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Beginner Guide about WordPress Featured Images

Beginner Guide about WordPress Featured Images

Have you ever noticed some famous and reputable websites using featured images in posts and pages? These sites add featured images left beside the title, which is an intuitive explanation about the essences of posts. However, some people, newbies in particular, may be puzzled about what featured image is, what it is for, and what tactics need to apply. In the following, our editors carefully present all answers to those mentioned problems.

Brief Introduction to Featured Image

WordPress allows users to set featured images to their posts. Users can find Set Featured Image down on the right side when they navigate to WordPress editor window. Then, it is the WordPress theme applied that decides whether and where to display the uploaded featured images. Thus, if you intend to make your featured image show in proper place and size, you have a lot of work to do with your theme’s function.php file.

Knowing the definition of features images, the next step is to figure out why to use it and how it brings benefits to your website. Broadly speaking, a featured image is a representation of post content in the image form, which expresses the main idea of a post in an intuitive and enjoyable way.

Featured Image

Enable Featured Image

In fact, this is a WordPress theme feature, which is especially useful for magazine, product showcase, portfolio, and photograph related websites. The majority of themes offer the built-in support for this type of image. However, there are still some other themes that don’t support this feature by default.

To find out, the easiest way is to post some new content, and scroll down to see the right hand side of the screen. If a meta box that is named Featured Images presented there, then you can start adding one immediately.

Featured Image

If you fail to see that box like the image showed above, then you’d better do the coding staff if you have known something about CSS.

To enable the support, add the following line of code in the functions.php file of your theme. Then, go to a new post to see whether this feature is visible or not. If it isn’t, make sure this meta box is enabled in the screen options on the top right of the whole page.

post thumbnail code

Besides, you can decide the size of this image by adding the following line in functions.php,

decide the size of featured image code

If you prefer to having multiple sized thumbnails of such image created by WordPress automatically, you shall call add_image_size.

add image size code

In this case, once you set an 500×500 sized image as featured image of a post, WordPress creates 3 sizes 200×200, 150×150 and 80×80 automatically.

Display Thumbnail

Use the following code to display a featured image or the thumbnail in Post, Page, or any other pages of your WordPress site.

get the post thumbnail code

The instruction of parameters are as following, alternatively, you can read this page for the detail.

Sample code,

sample code

Upload Featured Images

After finishing these settings, now you can add your featured image with ease. At first, click on Set Featured Image button inside the meta box. Hit the Upload Files button, select the image that is suited to your post, and click on it.

Set Featured Images

When the uploading process is completed, click on the Set Featured Image button in the right place. Then, you can see it at the meta box like the image showed below. If you are not satisfied with the image you have selected, you can remove it and repeat the steps again.

Remove Featured Images

Featured Images Tips

Now that you have some preliminary understanding of the term and plan to take advantage of this feature to benefit your website. In order to help site owners get the maximum profits from featured images, our editors conclude the top five tips as below that have been tested already. Just adopt those suggestions, and you can make your website outstanding.

Take Care of the Size of Featured Images

Bear it in mind that once you have regulated the size of the featured images, the rule will be applied to all posts and pages on your website. Thus, you need to weigh up the image size according to the average length of your posts and the theme style utilized. Broadly speaking, the acknowledged advisable size is between 200px x 200px to 300px x 300px. However, not all download pictures belong to the range; therefore, you may need to resize the images to fit your needs. Choose some photo editors and you can change image size at ease.

Mind the Place of Featured Images

PlaceIf you are going to use the function, you need to decide firstly where to place the image. By customizing the WordPress theme of your website, you can put the featured image anywhere you prefer. However, considering the image is a demonstration of the main content, you’d better put it in a prominent position, such as somewhere near the title, the right or left side of the first paragraph, etc.

Apply High Resolution Pictures

Apart from place and size, another precaution is to use pictures with high resolution, which means you need to apply clear and high-definition images. If you are worrying about the improvement of picture quality will take up a lot of server resources, and in return slow down your page loading speed, then, pick an image resizer to optimize WordPress images for faster speed.

Choose Content-Related Images

As we have mentioned in the beginning, featured images are used to express the essence of the post content. Thus, webmasters need to choose images that are highly relevant to website content. For instance, you post an article How to Add LinkedIn Shared Button in WordPress, and then, the featured image is better to be the icon of LinkedIn or the operating steps of the practice.

Pay Attention to the Color of Featured Images

Colorful images can glorify the post content and make your website attractive. Choosing colorful images doesn’t mean to use images that are designed with all colors, but means to choose pictures with bright colors. For example, when making a decision between a picture with white background and blue background, the latter one is our recommendation for it looks standing out on the web page.


Lucy has been a very experienced SEOer, technical writer, web developer, c# developer since 2002. Now she owns a startup in San Francisco, CA, focusing on running a couple of blogs to share knowledge and experience with global readers and deliver exceptional results to global sponsors by leveraging the power of Internet.