In this post, I’m going to show you how I create amazing looking featured images to use in my blog posts from start to finish.
First of all, what is a featured post image?
A featured post image is the primary image for a blog article or page.
This primary post image can be seen at the top of most content pages, for instance, blog posts, often appearing before the content.
By default, featured images are usually generated first when sharing a link to an article on social media.
Featured images come in all shapes and sizes. For example, for this blog, I use full-width, 1920px custom featured images. For my personal brand blog at FabrizioVanMarciano.com, I prefer to use smaller 750px width featured images.
Are featured post images really that important?
Personally, yes I think so.
Featured images don’t just open up a great blog post, but they can also help compel users to want to click on, and read an article or page, and like I said earlier, featured images are the primary image that’s often associated with a shared link on social media, so it’s the first thing people see before anything else.
What tools do you need to create amazing looking featured post images?
What I’m going to do first is share with you the tools that I use to create my featured images, and then share some other tools that I think you might be interested in using yourself.
I use mostly premium (paid for) tools in my business as most of you may know. However, you don’t need to go out and spend money on new graphic design tools for this. There are plenty of free image tools you can find and use out there.
So for editing my images, I use the following tools –
- Photoscape (Free and premium App)
- Affinity Designer (Premium App)
- Affinity Photo (Premium Ap)
- TinyPNG (Free online service)
I use those tools on my Macbook Pro, however, they are also available for Windows.
Here are some other tools you might be interested in checking out and using yourself –
- Photoscape (Free version)
- Tiny PNG (Free online service)
- Canva (Free and premium service)
Where to get high-quality images from?
These days, quality stock images are in an abundance. There are so many websites out there currently offering high-quality stock images for both personal and commercial use.
Cast your memory back to just a few years back when finding images was a complete nightmare.
Once upon a time, you’d either have to use Flickr images and give credit to the image author every time you used an image in your post, or pay a huge wad of money for images on premium sites.
Here are some of my favorite free stock images sites –
How to use free stock images in your featured images
The best way to use free stock images in your featured post images is to customize them and add some personal flare to them.
I will now share with your the steps I take to create great looking featured post images for my blog content.
Are you ready? Let’s do this!
How I create custom featured post images for my blog posts
The tool I’m going to be using to create my custom images in this tutorial is called Photoscape.
You’ll need to download Photoscape if you don’t already have it, its free. Or, you can simply use any other photo editing tool that you have on your computer.
I’m going to create a simple 750px by 400px featured post image. So first I want to find and download a nice photo from, let’s say, Pixabay.com.
I do have a user profile on Pixabay which you can check out here. I like to contribute to the site by sharing my own quality images from time to time.
Here’s one I found, do you like it? It’s a beautiful photo of Hong Kong.
OK so I’m going to show you how you can use a beautiful photo like this, and turn in into a cool featured post image like the one below, all using the free version of PhotoScape X. Remember again, this tool is available for Mac and Windows.
Editing the photo
Once I’ve uploaded the photo into PhotoScape X, the first thing I want to do is add a gradient filter.
The reason why I do this is so that any text layers that I add over the top of the image, later on, will be clear to make out and read.
So just for the fun of it, I’ve added a simple purple box shape to my image and resized the box shape to fit across just half of the image only. See image below.
I then make this purple box semi-transparent by adjusting the Opacity setting.
Once I’ve added my purple filter, I then combine the layers together (Merge into Background), plus resize and crop the entire image.
Remember, that’s 750px by 400px for my example featured post. You can, of course, resize your image to whatever you want. See image below.
Adding some text overlay and branding
Next, I’ll add some custom text to my featured post image. Again, in PhotoScape X this is very simple to do. You can also adjust line-height, letter spacing, color, and opacity.
I can also upload my website logo in PNG format to brand my featured post if I wanted too.
Further personalizing the featured post image
As you will see from the end result image, I’ve also added some additional personalization to my featured post image.
The PhotoScape X tool has some amazing editing features that allow you to really personlize your images the way you want it to look.
I recommend you play around with your featured graphic until you find the perfect look.
Saving the featured image
Once I’ve created my featured blog photo, it’s time to merge everything together and save it.
Merging elements together is very simple to do in PhotoScape X, all I have to do is click on the link that says Merge into Background inside the editor.
When you save the image, don’t forget to give it a good title too. Also, consider including your SEO keyword in your image title.
Optimizing featured image for the web
Before I upload my brand new featured post image to my website and assign it to my blog post or page, I need to optimize it for the web.
The free service I use (and recommend) for all my image optimization is called TinyPNG.
You simply drop your images into the TinyPNG website and download a compressed version of the image. And don’t worry, compressing images using TinyPNG won’t affect the quality of your image a great deal at all.
Wrapping things up
So there you have it, that’s how I create amazing and personalized featured post images for use in my blog posts and pages.
The process shouldn’t take you much time at all, probably 5 or maybe 10 minutes at the most, and depending on how creative you want to get with your featured image too.
Hopefully, you will be able to do the same after reading this post, especially if you’re not including images in your content right now. It’s very important that you do.
Best of luck!
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