Using WordPress Featured Images

Understanding and Using WordPress Featured Images on Your Site

Images have a huge impact on your blog’s visual appeal. And while adding high-quality images to your content will definitely improve its readability and deliver value to your readers, WordPress featured images will do that – and more.

Surprisingly so, some WordPress themes don’t allow users to add featured images. Thankfully, there are a few different ways you can start using featured images even if your theme doesn’t offer support for them.

In this post, we’ll show you how you can use featured images on your WordPress website following the industry’s best practices. But before we begin, let’s take a look at what featured images are and what the fuss is all about.

Let’s get started.

What Are WordPress Featured Images?

Images are incredibly important to blogging, and adding them to your content enhances its readability and visual appeal. WordPress featured images are post thumbnails that enable users to set a representative image for the posts, pages, and custom post types they publish on their website.

WordPress featured images

Generally speaking, most blog pages display each post’s featured image, title, author name, publishing date, and snippet. The featured image you see there might also appear above the title and content on the post’s page. The easiest way to set these images is by using the Featured Image functionality.

Featured image in tweet

Since featured images are basically the post’s representative images, they appear on social media sites when you share the post. In addition to this, if you have RSS enabled on your blog then the featured image will also appear in your readership’s feed.

Why Are WordPress Featured Images Important?

The thing about images is that they have the potential to captivate the reader’s attention in a glance. And featured images do this even better. Here are a few reasons why you many want to leverage WordPress featured images to their full potential:

  • First impressions. Featured images are a great way to capture your reader’s attention right off the bat. With the right blend of relevancy and visual appeal, you can hook your viewership before they read your content.
  • Shared on social media. The featured image you choose for a post will appear literally everywhere from social media sites to RSS feeds. According to Buffer, tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than those without images.
  • Consistency. WordPress featured images allow users to bring structure to their blog posts. Visual consistency increases your site’s usability and helps generate more user engagement.

By default, featured images are built into the core WordPress software. With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at how you can make the most of your site’s featured images.

How Can I Use WordPress Featured Images on My Site?

Although WordPress supports featured image usage right out of the box, not all themes offer support for them. And if you’ve built your entire site on a theme that, you now realize, doesn’t support featured images, then you may want to take consider implementing them by other means.

In this section, we’ll walk you through both use case scenarios: when your theme supports featured images and when it doesn’t.

How Do I Add WordPress Featured Images to Posts?

If your theme supports featured images, then adding them to your WordPress site is simple. Here’s how:

Log into your WordPress website’s admin panel and navigate to the post (or page) where you’d like to add the featured image. From the Edit Post screen, scroll down to the Featured Image widget in the right sidebar and click on the Set featured image link.

Set featured image link in the Edit Post screen.

A Featured Image pop-up window will appear across your screen prompting you to either select an image from the Media Library or upload one from your computer. Once you’ve selected the image you’d like to set as the featured image, simply click the Set featured image button.  WordPress also allows you to add a title, caption, alt text, and a description to your featured images.

Featured Image pop-up window.

Once you’re done, the featured image should appear in the Featured Image widget.

Featured image preview in widget.


What Do I Do if My Theme Doesn’t Support WordPress Featured Images?

If you’ve already built your entire site on a theme that doesn’t support WordPress featured images, then there are two different ways you can work around it. Those of you who don’t want to mess around with WordPress’ core files can install a plugin (such as Quick Featured Images) that will add featured image support for you. However, if you’re technically inclined, then you can follow’s official Theme Handbook and enable support for featured images by yourself.

Quick Featured Images plugin

To get started, log into your WordPress site’s admin panel and navigate to Plugins > Add New. Search for Quick Featured Images, install, and activate it. Once it’s activated, go to Featured Image > Set, replace, remove from the sidebar menu to start managing featured images for your posts, pages, and projects.

This lightweight plugin allows you to set pre-defined featured images automatically for future posts and manage featured images on existing posts. It also allows you to filter out posts and pages based on their status, author, date, category, tag, and more to make it easier for you to add featured images.

What Are the Best Practices for Using WordPress Featured Images?

Featured images can make or break your blog page’s design. They can captivate the reader’s attention and attract more traffic to your site when implemented correctly. Here are some best practices that you should follow to leverage featured images to their full potential:

  • Size. Select a suitable size for your featured images based on your theme’s design and your post’s layout. You don’t want your blog page to look crowded because there are too many page elements on it.
  • Image Quality. Since featured images are usually pretty large, it’s a good idea to use high-quality images throughout. It’s also important that you optimize your image before publishing them to make sure they don’t slow down your web page.
  • Relevancy. Ideally, your featured images should somehow be relevant to the post or page they’re associated with.


WordPress featured images allow users to make their content more interesting and increase their site’s visual appeal. If your theme doesn’t allow you to use featured images, then perhaps it’s time to add support for them using the Quick Featured Images plugin. And if it already does, then you can get started with implementing the best practices we listed above.

Do you have any questions about how to use WordPress featured images on your website? Let us know by commenting below!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means Nimbus Themes may receive compensation if you make a purchase using these links.

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About the Author

A professional writer, digital, and brand designer, Rafay's work is published across a number of high-authority sites and magazines. He has provided services to numerous brands across the globe and is the go-to solution provider to many reputable private and government organizations. He is also the co-founder of BloggInc. When he isn't overloaded with work, you can find him tending the farm with his wife, furniture hunting, and being awesome at in-door badminton.

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