Featured images are a valuable feature of WordPress sites. They are your cover images, the ones that appear when you share posts on social media (mainly Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google); and the ones that show up on your blog page depending on your settings. It’s important that you know how to use them.
One of the most common questions I get asked is: “how do I set up featured images?”
When you create a new post, scroll down until you see ‘set featured image’ on the lower right hand corner.
Upload your image, or choose from the ones you’ve used in the post. This also applies to Portfolio posts.
A few things to consider:
- Make sure your featured image is the same size and dimensions as the image size set by the theme. You can find this in your content settings under Genesis>Theme settings. More on this later.
- Make sure it coordinates with the rest of the images you used in the post. Using one of the images is a great idea, but so is creating a different one just for the featured image. Just make sure it’s related.
- If you’re using graphics, or adding text to the image, make sure it matches with your branding. Use the your brand colors, as well as coordinating fonts.
“Help, my featured image is too small!”
Remember that featured image sizes are predetermined, and are controlled by your theme. If you’re seeing some misalignment*, or notice that your featured images don’t fit properly, there are a few things you can do:
- Run regenerate thumbnails. (I normally do this for clients, after setting up their theme. )
- Upload images that are the same size, or bigger, than the featured image sizes set by your theme. If they are not large enough, they won’t look good. For example:
If your theme image size is 850px by 600px, and you upload an image that is only 500px by 350px, WordPress can’t crop your image to the size required by your theme. There’s going to be a gap.
Why can’t the theme increase the size of the image instead?
It’s possible, but if your image is a lot smaller than the recommended size, and the theme needs to resize it and make it bigger, the image is going to be really blurry. You don’t want that.
- Find out what the size of your featured images are supposed to be, and only upload ones that are the exact size.
- If your featured images are square, create square images. If they are in a landscape orientation (wider than they are tall), use ones that have the same dimensions. (When choosing images, remember that a vertical image will be cropped near the center in order to fit into a horizontal or square image – if it’s a photograph with people in it, there’s a chance the top and bottom will be cropped off, resulting in headless bodies.)
- When creating featured images for Pinterest, a vertical rectangle works best. Your theme might have the option to change the featured image. If it does (you can see this in Genesis>Theme settings), change it to your preferred size, and use the correct image sizes.
- After changing the featured image sizes, run regenerate thumbnails.
*The latest Genesis update (2.5) adds the ability to center align featured images. Misalignment will probably not be an issue anymore, but they still won’t fit into the space unless the image is big enough.
I hope you found this useful! If you want more tips, let me know in the comments.