This articles explains the importance of naming files appropriately for your website, how to rename files for SEO and why you should always save & optimize your images for web before uploading them to your website.

How to name files

There’s no real “golden” formula, just a couple rules to follow.

Must do:

  • Include relevant keywords
  • Say what the image is (so humans can understand)
  • Do NOT use spaces – (hyphens “-” or underscores “_” only )
  • Letters, numbers, underscores and hyphens only
  • Under 100 characters
  • Stay consistent

Should do:

  • Include dimensions when available
  • Avoid capital letters

Why do it:

  • Instantly find any photo
  • Transforms your photos into an archivable, searchable asset library
  • Save time
  • Eliminate stress
  • Great for SEO (search engine optimization)

Awesome Example:

  • save-the-kids-san-diego-nonprofit-organization-group-shot-1200-by-450-1.jpg

A lot of people start a project and give us images with filenames like this: 0129_FJ.jpg

And then they go ahead and send us 250 more images with the same file naming structure, while wanting the images broken up into different categories.

The result? A back-n-forth conversation of renaming files, resending files and emails like this:

“The first image and the last image are for the about page, the 2nd through 36th image is for the gallery page, the 37th through 42nd image is for this page and…..”

You see the problem? It’s like deciphering a code. STOP DOING IT. Rename your files and keep your sanity.

HOW TO NAME FILES FOR WEB

Keywords & Descriptors: (Must have)

Company: Save The Kids,  a Nonprofit out of San Diego.
Specialization: Kids Health Program Design & Kids Event Management

Here’s an example for the company below…

Bad file name: 0129_FJ.jpg
Good File name: kids-health-program-design-savethekids-nonprofit-san-diego_group-photo-1.jpg

It’s a good practice to end the file name with a number or a date, so we/you can reference which image is which. So let’s say you have 5 photos from program design, you can label them appropriately by using the same prefix, and just changing the last digit. This helps with SEO and also allows us/you to know which file goes where.

Dimensions: (nice to have)

Another good practice is to include the dimensions of the file. So let’s say you have one image that’s 1200×450 px and another that’s a thumbnail at 250×250. You can do the following:

1200 x 450 px: kids-program-design-san-diego-savethekids-nonprofit-1200-by-450-1.jpg
250 x 250 px: kids-program-design-san-diego-savethekids-nonprofit-250-by-250-1.jpg

Some more examples:

Company: Mittun (Mitten United, Inc.)
What: Creative Design Agency, picture of company founder

Here’s an example for the company below…

Bad file names:
SONY01025.JPG
old-pic-SHANE-office-2010!.jpg
Screenshot09892929.png

Good File name:
mittun-creative-company-founder-shane-michael-at-old-office_for-about-page_1.jpg
shane-michael-mittun-creative-design-1.jpg

Keyword stuffing isn’t necessary, it simply allows you, us, Google, etc— to find you easier. If the image might exist on multiple pages, then there’s no need to include “home-page” or “about-page” in the file name.

Let us know if you have any questions or concerns in the comments below. Better yet, if you have any suggestions on ways YOU DO IT to make it even EASIER or BETTER, please let us know!

Leave a Reply

Saving the world, one website at a time.