Post images - those thumbnail-sized images that I use at the start of each article - can help strengthen the impact of your message, as well as providing some visual appeal.
But how to add them?
I saw a question recently where someone asked the forum what plugins were available to help manage post images.
As I've said before, I'm on a crusade to reduce the plugins I use on this site, so the idea of adding a plugin to do what WordPress can already do perfectly well seems unnecessary.
The release of WordPress 2.9 even included the ability to trim and re-size images - meaning even less need to use a plugin.
So here's how I manage and add my post images:
Step 1: I find an image that bears as much relevance as possible to the post subject
Step 2: I use Microsoft Picture Manager (included as standard in MS Office installations from 2003 on) to compress the image.
Simply open the image in Microsoft Picture Manager and click the 'Edit pictures' button on the toolbar. I select the 'Email messages' option in the 'compress pictures settings' box.
Step 3: Click OK, and save your image. (You may want to save a copy of the original before editing it).
Step 4: Upload the compressed version of your image to a folder on your server. For each of my domains I have an 'images' folder that sits outside of my WordPress files.
This results in those images not being backed up each time I back up my WordPress based sites. If you upload them via WordPress, and they're stored in the Uploads folder, they are.
Step 5: Place your cursor where you want to add the post image (I place mine immediately before the first word) and click the 'Add an image' button above your toolbar.
Step 6: Select the 'From URL' option and type in the full URL of the file in your 'images' folder.
Step 7: Add your title and alt tags, select the alignment and click 'insert image'.
Following that process ensures that my post images are all consistently sized and positioned.
And if you're a Thesis user you have another option: instead of inserting the image via WordPress you can add your image URL into the Post Image field below your editing window.
The added advantage here is that, if you're using the Teasers layout, Thesis will automatically re-scrunch your image so that you have an even smaller thumbnail in your teaser, as well as the post image.
Although I don't use that option on this site, I do on one of my travel sites.
As you can see – no need for a plugin 🙂
A while ago I wrote a more detailed description (including some different options) of how to insert images into WordPress articles. You can find it here.