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How to Add “Featured Images” to Your Posts

Maybe you’ve had this experience:

You add images into the beginning of your posts, but they never show up on the homepage. You only see them on the post page itself. But when you view the theme preview, you can see the homepage displaying an image for each post.

The key is to use Featured Images.

A Featured Image is a single image that is associated with a post. Theme’s use them to reliably output an image for each post, usually in a more stylish way than an image simply inserted into the post content.

To add a Featured Image to any post, you can use the “Featured Image” section which shows up in the right sidebar of the post editor. This option allows you to upload a new image or select an existing image from your Media Library.

Once you understand the philosophy behind this setting and know where to find it, adding Featured Images is quick and easy.

Transcript

Hey, this is Ben from WPAnswered.com. In this video, you'll learn how to add Featured Images to your posts. Imagine I have a new WordPress site set up and on my site, I have this post I just published. When I visit my homepage there's no image associated with it and I want to display an image on the homepage along with a title because I think that would look nicer. And that's what I saw in the theme preview before I selected this theme. So I would like to have an image included on the homepage. New WordPress users commonly try to solve this problem by editing their posts and adding an image in the post content itself. So to do that using the Gutenberg editor, I'll click Enter - I just used the image block recently, so I have it available here - I'll click on the Media Library button, and I'll select the image that I last uploaded to my site.

I'll update the post and when I view it I can see the image now displaying in my post exactly as planned. But if I go back to my homepage, the image is nowhere to be found. As a theme developer, I can tell you that there's no easy way to get this image and output it on the homepage because it could be included after the first paragraph, after the second paragraph, there could be a lot of images, there could be an image gallery that shows up before an image. As the developer, I don't know which image you want me to display on the homepage, so I'm never going to bother to try and look through this content and extract the right image. And this was an obvious problem in WordPress a very long time ago, many, many years ago. And so a feature that WordPress added right away is called Featured Images and a Featured Image is a way to associate one image with your post so that your theme can easily output it anywhere that post is added.

So here's how you can do that. When you visit the post editor, you'll see this Featured Image option in the sidebar. If you don't see it, you might have selected a paragraph or another block element. You can always click in the sidebar or click on Document to return to these settings. If you click on Featured Image, you can then select this set Featured Image button and you'll see the familiar Media Library panel here. You can always switch to the Upload Files tab to upload a new image from your computer. But I'll re-select that same image I just inserted in my post. Now I'll update my post and I've officially added this as my Featured Image, so it's now associated with my post. If I view my posts, I'll see it included above the post title. And if I go back to the homepage again, now I'll see it displayed above the post title. Where the Featured Image displays and what it looks like depends on your theme.

Right now I'm using the Apex theme, so this is where the Featured Images output, but yours might be somewhere else, but it will be um, combined with the rest of the post's content. Now if I view the post to see, the one thing I need to clean up is that now that I have it as a Featured Image at displays above the title, and I also have it inserted right away after this first paragraph, which doesn't look great. So if you have been adding images into your post content, instead, you can delete them and simply use the Featured Image option instead and then you'll get the desired look that you want. So just to summarize, every theme uses Featured Images. If you want an image to be associated with your posts, the way to do that is not to include an image in the post content, but rather to add it as a Featured Image.

I hope you learned a lot in this video. If you liked it, please click the Like button below. If you'd like more WordPress tutorials, don't forget to subscribe before you leave, and if you have any questions, please feel free to post them in the comments section below. Thanks for watching.

Ben Sibley
Ben Sibley

After using WordPress for the last 9 years, I've made dozens of websites, designed and developed 20 themes that have been downloaded more than 1.5 million times, and personally helped thousands of WP users with their sites.

Now I'm sharing everything I know to help make WordPress an easier and more rewarding choice for building a website. If you have a question you want answered, submit your question here.