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Keep dates on posts. Create ‘Resources Section’ for timeless content.

Darren Rowse has thrown out for discussion whether bloggers have a problem with dates on blog posts. I’ve pondered the same for the same reasons as Darren.

Calling himself perhaps a ‘date snob,’ Darren wonders if dates on posts sometimes do more harm than good.

If I’m searching Google on a topic and come across a post that someone’s written on their blog I tend to look at when it was written. If the date is some months (or years) back I tend to rate it as less relevant as a post that might have been written in the past week or two – I don’t do it consciously but have caught myself doing it.

When I think logically about this I don’t see the sense in it because I know on one level that a lot of my own older content is still highly relevant – but for some reason I’ve come to see fresh content as equalling better content (sad I know). The result is that I’m probably less likely to read old posts thoroughly less likely to link to them (for some stupid fear of seeming to be out of date).

One solution Darren has tried on his latest blog, Digital Photography School, is leaving dates off posts altogether. He says it’s worked out quite well in that a lot more of his older posts consistently are getting linked to by other blogs. But as Darren suggests, I think that’s mainly because “that site is very much focused upon ‘how to’ or ‘tips’ type posts which are not time specific.”

My feeling is that a blog is magazine. It’s dated. When you subscribe to a magazine, you get content from that date forward. You don’t say send me the weekly editions for the last 4 years.

Don’t fret about the older content. One great feature of blogs is that old content is available via archived categories, search and tags on the blog site. In addition the content is indexed and searchable at Google.

For the good stuff that’s timeless, use a ‘Resources’ section like Brian Clark does at copyblogger. Brian, like Darren, produces excellent original content. For the timeless pieces, Brian has created a set of categories entitled ‘Resources’ that sits above the typical categories section, titled ‘Topics,’ in the right nav bar.

Darren himself does the same thing on ProBlogger. He’s got two resources sections. The navigation for each is at the top of the blog site. One is called ‘introduction key articles’ and the other ‘tips and hints toolbox.’

LexBlog is introducing blogs with ‘Resource Centers.’ Kansas Family Law Blog and Missouri Divorce & Family Law Blog are the first two. Those two have a ‘Family Law Library’ with content provided by LexBlog so as to provide people with a road map on family law issues. Other client blogs will include resource centers with content provided by clients.

When I get a chance to redo this blog, I’ll have a resources section as well.

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