Importance of Using Featured Images in WordPress

Nobody wants to read huge chunks of monotone text – that’s no secret! That’s why you’ll rarely (if ever) see true WordPress experts post anything without headings, italic, and bold text or images. So it’s clear that having images in your posts is important. But a featured image doesn’t appear in a post. So what is the point of it then? The truth is that the importance of using featured images in WordPress is different from the importance of using images in general in your posts. This, however, doesn’t diminish it. Featured images are still very important for your website.

What is a featured image?

You can find featured images (or post thumbnails, as they are also sometimes called) on posts and pages in WordPress. They usually appear at the top of the page above the title or they might be a background for the title, depending on the theme you’re using. In some cases, however, you may not see them at all in the post itself. But they will show on your home page and on other platforms where you link your content. They are, then, a visual representation of your content. Along with the title, they are the first thing that many of your users will see when checking out your blog and pages. So you have to make sure that they draw attention and give an idea of what the content is about. This means choosing the right images and optimizing them for WordPress to ensure they are the best they can be.

Person learning about using featured images in WordPress online.
Images make your content more interesting.

Why is using featured images in WordPress important?

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who don’t use featured images in WordPress. There are a number of possible reasons for this. Some themes, for example, do not support featured images. And sometimes people don’t really know how to add a featured image to their post (hint: the featured image box is on the right side of your post and page editor in WordPress). But a lot of the time, it is because many people do not understand the importance of using featured images in WordPress. So let’s take a look at some of the most important benefits of featured images:

  • visually representing content
  • adding something interesting to your website
  • being a part of a well-designed website
  • improving search engine optimization

Create a good visual representation of your content

The main role of a featured image is to visually represent the content it is a part of. If you are, for example, writing a post about the best dog breeds for families with children, adding a photo of a child playing with a dog can be a good way to show what the text is about. You know what they say – a picture is worth a thousand words! Most of us don’t have the time to read every article we find online, even on a topic we are genuinely curious about. But looking at a photo takes only a couple of seconds. So adding a good featured image to your article can quickly and easily give your users a better idea of what they can find in the post and assure them that it is worth their time to read it.

Laptop open to Unsplash images.
Choose a representative image for your content.

Make your website more interesting and attractive to users

One of the most important things you need to do when running a website is to make sure as many people as possible choose to click your link over all others. This task isn’t always easy. Competition on the internet is fierce these days, after all. You should take anything that gives you an advantage. And featured images can be that advantage for you. Humans are, for the most part, visual creatures. A nice, colorful image will, therefore, much more easily attract attention than a chunk of text. There are a number of websites where you can find high-quality beautiful images for free to use for your featured images in WP. They are sure to catch the eye of countless users and increase your traffic!

Set the tone by using featured images in WordPress consistently

When designing your website, you probably had a certain look in mind. Maybe it’s all about slick, clean lines or maybe it’s all about being monochromatic. Whatever it is, sticking to a certain look can be a good way to stay on brand and recognizable. Using featured images in WordPress can help with that! In many themes, featured images appear on the homepage. By choosing images that follow the same color scheme or even just the same vibe as the rest of the website, you can contribute to the overall look and impression you’re giving.

Laptop running PhotoShop.
Choose an image that fits with your website.

Improve your SEO through featured images

Finally, it’s worth noting that not all the benefits of using featured images in WordPress (or using images in WordPress in general) are about what your users actually see. Images also have an effect on your SEO, especially when they are properly optimized. Using the right captions and alternative tags and adding your keyword to them can actually help you rank higher on Google search. This is so important for websites today that professional website maintenance is increasingly common. And once again, any advantage you can get is one you should take. So why not add a pretty image to your post?

Tips for using featured images in WordPress right

Of course, it’s never as simple as just using featured images in WordPress – you must also use them the right way. The key thing to remember is to¬†choose the right image every time. It has to be something related to the content you are publishing, but it must also fit the style of the rest of your website. You can find tons of beautiful images on websites like Unsplash or Pexels. But remember to check the creative license of the image you choose! If the image is not free for commercial use, always include the appropriate credit. Finally, remember to optimize the image before publishing your content – use the right size and format for your theme and add useful alt tags.