Should you have dates on blog posts or should you just remove them?
If you’re like me who chooses blogging as a book marketing strategy, you probably thought about it at some point especially when you see so many blogs these days don’t have dates anymore.
While having dates on the blog posts has its place, it may not necessary to have one if most of your blog posts are the evergreen type.
That’s what I did on the blog for my fiction author site. Rather than having the dates displayed on the blog, I decided to remove them instead.
While it may seem like a no-brainer decision on my side, removing the dates on the blog posts is somehow a controversial ordeal to many people.
Well, that’s what I see as I’m digging through the arguments all over the Internet.
Dates on blog posts debacle
For some people, the idea of removing the dates on the blog posts is rather unethical, even on the evergreen blog posts.
They feel that such action is misleading and won’t help the readers to decide whether the information posted remains relevant to this day or not.
Well, they’re not wrong about that.
It doesn’t matter whether most of your blog posts are evergreen or time-sensitive. Having a date on the blog post will help the readers to decide whether the information posted on the blog is up-to-date or not.
Does it apply to the blog on the fiction author site as well?
As much as I’d like to think that the same rule applies regardless of the type of blog you have, it doesn’t make much sense to apply the same rules on the blog for the fiction author site.
It’s not because the blog on the fiction author site is a special snowflake or anything. Rather, it has a lot more to do with the nature of the blog contents itself.
If you’re talking about the evergreen blog posts, I have to say that the blog on the fiction author site tends to reflect that.
Most authors love to share their research process, their muse, and also their character inspirations on their blogs. So, the information shared in the blog post will still be relevant regardless of when the readers stumble upon the blog post.
For the most part, any information that the author shares in the blog post are less likely to change throughout the time.
So, it doesn’t make much sense for a blog like this to have a date on it. In fact, having a date on the blog post will prevent the readers from wanting to find out more about the books that they’re about to read.
In this situation, the blog is better off for not having dates at all.
How frequent you’re willing to update the blog?
Here’s what many content marketing advocates fail to address. And that is how frequently you’re planning to update the blog.
Why does it matter?
The reason for that is simple. If you’re only planning to update the blog whenever you have the time, then having a date on the blog post will only kill the blog no matter how well-written is your blog post.
Your audience will abandon the blog if they realize that you didn’t update the blog for so long.
That’s always the case with fiction writers. Most authors will only update the blog whenever they have the time or when they have something important to say.
Only a handful of authors have the luxury to commit to a weekly schedule.
It’s fine to have a date on the blog post if you can update your blog frequently. Or you’re the type of person who can be consistent with your blog update.
But if you can’t commit to the blog update schedule, then you’re better off removing the dates from the blog.
Your target audience will still find the value in the blog post even if you write them ages ago.
What happened to my blog after I removed the dates
I’m not ashamed to admit that there are a few times that I decided to call it a quit on blogging.
And when I say quit, I’m not just throwing a towel on the blog on my fiction author site. I did the same on this blog as well.
My reason for wanting to quit blogging?
It’s the same as what most authors want to do which is to focus more on writing more books.
Blogging for the most part will only hinder me from publishing more books.
Rather than deleting the blog altogether and in this blog’s case, letting the website dies and never see it again, I decided to keep both blogs but without the dates instead.
As you can already guess, the traffic to my website went down after that.
What’s causing the traffic to go down?
I’m sure that many of you seem to believe that the reason why the traffic to my website went down must have something to do with the blogs no longer having the dates anymore.
Well, search engines tend to favor blogs with dates more than the ones without dates, right? Without dates, how can the search engine rank the website or blog?
If you’re talking about what search engines tend to favor more, I will say that the search engines tend to favor blogs and websites that update more frequently.
It doesn’t care whether your blog or websites have dates on the blog posts or not.
That’s what happened to my fiction author blog when I decided to resume blogging on the fiction author site. The traffic to my fiction author site starts to pick up once again when I’m updating the blog frequently.
And yes, the blog still doesn’t have dates on the blog post even to this day.
Of course, I can still enable the dates on the blog posts if I want to. But I choose not to do that since most of the blog posts fall into the evergreen type.
Except for the posts that have a month stated on the blog title, the rest of the blog posts are what I consider to be timeless.
So, there’s no reason for these posts to have dates due to the nature of the blog post itself.
What most people don’t get about the user behavior
If your blog is mainly about the news or time-sensitive information such as SEO and social media marketing, then it makes sense for you to enable dates on the blog.
Things like SEO and social media tend to change all the time. So, the posts need to have dates on them.
But if most of your blog posts are the evergreen type, having dates on the blog posts will hinder the users from clicking on the link, let alone reading the blog post.
Just imagine you stumble upon two blog posts that are reviewing the book that you’re interested in reading.
One of them doesn’t have a date on the blog post while the other one was written ten years ago. But the ten-year-old blog post goes in-depth with the review and is a lot more well-written than the post without the date.
Which one you’d rather click?
I can bet that most of you will click on the post that doesn’t have the date on it.
Who wants to read a post that was written ten years ago?
Now it makes sense why most blogs don’t have dates these days. No matter how well-written is the blog post, no one wants to read a post that you write a few years ago.
It’s a different story if the same post gets a new makeover, though. And as I learn from my understanding of blogging for writers, there’s nothing wrong with that approach either.
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