How To Edit Featured Image & Blog Post Excerpt Length In Genesis


A website’s blog post excerpt is an important thing as that is what a lot of visitors will read before clicking onto one of their posts.  For that reason, it is important to make sure that your post excerpts are looking great for all your visitors.  Anything less and you could be losing out on traffic!

What Are Post Excerpts And Why Are They Good?

When you run a blog, you publish lots of different posts on a regular basis (or at least you should be doing).  All these posts need to be found on your site, otherwise they will just get lost under more and more content.

One of the best ways of letting people find all your content is to categorise them and present them on ‘Category Pages’ and ‘Blog Pages’ (just like the ones we have).  These are essentially just pages that list your posts one after the other depending on what category you add them too.


Now, instead of having a (category) page that displays the full versions of your posts one after another, you can choose to display a post excerpt for each post.  This is good for several reasons;

  1. It helps speed up your site – Instead of having one LONG page with several posts all loading (with included pictures, video, audio, etc.), you simply have a page listing your latest posts with a short description next to each of them.  This helps to cut down on load time and speed up your site.
  2. It increases pageviews – By listing your posts with an excerpt, you are encouraging visitors to click on and read your post on a single post page.  This boosts your pageviews as you are getting visitors to navigate around your site’s different pages, which can be good for advertising revenue.  You also encourage them to leave comments and share the post via social media as those features can only be displayed on single post pages.
  3. It helps people find what they are looking for – Post excerpts can be seen on category pages, tag pages, blog pages, search result pages, archive pages, etc.  This greatly helps visitors to quickly browse through all your posts to find what they are looking for.  This is especially relevant if you have a large site.

Enabling Post Excerpts In Genesis

In order to enable post excerpts in Genesis, you need to make sure your theme is setup correctly.

Quick Note: Your theme may already by default be set to display post excerpts.

Navigate to ‘WordPress Dashboard > Genesis > Theme Settings’ and scroll down to the ‘Content Archives’ section.  Here you can switch between ‘Display post content’ and ‘Display post excerpts’.

With post excerpts selected, your blog pages will display your posts with the first few paragraphs next to your featured image.  For most people that will probably suffice, but what if you want to change the length of the excerpt?

Editing Your Post Excerpt Length In Genesis

For whatever reason, Genesis doesn’t allow you to edit the excerpt length in the theme options.  In order to do so, you need to add the following code to your functions.php file.  (WordPress Dashboard > Appearance > Editor > Theme Functions – functions.php)

//* Modify the length of post excerpts
add_filter( 'excerpt_length', 'sp_excerpt_length' );
function sp_excerpt_length( $length ) {
return 50; // pull first 50 words

Add this code and simply edit the number (50) to however many words you want your excerpts to display.  In order for this to work you MUST have selected the ‘Display post excerpts’ in your theme options.

Now that we have sorted that out, what about the featured image size?

Edit Featured Image Size

There are a few different ways to edit the size of your featured image next to your post excerpt.

Firstly, you can select one of the pre-existing sizes.  Go back to your theme settings (WordPress Dashboard > Genesis > Theme Settings) and scroll down to the ‘Content Archives’ section again.  Here you can simply choose to switch to one of the other images sizes to use.

If none of these pre-existing sizes is of use to you and you want to use a different sized image, you will need to set that up.  Either;

  1. Navigate to your Media Settings (WordPress Dashboard > Settings > Media) and change one of the image dimensions to suit.  Make sure you don’t change one that you are already using!
  2. Navigate back to your theme functions file (WordPress Dashboard > Appearance > Editor > Theme Functions – functions.php) and edit/add to this code.


Once you have set your preferred image dimensions, simply select that in the theme settings options.

Now you have customised both the excerpt length and featured image size.  If you have any questions about this, let us know in the comments section.

9 thoughts on “How To Edit Featured Image & Blog Post Excerpt Length In Genesis

  1. Hi Matt, do you know what I had NO idea how to do this, excellent post, really important that we have posts like this for all of our readers, irrespective of their status (ie in our Hive membership) Really great job!

    1. Hi Clair,

      Had been trying to explain this to one of my readers the other week via email. Thought it was worth sharing as I think many people have wanted to edit their excerpts but didn’t know how. I know I spent some time editing mine & Bizzebee’s.

  2. Iam using Eleven 40 pro theme this is my site URL :- so there as you can see on the home page the posts images and excerpt is not appearing properly I want the images to be on left and post excerpt on right rather than the images on top and post excerpt below so can u please help me.

    1. Hi sanket
      You could disable home.php by renaming it to something like home-old.php (using file manager or ftp client), which would remove the grid entirely and allow you to use excerpts or full content according to your Genesis theme settings. In other words, your posts would display normally like any other blog.

  3. Hi, Matt, thanks for this. I am not a coder, but trying to get my site into excerpts with one full post at the top of just the home page. I want the “featured” image to be the first image of each post, but for some reason that is not happening. Is there a code I could use? Do I need to do it manually for each post? thanks so much for any help!!

    1. Hi Amy,

      Sorry for the late reply, had a nice relaxing bank holiday weekend away from work.

      I think I can help you with your issue. First things first, do you use WordPress? I only ask as that will help massively in helping to describe how to fix it.

      Assuming that you do use WordPress, you can set each of your featured images manually within your post editing screen. By default, WordPress will select an image at random to be your featured image (usually the first image). If you look on your right-hand sidebar (post edit screen) you will see a box that will allow you to select a featured image. This can be an image from your post or another separate one if you want. Simply do that for all of your individual posts and then that will be displayed on your home page.

      In order to display one full post on your home page, followed by excerpts of your other posts, this is done within your theme settings.

      1. Thanks, Matt, glad you got a vacation 🙂 With kids that’s impossible… I did figure out some coding with Genesis grid and Bill Erickson’s site… I have been manually doing each featured post.. only some went through, but that’s my fault. Live and learn. Thanks, take care.

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