Issue #65

How to do blog post feature images

You ever looked for an item you want to buy on Craigslist? Or Facebook Marketplace?

Or, try to sell something on there?

We’ve been selling some old stuff lately. So, it’s been on the brain. 🙂 But, both platforms make heavy use of imagery. In fact, on Craigslist, there’s that option to use Gallery view where instead of it being a boring list of ad headlines, you get a grid of images.

Like the RV nerd I am, I sometimes see what the RV market is looking like. 🙂 And you just go to Gallery view and you can scan images of all these motorhomes. If one looks interesting, you click. That feature image matters A LOT.

Same goes for our blog posts. It is the same principle. Let’s discuss…

Your blog post, in the scheme of the whole internet, is just like one of those Craigslist ads. It is just one of many. It is easy to blend right in. And you need to get people’s attention.

Now, there’s a lot of ways to do that. On Craigslist, it is usually a combo of the feature image, the headline, and the price. With your blog post, it is going to be primarily your feature image, your headline and perhaps your excerpt.

Do you use a feature image on your blog posts? Or, do you find it tedious and just skip it?

Most people, honestly, end up doing one of 2 things:

  • Don’t use a feature image at all.
  • Use some weird stock photo that is just as generic as it gets.

Neither option is good. You want to use a compelling, attractive feature image…. ideally for every blog post you publish.

I would suggest using a consistent set of dimensions. 1024×512 or 1280×720 is good because it fits most places where it will be used. Keep in mind, social networks will resize the image as needed. It is the aspect ratio that matters most. Using those dimensions will give you a feature image which is most universal.

But, what goes in it?

Whatever you do, do not use boring as snot stock photos. 🙂 We’ve all seen the cheesy stock photos of the boardroom tables with a laptop to try to signify business stuff…. or the girl holding a laptop with a blank screen so you can put words on it. It’s just… cheesy.

Stock photos can work in some cases. I’m a huge fan of DepositPhotos. I pick up credits on sale whenever AppSumo runs a special offer on it and those credits last forever. Plus, DepositPhotos has a great library of stock photos where it is easy to avoid the “cheese factor”. 🙂

You can also take your own stock photos. If you run a blog where that fits (like some of those RV blogs I talked about earlier), then just snap your own stock photo.

Don’t put a lot of words on your image. Ideally, no words at all. It will clutter things up when shared on social. Keep in mind that the image is going to appear alongside the headline, so it isn’t as if the feature image has to do the heavy lifting.

Also, consider the colors. Bright colors tend to attract the eye. If your image shows up on the Twitter timeline or the Facebook Newsfeed, is it likely to pop off the page? For instance, a feature image which is “Facebook blue” might blend in.

Put some thought into it.

Oh, and if you’re not a graphic designer, you don’t have to be. With DepositPhotos, really all you need to do is resize the thing down to proper dimensions. No actual editing needed. You can also use a tool like Canva to make your images.

Now, your action items:

  • Visit that list you (hopefully) made of your top posts. Check the feature images on each one.
  • Should you redo it to make it better? Assign one where one is missing?
  • Make the change(s).

Simple as that.

Have a great weekend. I may try to wash/wax/polish the RV. We’ll see how that goes. And if I’ll be able to lift my arms again come Monday. 😉

– David

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