People often disregard its power, yet the feature image can be a major driving force behind attracting an audience to read your article. To learn the importance of a great feature image, read on.
The post title can give people an idea of what the article will be about. Yet, the feature image works to highlight the potential quality you may receive in the post itself, it’s important to make it as ‘clickable’ as possible.
There are lots of ways you can enhance your image but before then, it’s best to know why you need to do it.
#1 It represents the article
Think about it this way. Your feature image is the visual representation of your content, telling your users what they can expect.
If you owned a restaurant, you wouldn’t want your waiters serving guests with dirty clothes and hands. It would represent your business in a bad way and would suggest the quality of the food and the service you provide is sub-standard.
The same applies to a feature image. If it’s blurry or configured with strange proportions then people will expect the quality of the copywriting in the article to be of the same vein, half-decent.
Equally, if an audience can’t work out what the image is supposed to be, it’s likely they’ll quickly lose interest. They’ll easily forget your post and even if they did want to revisit it, they may have difficulty around access But why?
If they’re unsure of the article title they’re likely to look for the feature image it was associated with, in order to find it. Yet, if they can’t remember what image looks like, they will simply waste time scrolling past the post and your article will only generate minimal views and interactions.
#2 It’s seen in multiple places
For it to be seen in multiple places, first you need to be good at promoting and optimising your blog content. Generating lots of “shares” across a variety of social networks is dependent on a range of factors such as ensuring it ranks well on Google and other search engines.
If that’s the case, you’ll see your feature image all over the web on different social channels, in RSS feeds and more. Here it’ll be in viewed by hundreds and thousands of users. If the users aren’t interested in the image, it’s unlikely they’ll take no notice of the title, never mind the attached excerpt. Your chances of generating traffic to your blog content will be slim and most likely your efforts will be wasted.
Look at this example of an iWeb blog post and how it is displayed when shared on multiple channels. These include the blog feed, the post itself, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Though, there are many other places your feature image can show up including in a ‘related posts’ section of your site – this type of section is always a great addition to a blog.
So, when your image is showing up in all of these places it needs to be high-quality and most importantly, relevant. Don’t use a picture of a cute puppy as “clickbait” to an article that’s titled ‘Why Pigs Are So Great’. It just doesn’t make sense. It contributes to creating a terrible user-experience and can confuse the reader so they believe they’re clicking on the wrong link or getting spammed.
That’s not a message you’ll want to promote to your audience and hence, it’s understandable why the relevancy of your feature image is deemed more important than the actual quality of the image.
#3 It can add context or mood to a post
Sometimes, it’s best to say nothing – instead, use a feature image to do the talking for you. A feature image is great for adding context to a post, conveying a message in simple terms or when contributing to mood and emotions.
For example, if you’re looking at a post titled “When To Honeymoon At These Go-To Destinations for The Best Weather” and you see an image of a beautiful, white sandy beach, it gives you an idea of the type of destination you will find in the post.
After seeing the amazing beach photo, it can entice the reader with excitement as they’ll most likely imagine themselves visiting there soon.
Particularly for lifestyle, food or travel bloggers, when creating your feature image ask yourself “How does this image make me feel?”.
If you’re a travel blogger looking at a picture of a slightly dark, dreary destination and feel you’d rather not travel there, odds are neither will your readers. It’s simple. Don’t put it as your feature image.
#4 Feature images can be used as product images
Particularly on WordPress sites, feature images have a range of uses, one of them is as a product image. If you’re wanting to showcase your products, it’s important that the image itself portrays clearly what is actually for sale.
Look at it from different positions on the site, to judge whether it’s clear in all different aspect ratios. If it’s not clear, it’s best to choose an alternative image that better showcases your product, otherwise it may not do the job of enticing customers.
#5 It breaks up the text
Reader’s will often want an eye break from all the text in your post. Even short blog posts will look and read better if they contain images. Text-heavy posts can be daunting and they only cater to certain types of people.
Not everyone is a fluent reader but when the text is simple, basic and split up, it means that more people can enjoy the content. Whether you’re a reading beginner or more advanced, it’s all about creating inclusive posts!
Tips To Create Great Feature Images
#1: Know the type of image you need
Knowing what kind of photo you should be producing for your blog will help you create great images. Your image needs to be relevant to both the genre and market you’re catering to.
For example, food blogs should contain imagery with the actual food they’re teaching users to make. The feature image for these should be of high-quality, show the food in its best light and make it look irresistibly delicious.
If you create a killer feature image, then you can afford for the images inside the post to be of slightly less quality. That is assuming you cannot make them both high in quality and informative. Ideally, they should easily demonstrate some of the steps the user will be taking and how the food looks during each stage.
In contrast, for many B2B sites, your feature image is deemed to do better when made with custom-made graphics. This way, they can be specific to your brand, giving your site a more professional image.
Not only this but being done in a graphic-style means incorporating your logo or other elements of the business won’t look like you’re overly promoting your brand.
#2: Use high-quality (stock) images
Sometimes, creating your own graphic for your featured image doesn’t always generate the best results. If you’re not graphic-savvy sadly it’s unlikely you’ll be able to design an outstanding image that your audience will love. For this, it’s best to speak with a graphic designer.
However, you can take your own image using a camera. Though again, getting a high-quality photo can be hard to do so if you’re lacking great photography skills or a good camera. Thankfully there are sites that supply great, free images, to do some of the hard work for you.
#3: Consistency is key
When creating a feature image for your posts, ideally you’ll want them to be the same size. This will help to keep your blog feed consistent. It can help with making your site look clean, tidy and streamline, which can help simplify user-experience and issues with navigation.
Also, it means that the size of the feature image across different devices, like mobile and tablet, are uniform. This can help to avoid the image altering sizes.
Often you’ll find on mobile or tablet it’ll look either too small or big. If you designed your image on a desktop device, the image designed will be clear and sharp to look at.
How To Be Consistent:
One way to ensure that you are keeping consistency within your imagery is to start with a good template. If you lay out your designs using the same grid every time, you’ll be able to quickly produce consistent graphics which successfully convey your brand.
Aside from this, there are other ways to ensure you keep consistency within your designs. Using the same font family throughout and by making note of the ‘#’ or HEX code for any colours used will also help in the future.
#4: Be aware of image cropping
Most sites have slightly different sizes for when they crop and display images. From the below examples, you see the original feature image shows the full picture, that being the full circle.
In comparison, the LinkedIn post doesn’t. Here, it’s cropped meaning the top and bottom half of the image is cut off slightly.
Tip: One way of ensuring your image is still readable and relevant is to put the subject of the photo dead in the centre.
As already suggested, if you work from a template you can easily include a series of frames to these templates which can block out parts of the image and check how they will appear on different platforms.
For more complex designs it may be necessary to produce graphics at various sizes and ratios for the best results. Especially as some social networks give their own suggested dimensions as optimum image size.
The optimal image dimensions for some of the most popular social channels are as follows:
- Facebook – 1,200px x 628px
- Twitter – 1024px x 512px
- Instagram – 1080px x 1080px
- Instagram Stories – 1080px x 1920px
- LinkedIn – 350px x 260px
Popular Tools for Designing Your Images
Below are some great tools to help you with designing and editing your images. Using these tools you can get access to thousands of free stock photos and icons. These can be used to enhance your post and make them eye-capturing.
Though, if you’re not finding much use using the suggested tools, our expert graphic designers are always here to help.
Looking to overhaul your branding or re-design your website? Contact Kanuka Digital today and see how we can help.
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