Does a file name matter? I’d say yes when you are building a digital product or online course. Correctly naming files makes it easier for your students and buyers to find your materials and complete your course! Consider this:

  • 374857653.jpg
  • workbook.pdf
  • week1.xls
  • homework

File names like these make it impossible for your students to find what they need, when they need it. If you have multiple pieces per unit, it’s also impossible to link them together with file names like these. The lack of a file extension (the . + three letters at the end of the file name) also makes it hard for people to open your file, as the computer won’t know what program to associate the file with.

To avoid these problems, please follow these tips:

  1. Use file extensions. Common ones include .jpg, .pdf, .doc, .png, and .mov.
  2. Give the files names that make sense. An example would be the format “program-name-topic-name.pdf” so you might have files for your program called “Better Business” that are named “Better-Biz-Marketing.pdf”, “Better-Biz-Sales.pdf” and “Better-Biz-Systems.pdf”.
  3. Don’t use time-specific names.“Better-Biz-Week-1.pdf” is not going to make much sense a few months later, so you are better off calling it “Better-Biz-Marketing-Workshop.pdf”.
  4. Don’t put spaces or funny characters in the name. Spaces and funny characters (like /|\”&%#) have a hard time moving around the internet, so it is best to keep them out. The exceptions are the dash and the underscore, so “Better-Biz.pdf” and “Better_Biz.pdf” are just fine.
  5. Don’t use the same name over and over again. If you are sending out a workbook every week called “Better-Biz-Homework.pdf”, it will start getting very muddled on your students’ hard drives. Additionally, it is very confusing and the files might start overwriting each other. It would be better to use “Better-Biz-Marketing-Homework.pdf”, “Better-Biz-Sales-Homework.pdf” and “Better-Biz-Systems-Homework.pdf”.

What naming convention do you use for your online program or product? Let me know in the comments below!

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