What are Favicons?

People who go to websites probably have noticed icons next to the URL in the browser. These are called “favicons”. For instance, if you see a 16×16 image of a white flower with green leaves on a blue background, that’s the favicon.

The term favicon is a combination of “favorite” and icon, delighting these little images for being our favorites. They’re also referred to as “website icons”, “favorite’s icons” or just plain “site icons”.

We used to use GIF images with transparency for favicons, but since they weren’t supported by all browsers it became necessary to add alternate HTML pages PNG screenshots. When I started out with favicons, I had to crop screenshots in Gimp to get that 16×16 transparent image. Nowadays there are online tools like The Favicon which will take your website’s screenshot and create the necessary HTML file for you.

Websites use little icons (favicons) to make them easier to recognize when opened up in a browser tab. They also make good placeholders when no thumbnail is available. For web designers, making these icons can be quite challenging because of their size limitations (usually 16×16 pixels).

So why do we need favicons?

For a start, favicons reflect a company’s image. They provide a central point of focus for site navigation, and help users identify websites from the address bar before they even get to your content. Favicons are also crucial branding tools that can promote your website or business in an interactive way. In this way, favicons are the 21st century version of visual business cards.

But favicons are about so much more than just branding. They can help drive conversions too. Many studies have shown that favicons generate over 10% click through rates because they catch users’ attention far faster than text-only websites do. This is why favicon images are often included in advertisements and other marketing materials, such as billboards or flyers.

favicons

In this way favicons actually improve the user’s browsing experience by giving them an easier way to navigate between various sites. It is important for favicons to be designed in a way that does not overshadow their content, but favicons can increase users’ attention retention and their ability to remember site content.

But favicons’ greatest asset is that they can also help improve a website’s SEO rankings by increasing the sites click-through rates and page views. Favicons do this by making websites more aesthetically pleasing, which makes users more likely to stay on their specific pages for longer periods of time. While favicon design is not as critical as other SEO ranking factors, favicons do play a role in the browser’s decision making process. In this way favicon design can have a direct impact on a website’s overall visibility and it depends on both favicons and their website content to remain relevant to users’ searches.

When designing favicons, designers should keep in mind that favicons need to be:

– Unique
– Distinctive
– Appealing
– Memorable.

Favicons should also not:

– Overwhelm
– Overshadow their website’s content.

Favicon images need to balance familiarity with distinctiveness so as to help users recognize the favicon, rather than distracting them from it. This juxtaposition can be achieved by making favicons simple, memorable and elegant.

You don’t have to spend a fortune on favicon design either. There are thousands of graphic artists around the world who are willing to create favicons for reasonable prices, so it is possible to find favicon designers in almost any city in the world.

How to Create Favicons?

Creating them is easy! Just follow these steps:

1. First make an icon/image you want to put as favicon. The dimensions should be 16×16 pixels because that’s what IE7 and below use. However, other browsers like Firefox use 32×32 or 48×48 too (for certain high resolution displays), so it couldn’t hurt to create bigger ones for those browsers if you’re making an unusual shape like a circle or a Playstation controller. They should also be in .png format.

2. Then save your icon as favicon.ico (be sure to include “.ico” at the end). Or if you want it to show up on other browsers too, you can use favicon.png instead of favicon.ico, just note that some old ones don’t support this file type yet so there’s no guarantee they’ll work for everyone or forever 🙂

3. Once you’ve got your favicon saved somewhere, head over to where it is and right click on the icon/image then click “Properties.”

4. Now copy everything from inside the Code box for Internet Explorer’s properties. If there aren’t any or there’s nothing but a bunch of spaces, then skip to the next step and try Firefox (it should say “Internet Explorer Property” at the top).

Conclusion

So there you have it, favicons are a great branding and marketing tool that can help improve your website’s SEO rankings by increasing users’ attention retention and improving website click-through rates. Favicons also increase users’ overall browsing experience because favicon images act as central points of focus for site navigation.

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