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How To Add a Featured Image in WordPress

A popular attribute of WordPress Themes is the option to add a "Featured Image" to your post or blog. Featured Images can also be described as post thumbnails in many WordPress themes.  Depending on the theme you have some have a strong emphasis on the use of featured images and have built-in support within the theme itself.

How To Add a Featured Image in WordPress Feature

Terminology with web design can be difficult at times. For the sake of simplicity, we will only use the term "Featured Image" as this is the current terminology used in WordPress. Previous versions used the term "Post Thumbnail".

You will learn how to add a featured image, a.k.a post thumbnail in WordPress from the steps provided in this post.

Newbie Guide to Adding Featured Images to WordPress

Step 1- Check to see if your theme supports featured images.

An easy way to check if your site supports feature image is by going to the post editor, there it is usually at the bottom of the right column as shown below.

Set Featured Image Hyperlink Location in WordPress

If you do not see it there, don't give up hope. It may be that you just don't have it set on your screen options.

Go to the top of your post editor and click on "Screen Options".  See if featured image is available and make sure you have the box checked.

Post editor screen option location in wordpress
Featured Image view on in wordpress

If your theme supports featured images skip down to "Step 2".

If your theme does not have that view available you can still have it added to your theme or you can change it to a theme that supports featured images.

You vested too much in your website theme already and don't want to change?

You can still add the option of having featured images to your present theme in 2 ways.

A- Add a Featured Image Plugin.

It is the easiest way of adding featured image support to your theme. Just remember that plugins can slow your sites loading time and may not be 100% compatible with your theme. Always do a site backup before adding new plugins.

You can add a featured image plugin by going to the "Plugin" tab on the left column in WordPress, click on "add new" then do a search for "Featured Image" or "Post Thumbnails". You will find hundreds of options to choose from. As a general rule, we tend to go for the ones that have the highest amount of downloads, with basic features and a 5-star value from a high number of reviewers.

B- Add CSS code to your Theme

You will need to have to be ok with playing around with your theme code a little bit. To add it in this manner is the preferred way to decrease the issue of loading times for your website vs adding a plugin that may have many other attributes that you may never use.

You can use the following code to the functions.php in your theme:

add_theme_support( 'post-thumbnails' );

(If you are not sure how to find or never heard of a function.php then this option may not be for you and remember to always do a site backup before changing any code.)

There are many other levels of functionality that can be added to this basic addition. You can find thousands of variations at WordPress.org if you really want to dig deep into featured image functionality.

Step 2-Adding a Featured Image to Your Post

We will go on the premise that your theme supports featured images.

Adding a featured image is as easy as adding a post picture.

You only need to click on the Featured Image link in the right column.

Your Media up-loader will open. Either choose one of the images already in your WordPress library or upload a new image.

Featured Image Media Uploader

After you, edit your image, add your desired captions, and Alt text you can click on "set featured image".

View of featured image set

How your featured image is shown on your website will depend on your theme or plugin.

Your theme may offer other levels of editing on how your featured images are represented in your blog posts. These changes may be made by going to the "Appearance" tab on the left column and using either customization, theme options or there may be a specific feature image editor.

I hope this information has helped you add featured images to your WordPress website.

If you need more help and support in setting up your website then we suggest using the training and support at Wealthy Affiliate.

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Paul and Brenda


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About the Author Paul

My online journey started in 2008 when I was tired of working for somebody else. I searched the internet for years trying to find out how to make a living from home with an online business. In 2015 I finally found the information and support from a website just like this one

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