Publishing Series: The Featured Image

The Featured Image on WordPress is giving me a headache! In March I did some spring cleaning on my blog and chose a different template to highlight my personality better and make my blog easier for readers to scan without creating a marathon scroll. It was as I hit activate on my new template that I realized the Featured Image was going to cause a few issues.

It became evident that I needed to set Featured Images in this new template format or I would end up with a post that looks like the image below. The title, date, tags, and first paragraph shows, but then you see this big white blob of nothingness staring back at you. Unacceptable!

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 7.44.41 AM

After reading up on WordPress I realized it was the Featured Image that I needed to set in order to have pictures show above the teaser. No problem! My blogs always have images so I just started selecting the image that pertained to the post. Well, that didn’t necessarily work the way I intended as you can see image size has a big impact on the image display. Better, but still not satisfied.

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 7.43.35 AM.png

Today I got serious and started looking into the WordPress support site, I found the Featured Image Size is supposed to be 672 X 372, which is an odd size indeed. Of course the first thing I did was look in my go-to image creator, Canva, to see if they support this size with their many amazing layout templates. I find that Canva for Work would serve my purpose better than the free version, but I would have to pay annually to resize pre-created templates. After a few tweets with Canva, I’m waiting to hear back on my application to give our Innovation and Learning team a free Canva for Work account. Fingers Crossed!

In the meantime, I decided to get creative and design my own image in Canva relying on elements instead of a pre-designed template. Unfortunately even with preview I don’t really know what the image will look like as Featured until I publish, so I guess for all practical purposes this is a beta testing blog post!

Ultimately there is a wealth of research out there about the impact visuals have on your message. We connect to visuals emotionally, they stick in our minds longer, comprehension improves, and the list goes on and on… let’s face it, visuals help tell a compelling story!

My goal now is to ensure I have a featured image that supports my message in a way that hopefully invokes others to click in to read more. I’m hoping by creating stronger visuals I will also be able to scroll down my blog and see images that create their own story. In the end, I learned something new today and will be a better blogger because of it.

What did you learn today that will make a sustained impact on you or others?


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