In the olden days, file names on a PC could only have 8 characters. Then with Windows 95, all of a sudden… you could name files almost anything you wanted.
And, as far as web servers go, things took a turn.
I downloaded something with that file name the other day (some words changed to protect the client.)
That’s 80 characters and hard to read. Yikes.
A file name like this may be all well and good locally on your computer for your use, but, it isn’t going to work well on some websites, web hosts, or platforms. And some servers will not even allow you to upload it.
But if you must link to a PDF, or for any image or file you are uploading to and including on your website, name it something that’s easy to read and understand.
- Don’t use any punctuation or special characters other than a hyphen or underscore and a period before the file extension.
- Google prefers the hyphen to the underscore. Hyphens turns the name into separate indexable words, the underscore links them together so you lose any SEO value for the individual terms.
- Keep the name short yet descriptive. I try to stop at 20-30 characters. I cannot tell you how many clients have sent me a file called logo.png. Instead consider instead a name like ibm-logo-blue.png or cisco-logo-white-2022.png.
- Do include the dot file extension, .jpg, .pdf, .png, etc.
When you can, just keep it simple and don’t make your file names look like auto-generated passwords! (more on passwords later…)
Your audience, your web host, Google, and your developer will thank you.