Using PDFs?

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Should you be using PDF files to market your products and services?  Yes, but only if you do it the right way…most people do not do it the right way!

If you are using PDF files properly, they can be very helpful.  I read a great quote that said:

Chairs are for sitting.  PDFs are for printing.

The Right Way to Use PDF Files:

  • Notify the user it is a PDF.
  • Optimize it for search engines.  See a great article on PDF optimization.
  • Provide the content as a web page first and provide the PDF as a link at the bottom.  Say something like “click here to download a printable PDF of this web page.”
  • Make sure it is text based & searchable.  This also reduces the size of the file.  Everybody hates monster PDFs with blurry graphics, right?
  • Include a functional link to the web page it came from and company contact information.

The WRONG Way to Use PDF Files:


  • Surprise users with PDFs when they thought they were clicking on pages.
  • Use PDFs for a majority of your content.
  • Make the PDF graphics based and not text based.
  • Make PDFs huge, monster files.
  • Leave out your company contact information.

Why I Usually Prefer Pages over PDFs:

  • PDFs are a speed bump to quick browsing.
  • Most PDFs are too large.
  • Creating them can be a pain.  Note that using DoroPDF (free!) is a good alternative to the full Adobe Acrobat Pro software.  Doro is good for simple PDF creation.
  • PDFs are limited in functionality when compared to web pages.

Great PDF Uses:

  • Printing product information to show people who do not have a computer handy.  This is great for a construction or field business situation.
  • Saving on my local hard drive for later use.
  • Sharing a brochure or similar marketing piece to friends & associates that will print it and share it.  Chambers of Commerce are great about using this functionality to promote regional events.

Do you think changing your PDF files to web pages would increase your sales?

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