File Naming Conventions
What Are File Naming Conventions
File naming conventions refers to the way we name our web pages, documents and images. Ex- http://www.providence.edu/financial-aid is the name for the Financial Aid Site. It is VERY important, both for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and for the user experience that we use consistent and clear names for both our web sites/pages and also for the various files linked to them.
Consider this- which is more clear to you?
http://www.providence.edu/ia or http://www.providence.edu/institutional-advancement?
The second option, while longer, indicates more clearly to the user what the link leads to- no one outside of the immediate PC community probably knows the first link. Clearly naming a site for what it is will give you more traffic, better traffic (meaning the people who find your site actually mean to be there) and higher search engine results.
At Providence College, we abide by the following rules regarding the naming of web pages/sites and files associated with those pages/sites.
- Sites must be clearly named- no acronyms ex- http://www.providence.edu/instutional-advancement not http://www.providence.edu/ia
- Separate words using the dash, do not use underscore or leave spaces ex http://www.providence.edu/financial-aid not http://www.providence.edu/financialaid or http://www.providence.edu/financial aid. It's especially important not to leave spaces in the names of linked files- some web browsers will choke on files containing spaces in their names and maybe not allow your audience to actually view the files!
- Only use alphanumeric characters in your names- A through Z and 0 through 9. Do not use any special characters such at $%&@* etc.
- If you need to use "and", spell it out. Do not use the ampersand &.
- When naming files within your site that you are linking to, use common, easy to understand terminology that allows you to remember what the file actually is and also allows you to easily re-upload a new version of the file and overwrite the old one. Avoid using dates.
Example, say you have an Adobe .pdf registration form that you use for Freshman registration and is updated yearly on your site. A good name to use might be freshman-registration-form.pdf rather than a complicated name such at regform04122011.pdf. There is no way for you, or perhaps another web editor who may be working with you, to know what a file named regform0412011.pdf actually contains. Also, if you use the clear name of freshman-registration-form.pdf, you can overwrite the file directly with a new version that has the same name- and all your links on your site will still be intact! If you were to use another name, you'd have to go in, delete the old version, and then scour your site to make sure all of your old links point to the new version of the file.