How to Enable and Optimize WordPress for Featured Images

Featured Images in WordPress

When I set up WordPress for many of my clients, I always am sure to push them to incorporate featured images to throughout their site. Here’s an example from a Salesforce Consultant site that’s launching… I designed a featured image that is aesthetically pleasing, matches the overall branding, and provides some information about the page itself:

wordpress featured image

While the other social media platforms have their own image dimensions, Facebook’s dimensions work well with all of the other platforms. A great featured image designed for Facebook nicely previews your page, article, post, or even custom post type in LinkedIn and Twitter previews.

What are the Optimal Featured Image Dimensions?

Facebook states that the optimal featured image size is 1200 x 628 pixels for link share images. The minimum size is half of that… 600 x 319 pixels.

Facebook: Images in Link Shares

Here are some tips on preparing WordPress for featured image usage.

Enable Featured Images on Pages and Post Types

WordPress comes configured for featured images on blog posts by default, but it doesn’t do it for pages. That’s honestly an oversight in my opinion… when a page is shared on social media, being able to control the image that’s previewed can dramatically increase your click-through rate from social media.

To incorporate featured images on pages, you can customize your theme or child theme’s functions.php file with the following:

add_theme_support( 'post-thumbnails', array( 'post', 'page' ) );

You can also add any custom post types you’ve registered in that array as well.

Add a Featured Image Column to Your Page and Posts View in WordPress Admin

You’ll want to be able to easily view and update which of your pages and posts have a featured image applied, so a plugin that does a fantastic job is the Post List Featured Image plugin. It hasn’t been updated in a while, but still does a fantastic job. It even allows you to query your posts or pages by a featured image not being set!

post list admin featured image

Set a Default Social Media Image

I also install and configure a default social image using the Yoast’s SEO WordPress plugin. While Facebook doesn’t guarantee they’ll utilize the image that you specify, I don’t see them ignore them too often.

Once you install Yoast SEO, you can click on the Social Settings, enable Open Graph meta data, and specify your default image URL. I’d highly recommend this plugin and the setting.

yoast social settings

Add a Tip for Your WordPress Users

Because my clients are often writing and publishing their own pages, posts, and articles, I modify their WordPress theme or child theme to remind them of the optimal image size.

featured image tip

Just add this snippet to functions.php:

add_filter('admin_post_thumbnail_html', 'add_featured_image_text');
function add_featured_image_text($content) {
    return $content .= '<p>Facebook recommends 1200 x 628 pixel size for link share images.</p>';
}

Add a Featured Image to Your RSS Feed

If you’re using your RSS feed to display your blog on another site or feed your email newsletter, you’ll want to publish the image within the actual feed. You can easily do this with the Featured Images in RSS for Mailchimp & Other Email Plugin.

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