Using WordPress featured image function to your advantage

All WordPress pages + posts have an element in the editor called Featured Image. It’s located in the right sidebar, typically near the bottom. Though this can change depending on what plugins you are using. You can use the WordPress featured image function to your site’s (+ your business’s) advantage by adding one to each post.

Social media sharing

The biggest reason that I recommend site owners use the WordPress featured image function is because social media will use it when a link is shared on someone’s feed. Featured Images are used in 2 places on most WordPress sites:

  1. as a hero images for pages + posts
  2. the thumbnail image for post experts + teasers in the theme design

Some bloggers add an image directly into their blog content. This is an attempt to mimic the look that a real Featured Image would have. Whether it’s because of an issue with their theme or not knowing where the baked in function lives.

The problem with the technique above is that other sites (like social media platforms) don’t realize the first image is the most important one. so they will either think there is no image to show at all, or scan the entire page for graphics, likely landing on the logo as the very first one + display that instead.

So when you see a blog post shared + a perfectly proportioned graphic displayed with it, that’s because the author uploaded + set a Featured Image to the post.

*This can be overwritten by some social media/SEO plugins.

Replacing WordPress featured images on Facebook

If you have a new Featured Image to use, but it’s not showing up on Facebook yet, all you need to do is tell them you’ve updated the page.

Head to their debugger URL + paste in the page or post you want to update, then click Debug.
Note: the page/post needs to be public for this to work.

The results will show the details of the page as it will be shown on Facebook, including the available image. If it’s an old image, click the Scrape Again button. You’ll find it a few lines below the URL that you pasted in.

Once the debugger tool runs again, you’ll see your new Featured Image in the preview graphic. And that’s your cue that anytime you or anyone else shares the link on social media, the right graphic will show.

*If you update numerous pages, you’ll need to do this step for each page individually. The Scrape Again button only triggers Facebook to scrape the specific page you linked to, not the entire site.

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