Managing Background Images on a WordPress Site
There are many design considerations for you to take into account on your WordPress blog, and often these are easily dealt with thanks to the addition of a theme. This might be one downloaded from the official themes repository provided by WordPress, one from a third party site, one that is available as part of a framework (such as RichWP) or even one that you have designed yourself.
However, there is one element of a blog theme that can be quite fluid, changed for any number of reasons such as time of year, a change of content tone or even to display an advert.
I’m talking, of course, about the background image of your blog. If you don’t have a background image (you might prefer a solid colour) then this might not be relevant to you; however, there is still plenty to learn as the background image and area to the left and right of your blog content is extremely powerful.
Branding Your Blog with a Background Image
I’ve been aware of the power of a background image for a few years now, since one of my websites was redesigned and a key image related to its content was added. The result was stunning, not just visually but in the impact the background had in generating new visits.
Up until this point, the blog had maintained a steady growth; in the three months following the addition of the new background, visits and comments increased considerably, around 30% each month. While there were other factors involved (it was part of a general overhaul of the site) the background played its part, so much so that when it was removed temporarily as part of a subsequent more recent redesign, we received emails, comments and tweets requesting its return.
The background image had become as important to the brand of the website as the logo, the URL and the content.
So, how do you add a background image?
Adding a Background Image to a WordPress Blog
Various methods are provided for you to add a background image to your blog. You might use the CSS approach, for instance, which used to be extremely simple but now differs from theme to theme.
You can also check whether your current theme enables the setting of a custom background, via Appearance > Background. This far simpler approach will allow you to quickly browse for a suitable image, but you will need something that is around 2500px x 2000px (or longer) in size for the best results across all monitor resolutions.
If the background image selector is enabled in your theme, you will also have a choice of position, whether it should be repeated, whether it should scroll or be fixed when the reader scrolls down the page, and the background colour. This last aspect is arguably the most important, as it will determine the impact of the image once the page scrolls beyond the dimensions of the background. Dark images should have a background colour that matches the overall darkest tone; light images should have a background matching the lightest overall tone.
Background Image Plugins for WordPress
Should your theme not support background images and you don’t fancy the CSS method, you can find several background image plugins that can be easily installed and used.
Probably the best option is Background Manager, which offers all of the features found in background-ready themes – plus a few extras.
However, you might be more interested in a clickable background. A recent phenomenon in websites and blogs is the hyperlinked background image, one that can be used for advertising campaigns. KW Modern Advertise is one such plugin, is easy to setup and can have a considerable effect on your revenue if that’s the route you wish to take.
Choose Your Background Image Wisely…
Backgrounds images are great, but you shouldn’t simply use the first one you find. Similarly you shouldn’t throw clickable background image adverts at your blog without first being certain of the impact of such an action.
Any visual change to your blog can be jarring for visitors, regular or occasional, so take care with your choices.