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Is your business information hidden in PDFs on your company website?

Use PDFs wisely

Published: 4th November 2009

Author: Andrew Hart

If you have a company website the chances are that one of the reasons it is there to attract you more business.

Chances are that at some point you have also published material to your website in PDF format thinking "job done".

This is a scenario that we see all too often, with businesses paying for decent websites, only to then "update" them by throwing up content in PDF format. What's wrong with this? Well, plenty as it turns out:

5 good business reasons to reconsider how you use PDFs on your website

  1. Whilst search engines do index PDF files they do not rank as well as content that has been converted to HTML. If getting your content seen is important then convert it.
  2. Many users dislike PDFs when browsing the Web. Why? There are many reasons from the disjointed user experience, switching from a browser to the PDF viewer and back again, to expections of getting to information fast. Delivering your content in a format many users dislike will simply put them of reading it.
  3. PDFs are for print? True, you can guarantee how a PDF will print out, but any web designer worth their salt can write a stylesheet so that any page of your website will print beautifully without any need for a "print friendly" version.
  4. Accessibility (access for the disabled) is becoming an ever more important part of websites with greater expectations of social inclusion and legislation. Meeting accessibility requirements can increase the reach of your website by between 15% and 20%. PDFs can be made to be accessible, but the time, effort and skills involved are often beyond many smaller companies.
  5. PDFs do not use your website stylesheets and will not be updated as your site design evolves. Over time your PDF content will look more and more dated and detract from the impression of quality most websites seek to project.

PDFs have their place, but not in delivering quality website content. Not unless you want it to be: hard to find, time consuming to use, not in keeping with your current design, and most likely inaccessible. If you have important content then convert it fit properly within your website - your customers will thank you for it.

If you need further advice on this subject please check out our document conversion services orcontact us today.