Streamlining Your Business: Harnessing the Power of Naming Conventions

Throughout the years, and the many hats I’ve worn in the online business space, I’ve come to appreciate the little things that can make a big difference. In this post, I want to talk about something that might seem mundane but has had a significant impact on my own business and that of my clients – Naming Conventions.

The Chaos of Digital Assets

Picture this: You urgently need a specific document for a crucial client meeting, but you can’t remember where you saved it. The search function is no use either because you don’t remember if you left it “Untitled Document” or if it’s one of many copies of “Project_working copy” or “Project_new” or “Project_updated”. Wait, is the project name even on it?

The minutes ticking away as you search through folders and filenames can be incredibly frustrating and unproductive.

Lacking a system for organizing digital assets can lead to these chaotic and stressful scenarios, affecting your efficiency, productivity, and your sanity. Time spent hunting for files could be better used… anywhere else really. 

So, What Are Naming Conventions?

Let’s keep it simple. Naming conventions are like a set of rules and guidelines for naming your digital assets consistently. They apply to various aspects of your business, including:

  • File Names: Naming files in a consistent and descriptive manner. We’re talking any and all files here.
  • Folder Organization: Structuring your folders logically and simply, without having to deep-dive 10 folders in to get something, and naming them appropriately.
  • Image Labeling: Clearly naming and categorizing images, whether it’s your headshot, logo, website creative… regardless of your business you likely have related images and at least a few dozen if not hundreds or more.
  • Document Titles: Crafting informative and meaningful document titles. This is similar to the file names, and they can be the same thing at times, but when they aren’t, the document titles need to convey the right type of information.

The Perks of Effective Naming Conventions

Coming up with, and actually Implementing, naming conventions might seem like a minor tweak, but trust me, the benefits are substantial:

  1. Time Savings: With well-named assets, you can quickly locate what you need, reducing wasted time searching.
  1. Reduced Stress: Say goodbye to the anxiety of not finding critical files when you need them, or finding them all and not knowing which one is THE ONE.
  1. Improved Collaboration: Colleagues, team members, and or clients can easily understand and access shared assets.
  1. Consistency: Your brand image remains consistent across all digital materials. This is especially useful if you sell digital assets like courses with handouts, digital tools, even downloadable lead magnets.

Practical Tips and Examples of Naming Conventions

Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Here are some tips for creating and implementing effective naming conventions:

  1. Be Descriptive: Use clear, descriptive words that convey the content or purpose of the asset. For files, I typically like to start with the project that it belongs to, followed by what the thing is for (like email, blog, ad creative, etc), followed by a relevant descriptor if needed.
  1. Use Dates: Incorporate dates in filenames for version control—for example, was this the summer bash or the Black Friday deal? Alternatively, if separating versions of projects aren’t crucial, and if you’re using something like the Google ecosystem, you can either upload new versions of files so that the file keeps its original name (and access link) OR if the asset is a google doc, simply make your changes directly in it because you can access version history if you ever need to refer back to an older edit.
  1. Avoid Special Characters: Stick to alphanumeric characters and hyphens or underscores for separating words or different descriptive parts of the name. Choose whatever you find most readable. For example: Project A – Email Series – Topic – Month to publish.
  1. Consistent Capitalization: Choose a capitalization style (e.g., title case or lowercase) and stick with it. This makes things easier to read, and more importantly, easier to scan when you’re looking for something.
  1. Folder Hierarchy: Organize folders hierarchically, with clear categories and subcategories. I personally use a grand total of 4 top-level folders: Clients, Finances, Resources, Projects. Everything in my business falls into one of those categories. From there I keep the folders relevant but as simply named as possible.
    TIP: Try to minimize the number of clicks you need to find a thing.
  1. Documentation: I cannot stress this enough. Create a style guide for your naming conventions and ensure everyone on your team follows it. If you’re solo, it’s still worth doing for two reasons. Firstly, you’ll have it ready to share if you ever want to bring on even very part time help. Secondly, it’s a handy reference for yourself while you’re still getting the hang of your naming conventions.

Here’s a practical example of how I organize my marketing campaign assets:

Folder: Projects
> Sub-folder: Marketing Campaigns
> Sub-folder: 2023
> File: FallPromo_Banner-image_2023-08-15.jpg
> File: FallPromo_AdCopy_Set1_2023-08-15.gdoc

Remember, you don’t have to use underscores like I do here. Use a naming structure, delimiters, and overall descriptors that makes sense for your business. 

Naming Conventions: In Conclusion

In a world where time is money, adopting naming conventions can be a game-changer for your business. The benefits of improved organization and efficiency cannot be overstated. Start small, implement naming conventions in the assets you use most often, and as you create new ones. It won’t take long for you to reap the benefits of your new system. 

Bonus Tips

  • Ready to streamline your business through naming conventions? Comment below if you have questions.
  • If you want help creating your own customized organization system, email me at hello@clarissawhite.com with some details about your business and current setup. 
Tip

If you want to see tips like this in your inbox, click below to sign up for my emails. 

  • Check out the blog for more tips and tricks to simplify your business and boost productivity.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *