Why Featured Images Matter
Just adding featured images to posts increases the average traffic 94%. And the more optimal the image, traffic grows from there.
We’ve assembled our ultimate guide to featured images to share the why and how.
What’s a Featured Image
Whenever you create content, whether on the web or in social media, you almost always have the ability to add a visual element. This is commonly referred to as the featured image.
In the WordPress web development platform, whenever you create a page or post there is literally a setting where you set a featured image. Depending on your settings, it may or may not appear on that page or post, but it will appear whenever you post a link to that page or post on social media, and elsewhere.
How To Get Started
First, be original whenever you can. A picture or graphic that is unique to your page or post adds value for analysis like organic search rank and other factors that can influence readership. For non-Instagram content, the best images should have a landscape orientation (versus portrait).
Never use an image you don’t have permission to use! That’s a huge no-no.
Second, take a few minutes to properly optimize the image for search engine optimization, or SEO. We’ve previously written about common mistakes people make, and you can read about that here.
How To Select the Best Images
Enhancing Your Image Can Add More Benefits
Adding your logo or other branding in the lower-right corner (often referred to as a “logo bug”) helps connect the content back to you as it gets shared around the Internet.
Text overlays can make your image stand out, but use it sparingly. Facebook doesn’t like it, and the organic reach of your content will be penalized if your image is more than 20-25% text.
There are free tools available to help you embellish your images.
The Cropping Tool Can Be Your Best Friend
Don’t be afraid to crop an image, especially if you’ve used it before and want to add variety.
Cropping can be a great way to narrow the focus of an image and make it more eye-catching.
It’s also a great way to take a portrait-style photograph and convert it to landscape.
Featured Images Make a Huge Impact on Traffic
Always have a featured image when you create content. It will at least double your traffic.
Take the time to search optimize your images.
Be thoughtful about the photos or graphics you pick. Let’s face it, building content takes a lot of time, money, and expertise in your marketing budget. You want to get the largest audience and ROI.
Photos Work Hand-In-Hand With Headlines
Nearly 2/3 of all the people who read your content will have clicked to it only after reading the headline and seeing the photo you’ve featured in a “preview.”
So making sure your content has a great headline and featured image are 2 of the 3 most important factors affecting the traffic your content can create. The 3rd factor is SEO.
For more about headlines, check out our guide to headline writing rules here.