Hello everyone! We are coming to the end of the year and, if you are like me, there is a big rush to get different things done before we flip the final page of the calendar. One of those to-do things could be finishing up some blog posts you had written. And one thing I find that takes a little bit of time when writing each post, but is also one of the highlights of the process, is choosing a good featured image to go with it.
What is a Featured Image?
Well, according to the WordPress.com support page on featured images…
A featured image represents the contents, mood, or theme of a post or page.
It is one image you would add to a post that gives a general impression of what the post is about. While surfing the net or reading other people’s blogs, you have probably come across situations where an image catches your attention before the title or content of a site/page/post does. WordPress has taken this into account and have designed many of their themes to utilize an image representation of each post/page. They call this image, the Featured Image!
You can add a featured image to your post by simply selecting the “Featured Image” menu you will see on the right of your editor. You can either drag-and-drop an image here from your computer, or click to choose an image from your online media collection with WordPress.
Do I need a Featured Image?
Technically, no, you don’t. You can publish posts and pages with no featured image. If you are going for a text-based site image, then there is no problem with that. However, practically speaking, it is highly advised that you do include a featured image to every post. This way, there is more than just text which has a chance of capturing the attention of a “passer-by” and drawing them to read the content of the post/page.
In the past, I had a site in which I would use the same featured image for every post. This saved me the time of preparing a new image each time I published something. However, it wasn’t very appealing. Once people started visiting the site multiple times, it became hard for them to tell at a quick glance if I had published any new content. Also, from an editor’s point of view, I found I was confusing myself from time to time, going to edit one post and only realizing once I had opened it that I had opened the wrong post. Having a different image to every post you make is not only more appealing to your readers, but also more efficient for you, the editor, if you need to come back and make any changes later on.
How do I get images I can use?
I think there are three main to get images you could use as your featured image.
1. From your own collection in your computer.
WordPress has made it so easy to upload pictures into your blog. All you have to do is simply drag-and-drop an image you already own in your computer into the Featured Image box you see in your editor. Simple as that!
Actually taking/drawing pictures and getting them ready to upload is the time consuming part. For bloggers who also have a side hobby as a photographer, this isn’t too much of an ordeal, I imagine. Or, if you are dedicated to publishing original content only, then that may motivate you to prepare an image for every post, too. However, if you are like me and photography is not an enjoyable pastime (or you just don’t have the skills ??), then one of the following two options would probably be better.
I will mention here, some of my followers has some amazing talent with preparing featured images. For example, New Lune seems to design and create original and professional photos for all of her blog posts. She also has some interesting posts on the topic, so if you are interested, you could go and check them out.
- How to take good pictures with your iPhone
- How I Edit My Blog Pictures | A Step-By-Step Tutorial
- 7 Tips For Taking Bright Photos in Winter
2. Using the WordPress Free Image Library
Since January of this year (yes, it is still 2018!), WordPress.com has partnered with Pexels so that anyone can search for free images from right inside their blog editor! WordPress.com wrote a post about this topic a little while ago, which you can read here: Introducing: A Diverse, Free Stock Photo Library
How do you use their free images, you ask? It’s simple! When you click on the “Add” button in the top left of the screen, choose “Free photo library”. You will find a search bar at the top of the pop-up window. Simply type a word related to your image, and there you have it! (Below is a list of images I got typing the phrase “snowman”.)
3. Use third-party free image sites
Although the image library provided by Pexels is quite comprehensive, no free image site is ever going to have every single image you are looking for. That is why I have found it good to bookmark a few other free image sites so I can quickly reference what they produce for the same queries. Below are examples of a couple of other sites and what they gave me for the search query “snowman”…
Photo AC (For images with a strong Japanese overtone)
As you can see, I chose an image from the WordPress.com free image library this time as the featured image of this post. 🙂