When you share a link to Facebook, you usually get a thumbnail image to accompany it. How do you get a share preview for your website, and how can you choose which image gets picked as the thumbnail in the preview? Read on to find out.

The right image size

First things first, you need to make sure that the image you want as the share preview thumbnail to be the right size. That size is 1200 x 630 pixels (source) – that’s 1200px wide and 630px tall.

Tip for Canva users: Create your design with custom dimensions so you can enter those magic numbers above.

Set your design’s custom dimensions to 1200×630 in Canva

Should I create an image just for Facebook’s share thumbnail?

My suggestion is yes, especially if you want maximum engagement. Here at ClickWP, we re-use this same size for our post cover images.

Getting the correct Facebook link thumbnail image

There are several ways to tell Facebook which image to use as the link thumbnail. The easiest is with Yoast SEO.

Yoast SEO plugin

Yes, it’s a SEO plugin but it also optimizes your site for social media – we highly recommend this plugin! In this section, we’re assuming that you have the Yoast SEO plugin activated on your site.

Now, set a Featured Image for your post or page. That image will automatically be declared as the Facebook link thumbnail. Easy peasy 👌🏼

Select the Document tab and then set a Featured Image

If you want different images for your post cover image and Facebook link thumbnail, you can set it in the Yoast SEO social settings (screenshot below).

Set a Facebook link thumbnail image with Yoast SEO
Choose the Facebook share image from the Yoast SEO social settings on the post, or just assign a Featured Image

Set a Facebook thumbnail image for the homepage

The way you set a Facebook image for the homepage depends on how the homepage is set up:

Does your homepage display a static page or your latest posts?

Tip: you can find this setting under Settings → Reading, or in the Customizer → Homepage settings.

If your homepage displays a static page, edit that page and follow the steps above for that page i.e. set a Featured Image, or set a Facebook image from Yoast Social settings.

If your homepage displays your latest posts, navigate to SEO → Social → Facebook and set the image, title and description there.

Set a default thumbnail image for all posts

Navigate to SEO → Social → Facebook and choose an image for the Image URL settings. Now any posts that don’t have a Featured Image will display this image instead.

Using a different plugin? Here are the instructions for enabling the share link thumbnail for All in One SEO Pack and The SEO Framework.

Alternate Methods

Easy Fix – If you find the SEO plugins too complicated, here’s a method with zero settings: Install and activate the OG plugin by Marcin Pietrzak. That’s it. Now the Featured Image will be the Facebook link preview thumbnail.

Social Plugins – Some premium social plugins have the feature of declaring which image to use as the Facebook share preview too. If you have Social Warfare Pro, Easy Social Share Buttons or Social Pug, simply set a Featured Image and you’re done. Mashshare is a free option – just remember to activate the Open Graph Meta Tags option.

Facebook is still showing the old preview thumbnail

Facebook might continue showing the old link thumbnail even after all the steps above. If that’s the case, you’ll need to tell Facebook to check your site for the new image

Further Reading

The plain English guide to Yoast SEO: Essential setup and basic use – Our guide explaining how to optimize your content with Yoast SEO

Sometimes the Facebook preview thumbnail doesn’t turn out right. Here’s how to fix Facebook broken link previews.

An important step in all of the methods above is to set a Featured Image. Learn more about Featured Images.

Everything You Need to Know: Open Graph, Twitter Cards & Rich Pins – For an explanation of how Facebook determines which image to display as the link thumbnail.

About David

David has over 15 years of experience with web geekery and WordPress. That experience spans every­thing from cre­at­ing affordable websites for small businesses, developing custom themes to opti­miz­ing WordPress sites for thou­sands of page views in a day. Say hi to David on Twitter at @blogjunkie.

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Comments

    • David says

      Yes it will work on WhatsApp. Many services including WhatsApp, FB Messenger and Skype make use of the same system too (Open Graph tags)

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