Directory Structure

Establish a Good Directory Structure

While organizing your content is important, the directory structure in which files are stored is of equal importance. By establishing your directory structure early in the planning process, you will be able to clearly see the relationship between areas of content. By starting with a good directory structure, even complicated sites can be managed easily.

Use the same naming conventions you use to name files you place on the web; keep them short, descriptive, lowercase, no spaces and no special characters. Your directory structure should closely resemble your site map which is in turn a reflection of your information architecture.

  • Place all images in a directory labeled “images” you may wish to further divide the contents of this directory into sub directories that serve as a repository for images from certain areas of the website.
  • CSS files or style sheets should reside in their own directory labeled “css” or “styles.”
  • Supporting files such as documents should have their own directory labeled “documents” or “media”, etc.
  • You may find it useful to aggregate all downloadable files into a main “downloads” directory that then further divides these files into their respective directories be version or date or file type depending on your needs.
  • Dated materials that are produced frequently such as newsletters and press releases can be grouped into directories by year and then further by month.
  • Always plan for scalability in your directory structure – you may not have a file or resource today, but if you think it will happen in the future, plan for it.
  • Avoid repetition of content or duplication of files to improve maintainability of the site.

Example directory structure:


  • leadership
  • program1
  • program2
  • program3




  • pdf
  • doc
  • ppt
  • graphics


  • leadership
  • contacts


  • 2000
  • 2001
  • 2002
  • 2003


  • program1
  • program2
  • program3


  • department1
  • department2
  • department3


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