| Read time 9 min read

Featured image tips: design principles that stands out

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Featured image tips: design principles that stands out

Read time 9 min read

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No blog is complete without a catchy featured image. It serves as a critical factor that’ll make or break the success of your blog. A good featured photo helps hook your reader within the first few seconds of seeing it. It is a must that this image will effectively represent your blog topic and be memorable for your readers.But finding the right featured image for your blog can be a daunting task. You’ve looked around royalty-free stock galleries. Then, you’ve found most of their images are already on other blogs.  Therefore, you’ll need to invest some time and resources to get the perfect photo.

We’ve listed the best steps to make your featured image exceptional to represent your blog post better.

Blog Post Featured Image: Ensuring Focus

Many bloggers and websites use richly detailed photos to grab your attention. However, these pictures will confuse rather than impress your readers because of the extra details. A good featured image will always focus on a handful of details.


The worker is the photo’s primary focus. Next, the reader will likely focus on the containers being piled together. The image uses contrast to reduce the factory’s visibility.

Therefore, blogs that discuss economics and commerce will need to find the right focus for their featured image to give readers an idea as to what the blog is all about.


This abstract image impressively expresses texture and details. However, it will fail as a featured photo because details are its primary focus. A graphic designer can give this image a focus by adding a header text, such as your blog’s title. Alternatively, you can use it as a background photo on flyer templates.

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Blog Featured Image Must Always Match With The Content

You’ve chosen a photo of a child playing in a park. It has enough details and uses the child as its focal point. However, your blog is about computer programming. Therefore, your featured image will leave readers confused about its involvement.

The best way to match your featured image with content is to understand your topic’s popular symbolic notions. Then, list them down to help you find the perfect photo.

For example, computer programming involves the following items:

  • Laptops, desktops, or smartphones
  • A busy person using these devices
  • Cinematically-presented computer code
  • Actual coding language in practice

This photo might work well for programming blogs. However, unnecessary minor details might still confuse readers. For example, this photo’s blurred hands might not be suitable for your blog post’s clean-coding practices. Blurry photos always look smudged. Therefore, this minor detail might contradict the clean programming practices for some readers.

Your WordPress Featured Image Must Show Results

Fact-filled blog posts always sound boring. However, pictures that subtly show facts are perfect featured images. The pictures can show certain symbols and elements that imitate or perform an action.

Many businesses use featured images that symbolize the results readers will get.


Home insurance blog writers can feature this image and grab their reader’s attention.

The hands symbolize the insurance company’s benefits protecting the house. Therefore, readers will find this photo satisfying because you’re discussing the protection benefits your insurance provides.


You can feature this photo in an insurance blog that discusses the loss of belongings. The picture’s negative theme contrasts with the blog’s content. Therefore, the photo highlights the content in a positive light.

This results in a subtle but effective contrast between the featured image and your content.

You will be interested

Understand Color Psychology

Color psychology is a powerful tool that advertisers have extensively used in successful marketing campaigns. The color of your favorite photos evokes a variety of moods and emotions. For example, the color blue encourages calm and relief. Red suggests activity and stimulation. Therefore, consider color psychology when selecting photos because of its powerful impact.

Color contrast is part of color psychology. It highlights photo elements that enhance its mood and focus.

High contrast can make your featured image stand out. This quality makes it perfect for crucial, cornerstone content. However, pictures with high contrast levels are always tiring to the eyes.

On the other hand, low contrast makes details seamlessly flow into each other. However, this flow might make your picture forgettable or confusing.

If you’re confused, infographics and flyers have excellent examples of color psychology in practice.

Create a Template

Always Include People

It’s part of our human biology to identify with other humans. Therefore, readers will always look at featured images that show people.

Humans empathize with people who go through the same activities as they do.

For example, a stepmother blog’s content will greatly resonate with like-minded stepmothers. With this in mind, you should select featured images that reflect stepmothers doing the same activities.

Child photos are the most eye-catching because our biology wires us to care and have concern for the young. Thus, always use photos with children in them as long as you keep step two in check.

We hope that you found this article useful.

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Include Popular References (When Possible)

Humans identify with narratives on the same level they do with like-minded people. Popular fiction and figures are an excellent way to grab your reader’s attention. By doing this, people will pay great attention to your featured images.

However, popular references can make your featured images look casual. For example, a cyber-security blog’s featured image cannot use Hollywood references because cinematic portrayals are always fictional. It makes the content look unprofessional and unbelievable.

Many infographics include popular references or use them as the primary subjects of their content. You can use a single infographics section that includes your popular reference as a featured image. However, make sure that it’s clear enough for readers to see.


Use Action Images

Our eyes quickly lock on to anything that moves. Therefore, featured images with activity are much more attention-grabbing than actionless photos.

In addition, action photos easily encourage readers to empathize if they’re doing the same activities. Plus, some readers might want to imitate the activity. For example, a food blog showing a person holding a freshly-cooked dish will encourage readers to cook. At the very least, the food blog’s photo will stimulate the reader’s hunger instead.

Capture a Unique Image

Bloggers with photography skills will always have a captivating image that stands out. Today, it’s easy to train in photography because all smartphones have built-in cameras.

You can check the featured images of blogs similar to yours if you need examples. Plus, built-in photo editing software in smartphone cameras is good enough to process your photo into an attention-grabbing featured image.

However, taking the best shot suitable for your blog will take time and patience. You’ll need deep knowledge and practice if you have zero photography experience, too. Therefore, you can save time by using royalty-free galleries and stock image services.

If you can capture your pictures, you’re on your way to creating your tie-in blog images, such as infographics.

Stock Vs. Original Images

Royalty-free images license their photos for limited use. Stock image galleries require you to pay for featured image usage because their professional photographers took those shots. Therefore, you can easily find unique photographs in stock galleries if you can pay for them. By doing this, you save yourself time and resources despite paying.

On the other hand, capturing photographs by yourself gives you full rights to use the photograph. You’ll handle the entire process of image editing and customization. Thus, any blogger with time on their hands can take original featured images. It will require practice, but it can save you money.

Using original images does have its set of challenges. For example, your photo subject might require compensation for featuring their photographs. You’ll need to consult with your subjects to help you avoid legal issues in the future.

Look at (Hundreds of ) Templates

It can be challenging to find the best inspiration for your photographs. Plus, the number of elements you need to get excellent featured images can feel daunting. Thankfully, royalty-free and stock photo galleries can give you layouts and templates you can imitate.

You might need to go through hundreds of photo layouts and templates. However, you can save time and quickly find the best one by considering the elements we’ve listed here.

You Don’t Have To Have a Hard Time With Featured Images

Featured images don’t have to suck up your time. With these handy steps, you’ll find or create the perfect ones in no time!

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Daniel Urmann

Author Bio:

Daniel Urmann is the co-founder of Diib.com. Over the past 17 years Daniel has helped thousands of business grow online through SEO, social media, and paid advertising. Today, Diib helps over 150,000 business globally grow online with their SaaS offerings. Daniel’s interest include SMB analytics, big data, predictive analytics, enterprise and SMB search engine optimization (SEO), CRO optimization, social media advertising, A/B testing, programatic and geo-targeting, PPC, and e-commerce. He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) focused in Finance and E-commerce from Cornell University – S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management.

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