Publishing a valuable blogpost that actually reaches the right audience often looks like a difficult thing to do – but perhaps, that is because it really is! A blog post, much unlikely to the general perception, is not just putting down words on an MS Word document. One needs to keep everything in mind- word count, keywords, images, distribution of the keywords, format and so on. A valuable blog is one that is written with the right synergy and balance of these factors, and hence, it is really no surprise how WordPress featured images overlooked by the authors.
It is a rather great loss to quality writers – the fact bloggers do not really understand the benefits a high quality, proper WordPress featured image sizing and consistently styled post thumbnails can bring to their posts. A lot of recognition, brand awareness and business is lost by authors due to the overlooking or learning of these factors.
However, here we are to your rescue! In this comprehensive guide, you will learn why you need an impactful picture and the best WordPress featured image size on your blog. By the end of the guide, you would have also learnt how to get to such images and the best path to follow to arrive at a strong post-thumbnail!
First Things First – What exactly is a WordPress Featured Image?
WordPress featured image is basically that one image that by default becomes your post’s thumbnail image. The featured image is the image that essentially represents your blog. Every time your blog is shared from one medium to another, on social media platforms or on messaging apps, this featured image is what is seen by the people with the link to the post.
While some themes will automatically display your featured image at the top of your blog post, for some, you need to manually insert your featured image if you want it to show at the top. A lot of bloggers, since it is the easiest thing to do, let WordPress select any image to show up as the post’s thumbnail. Hence, in most of these cases, the first image of the post becomes the thumbnail – regardless of its relevance.
A featured image is important. It is the first thing that your reader sees or the first instance where the reader makes a decision to go ahead with reading your blog or not. Hence, a pragmatic blogger should manually set the featured image for each post. If you insert the WordPress featured image into your post, placing it either at the top of the post or at least within the first 3 paragraphs is recommended.
What is the ideal WordPress image size?
The most ideal WordPress featured image size is 1200 x 628 pixels. These specific dimensions also generally satisfy most of the pre-designed WordPress blog themes. Each theme on WordPress has a featured image of varying sizes.
However, if you go to Settings and click on Media, you can customize different image specifications for your blog. You can even edit and customize your image settings so that the different image types are automatically sized accordingly.
Each post’s thumbnail size lets you decide the specific image’s width and height dimensions for all WordPress featured images. If you size your image according to the best dimensions and specifications, your image will be cropped accordingly. By sizing your featured image in proportion to your post thumbnail size, you will be saved from weird-looking, strange cropping issues.
Coming to the question in all of your mind’s right now – How to Set a Featured Image in WordPress?
To set a featured image in WordPress-
- Scroll down in an individual post until you see “Featured Image” in the right-side toolbar
- You will also find the Categories and Tags sections
- Click “Set Featured Image”
- Once you clock on “Set Featured Image,” you will be able to choose any image in your WordPress library, or even upload a new one if necessary
- You can add in Alt Text and titles just as you would with any other blog images in the post
- Once you select one image to be set as a WordPress featured image, it will show up in the Featured Image box on the right-side toolbar
- The image can be removed, edited or changed at any time
Why Exactly Do You Need a WP Featured Image in Every Blog Post?
It is true, WordPress featured images are easy to be forgotten, a lot of times, also because the blog as a whole takes away more attention. However, this does not mean the image can be ignored. Using a high quality, consistently-styled featured image has more benefits than not. For the basics, an image will instantly lift the aesthetics of your blog, while making it look more professional, consistent, appealing and uniformed.
A featured image on a blog can also help readers, users and even businesses find you easily. The images which will also pop up on social media every time the blog is shared. Having a catchy, distinguished image and look for your blog can attract more recognition and brand awareness than a regular blog that is not well-thought of. Readers and users are naturally more likely to notice the distinct look and recognize it as yours. Such a revamp will help your blog get more clicks from your existing fanbase and also help attract more audience. For example, if you feature your blog with a red background image each time, the users will instantly relate any red-image blog as yours even before opening the link to read the blog!
For an extra SEO boost, you can also add in Alt Text to your featured image. The best way to do this, for extra visibility on search engines, would be by placing your keyword as Alt Text when setting your featured blog image in WordPress.
How to Optimize your WordPress Post Thumbnails for Social Sharing?
To get the most mileage out of every social share, you need to optimize a few key elements of your content and images so it looks great on every social network, including search results. WordPress users have way too many options when it comes to easy-to-use plugins for social media optimization.
If you’re using the Yoast SEO Plugin, which happens to be the most popular plugin, (including the free version), you can also upload specific, separate post thumbnail images for specific, separate social platforms in WordPress.
For example, the Instagram thumbnail size is 161 pixels x 161 pixels. Using the Yoast plugin, you can upload a separate thumbnail to match the Instagram specified thumbnail size. Same goes for Twitter and Facebook. Social Warfare, Kiwi Social and Monarch are amongst other widely-used social media plugins.
What Type of Blog Thumbnail Images Should I Use?
Though there cannot be a specific answer to this as it depends a lot on the category of your specific blog, most blogs will perform the best when using high-quality photographs. Food, wedding, fashion, photography, accessories, travel and fitness blogs are examples of sites that benefit from using relevant photographs as blog featured images.
The standard thumb rule method here, if any, would be to choose an image of “relevance.” For example, a travel blog should have actual pictures from the travel that the blog is talking about as a WordPress featured image. A blog on fashion photography will benefit from an image that represents photography and fashion, more than with an image that represents only fashion.
Tips on choosing the Best WordPress Featured Image (and why this matters)
A few quick tips that can help you land on the most favourable featured image would be as follows-
1. Use high-Resolution, scaleable images
Since your featured image is literally going to be the face of all your writing, all across social media, you should choose an image that is clear and crisp. Look for an image that is slightly larger in size so that it looks good even when users click on the image on Twitter and Pinterest. Using an image that is at a larger size than your WordPress post’s thumbnail helps the image look just as good even when enlarged.
2. Look for non-cluttered, neat and simple images
Simple and clean images, just by virtue of their aesthetics grab more user attention than images that have a lot going on. Even if you are creating a graphic for your WordPress blog, aim at creating an image that stands up to this practice. A simple image will be easier to digest, to the point and will help your reader instantly decide if they want to go ahead with the post or not. No matter how well-written you post maybe, if the image does not grab enough attention, the chances of a reader clicking on the link to open the blog go down significantly.
3. Aim for consistency in your images
While asking for images that are absolutely standardised can be boring and unachievable, one can at least let their WordPress featured images to typically adhere to the same style. For example, if you add a logo or a text to one image, add that text or logo to all the images. If you use Sans Serif for the text on your featured images, use Sans Serif for all the images on all the blogs. Keep all the additions consistent and in sync with the other images. This also helps your readers identify your blogs just by looking at the image.
4. Use images that are relevant and actually make sense
It is no secret that we tend to look at images in posts even before we get to start reading the text. Our brains process visuals much faster than texts and so, the images that you pick should “really make sense.” An image can make or break your post. For example, if you put up a food blog with the image of a cute cat, it will never attract any reader looking to read up a food blog. Hence, always pay some extra attention on choosing a relevant image that represents your posts accurately.
5. Make sure you have the legal rights to the pictures you choose
Unless you are using images that are from copyright-free stock photo sites, using random images from Google can really put you in trouble. Even the most credible authors and bloggers have gone down this lane of ‘accidentally’ using copyrighted images. As much as a monetarily taxing situation a lawsuit could be, it also takes away one’s credibility and makes you look bad.
All in all-
As much time as you may spend on weaving that perfectly written Blogspot, it would actually be futile if you do not spend some time picking the right featured image and post thumbnail for your WordPress blog. Ignoring the images of your blog could hurt your business as a whole since your blog will lose the professional touch and brand awareness.
Whatever images you choose, always – always- keep your design, dimensions and patterns consistent. This will be a great start point to reaping major benefits from WordPress post thumbnails.