How do you name your image files? I don’t recommend the names Fred.jpg or Esmeralda.png, unless your company happens to be named Fred Esmeralda, Inc. Typically, what I see more often, is folks just leave the image file with how it was named on the camera, as in img000203.jpg or something like that.
What are some rules to follow in naming your images? Here are a few guidelines to follow:
- Keywords – what is your blog post about? What are you discussing? In this case, we are talking about file name conventions. Someone might type filename or file name into Google. Both are possibilities for naming the images on the post. Make a list of various keywords, and use one that works as part of your image file naming.
- Characters to Avoid – there are characters that you can’t use in a file name, such as these: / ? : * ” > < |. Then there are ones you want to avoid. A big no-no is DON’T USE A SPACE. You might end up with a file name like this:
The browser might temporarily accept it; later, to your surprise, if you switch servers or platforms or themes, your little space might cause problems! Learn early – don’t use spaces in your image file names.
- Periods Belong with the File Extension – you know that little .jpg or .png or .gif at the end of your image file name? (that’s the file extension) You see there is a period there? Yes, that’s where you should use a period. Don’t use it elsewhere in your image file name.
- Use hyphen preferably instead of underscore – this is more of a suggestion, not a rule. You can use underscore without any penalty; however, … sometimes people don’t see the underscore and think there is a space. Therefore, my recommendation is if you have a choice between hyphen and underscore – go with hyphen. In general, if you want to put a space between your keywords in your file name, use a hyphen to do so.
- Name Wisely – if you might use the image again, include words you might search for in the future. Example: fall leaf or autumn for a fall foliage image. This is sort of related to keywords, but it’s more for your own use rather than the search engine’s needs. If you use WordPress, think of your Media Library. Every try to search when you have 1000’s of images? It helps when you named the image with a memorable tag.
- File Sizes at the End – Add the size of the photo at the end – comes in handy if you use different sizes on one post. For example, I might save one at 200px, one at 600px and one at thumbnail size (in this case, robin-100px might be my file name). You can also rely on various WordPress tools to resize your images, but I personally like to do the file sizes in advance of uploading.
Do you have any methods for naming your file images? How do you go about image file naming?
• • •
For those who want to learn more about images and blogs, here are the slides from my summer lecture: