Why A Featured Image Is Important For Your Blog Posts

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Why A Featured Image Is Important For Your Blog Posts?

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;

  1. Post Title,
  2. Post Content (writing, images, videos, etc.)
  3. 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+.

Featured Image

Featured ImageFeatured Image

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;

  • Flickr
  • Google Images
  • …or made them themselves.

Andi-Leeman Andi Leeman - “Flickr, Google search, make my own at times”

 

Clair-Trebes Clair Trebes - “I tend to have a hunt around google for the free images and just use those.”

 

Attila-Szabo 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.)”

 

Flickr

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)

Finding Images

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.

Finding Images

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

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)

Finding Images

3. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and pick the appropriate ‘Usage Rights’.

Finding Images

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

About Matt Smith

Matt Smith is the founder and editor of OnlineIncomeTeacher. He is a Professional Blogger, SEO Consultant & Web Developer, running a number of sites from the UK. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

  • Andi the Minion

    Another great tutorial and thank you for showing me the Google Usage Rights section, I thought they had gotten rid of it but they had moved it and I didn’t know!

    Images are important and a long detailed post needs then especially if like this post they are about teaching people how to do something. I cannot publish a post if it doesn’t have several images, it looks so bare and wrong and not enticing to the reader at all.

    • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

      Hi Andi,

      Yeah, I wondered where it had gone on Google when it changed. Don’t know why they didn’t make it easier to find.

      Posts don’t look right without a few images. You need to include some to make it look a bit more visually appealing. Mind you, I still see websites that don’t bother adding any. Can’t say that I stick around for long on those though.

      Cheers for your answers as well Andi :)

  • Brandon Koots

    Hey Matt,

    I went to try the one from Google. In the top it says: Labeled for reuse. But when I open one of the pictures, it says in the bottom of it: This image may be subject to copyright.
    Now can I use them or not?

    Great post by the way :)

    • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

      Hi Brandon,

      You mean on the image it says “Labelled for reuse”. If it says that, you should be fine. Google is saying that it “may” be subject to copyright, they are just covering themselves that’s all.

      Just make sure to add a link back to the original image and you should be fine.

      • Brandon Koots

        No. It doesn’t say that on the picture. The part of labeled for reuse is written on the results page.

        • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

          You should still be fine. Like I say, Google are just covering themselves that’s all. Include a link back to the original and you’ll be OK.

          • Brandon Koots

            Well ok then. Thank you :)

          • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

            No problem Brandon :)

  • John Banks

    Nice post mate – I am one for making my own images where I can. Although I do still use the Google Images feature and Flickrr on the odd occasion. Where does Pinterest stand on this? Technically once an image is uploaded to this it loses all its copyright no? So, it is free to share…… I am sure there is some small print but isn’t that what repinning is?

    • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

      Hi John,

      If I’m honest, I’m not sure. Pinterest and similar sites seem to be a bit of a grey area when talking about copyright content. Anyone can “pin” an image from a site, whether it’s copyright free or not, but that doesn’t mean you have the legal right to then use it yourself.

      Saying that, it can be a good way to “find” images, as long as you then follow the link to where the image was originally pinned from. I use Pinterest to find infographics, but then the main aim of them is to be shared.

      It’s a tricky one. You’re probably safer sticking with Flickr & Google images, but if you select them carefully you can probably find a few on Pinterest.

  • Clair Trebes

    For a long time I neglected my “featured image” but once i got seeing lots of people (like yourself) making good use of them, I realised i needed to sort it!

    I didn’t actually think about flickr for images – quite obvious when it’s written in front of you, and probably far easier than my google hunt I go on!

    Thanks Matt! :)

    • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

      Hi Clair,

      Google can be great to find images, but I have to admit I do find Flickr to be much better. A lot easier to find copyright free images to use.

  • http://www.colewiebe.com/blog Cole Wiebe

    Hi Matt,

    A featured image definitely makes a big difference. Not only is does it attract attention and increase the likelihood of a post being read, it also makes the post more shareable. I’ve reposted people’s content across social channels with Buffer, noticed there was no image in the excerpt being posted, and decided to delete the repost from the Buffer queue. They just looked so naked as text only; I very much doubted anyone would even notice them.

    - Cole

    • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

      Hi Cole,

      I know what you mean, sharing on social media can look very sparse without some sort of image added to it. Think we all engage more with visual elements.