What Makes A Featured Image Special?


A common (non-Rays) WordPress behavior is to use the first image in the article as a “featured image” when displaying links to the article. However, the first image in the article may not be the most appropriate image to use if it is not the right aspect ratio or because another image makes more sense as the “featured image”.

In those cases, the Rayos featured image plugin helps content creators quickly define the most important image in article, regardless of its position in the article. The Rayos featured image capability allows you to maintain consistency in the images that appear in the lists on your site and ensure that social media platforms associate the most important image with your articles.

Images in web lists and the app

Aspect ratio consistency

Images used in lists on your website are typically set to display using a uniform aspect ratio. Using the Rayos featured image option allows you to specifically format your featured image to work with that ratio.

For Example:

  • Your site is set up  to use a  3:2 aspect ratio in the article for your lists (horizontal images)
  • You are writing an article using a picture of a person (portrait image)

In this scenario, if you just let the system pick the featured image, the person’s head will most likely be cut off when displayed in lists. You can use the Rayos featured image capability to prevent this by creating a second image that is cropped manually to fit the ratio in the lists, but still use the full portrait image in the article.

Articles with no images

Website: If an article does not have an image, the behavior of the list depends on the individual list settings, but typically, that link to that article would have no image. However, lists can be configured to not display articles that do not have an image.

App: The list will display your default app image (usually your logo).

Featured images in social media links

Social media platforms use Open Graph tags in your site’s source code to determine what text and images to display when a link from your site is shared. These tags are populated these tags differently depending on how you build your article. (See Social Media Open Graph Standards for more details on how content displays on social media.)

The image Open Graph tag (og:image) pulls from the image designated as the featured image for an article. If there is no featured image, the og:image will be populated using the first image found in the article body. If there is neither a featured image or an image in the article body, there will be no open graph image defined.

If no image is defined for an article, some social media platforms will use a default icon, others might search the other parts of the page such as the header or right rail for an image to use. This may result in unintended images being associated with the article.

TownNews recommends always having an image defined by specifying a featured image for each article.

Featured image global settings

The featured image can be set globally to appear in all articles by default. This expedites your workflow if most of your articles will have one image at the top. However, broadcasters tend to have video at the top of their articles. If this is the case,  you should not utilize this option.

To edit the settings for the global behavior of the in-article featured image go to: Settings > Featured images in posts.