A favicon (pronounced “fave-icon”) is a small, iconic image, usually 16×16 pixels, which are used by web browsers to show a graphical representation of the site being visited. They display at the left side of the browser’s address bar and play a key role in enhancing the branding of your website.
The word favicon is made out of the words “favourite” and “icon”, and was first supported by Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 5 as a bookmarking feature favourites.
Favicons appear in several places, including browser toolbars, bookmarks, tabs, and address bars and they provide immediate visual identification of their represented sites, enhancing navigation and brand recognition for Web users.
Well-designed favicons are styled to match the logo or theme of your website and provide a quick and easy way to recognise your website at a glance.
In the example below you can see our own website (on the right hand side of the browser window, has an attractive pink favicon icon to match the branding of our website. Whilst the website highlighted to the left has no such visual cue to the branding of the website. Which do you think stands out better?
So what’s the purpose of a favicon?
In the early days of the internet, tools such as Google Analytics had yet to be invented so, at that time, favicons were used as a way to estimate website traffic by counting the number of visitors who bookmarked the page. (That’s another interesting snippet in the history of the internet!)
Today, the main reason for having a favicon is to improve user experience and to enhance the branding of a website. Depending on your browser, a website without a favicon will either show a generic page symbol or nothing at all. Not great for brand standout when users have multiple pages open in a browser.
How do you create a favicon?
Well, the good news, is that if you choose loyaltyMATTERS to design and build your website, we will automatically design you a favicon as part of our web design process. If you’re reading this blog article and are not a client of ours there are various online tools that you can use to create a favicon. We’ve listed the more popular sites below where you can easily research and upload a square graphic to generate an favicon.
- Favicon CC
- Favicon Generator
- Dynamic Drive Favicon Tool
- Chami Favicon Service
- Favicon Generator ORG
- Gen Favicon
- Website setup and Favicon Generator
The websites above vary a lot in terms of the resulting file you get; especially in terms of file size and extension. If you are looking to get the most compatible file possible, we strongly recommend downloading a image sized 16×16 pixels with the “ico” format.