Setting aside the SEO game for a moment, let’s focus on the experience readers have when they click on a blog post. Readers are typically going to scan the title and banner image first, then read any short description, and then scroll if they’re intrigued.
The banner image is a super easy (and often free) way to come off as professional, clean, and credible to your reader. It also works to entice readers simply because it’s pleasing to look at a nice image. Site visitors are more likely to stay on pages with several images, and you should start with an epic one right at the top of your post.
Blog banners can also be used to tell your readers what to expect from your post. Say you have a website where you post blogs announcing your new podcast episodes. You also use the blog to post articles, journal entries, and other announcements pertaining to your brand.
For those podcast episode posts, you might use a special blog banner so that dedicated readers know as soon as they look at the post that they can find your podcast there. You can do the same for any category of post, or use blog banners as a way to advertise sales, plug your social media, and so much more.
For many blog hosting sites, banners or featured images are also the default social share image. This means that every time the link to this blog post is shared, the image will accompany it (unless you manually change your social share image). With that in mind, it’s imperative that your banner images are unique and interesting, thematic and in line with your content, and search engine optimized.