Should I Update The Copyright Date On My Website?

Deciding whether you should update the copyright date on your website each year is a common question that many business owners face. In this article, I’ll go over if you should update the copyright date on your website, why it matters and ultimately if it’s even necessary.

There is a common practice of displaying the copyright date or notice on your website, typically in the website footer. You may also see it with the copyright symbol like “© 2022 Your Company Name” or “© 2022”.

This is a legal notice that protects you against people stealing your website content and claiming it as their own. It’s been around since 1989, when it was first added to the Berne Convention — an international copyright treaty.

The purpose of this notice is to let people know who owns the work (you), when it was created (2012) and where they can find more information about its use (your website).

There are many arguments for updating this each year, and there are just as many arguments for keeping it the same year after year.

Why Do Websites Have a Copyright Notice?

The purpose of a copyright notice on a website is to let people know that it has been copyrighted. It doesn’t actually give you any legal protection, but it does serve as a reminder that your website and its contents belong to you.

A website’s copyright date serves two purposes.

First, it shows your visitors that you care about keeping the site current. Obviously, if the copyright year is several years in the past, a visitor might think the site hasn’t been maintained for a while.

For many businesses, their website is tied directly to their brand and company values. If a customer thinks your site isn’t being maintained, they may start questioning whether your business still has its act together.

The second reason for updating the copyright date is to show search engines that your site is up-to-date, active and has fresh content. It’s no secret that Google uses hundreds of factors to determine which sites rank highest for specific keywords and phrases.

One of those factors might be how recently a page was updated. Some experts say a page’s last updated date plays a role in its ranking; others say it won’t affect your rankings at all.

Conclusion: Keep the Copyright Year on Your Website Updated

No matter what you believe, it’s hard to argue against including an up-to-date copyright date on your site.

How do you update the copyright notice on WordPress?

There are two ways to update the copyright notice on your WordPress website. The first is to edit it or add it manually to the footer of your website, and the second is to use a plugin.

Adding or Editing the Copyright Year Manually

Many modern WordPress themes that make use of the Customizer include the copyright notice in the footer of website in a way that you can easily edit. Typically you can make the change either by using the Customizer, or from Widgets.

To edit your copyright date:

Go to Appearance > Customize > Footer.

Find the Copyright date and enter your desired date for when the site was last updated or the current year (e.g., “2022”).

If the Copyright date is controlled from a widget, you would make the change by going to the WordPress Dashboard:

Appearance > Widgets > [The Copyright Date Widget]

How do I add a copyright year to my WordPress footer with a plugin?

You can use the Current Year and Copyright Shortcodes plugin in conjunction with the jonradio Shortcodes Anywhere or Everywhere to add a copyright year to your WordPress footer, and keep it updated automatically.

You can also use it to add the notice to any website content, such as a Terms & Conditions page or Privacy Policy.

Featured Image “Trademark” provided by Freepik/Rawpixel.

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