The 'Long Play' On Featured Images For Blog Posts - And Where to Find Great Images

By
Real Estate Technology with ActiveRain

 

 

We've had a number of people ask about the featured image and what is the main purpose of including this image on your blog posts.

What Happens Today?

Today, when you add a featured image to your blog post, it shows in one location right away, at the top of the post itself. This is an effort to get everyone to understand that images are massively important when creating content online. Posts that utilize an image above the fold have a much higher likelihood to be consumed. We believe this to be the case outside of ActiveRain, but we know this is the case inside the sight, where we have exhaustively reviewed the analytics.

The second place that featured image could be used is if the post is selected as a featured post. A quick review of the home page today will show a variety of posts, many using the featured image.

The Long Play For The Featured Image.

As we continue to design other elements of the site, you can expect the featured image to play a larger role all across the site. Here are a few places where you'll start to see the featured image show up in the future.

Blog Home Page: Right now, posts are shown with the title and a brief snippet of the first few lines of text. In the future, featured images will display on this blog home page. 

Your main blog page (the link is to mine): Again, today it just shows the title and a snippet of the content. In the future, this page will be redesigned to highlight the featured post for content that uses one.

Your Profile Page: Currently, on this page, the only place where your blog content pulls in is on the right hand side of the page in the 'popular posts' area. And it's just a link to the title of the post. The new design (which I saw last week pretty much completed) will eventually pull in and display your posts in a much better way, with (you guessed it) the featured image playing a prominent role. Profiles get a TON of traffic on ActiveRain. Because of this, it makes sense to better highlight your best posts on your profile. Part of highlighting those posts will be the inclusion of the featured image. 

Community Pages: (the link is to the Seattle community page) Are you sensing a theme? If not, I'll tell you. The theme is, any page where a snippet of your content is displayed, will get redesigned to include the featured post. 

Group Pages: Same thing here, expect in the future that posts will display a featured image if one is present.


Why Are You String Betting Us?

Have you heard this term? It's a poker term, that describes when someone bets a little bit, then tries to bet more after they have already declared their first bet. 

In some ways, it feels like we might be string betting the featured image, because we didn't do a very good job explaining the long play. One of the challenges of developing on the ActiveRain platform is that there are tons of different styles present across the entire site. An approach that we are taking to work around this is to create different widgets (or plug-ins, or design elements) that can be used across the site in different areas. So a similar element gets designed with the understanding that it will live in multiple places as more and more areas of the site get redesigned. For the time being, you might not see the long play on some of these elements, but they will become more clear as additional pages get the new elements and get a redesign. 

Profiles are up next. Then we will look at the blog pages. And we will continue to move across the site using these new elements to finally come to a uniform look and feel for the site. 


Will You Make Any Changes?

  • We've had a number of great suggestions, including:
  • the ability to mark a certain post as the featured post
  • the ability to change the size of the featured image once it's added
  • the ability to click on the featured image from the home page to open the post (coming soon!)
  • Making the featured image smaller on the home page so you see more than one or two posts when you land there.

We are looking at every piece of feedback and scoping out what it would take to make these adjustments. I doubt that we will make them all, but we will certainly investigate each suggestion.


Where Can I Find Great Featured Images?

The best place would be on your camera! Many of your posts are going to be about something specific to your real estate market or your local area, and I can't think of a better place you could find images than ones that you take yourself.

But......here are some other places that you can find free stock images (because it's hard to capture the essence of every post with your own camera):

500px.com
Pixabay
Pexels.com
Stocksnap.io
Unsplash.com (with a note from one of our developers, Fong, that "unsplash is pretty awesome". It just happens to be where I got the featured image for this post!)

This awesome post from Medium that has 17 different sites


Known Bug and Oversight:

Sharing to Facebook: One of the reasons we added the featured image is that we believed it would make it much easier to share your content on Facebook and have Facebook recognize and pull in that featured image. This was working briefly....and now it's not. We have a ticket in that our developers are currently working on to fix this issue.

Adding Image Descriptions to Featured Image: Massive oversight. This will be fixed sooner rather than later. 

I hope this clears up a little bit of the confusion. And, if it doesn't, you don't have to use featured images at all, you can simply create your posts the same way that you did before. 

 

 

Posted by

Bob Stewart
ActiveRain
408-638-1834

 

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Comments (68)

Harry F. D'Elia III
RentVest - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

Congratulations on your featured article. We are looking forward to the next one.

Oct 06, 2016 01:00 PM
Alison Creamer
Keller Williams Elite - Virginia Beach, VA
Realtor,MRP,ABR, CDPE,IMSD,HamptonRoads

Thanks for breaking it down for us!  And thank you for the great Active Rain community!

Oct 07, 2016 12:23 AM
Melissa Jackson
Century 21 Alliance Properties - Azle, TX
Helping You Make The Right Move

Thank you for the explanation of the new design. I'm still getting use to the new look.

Oct 08, 2016 01:28 PM
Elyse Berman, PA
Best Connections Realty, Inc. - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824

Thank you Bob Stewart .  I've been MIA for a while being busy  (that's a good thing.)  Looking forward to learning more as we go along.

Oct 09, 2016 08:11 PM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Thanks to you and the design team for all you have done to improve our SEO and readability 😊Change is hard for some of us but we trust that you have our best interests at heart and we all want the same thing - a great site that will drive traffic to us!

Oct 09, 2016 09:07 PM
Sondra Meyer:
EXP Realty, LLC - Corpus Christi, TX
See It. Experience It. Live It.

Maybe I haven't had enough copy this morning, so I'm not fully comprehending the featured image thing.   However, this is serving to alert me that I need to go ahead and use the featured image. 

Thanks for the heads up about the profile page.  Mine is a mess....

Oct 13, 2016 11:36 PM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Just checking in for any updates since this new feature could be much better.

Nov 07, 2016 06:22 AM
Susan Jemison
Windwalker William Raveis - Nantucket, MA
Full-service agent serving Nantucket and beyond.

Thanks!!! Great timing as I was trying to locate great stock pictures today!

 

Dec 15, 2016 04:11 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I'm always looking for both new ideas and new places to find good images when I don't have one of my own immediately available. Thanks for this!

Jan 15, 2017 11:35 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Susan Jemison it seems to happen that way a lot when you have something really on your mind, you seem to find it pretty quickly. Life is funny. :)

Jan 15, 2017 11:36 PM
Elva Branson-Lee
Solid Source Realty GA - Atlanta, GA
CDPE - Atlanta Real Estate & Short Sale Agent

What is the optimal size in px for the AR featured image?

Jan 31, 2017 04:21 PM
Bob Stewart
ActiveRain - Mesa, AZ
ActiveRain

Elva Branson-Lee ,

480pixelsW x 360pixelsH

That is the minimum. If your image is in the same ratio (4:3) it can be as large as you want (2000W x 1500H for example is in that same 4:3 ratio).

Hope that makes sense.

Jan 31, 2017 04:30 PM
Elva Branson-Lee
Solid Source Realty GA - Atlanta, GA
CDPE - Atlanta Real Estate & Short Sale Agent

Thank you.

Feb 01, 2017 10:49 AM
Suzanne Strickler
Realty Mark Associates - Havertown, PA
School is never out for the Successful.

 Bob Stewart - your post is a little beyond my understanding but I'm sure it will become evident when it's implemented. Thx for the sites to get free images. 

Feb 11, 2017 06:45 AM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I'm always looking for new resources to find images. Thank you very much for this! Love and light!

Feb 11, 2017 01:01 PM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

So, best to go back through old posts and create a featured image or just do it to new posts? Thanks for the links to the additional photo sights.

Mar 12, 2017 05:51 AM
Courtney Cooper
Cooper | Cartwright - Seattle, WA
206-850-8841

Pretty Cool as always Bob - love that you guys are constantly tweaking to make things move along and staying ahead of curve... 

May 08, 2017 12:33 PM
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

Bob, is there currently a glitch with the featured image? I've written a post today and couldn't get the image to load in the body of the post, but it loaded fine as a featured image. However, my TEXT doesn't show in the preview. I'll ask this in Q&A but thought I'd look here first. Thanks.

Jun 14, 2017 09:32 AM
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