Published On vs. Written On

Should an article on a website show the “Published on” date or the “Written on” date?

I can see the benefits of each.

Published on lets a reader know when the article appeared on the website, and usually this is also the timeline when the article was written.

Written on lets a reader know when the work was created, which could be crucial because maybe an article was written in early 2014, yet wasn’t published until mid 2015, or the article might have been re-published and thus be relatively old. (e.g. Re-publishing an article about landing on the moon in 2015)

I supposed you could provide both dates to readers, but that might look a bit too clinical or clunky.


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Unless/until you have a situation where the two dates are far enough apart for it to matter it will not make much difference so you could use either.

Generally speaking, I’d like to know when an article is published/posted to the web - it does seem to be an attribute that is far too commonly missed off many pages, giving you no idea how long it has been there. I’d only add the “written on” date if it were significantly different.


If the dates are significanty wide apart I’d use the Publish date for when the article was first published, then provide supplementary information for when it was actually written, eg

Published on 28 June 2015
This article was first written on Jan 20th 2014, some things may have changed since then


I agree that anything posted to the web needs a date with it.

If I had to chose just one, I think “Written on” is better - readers probably don’t care when the article was uploaded to the web server as much as when the article was written.

Usually they are about the same, but in my case, I write articles when I am inspired, but may not publish them until I think the timing is write. That could leave a lag of up to a few months.

The geek in my wants a: written_on, published_on, edited_on, republished_on, but that wouldn’t be practical. :smile:

I wouldn’t bother with the “written on” bit unless it’s relevant to the content of the article. For example, if it was written about a piece of software before a certain update, that’s useful info—though I’d rather that be explained in the article itself.

Then again, I wouldn’t publish something that’s out of date. Update it before posting. Then edit the article later on if it becomes out of date, with a note explaining this.

Try displaying the additional info using :hover.

Unfortunately it it is not mobile friendly :frowning:

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Not everything is time sensitive.

What if I wrote an article on “Get a tune-up before that vacation trip” or “How to spice up your love-life in the bedroom”.

Neither is overly time-sensitive, but for me, I would still like to know more when you wrote it than when you uploaded it to the server.

“Written on” tells me period when the author was inspired to write. That matters more than when I get to read it.

Good idea!

Is there a way to do that with RWD?

I believe it is possible, try searching “css mobile friendly hover”

I removed all dates on my Joke site, it seemed far better not to show dates. Google displays a date in their searches.

Usually a tap will have the same effect as hover, just as long as a click/tap is not set to do anything else on the object.
So if it’s a clickable link or something, it won’t work.

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