Tip: Use exact dates in web content

Use exact dates. Contented.com tip.

Today was tomorrow yesterday. A sobering thought... Therefore write timeless (if not deathless) prose in web content.

People hunt for clues in content about when it was written. As you write, picture someone reading your web page tomorrow. Or next month. Will it still make sense?

  • Use exact dates including the month in full, for example, 24 February 1940.
  • Avoid all relative expressions of time such as now, today, in the next six months, soon and recently.
  • Don’t rely on Last Updated footers.
  • Put a date in the content of every page that needs it.
  • Date all news items, memos etc.

All emails have dates automatically and obviously attached, and so do news stories, most blogs, press releases and Tweets. But most everyday web pages don’t.

Some web pages don’t need updating regularly, for example scholarly articles or the history of your organisation. But many are worse than useless if they are out of date.

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