Not all articles have a featured image, but in my opinion, I think that providing an image as a feature to your article is a logical step. As I’ve mentioned in other articles, we humans are generally visual by nature, so we’re attracted to images.
In fact the human brain can process visual images 60,000 times faster than written text! Now that’s an amazing statistic.
Any time you create a new post in WordPress, there is a section where your featured image can be attached. So, go ahead and include a featured image and you’ll gain more traction in your blog posts.
Why a Featured Image is Important
Beyond the obvious, that a featured image will enlighten your audience and hopefully grab their attention, there’s a number of other reasons why a featured image is valuable to your blog.
If used consistently, the user experience becomes much better for your regular readers, and they know what to expect each time you write a new post. Your new audience will also appreciate the typical style used, which is one of the 4 key elements of a brand.
Consistent web design is good practice, and you don’t want to deviate from this.
Featured images also tell part of a story. Sometimes you may create featured images that tells your visitors exactly what they’ll read in the post. Other times this may be more difficult, but try your best to describe the story.
One last benefit to a featured post, is that it will help with your SEO. An image with keyword in the title and ‘alt tag’ will be picked up by Google. This is a ranking factor, and one you don’t want to miss out on.
Featured Image Design Tips
As I previously mentioned, keeping a consistent theme with all your blog posts is better for your brand than a haphazard design. This includes keeping all your featured images the same size and ratio.
Make sure your images are relevant to the article you’re writing. It would seem extremely odd if you’re writing about desktop pc’s and displayed a featured image of a camera. There’s many places to find find images that can be used without attribution, Unsplash is my favourite.
Be careful with displaying images that don’t offend people. In this era where people tend to get offended quite easily, try to me measured when creating your image. You can still be a little shocking or humorous, but don’t step over the line unless you’re prepared for criticism.
Sizing and Cropping
A lot of this comes down to the ‘theme’ you’re using for your website. Different themes display your posts and blog roll differently, and can use unusual dimensions. You’re best to read up on the theme you’re using to see what they recommend as a featured image size.
One thing I’ll mention though when you download a free image to modify into a unique featured image of your own, is check the size. Often these images will download at the original size, which can be 4000 pixels wide. This is way too large for a featured image, which is usually in the vicinity of 800px.
You can always use a simple program such as Windows Paint to resize your image.
In my case on this website, I create featured images that are 800px x 400px. The reason I do this is because I use a program called Visme to make my featured images. They have a number of free image websites, including Unsplash, integrated for simple image creation. I use their standard blog header image default size of 800px x 400px.
This shows up perfectly on my individual posts but not so on the blog roll. I use Divi theme, and choose to have a grid layout. Unfortunately, this was slightly cropping my featured images. The solution I found was to add a piece of code so that the correct ratio would be displayed. Depending on the theme you’re using, you may want to get in touch with the support team to find a code solution that will fix any resizing or cropping issues.
Adding Your Featured Image
Adding a featured image is simple. In every WordPress post there is a section in the right hand column for adding this image. It looks like the following:
All you need to do is click on ‘Set featured image’ and browse to where the image is located on your pc or laptop. As I mentioned earlier, make sure the image is the correct size before uploading. If not, WordPress will reduce the image for you, but will slow your website down in the process.
Where Will Your Featured Image Appear
The majority of themes will have your featured image appear above your article, and below the title. Some themes will have options to change this, so that the image is above the title, or not even shown at all. (Not sure why you’d do that!)
Also depending on your theme, you may be able to style your featured images to attract more attention from any visitors to the post.
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How to Remove a Featured Image
Removing a featured image is even easier than adding one. Simply click on the link that says ‘Remove featured image’. Yep, that would do it.
Attracting your visitors is crucial to your sustained success as a website owner. Adding a featured image is only going to help with this purpose. Make your featured images are relevant to the article, and your readers will find your blogs more appealing.
Again, I can’t stress enough the importance of reducing the size of your images, or even compressing them. Once resized to accommodate your theme, go to Shortpixel, click on ‘Compress’ and choose the compression you’d prefer. ‘Lossy’ is the default and will compress your images by the largest amount. If you find your images lose too much clarity, use ‘Glossy’. In my opinion ‘Lossless’ will keep all the clarity but will hardly compress your images by much.
The benefits to all this, is that your website will load much faster than if your images remained huge. Any website analyzer will tell you, that large sized images are the biggest cause of a slow website.
I hope this article has help with your featured image knowledge.
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The opinions in this article are solely mine, are are not intended to offend or discriminate. All information in this review has been researched on the public domain of the internet.