Troubleshooting images in your WordPress blog

Troubleshooting Images In Your WordPress Blog

Let me lay some truth on you: because we really do judge a book by its cover, so too do we judge a blog post by its featured images. This week on Maine on the Blogs we are going to take on your most frequently asked questions about troubleshooting blog post images.

There are few things more frustrating than spending a big hunk of time crafting what feels like the perfect blog post only to find that your images are not posting correctly. It can be maddening. We took your most frequently asked questions and did some research to try to figure out how to fix some truly vexing image related problems.

Why is my picture sideways?

It is hard to say exactly what happens when an image appears sideways after uploading it when you were pretty certain it looked right side up on your computer. Sometimes the problem comes down to language between the camera and the computer. To fix this you do the following:

  1. Delete the image from your MEDIA LIBRARY in your WordPress blog dashboard.
  2. Open the problematic image in Preview (on a mac) or some other photo viewing app.
  3. Make sure the image oriented in the correct way and then hit SAVE AS.
  4. Upload newly saved image back into WordPress and check orientation.
  5. Note that sometimes the WordPress server take a little while to refresh all of this new information.

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How do I get a preview picture to appear?

The preview that is being referred to is on social media, specifically Facebook. When you paste a blog post URL into a status update a preview image of the link appears. Generally this preview has a nice photo on the left and a compelling text description on the right. However, if an image is not set correctly in the WordPress blog post editing section then the image goes missing. Here is what you do to fix this:

  1. Go to your WordPress blog post draft and look to the right side of the screen for a box that looks like this:
    troubleshooting images in your blog post
  2. Click the “Set Featured Image” link, which will bring you to your Media Library. From there simply click the image you previously uploaded and it will pop into view like this:
    troubleshooting images in your blog post
  3. If you change your mind and decide that you do not like that image then you can click the “Remove Featured Image” button and repeat the steps.

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You should note that not only does this featured image appear in your Facebook preview, but it also appears as your blog post cover image in Pinterest as well as on the BDN blog roll on the Bangor Daily News website.

Why is my picture cropped all weird in the preview?

Sometimes an image will crop in a weird way on WordPress. To fix this vexing problem try this detailed tutorial on how to fix and edit WordPress thumbnail images. You will find screen shots, clear directions, and a video tutorial!

How do I edit a picture?

It is best to edit your images before you upload them onto your WordPress blog so that you can ensure that your published images look exactly the way you want. If you do not have photo editing software, check out these free resources online:

  1. Canva
  2. PicMonkey
  3. Aviary for mobile
  4. Instagram for mobile

What on earth is image title attribute, image CSS class, caption, and alternative text?

CSS class

CSS class is a way clever way to “apply style rules to HTML content”. What does that mean? Well, essentially it means is that CSS class gives your full control over how your blog is displayed. For our purposes the CSS class may be configured to align images properly or even add borders to images. For more information on exactly how to do this – right down to what html code to copy – we recommend this awesome resource.


Caption is how you add text to an image, like a title or description, that appears in italics directly under the image. It turns out that you can caption all kinds of things in WordPress. To learn more we found this really helpful blog post that explains captions.

Title attribution & Alternative text

When you upload an image onto your WordPress blog you may notice a bunch of empty text boxes with funny names. Many people confuse the difference between image title attribution and alternative text. To clear up what these two functions do for your images, check out this great video.

Where can I get pictures?

There are hundreds of free resources on the Internet that claim to have “copyright free” images for bloggers. Before you download a single one of these images we implore you to first read this post on how to make sure your images are legal to use.

Here is a quick reference list of places online that we think are pretty great for free images:

 Getty Images  Morguefiles  PhotoPin  Pixabay
 New York Public Library  Real Body Stock Fitness Photos  23 Tools To Create Your Own Images  The New Code

What image sizes work best on a blog?

Since all WordPress themes are different we are tailoring our advice for the theme we use for the BDN Maine blogs.

  • Thumbnails should be 250 x 250
  • Header images should be 1600 x 230
  • Pinnable images (like the one at the top of this post) should be taller than they are wide (portrait orientation). Pinterest recommends a 2:3 aspect ratio.

For images on your blog that you plan to share on your social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and many more, try using this handy guide for image editing.

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How do I make my images more “BDN homepage promotion friendly”?

Any time a blog post is picked up and run on the Bangor Daily News homepage there is a collective high five among bloggers. Just like the magic of trying to figure out the best way to create a headline, there is some magic to creating a solid feature image for your blog post. Here are some suggestions to get you thinking in the right direction:

  • Stock images that are clear, bright, and convey the topic of your post are always a great bet.
  • Make sure the lighting is not washing out the image, is too dark, or looks too amateurish. Go for brightly lit, clear images that are eye catching.
  • Make sure that the composition makes sense! Don’t crop out important elements of your images. For example, if your image is a portrait of a person then make sure their head isn’t cropped at the forehead.
  • If you include text on your image make sure that it makes sense for the blog post such as using the post title or an important quote from the blog post.
  • Choose an image that is appropriate for a general audience of all ages.

Why is the WordPress editing feature messing up my picture’s alignment?

A common question we get from bloggers is about image alignment. Since this is a wide topic area we sought out a tutorial that can address the many ways in which image alignment can go awry. This particular tutorial can help you fix alignment and positioning issues within your blog post, within tables, and answers why images sometimes look right in your preview but then look wonky when published.

Images don’t have to be a headache. You can rotate through the same few images in your Media Library, take shots from a smartphone or camera, or even download stock images from a variety of website. Whatever you choose to do we have you covered with the snags that may come your way.

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Don’t forget to catch us on Facebook and Twitter. And as always, if you have a fabulous idea for a blog then we want to hear about it.

Do you have questions about how to use photos in your blog that we didn’t cover here? Ask them in the comments.


Sarah Cottrell

About Sarah Cottrell

Maine-based writer Sarah Cottrell is the voice behind Housewife Plus at the Bangor Daily News and is a regular contributor to Disney’s Babble and Momtastic. She is a co-author in six books including I Still Just Want To Pee Alone from the New York Times Bestselling series. Sarah’s work has also been highlighted and featured by SELF Magazine, National Public Radio, Washington Post, and VICE Tonic.