Better Blogging: Header and Cover Photos


Part of my series sharing tips to improve blogging (Link)

What is the first thing you notice when opening a webpage? Is it the number of posts? The number of fans or comments on a page? More often than not, the cover photo or header image is the first thing to capture your attention. Whether creating a new blog design or a updating a Facebook page cover image, it’s important to put some thought into the image to capture attention of the audience.

What is a blog header image?

The image at the top of a blog or webpage is called the header image. This image typically spans the width of the webpage and should give a first-impression of page content. The header image usually includes a photo (or collage of photos), text (usually a blog title and/or description), and usually appears the same on all pages of a web site/blog.

Header image used on WordPress.

For my blogs, I utilize images from daily life that describe my work. These have usually been landscape scenes from ranches. I also use this space to include an avatar-like photo of myself – to help readers connect the blog with a person and my other social media profiles. I use online photo editing services – like Pixlr – to create the header images, but any photo editing software can be used to create the image.

On many blog hosting websites this image size is restricted, but varies depending on your page theme. For instance, my current blog theme is ‘Vigilance’ and the header image is restricted to 920×180 pixels.

Header image used on Blogger.

It’s usually best if the image is not too cluttered or too big. Remember, your blog will be viewed on a variety of devices, and mobile versions may be difficult to view with extremely large image files.

Facebook Cover Images

Since Facebook introduced the Timeline revamp of the Fan Pages, a cover photo can be used to personalize your page. These images are 851×315 pixels (different from the square profile picture) and can be selected from current photo albums, or new uploaded photos. When using an image larger than the cover window, Facebook allows users to center the photo vertically to choose the desired image to display. The cover photos are collected in public albums, much like your profile pictures.

I use images similar to by blog header for my Facebook pages, but don’t necessarily use the same images. Cover photos are easy to change often to keep your page active. I usually change my cover photos once a week.

It’s best to use a cover photo that’s not too busy and, when cropped to size, has a subject that is easily viewed in the small space. Make sure the image file is large enough that it is not blurry.

If you’re like me, I identify profiles more quickly through a profile picture or avatar image. When that changes, I am turned around a bit. Cover photos offer a great way to change up your profile, without confusing your followers.

The design of your cover or header images is completely up to your preference. If you want, it can be a simple image with no text at all. This is a great opportunity for farming and ranching pages to feature landscapes and different products as the weeks and seasons change. Be sure to link a relevant blog post in the photo description.

As you can see, my images are far from professional, but they’re what I can create in just a few moments. Take a few moments to tinker around with your photos and see what you can create.

Other helpful resources

  • Judi Graff, FarmnWife.com, has a great video tutorial about creating personal header images for your blog.
  • Facebook Help provides several great FAQ about Cover Photos.
  • WordPress Help gives a tutorial on how to edit and upload your own image.

What did I miss? What other questions do you have?

What tips do you have to share on creating a header image or cover photo?

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12 Comments

  1. Great post, Ryan! A lot of bloggers forget that the look of a blog can impact the way a reader feels about the words on a page. It’s the first impression, and gives the first taste of the “personality” of the blog — a very important aspect of the reader experience. Facebook covers are the same in that respect, too.

    I also happen to know of a blogger who periodically offers up advice in the form of AgNerd Design 101. πŸ˜‰ (I should probably start doing more of those. Oy.)

    Like

    1. Thanks Kelly! I’m just sharing what I’ve learned from others.

      You should definitely put those design skills to work and share tips on blog design for those of us less-design literate.

      Like

      1. Ha! I don’t really have design skills, just design knowledge. I gave up on my own creativity a long time ago, haha.

        I have a few ideas for AgNerd Design 101 posts that I need to get cracking on. Eek. Text in pictures, editing apps/programs, use of space…you got my juices flowing on this.

        Thanks, Ryan!

        Like

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