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Productivity | Time Management

How to Find Your Digital Files (as a Blogger)

Once you start blogging you soon learn that there are a lot of moving parts. From creating graphics, to finding files and links, it’s easy to get in the mindset of just get it done.

But, if you take the time to keep everything organized it will pay off in lots of time saved later.

In today’s post, I’m sharing why you need to be using a file naming system and how to get started creating your own.

Why All Bloggers Need a File Naming System

Raise your hand it you have more than one file downloaded from Canva as “untitled”. 🙋‍♀️

And while Canva isn’t the only place you need to focus on using a solid file naming system, it’s a good place to start.

Having file names that follow a structure makes it 10X easier to find things later. Because as most bloggers learn, repurposing or reusing is a huge timesaver in itself. But only if you can find the files you want to repurpose. 

If you’re like me and love to batch to save time, then a naming system saves even more time when you’re pulling all the pieces together.

A Good Naming Systems Starts with Good File Structure

Having a good file structure is like a fail safe if you ever don’t name a file quite right. 

What do I mean by file structure? I’m talking about the file path or file organization. For example you probably have sub folders inside of Dropbox or Google Drive or wherever you store your files.

And those subfolders might have subfolders and so on.

If you have a good File Structure set up, you can find things even if it’s not showing up when you search by name. Because maybe you had a typo in naming it or forgot to name it properly, being able to dig into the folder where you know it should be, will save you from having to recreate it.

Best Practices for File Naming

Now that you know to be using a file naming system, it’s time to talk about figuring out your naming conventions.

The first step would be to consider how you search for files. If you’re trying to find the Pinterest graphic you created do you search by:

  • the post title?
  • by using the word “pin”?
  • by the date?

For example you might batch create your Pins for all of your July content, do you name it “July 2021 Pins”. Are you going to remember when you originally published that pin if you’re looking to reuse it as a template?

According to Princeton, files names work best if they are fewer than 25 characters, while also being descriptive. (Princeton University Library).

Keep in mind that the file format may help in finding the file as well. While jpg or png may not be helpful in finding the right graphic for the blog post, you’ll likely need to include the size of the graphic in the name. A video file likely doesn’t require a size in its file name.

Once you’ve determined what your file naming rules are, you need to write them down for easy reference. Because we’ve all had those days where our mind goes blank and we can’t quite remember what to do.

How to Fix Poor Naming

If you’ve been blogging for a while then you may already have tons of things saved in various places that aren’t well named. 

Fortunately, there are tools you can use to quickly rename files on your computer. Bulk Rename Utility works best for Windows and is free. While Renamer 4 works for Macs and costs just $20.

Now unfortunately, they do not work for your files online, for example in Canva or WordPress. You’ll need to decide if it’s worth going back and renaming files or if you just want to move forward with better naming.

There are of course pros and cons to both. But if you decide you want to retroactively organize and don’t have the time yourself, you might consider hiring a contractor or even seeing if a friend can help you out. If you’ve got guidelines for them to follow on how to name things, it shouldn’t be hard, just a bit tedious.

Bottom Line

If you didn’t start a blog so it could take over your life, then having a file naming system in place will save you TONS of time both in the short term and in the long run.

Being able to find the files you need quickly and without fuss will not only save you from being frustrated but it will also give you back tons of time.

You’re exchanging maybe 60 seconds to properly name and file something away, for 5-10 of having to hunt for it because it’s poorly named or not where it’s supposed to be. 

Given how many different files can go into a blog post (the writing, graphics, video), it can easily save you 15-30 minutes per blog post in putting it together. Not to mention the time saved later when you decide you want to repurpose and just need to find it.

So do you and your blog a favor by implementing a file name policy and following it.

Over to You

Do you use a file naming system – if so what have you found that works best? Tell me in the comments!

Got questions about naming files -ask in the comments!

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