post contains, it’ll seem old to them and they lose engagement with the post. 

This may not happen to everyone, I suspect, most of us listening to this going, “No, I’m willing to learn from old stuff,” but I reckon it happens to most of us, at least on a subconscious level. 

On the flip side of this, time dates can be good on evergreen content when the date is recent. If you arrive at a post and you see that it was written last month, psychologically, we’re more open to that type of content because it’s new, it’s fresh, it’s a new idea even if it is exactly the same idea that was written in 2006. Dates can be good and they can be bad. They can make your post seem dated or they can make your post seem cutting edge. 

What’s a blogger to do? Should we have dates on our posts? For me, the way I determine whether I put a date on a post or not is to ask, is the date going to be relevant to the post in some way? The answer to this really is to let me take two different courses of action on my post. At ProBlogger,, which we’re emerging over the in the coming months—don’t go there yet—we do have the dates on our post. The reason that I do this is that it’s two-fold. The main one is that the industry of blogging is moving fast.

When I started ProBlogger back in 2004, I think it was, things were moving fast. Principles were changing all the time and they still are today. The tools of blogging are constantly evolving, social media networks are constantly changing, search engine optimization principles are constantly shifting. The things that I’m writing about at ProBlogger or my team are writing about on ProBlogger are changing and they are time-sensitive types of things. When we write about search engine optimization in 2006, most of the few things are the same, most of it has changed. It’s relevant to have a date on that to let our readers know whether the information in it will still be relevant.

The other reason I want to update my post on ProBlogger was that I was on a really steep learning curve when I started the blog and I still am today. I’m still accumulating knowledge on this particular topic. Many things I wrote in the early days, I knew I wasn’t overly experienced in them. So, I wanted to show the journey of my knowledge growing and show the journey of my own development on this particular topic of blogging. ProBlogger very much started out as a personal journal of my discovery with blogging. I thought the dates were relevant on that front. 

Digital Photography School, I don’t timestamp my blog posts and I never ever have. The reason for not having timestamps on the content at Digital Photography School is for the vast majority of the posts there, the date has no real relevance to the post itself. Digital Photography School is not a news-related blog, while occasionally we’ll review cameras and we will include a date in those posts (in the content usually). The main focus of that site is to teach people how to take better photos and how to get it out of automatic mode. While the cameras are changing, the principles of photography really are not changing at all. If they are changing, they’re changing quite slowly. 

Many of the posts I wrote in 2007 on aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and how to hold the camera, those things have not really changed, they’re evergreen. Dates would only serve to distract our readers from the content itself. I do occasionally get a comment from a reader saying, “When was this written?” and asking for that information. I’m more than happy to give them that information. To be honest, they can actually track it down if they scroll further down the page and look at the comments. They’ll begin to see that comments have been left since 2007 or 2008 but I get very little push back from our readers on not having dates on our site. 

There are some other solutions that you might want to consider. Firstly, you might want to have your timestamp underneath your blog post and I think this is an in-between compromise. You don’t have to broadcast right up front that this post was written in 2008 but you can include it there underneath your post and then perhaps in a lighter shade rather than big, flashing lights. You can have it in a gray color, not the largest font underneath your blog post for those who do want to find out when it was written. I think this could be useful because people, by that stage, would have read the content and hopefully, they will have been served by the content. 

Another approach that I’ve seen a number of bloggers take is to hack WordPress and there may be a plugin, I’m not sure whether there is yet for this, but I have seen a number of bloggers who show the dates on their blog post for three or six months after the blog post was written and have WordPress not show the date after that. Once the content becomes a little more dated, because it’s over 6 or 12 months old, they just don’t show the dates anymore. I guess that could be the best of both worlds if you do want to show that a piece of content is new, if it is new, and then to hide the fact that it’s old when it becomes old.

Maybe the other approach, I’ve seen other bloggers do this as well, they have dates on the front page of their content or in the archive categories of their content but not on the post themselves. This helps if someone is scanning through a category to see what is recent and what is older. But on the blog post, when people land on that directly from Google, they don’t see that. 

I’m not sure there is a right or wrong answer here. Last time, I surveyed my readers which was a few years ago now on this. I asked them if they had dates on their post. Around 75% of my readers that they did have dates on their posts. I do think that that’s probably the most common thing, but I personally think there’s a place for it and a place where it’s okay to have them off. But I’ve love to hear what you and why you do what you do in today’s show notes. 

You can find today’s show notes on Let us know what you do, why you do it, and whether you’re thinking about changing now as a result of listening to this particular podcast. I hope you found this helpful, in particular Bernadeth, thanks for asking the question. If you do have a question, feel free to shoot me an email by the contact form on my site or leave a comment for us on the show notes. We’ll talk to you in episode 59 of the ProBlogger podcast.

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