There is some controversy, however what size and type of image should be properly used as a header image. For one thing, they improve the “branding” of your business, but, unless used properly, they can negatively impact your search engine rankings. Optimizing the header image is key, so it is recommended that you use alt and description tags that are similar or exactly the same as your site title and description.
Wide headers sometimes create negative results with search engines as necessary keywords are not included and cannot be picked up, as they are shown below the fold – the area below the screen’s visible area. Use header images in conjunction with your site’s title, and appropriate page links (preferably displayed above the header, if it is large).
Visitors see the headers first, so it is also necessary to make sure that it is optimized – and kept under 50-70 KB. Images that are larger than this will take several seconds to load, especially on slower connections, resulting in visitors that remember your site only for the content, if they decided to stay, or the long wait time.
Below is a listing of some resources available for header images, or ideas to kick start your header creation, if you have decided to create your own based on another image or site’s logo/header.
Note: Images are displayed not for use, instead they have been placed there to sample the quality and types of images available and have been resized to minimize size. And, please abide to all copyright/Creative Commons Licenses that these sites have placed on images. They are there for a reason – they took the time to create them and do not want others to take credit for their efforts.
Designed for Specific Themes
These images were sized according to certain themes.
- The Blog of Dysfunction – Ten Free Cutline Header Images
- Captain Hops – Website Headers
- Blix Theme – Free Headers
Details: Ten header images for the theme Cutline, by Chris Pearson. Each image is 770px x 140px, contained in a Flickr set. These images were adopted from other images (resized/optimized).
License: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0
Details: Header images released in coordination with the Cutline theme. There are ten images available, with file dimensions around 770px x 140px each, for use in the theme.
License: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 Generic, meaning you are free to use the images as long as you link back to the main page somewhere within your blog. Images cannot be sold or claimed as your own.
Details: 16 images for the Blix theme, of varying textures and colors/gradients. The theme was later released by WP designer Sadish as Blixed.
License: No specific terms were listed.
General Purpose Headers
These resources include themes available for use on any type of blog or website.
- BG Themes – Several wide-format blog headers designed for blogs.
- Free Web Page Headers – Free Graphics
Details: All images are high quality 800px x 200px JPG’s, which have been uploaded by community members and are great for CSS layouts. Organized in a “photo” gallery. Approximately 921+ images available. To download the full-resolution images, you’ll need to complete a simple registration form to access the larger images, otherwise they have been resized to 600px x 150px.
License: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States