WiscWeb - Recommended file naming conventions for media
When uploading files to WiscWeb, we recommend including the following information in the file name:
- Main subject
- Role of the file/category
- Size, if applicable
- Avoid using special characters (such as apostrophes or ampersands)
For example, if you have a JPEG image of Bucky Badger's headshot, consider the following format for your file name:
The key is to be descriptive but relevant. A user should understand what the file contains simply by reading the file name title.
An example of a filename to avoid would be:
Bucky Badger's photo.jpg
- It's important to stay consistent with your naming for ease of searching in the future. Make a decision on structure and make sure all uploads follow that structure. Also, you should share these naming convention standards with other users of the site.
- Separate your terms with hyphens. This allows search engines to more easily identify what the content is about, which can help with SEO.
- Do you regularly change the documents on your site? Consider adding a version indicator to your file name convention. Something like -v1, -v2, -v3.
There are a lot of great benefits to implementing consistent and descriptive names for your files in your Media Library, but here are the top two reasons:
Ease of keyword searching
The biggest benefit to having a good naming convention for your media files is that it improves your ability to locate the file you are looking for in your Media Library. WordPress allows you to search for media based on keywords and words used in the file name are included in that search.
By adding key terms to your file name, you will more easily locate your files. This is key since WordPress does not, by default, offer any sort of categorization for media.
Impact on SEO
Search engines like Google are always changing what they deem as relevant information to the user but one thing is pretty standard - having a descriptive file name is always a good idea.
Many files that we upload are inheriting names from the tool they were downloaded from (like a camera, or a photo library). Examples include:
Not only are these file names not descriptive, they are not helpful. They give you no indication about what the file is about and they hurt your site when it comes to SEO.
Instead, consider Google's recommendations for optimizing your website's images.
- Another really important element to your file naming is setting Alt Text. This can not only help with SEO, but it's also necessary for those using screen readers. Visit our instructions for Adding Alt Text to Media doc for more information.
If you have a lot of media in your Media Library already and cannot easily update all of your file names, you can still improve the searchability of your images and documents without uploading all new files. To do so, go through and add descriptive titles to each:
- Navigate to your Media Library
- Click on a file to select it
- To the right, you should see an area called Attachment Details with information about the image. Click on the Edit Image link
- A popup window should appear with more info about your image
- In the Title field, give your file a descriptive title (your edits will automatically be saved)
- Use the left and right arrows up at the top to navigate to a new file
- When finished, click on the "X" in the top right to exit the window