5 tips for writing timeless content
Some time ago I wrote that bloggers should focus on timeless content. Quoting the post “Blogs that are focused on news or current events die as soon as the articles stop coming on a consistent basis. If you write timeless content, on the other hand, people will still be reading your blog for months or years after you stop writing as long as the content has some value for them.”
Below you will find 5 practical tips for making your content more timeless, regardless of the topic you are writing about:
1. Avoid words that bring the idea of time: whenever you are writing about a particular topic try to avoid words like today, yesterday, recently or expressions like this week or this month. If someone comes across those words while reading your blog posts it is very likely that he will associate the article with a specific time frame, say “the summer of 2005″Â. The problem is that the reader might think that the content is not fresh and therefore no longer valuable.
2. Put dates at the bottom of posts: the standard design of many blog templates and WordPress themes feature the date at which the post was published right below the title. Many readers get discouraged to read a certain post if they see that it was written long ago. A good way to prevent this is to move the date to the end of the post. Do not remove the date altogether because a minimum time reference is useful.
3. Get rid of the calendar: if you wander through the blogosphere you will notice the enormous quantity of calendars on the sidebars. This feature could be useful if you write content that is dependent on time. Someone writing about his journey across the Sahara desert, for instance, would need to have a calendar so that readers would be able to track posts in a chronological order and find posts of a specific day. Most bloggers, however, write about topics that are not dependent on time. The first question you need to ask yourself is: “Will my readers benefit from having a calendar where they can click on a particular day and check what I have written on that day?”Â
4. Get rid of the monthly archives: the same reasoning of the calendar applies to the monthly archives. Unless it makes sense for your readers to search blog posts by month (for example if you are blogging about a long journey or about the World Cup) you should avoid using monthly archives.
5. When blogging about news or current events make sure to add value: every blog will mention a certain news or an interesting event once in a while. When you do post something that could not be relevant a couple of months ahead make sure to add some value to it so that a future reader will not lose his time completely by reading it. Value could be added through your opinion on the matter, a deeper analysis, a cross reference and the like.
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34 Responses to “5 tips for writing timeless content”
Hey, nice tips, but shouldn’t it be timeless and not timesless ?
yeah thanks for that, I guess the title did not pass under a proof reading…
Good explanation of the previous topic you had posted. I’m going to implement #2 above myself, moving the dates down. That should also go along with your “simple” post, uncluttering the main interface a bit.
About your point number 1, I had been thinking about something similar for a while but you hit the nail nicely, and now it’s clearer. I guess we can say “once” or something similar when using an example and want to associate some kind of a time frame to it.
I can sday You’re right about the calendar, but I disagree about monthly archives. Maybe they’re not very useful for users but I think they’re useful for bot-crawlers.
Fanatyk, you can always have an archives page or a sitemap that many bots these days, including Google, will follow.
Personally I use both 😉
Excellent site, added to favorites!!
Hey, it’s March 2007 and the Date is still on top of your Blog 😉
Sylt, its on the todo list!
Also I wanted to leave the data open while the blog is on the initial phase so that people get an idea about my posting frequency. Once some months pass I will definitely bring the date to the bottom of posts.
Thanks for stoping by.
Not bad. These are really good ideas. I did notice that my readers were no longer reading the pages in my older post that was located in the archives. I took the archives off and they started reading again.
An extra tip – keep your categories list lean. Somewhere between 10 and 15 is a good number for most sites. If you get too many you risk your users not being able to find what they are looking for. If you have too many now
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This is a great post. when I read it sometime back I didn’t think much but now I see the value of it. I guess that is the beauty of timelessness? This post itself is a perfect example of timeless content.
One thing which I don’t agree is the “remove the date of post” or “to make it less obvious”. I think the reader is quite conscious enough of what he is looking for and hene he will know if a content is timeless or not.
Most of the time as a reader, I want to see the date of the post, a “time/date” means and can convey a lot of things.
And if your article is valuable, anyone will read it whatever the time frame!
– Wakish –
Great article, thanks for your guides !!
Daily Good Tips
timeless content is good content type, but although i understand the theory but we still must learn to improve our ability
I tought about implementing a feature to send a maximum number of mails per day and/or to send a mail after a custom number of comments have been selected. Additionally I would implement a admin comment feed with all the neccessary liks to approve, edit, delete or mark as spam.
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