How To Organize Your WordPress Media Folder Feature - Lots of Black & White Photos hanging on a clothesline

How To Organize Your WordPress Media Folder

Take a look at your WordPress media folder. How many files do you have in there? Are you sure that they are all still in use? Are there too many to sift through? If your folder is looking like a hot mess, this post is for you! In this post, we’ll explain how to organize your WordPress media folder and some tools that will make this task even easier!

Why Keep Your Media Folder Organized

Most website owners are continually adding new images, documents, audio, and other files to their media folder. You might add new photos or other file-types when:

  • Adding a new product, team member, or event.
  • Posting a new blog.
  • Creating a landing page.

Over time, these files can start to accumulate, and eventually, you might collect hundreds or thousands of unorganized items. When you’ve got a mismanaged & massive media folder, it can be a real mess! Check out a couple of key reasons you might want to keep your media file better organized:

Reduce Site Bloat

Your website host stores all of your media files in the database. As your media folder grows, so does the storage necessary to keep your site running. While most site hosts have ample database storage (including our host, Kinsta), it is always good to keep things as trim as possible. When you reduce your database bloat, you may notice improved website performance, and it becomes a lot easier to troubleshoot if any issues come up.

Better Back End Experience

I might be biased, but I find working with a well-managed media folder to be a joy– I am thrilled when my workflow is made easier by having a system in place. Now, you might not find this quite as satisfying as I do, but I am confident that you’ll find WordPress easier to work with if you take the time to manage your media files.

Now that we know the why, let’s move on to the how! Read on to learn how to organize your WordPress media folder:

Clean Out Any Unused Media

To start getting your media folder organized, first get rid of any images, audio clips, videos, and documents you aren’t using. While you’re in the process of doing that, check for duplicates of files too! You may be surprised how many files you end up clearing out by the time you’re done.

WordPress makes it easy to delete media files in bulk. But be careful! Out-of-the-box, WordPress doesn’t tell you which photos, documents, and other media are in use. It can be easy to delete something you need accidentally. To do it right we recommend:

  1. Make a backup of your site before doing a massive media clean-out. That way, if you delete something that you need, you can restore your website & that file!

  2. Use a tool like Media Cleaner Pro to help you identify the files that aren’t in use. This plugin will scan your website and give you a list of media items for possible removal– then you can review and delete in bulk. While there is a free version of this plugin, if you use a page builder (Elementor, Beaver Builder, etc.) or have premium plugins like Slider Revolution or Uber Menu, I highly recommend the pro version.

Rename Your Files

When uploading new media files, it is crucial to take the time to give them thoughtful names; a poor file name can lead to poor SEO. It’s well worth training your team to start following best-practices for media files! It also makes finding files in your media folder a lot easier, which will save you time in the long run!

But, let’s say that you already have a media folder full of poorly-named files. Or, recognize that even a great team can sometimes forget a step, and add a file with a non-descriptive name. That’s where a tool like Media File Renamer comes in. The plugin, from the same folks behind the Media Cleaner Pro, will help you create a standard file naming system, rename your existing files, and help keep new media uploads appropriately named. 

Organize Your Media Into Categories

Even after removing unused files, and using well-thought-out file names, you may still be feeling overwhelmed with a large media folder. I love HappyFiles, which lets you organize your media into different categories– this is especially great for websites with lots of images & documents!

How to Use HappyFiles

You might make separate categories for:

  • Branding (your logo & logo variations, site favicon, and more).
  • Your staff member’s headshots.
  • Your product images.
  • Blog post featured images.
  • Your PDF downloads.

You can even nest categories inside parent categories! So, if you had a category for “Products,” you could nest sub-categories like “T-Shirts” and “Hats.”

Get Your Media Folder in Order!

Taking the time to clean out & organize your WordPress media folder is usually well-spent, and will make you a happier website owner. Not only will you see dividends for your site performance & SEO, but you’ll also find that managing your website is just more enjoyable. 

However, it is essential that you feel confident making changes to your website before using any of the tools recommended above. If you’re not comfortable in the backend of your WordPress dashboard, these changes to your media folder can cause display issues– or even cause your site to go down completely. 

If you’d like help getting your website media folder under control, Dahl House Designs would love to help! Reach out if you’re ready to see improved site performance & SEO

Did you know that all of our clients on website care plans get pro access to all three tools above? And, we can even do your media clean-up at no additional cost for those on our Plus or Premium plans! If you’re interested, give me a holler! 

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    How To Organize Your WordPress Media Folder Feature - Lots of Black & White Photos hanging on a clothesline
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