by Tash Hughes
of Word Constructions (www.wordconstructions.com.au)
File names aren't something we
usually spend too much time thinking about - we usually
spend more time and effort on the file content.
However, the name of a file can be
important for two major reasons.
1. Finding it...
We've all done it - created a new
document, worked hard on it and stored it away. A month
or so later, you need that file and can't remember what
you called it let alone where you filed it.
It isn't just on your own computer
either. Did you save it on your PC or laptop, your USB
key perhaps? And then there are files on your website or
in your blog...
2. Helping others
A file name will ideally be clear
to others, too. Maybe someone else has to find a file
when you're off sick or when you call in from a client's
office. Even more importantly, file names on a website
can be a big help to your visitors - they can identify
the purpose of the file quickly, it is easier to search
for and makes more sense in their list of favourites.
A well named file (for example,
www.domain.com/bloggingtips.pdf) will include keywords
and therefore be helpful in your site's search engine
makes a good file name?
In a word,
keeping it as short as possible for practical reasons,
especially if it is on a website, there are a number of
factors to consider in choosing a file name. Best of all
is to have a system whereby all files are named in the
same way for simplicity.
using numbers alone for files - it may be file 2378
but that doesn't help anyone find the file about ftp
a name that summarises the topic of the file
accurately. A pdf about buying a car could be called
'car_info', 'car_stats' or 'vehicle_sales', but
calling it 'car_buying' is much clearer and not at
broad as possible but still identifiable. For
example, a file name 'about_us' is great on your
website but is a bit vague if you write about us
pages for a number of clients. In which a name such
as 'about_us_sam' is less broad but more meaningful
online file names, avoid spaces. The file name
'contact us' will become 'contact%20%us' in most
browsers which is long and people are more likely to
make typing mistakes with it. An underscore (_)
avoids spaces but still separates words for clarity
using dates in file names, mix words and numerals.
Even in Australia some people will wonder if 1/5/07
is the 1st of May or the 5th of January so name the
file '1may07' - this also has the advantage of not
needing other symbols which can be rejected and/or
words that are clear, easily spelt and simple.
Trying to be clever by using ambiguous words to get
more search engine traffic won't really help genuine
visitors, and may even harm your rankings.
It is a
little detail, but the names of your files can have an
impact so it is usually worth putting some thought into
the names when you create new files.
Clear communication is critical to
the success of any business, but it is often left to
care for itself in many businesses. Tash Hughes is a
professional and skilled writer who makes technical and
otherwise boring information accessible for everyone a
business needs to communicate with. Next time you need
webcopy, articles, newsletters, reports or any other
business document, visit
see how Tash and her team can help your business