Why hiding the publishing date from your posts is bad

If you’re doing research into a topic, one of the most important guides is understanding when resources were published and last updated. I’ve been coming across a lot of theme designs where the author has chosen to hide the post date. It makes efficient research extremely hard.

Knowing when a post was first published and when it was edited gives a reader the ability to figure out the chronology. Even if an older source of information is more informative than a newly published one, it’s important to understand the order in which things were written. This is especially true for problem solving. Figuring out what the most current solution to a problem is vital.

When blog posts are being written in an optimal way, they build upon what has already been written and try to evolve an understanding about a topic. A big part of doing that is respecting the order in which things were written.

On most problem solving quests on google, I will look for the most exhaustive and authoritative resource as well as the most recent ones. Recency is important, because it often will lead to a post where the author has used older resources to build up a better picture or add some new perspective.

Freshness is also a good indicator that a topic is active and being actively thought about. It shouldn’t be made harder to figure out if a certain topic has become stale.

Older posts that have not been updated do not have the benefit of having gleaned from new developments, new solutions and new problems. That doesn’t make a post less valuable, but it has to be abundantly clear that it’s a dated post and may no longer be current.

There really is very little reader benefit to hiding a publishing date in the first place. If you have written evergreen content, that is to say, content that will stand the test of time, it doesn’t mean the post date becomes any less valuable. In fact, it can provide proof that you were the original author, or the first person to make certain statements.

It really baffles me that savvy authors who write on web development topics hide the publish date. This provides a terrible user experience. You are making understanding a topic more of a pain. Don’t make things a bigger puzzle than they need to be.

One comment

  1. I have to admit, I hate arriving on websites and thinking “OK, is this recent… I can’t tell.” Yet I hide the date on my posts lol. I think you’re right, sometimes we need to think about the user more and be a little more transparent and build some more trust in our content.

    Put everything on the table so its easy to find!

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