The first time the word favicon was known to the public was when Microsoft released Internet Explorer 5 two decades ago. Favicon, as you may have guessed, is a combination of the word “favorite” and “icon”. But, what is this thing really?
What is a favicon?
A favicon a.k.a favorite icon is an image file depicting the identity of a particular website. You often see it next to the website title whenever you visit a website. Not sure what they look like? Have a look at the favicons of some of the world’s most popular websites below.
“Aren’t they just logos?”
Yes, most websites use logos or a more simplified version of the logos for favicons. After all, when you already have a picture so easily identifiable by your audience, why not use it plaster it all over the place, right?
Why are favicons used?
The main reason why favicons are so widely used for websites is user experience. Favicons are ubiquitous. Modern browsers use them all the time on the address bar, links bar, bookmark, browser tab, toolbar app, history, and search bar recommendation.
Favicons are also as important as logos when it comes to branding. As the graphical representations of the websites, the presence of favicons lets users identify websites quickly. Even though many people don’t know what they’re called, people are expecting to see that unique little icon next to the page title whenever their browsing through their search history or bookmark. When your website doesn’t have it’s own favicon, the browser will display a generic icon.
Are favicons important for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
There’s not much proof that favicons are crucial to your SEO success. Whether your website has a custom favicon or not will not affect your ranking by much, if any. That said, you should still make a favicon for your website for brand recognition. Having a custom favicon also builds credibility and trust, because your website will look more professional.
What size does a favicon need to be?
Browsers only need a 16×16 pixel image for favicons. That said, if you want to be prepared for everything, you should make copies in 32×32 and 96×96 pixels too.
How do I make a favicon for my website?
The easiest way is to make a square crop your company logo then save the resulting image as favicon.ico. If you’re not sure how to save an image file to ICO then just use the ICO format converter from online-convert.com. Just upload the file you want to convert, set the size in pixels, and start the conversion.
Be sure to upload your new favicon.ico file to the root folder of your website and replace the old favicon.ico file if one already exists.