WordPress Featured Image Size: A Complete Guide

Your featured image is one of the most important among all the images on your website.

When combined with an engaging headline, the featured image helps to capture visitors’ attention and drive more clicks to your pages and posts. And if you are running an online store, good-quality images really do the trick!

In this guide, we’ll cover everything that you need to know about WordPress featured image size:

  • What featured image is
  • How to set a featured image
  • Ideal featured image size
  • WordPress default image sizes
  • Change the featured image size in WordPress
  • Optimize featured images for search
  • WordPress features image best practices

Let’s get started!

What is a Featured Image in WordPress?

A featured image is an image that illustrates your post or page content.

The featured image is the first thing that appears after the heading and is also seen when choosing a post or page from a directory or search engine. As a result, it directly impacts the traffic to your site.

It is often referred to as the header image and is used by WordPress to create thumbnails, so the naming can change.

The featured image will appear in various places other than its original post or page. For example, it may display on your homepage if you highlight the most recent or most popular posts or your website’s search results.

Pickup WP Blog Post Layout

Furthermore, a featured image also appears when you share a post on social media.

Pickup WP Blog Post Featured Image on Facebook

In most cases, your active WordPress theme decides whether and how featured images are shown on your site. Because featured images are so essential, the most reputable WordPress themes have them enabled.

Still, there’s the possibility that your featured images will appear differently across themes, so be sure that the files you plan to use as featured images are optimized.

How to Set a Featured Image in WordPress

Now, before you can change the size of a featured image, you must first have a featured image. Let’s go over how to add a featured image in WordPress.

To add a featured image, open any WordPress post or page. Alternatively, you can create a new one.

On the post editor, look for the Featured Image metabox. This is typically found on the right-hand side of the editor screen.

Featured Image Metabox on WordPress Classic Editor

Now, click on the Set featured image link. This will open the WordPress Media Library.

From here, you can use an image that is already in the Media Library. Or upload a new image from your computer.

After selecting or uploading your image, you can add or edit the image details like title, caption, alt text, and description on the right-hand side in the Media Library. Alt text is particularly important for SEO and accessibility.

Select Featured Image From Media Library

Once you’re done, click the Set Featured Image button. The image will then be set as the featured image for your post or page.

You can preview your post to see how the featured image will look. If you’re satisfied, proceed to publish or update your post.

Ideal Featured Image Size in WordPress

While various themes have different featured image sizes, we recommend using an image size of 1200 pixels by 628 pixels.

Ideal WordPress Featured Image Size

This should work with most WordPress themes.

In addition, you can easily change and customize the image settings in WordPress.

Simply go to Settings » Media and change your image sizes.

WordPress Media Settings for Image Sizes

Have you ever wondered how large image sizes work so well on mobile devices? Well, WordPress automatically resizes your images to make them work on any screen size.

You can specify the various image sizes under Media Settings.

WordPress Default Image Sizes

Did you know that when you upload an image to WordPress, it automatically generates three versions of it?

These are:

  • Thumbnail size: 150×150 pixels
  • Medium size: 300×300 pixels
  • Large size: 1024×1024 pixels

Now, why are these different versions created? Let’s explain this with an example.

Consider an image with a dimension of 1200px by 630px.

It has a file size of 86KB.

Now, we have created the same image with the dimensions of 150px by 150px. The file size is now reduced to 10KB.

If you uploaded the original picture, 1200px by 630px, and WordPress didn’t automatically resize the image, would it make sense to use the same image with a thumbnail size of 150px?

You would be slowing the page load speed and increasing the bandwidth used. Not to mention that if you were seeing the image on a mobile device with a lower screen size than a desktop, you wouldn’t need such a large image.

WordPress automatically resizing the image is certainly useful. However, they may not always be effective. For example, if a certain WordPress theme needs an image of a specific size, the usual scaling may not be enough.

In these cases, you must resize the images yourself.

How to Change Default WordPress Image Size

To change the default image sizes, go to Settings » Media from your WordPress dashboard.

Now, change to the image sizes you want by setting the Max Width and Max Height fields.

WordPress Media Settings for Image Sizes

Once you’re done, click Save Changes.

Now, any new image you upload to your WordPress will be automatically resized to the dimensions you’ve entered.

What about the older images?

Resize the Existing Images

To resize the existing WordPress images, you can re-upload them manually.

However, if your site has several images, this is a time-consuming process. As a result, we recommended using the Regenerate Thumbnails WordPress plugin.

Regenerate Thumbnails WordPress Plugins

This plugin lets you regenerate the thumbnail image sizes in your media library. It also helps you to delete the old and unused thumbnails. As a result, you can free up some server space.

Optimizing WordPress Post Thumbnails for Social Sharing

When an article is posted on social media, the featured image stands out and gets attention.

If you want to engage your audience, you need to have the right featured image. Having the right featured image means having a high-quality image and the right image size.

Plugins improve the functionality of your WordPress site. They also make many otherwise time-consuming tasks easier, such as the different SEO plugins available.

SEO plugins give a checklist that you can follow to fulfill all of your on-page SEO ranking factors.

If you use the Yoast SEO plugin, it offers an option to add an image, title, and description for each social media. It also provides the right picture size for each social media network.

Yoast SEO Social Tab

This way, you don’t have to create different posts for each platform. You can do it all from your WordPress dashboard.

How to Optimize WordPress Featured Images for Search

While a well-crafted featured image helps attract readers, a well-optimized image helps you drive organic traffic through search engines.

Here are key steps to effectively optimize your featured images:

Use SEO-Friendly ALT Text

If an image fails to load on a webpage, the alt text will be displayed in its place. So, always include alt text (alternative text) for featured images. This improves accessibility and provides context to search engines about the image content.

It’s a good practice to add your keywords in the featured image, but avoid keyword stuffing. This helps rank your image higher on the search results page.

Optimize Image File Names

Rename image files with descriptive, keyword-rich names before uploading them to WordPress. For example, instead of ‘IMG_1234.jpg’, use ‘best-wordpress-plugins.jpg.’

Use Relevant Images

Use images that are directly relevant to the content of your post or page. The image should give context or add value to your content.

Include Captions and Titles (Optional)

Although not a direct ranking factor, captions under images can improve user engagement by providing additional context. Image titles can also be used to provide more information about an image.

WordPress Featured Image Best Practices

Here are a few more best practices to consider while creating the ideal WordPress-featured image.

Choose High-Quality Images

Your featured images are shared among other social media platforms. So, when choosing an image or creating one, consider a scalable, higher-resolution image that looks professional and appealing.

Reflect Your Branding

Use images that align with your brand’s aesthetic and color scheme to maintain consistency and brand recognition.

Be Mindful of Copyrights and Licensing

Only use images that you own or have the right to use. Stock photos can be a good source, but ensure they are licensed for your intended use.

Change Your WordPress Featured Image Size Today

WordPress is one of the most user-friendly CMS platforms available, and as you can see, changing the size of a featured image is straightforward. It’s not only easy, but it’s also important.

The featured image you select will be the first thing a visitor sees when they load a page. It must grab their attention, represent the content, and be SEO-optimized. If not, the post is unlikely to do well.

With this in mind, you need to give quite a bit of effort to each featured image you create for WordPress.

That’s it from the comprehensive article on WordPress featured image size.

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