One of the least understood aspects of blogging involves publication dates.
To be sure, there are good reasons for wanting to publish the date of your blog posts, but there are equally valid reasons for not doing so. Which you prefer depends on the nature of your content and how often you post.
Why You Should Publish WordPress Posts Without Dates
First, I’ll say there isn’t a boatload of hard-and-fast rules about blogging. Some people may want to publish their posts with dates and some may not want to. It’s not a question of right or wrong but about intention.
For example, if you blog regularly in a niche where information seldom changes or where you publish a lot of evergreen content, publication dates can work against you.
Alternatively, consider evergreen content, which will be relevant no matter when your reader gets his or her hands on it. It could be today, next year, or five years from now – the information will still be relevant and impactful. If you publish a lot of that kind of content, you could be shooting yourself in the foot by dating it. A reader who stumbles across a post written five years ago may assume it is no longer relevant based of the date that it was published.
Since your content is evergreen and will remain relevant for a long time, when it is shared through social media is simply a detail. Again, your publication date can work against you by preventing people from sharing older information on the assumption that it isn’t relevant. One of the best ways to increase traffic to your blog is to share your posts on social media. By not publishing dates on your content, you keep it perpetually relevant.
Many bloggers who have stopped publishing dates on their content report an increase in social shares and traffic. That sounds like a pretty good reason, too, doesn’t it?
Who Else Publishes WordPress Posts Without Dates?
Look around the Web and you’ll see several high profile bloggers don’t publish dates on their posts. Here are a few of the top blogs that don’t publish dates on their content:
- Copyblogger – You’ll notice that there is a date, but it’s a month and a day without the year. That means no one can write Copyblogger content off as irrelevant. If it’s good content today, it will be good content this time next year.
- Digital Photography School – Darren Rowse explains why he doesn’t publish dates on his photography blog at Problogger.
- Mack Collier – Mack Collier explains the pros and cons of posts without dates, and he doesn’t date his posts either.
These are just a handful of blogs that don’t date their posts. It seems to be a growing trend even though the practice has its detractors.
Just because others are following a specific trend, however, doesn’t mean you should too. There may be reasons why you do want to publish dates on your blog. If your blog is a news blog, for example, you may want those dates to show your readers that the information you report is up-to-date.
On the other hand, if you post to your blog infrequently or you get so busy that you can’t post every day, then it may be to your advantage to obscure that fact by not dating your posts.
So how do you set up your WordPress blog so that your publishing dates are not viewable to your readers?
How To Set Up WordPress So Your Blog Doesn’t Show The Date Of Your Posts
Sign into your WordPress blog and navigate to Settings > General from the sidebar. Scroll down to where you see Date Format.
Check the Custom box and leave the text field blank. Under Time Format, do the same.
If, like Copyblogger, you want to publish the month and day of your blog post but not the year, then enter F j in the text box beside Custom. The F should be capitalized and the j should be lower case. Your published posts will then show the month and day of publication, but not the year.
It really is that simple. Happy blogging!