How often do you search Google for the post that Seth Godin wrote in January 2009? Or, ask Bing to find a post Chris Brogan wrote in November 2008? Never? You’re normal. Nobody searches by the date a post was written. They want specific content.
Godin and Brogan are established bloggers who have high volumes of daily traffic to their blog. Presumably, they have all the traffic they want because neither follows best practices for blog usability. Both list their archived posts by date written.
Notice in the image below that Godin has several months listed for his archives. (Red Arrow) This is a waste of prime website real estate. It does nothing to encourage a visitor to look for more information.
Brogan’s waste of space is worse. His monthly archives go back to March of 2004. (Red Arrow) It shows us that he has been blogging for a long time, but that doesn’t provide value for the reader. Wouldn’t you prefer topics or categories to help you find other posts?
If you aren’t a power blogger, you need to do things differently.
You need to take advantage of every opportunity to increase your search engine rankings and keep your readers reading and clicking. Changing date driven archives to categories helps your readers find other posts by providing topics. It also allows you to optimize the keywords on your blog. The search engines read the text on your blog. Unless your target audience searches for “January 2009″ on a regular basis, test changing the dates to categories. Monitor your pageviews and search rankings for a month to see the effect. I guarantee you’ll see an improvement.