A guide to using PDF documents on business websites (Part 4)

If you’ve been following the first few parts of this series, I hope you’ll have started to get a better handle on what PDF files are on your website and which ones need to be made into a user-friendly size. The next thing to consider is how well these documents work in isolation, because it’s quite possible they’ll be separated from your website.

Now, you wouldn’t allow a web page on your website which had no links anywhere else, so why would you allow a PDF document to do the same? Yet millions of PDF documents do just that.

The first thing to check is that there’s actually a reference to your company. That might sound obvious, but I’ve seen many, many manufacturers’ data sheets on resellers’ sites with no mention of the reseller whatsoever. Remember the old dealers’ stamp on the back of printed literature? That’s what I’m talking about. Getting someone as far as seeing a document on your website, then allowing them to store it with no way of finding your website again, would be a disaster.

The easiest way to add your information to a PDF document which was produced by someone else is simply to create a PDF cover page and add this to the document. Printed documents might need to be 4, 8, 16 or 32 pages, but PDF versions don’t, and there’s no reason at all why you can’t add a page on to the end giving important information such as contact details, offers and your company profile. This is a really straightforward job and doesn’t even need a professional designer.

The second thing to look at is to see if the links in your PDF document (including on your newly-minted cover pages) are actually live ones which people can click on. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t be, and again, it’s quite easy to do. Just think of the PDF document as a web page, and add in links wherever you would on a web page.

Next: Part 5

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