If you are like me you probably visit a number of websites in your daily activities. Whether it’s for business or just to kill some time and entertain yourself, but have you ever noticed that some websites use a timestamp or date in their post and others do not?
Why is it that so many websites remove the date from a post? Is it because the software the website in question uses just doesn’t have the ability to add a simple date? Do they not post very often and not want visitors to see or know this? Do they publish so often that they don’t want visitors to see that they post so darn often. Or, are they trying to sort of hide this from Google and other search engines for some other SEO purpose? I can understand this to some extent, and I could see people arguing for and against dated posts.
I really couldn’t tell you why one site chooses to use a date and another decides to hide it. Whether it is just a personal preference, or if they have some other reason in mind.
Personally I prefer to see an actual date in a post. I believe it can add value to an article. Without a date it can be difficult to know whether the information provided in the article is current and up-to-date, or whether it might be old and out of date.
Imagine stumbling across a news story that said something like breaking news. You read the story and don’t realize this was something that happened over 2 years ago. Or, how about your Facebook or Twitter wall/feed/page for that matter. Imagine if none of these had a date. How would you know if it is current or old news?
These are just a few examples of why dates are important and why I prefer websites that use them. If you think about it I am sure you could come up with countless examples of why dates should be used.
I am not saying you absolutely need to use dates. I am just saying that it does add value to your posts and it benefits the end user. If your article is old and you don’t have a date in the article a visitor could potentially criticize you and say something like: you don’t know what you are talking about nobody does that anymore. You could then follow up with something like: thanks for stopping by and commenting as you can see this article was posted nearly 2 years ago. At the time it was how things were done, etc., etc. Or, something along those lines.
The need for dated posts will obviously vary from one type of website to the next. Maybe your website doesn’t focus on events that would require a date. Perhaps it is more along the lines of a personal blog, humor, short stories, or something vague and general. However, I would still consider using dates.
Additionally some posts or pages may not really need a date such as contact us, about us, and similar types of pages.
Ultimately if it is your website, then do whatever works for you, but keep your visitor in mind too. Is it worth sacrificing visitor experience and friendliness?
I guess I just like articles and posts with a timestamp so I at least have some kind of reference point.