There are three important parts to every post; the post title, the content itself and the featured image! Whilst many bloggers concentrate on the content and title, a lot overlooked or forgot about the featured image. Every post needs one, as that helps to attract people to click on and read more.
Lately, I have had some questions sent in from readers asking about their own featured images and where to find them for their site, so I thought I’d put together this post to help you.
Why Are Featured Images Important
Like I say, there are three important aspects to every post;
- Post Title,
- Post Content (writing, images, videos, etc.)
- Featured Image
It’s pretty obvious to see why the title and post content are important, but why the featured image?
Well many people forget that the featured image is the one that will get seen the most. That is the one being displayed next to your title on your blog page and included on social media.
Here is an example of one of my previous posts about responsive videos and what it looks like on; our blog page, Facebook and Google+.
These are just a few of the places that people may see your link and each time your featured image will be visible. People tend to scan through sites, so any way that you can catch their attention with your image is a good thing. That’s why you shouldn’t neglect them and try to make sure that you have one that reflects what your post is about.
Where To Find Images
OK, so now that we know that your main image is important, where can we find ones to use?
This is a question that I asked you, the OIT readers, in a recently post – ‘Answer Our Blogging Questions’. We had some great replies (thank you!) from people and most said that they got them either from;
- Google Images
- …or made them themselves.
Attila-Szabo – “A great majority of them, I create from pictures I’ve taken, or combining clipart and designing my own clipart (linux, gimp, inkscape, etc.)”
Usually when I am searching for an image, I will first go to Flickr as they have tons of great pictures to choose from. The added benefit is that you can sign-in with your Google account and save pictures to your “Favourites” list and upload your own.
Now, whenever you are looking for images for your site, you have to remember that you can only use ones that have a “Free to use” license. If you don’t, you are effectively stealing someone else’s work and could be prosecuted! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
In order to look for “Free to use” images on Flickr, we are going to need to do an advanced search.
1. Open up Flickr and do a normal search for an image
2. Before looking at any images, go to ‘Advanced Search’ (top right-hand corner)
3. Scroll down and select ‘Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content’. If you want to customise an image, select ‘Find content to modify, adapt or build upon’ as well.
Now you can find an image to use in your post. Just remember to give credit (in the form of a link) back to the image on Flickr somewhere in your post.
Google Images can be another great way to find images for your site. Again, you just have to make sure that you are using copyright free images.
1. Go to Google Images
2. Select ‘Advanced Search’ (top right-hand corner)
3. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and pick the appropriate ‘Usage Rights’.
Now you can find your image. Again, just remember to give credit (a link) back to where you found the original image.
Tools To Create/Edit Your Images
There are times when you just can’t find an image that you are looking for, so you need to create one yourself. This could involve simply getting your digital camera out and taking a few shots or creating them from scratch digitally. When doing this, you will also want to be able to edit your image together and save it for your website.
There are many tools out there that you can use (both free and premium), including;
Just remember that your featured image should be landscape (though preferably square) in order to display properly as thumbnails on social sites and make sure that you optimize your image before uploading it to your site to save server space. It also helps to keep all your featured images the same size across your posts, which will not only make it look more professional, but also makes them all display neatly on your blog page.
Do you forget about your featured images? What tools do you use to make/edit them? Where do you find images for your site? Please let us know in the comment section below!
Image by ‘Eric Wüstenhagen’ – [Source]