Wordpress Tips

Featured Images and why they are important

Everyone should know what Featured Images are and why they are so important to use when you’re running a WordPress blog.

So what is a Featured Image?

A featured image is a function for posts and pages, to select a certain image that will represent that post throughout your site. That can be in form of a thumbnail generated by your selected theme, or if your theme supports slideshows, the image you select as your featured image will typically be the one displayed then.

Some themes automatically generate a featured image based on the first image you’ve inserted into a post. That however isn’t the best solution as the first image may not be best suitable for that. I highly recommend that you always select a specified featured image for your posts.

This is important, as while your current theme may automatically generate a featured image, a new theme in the future might not do so. Then you don’t have to go back through hundreds of posts to set one again all over.

Examples of Featured Images

If you’re still not quite sure what a featured image is or how it’s used, have a look at these examples:

This example is taken from a Solopine theme called Alder which is available for Self-hosted WordPress users.

The red arrows show where each Post’s Featured Image is generated and used. So as you can see, the main Grid Layout of the blog has 4 large images for users to press on to read the full posts. Besides that, in the right Sidebar, it uses a “Latest Posts” widget, which includes a small thumbnail of the post. Again, the Featured Image chosen for each post is what tells the Widget which thumbnail it should use here.

If no Featured Images had been chosen for those posts, it would be missing the Thumbnail preview and I think we can all agree on that it looks 10x better with a visual preview 🙂

Where to find the “Featured Images” function?

Let’s quickly locate the feature so you know where to find it on your own blog. If you’re using WP-Admin (Read here why you should) then it’s in the bottom right side of the post/page-editor as shown here:

You simply click the text “Set featured image” and you can then either use a Picture from your current media-files, or you can upload a brand new one.

It’s very important that you use images that have a large enough resolution (size), so that if your theme displays the featured images in a large/wide format, it won’t have to stretch your uploaded image and thereby reducing the image quality. A good rule of thumb would be to use dimensions that are at least 1200×800.

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