WordPress

last person joined: 2 days ago 

A place for nonprofit WordPress developers and content managers of all skill levels.The WordPress group is an engaged network of WordPress developers and content managers, for all skill levels, by WordPress users for WordPress users, to encourage the usage of and advocate for WordPress.

Our goal: to support nonprofit organizations using (or interested in using) WordPress. Additionally, this is a safe and friendly place for beginning WordPress developers and users to ask questions and connect to like-minded people.

Should Website URLs Include Dates?

  • 1.  Should Website URLs Include Dates?

    Posted May 16, 2019 11:41
    Hi there, I work for a nonprofit journalism organization and we are just in the last few weeks of redesigning our website on WordPress before we launch. I'm trying to make a final decision on the structure of the new site URLs and could us some help here. 

    Long story short: I am just wondering if we should remove the dates from our URLs. Is this generally thought of as a best practice for SEO these days?

    Short story, long: I had discussed with our developers that on the new site we wanted to do away with dates in our URLS -- mainly because some of our evergreen content that's on the site can look outdated when some of our management articles from even far back as 2014 or 2015 are still very relevant. Now our web developers have informed me that they decided not to make this change because it could impact the SEO history and take away from Google indexing credentials. To my understanding, with new sites there usually is a point where search engines need to re-index content and rankings may fluctuate, but setting up redirects should help with this.
    So disregarding my frustration here (what BAD communication to make a decision to not make a change discussed with a client without communicating any of this) they have told me they can still make the change if needed, but they don't recommend it...and I fear they may just be being lazy at this point since we are supposed to launch in a week and making redirects for ALL our content would be laborious.
    I would love some help here -- Is there any benefit of keeping dates in article URLs? Should we remove them all? The only reason I see to keep dates is on breaking news and to show up on Google news for that day's content, but that is not how we get most of our traffic these days it's usually through organic traffic. They also offered to remove dates from all content going forward, but this would not solve the issue with our older evergreen content.


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    Aine Creedon
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    Tech Accelerate


  • 2.  RE: Should Website URLs Include Dates?

    Posted May 16, 2019 11:59
    Swings and roundabouts. I used to include dates, but haven't bothered to do that in ages. Not sure it made any difference to SEO, but it made the urls shorter and easier to scan, and yes it made it less obvious that content had got old.

    Also, what if you wanted to update an old post? Its url would need to change.

    It shouldn't be laborious to create redirects for all the content, because you should be able to set up a redirect using Regex. It spots a pattern (the date bit of the url) and automatically strips it out. Don't ask me how, Regex gives me a headache, but doing it all manually would be a bigger headache.

    Although, hold on... I think WordPress will probably redirect automatically anyway. You can test that. Try any post's url without the date: does it still work?

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    Jason King
    Google Ad Grant Certified Professional
    and Google Partner
    Mirepoix, France

    www.kingjason.co.uk

    Twitter: @jasoncsking

    Email: jason@kingjason.co.uk
    ------------------------------

    Tech Accelerate


  • 3.  RE: Should Website URLs Include Dates?

    Posted May 17, 2019 16:28
    Everything that Jason said.

    :)

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    Eric Dye
    Client Success Lead
    Valet.io
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    Tech Accelerate


  • 4.  RE: Should Website URLs Include Dates?

    Posted May 19, 2019 11:21
    I like the responses to this inquiry. Excellent advice.

    Here is something less technical. I created a WordPress website recently. The nonprofit organization hosts numerous educational classes and special events. They actually want to have the dates in the URL for the sake of archiving and referring to those pages later on, and to separate them out from newer versions of the same programs. If that page template is a good one to follow for future activities, they copy/duplicate it, and update the page with new information (with the new date). Again, the names of many of the events are the same, year after year. We want to order them somehow and the date helps. Does this make any sense?

    For events that are "one time," we strip the date out. It is unnecessary. But we have lots of repetition, so dates help us internally as well as externally. Plus, we feel people who attended can search for last year's event, read about it and access links and other information that may be helpful. This is just one WordPress "hacker's" method, smiles.

    Cheers!

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    Carolyn Appleton
    Carolyn M. Appleton
    Austin,TX
    carolynmappleton@gmail.com
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    Tech Accelerate


  • 5.  RE: Should Website URLs Include Dates?

    Posted Jun 11, 2019 14:41
    Hi @Carolyn Appleton! I wanted to get you a response, despite the time since you posted.

    Overall, it sounds like you're approaching this with a focus on client needs which is great! If one thing is universally true of all web projects, it's that they're all different!

    A few quick thoughts:

    It sounds like the site isn't using a specific Events management plugin but just posting information as Posts. Given the number of events, I would recommend you use one. It will generally make handling events easier with features like automatically creating Past Events and Upcoming Events pages. My preferred plugin is The Events Calendar, but it can be a little bulky.
    Even if you plan on an event only occurring once, I'll throw out a vote for including the date anyway for two reasons. First, it makes the page clearer to visitors, search engines, etc. Second, you never know if you'll have it again!

    Good luck, and if you've made some progress on your work since posting, share a followup!

    (Quick aside: Since your post was on a slightly different topic than the original post, you might have better luck with future conversations starting a new discussion. You can always link to the conversation that inspired your own for context.)


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    Mark Root-Wiley

    MRW Web Design / MRWweb.com / @MRWweb
    Thoughtful WordPress Website for Nonprofits & Mission-Driven Organizations
    Seattle, WA
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    Tech Accelerate


  • 6.  RE: Should Website URLs Include Dates?

    Posted Jun 11, 2019 14:49
    Thanks so much for your suggestion! That is a good idea to consider in the future.

    The truth is, we really do not want any plugins. What we have works very nicely, and our event postings can be tailored carefully and uniquely as required. Because this nonprofit focuses on the arts, our pages are visual in orientation - as is the WordPress template we chose. In fact, the old website had so many plugins that we literally tossed it out and started over last year. Fewer plugins are "more" for us. Ha! We also use secure links for our online processing systems rather than payment plugins. And happily, because WordPress works so well with Google, our search results rock.

    Have a great week and thank you again.

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    Carolyn Appleton
    Carolyn M. Appleton
    Austin,TX
    carolynmappleton@gmail.com
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    Tech Accelerate