What Is a Favicon, and Why Does Every Website Need One?
Favicon is that small image that appears next to the page title in your web browser tab. It’s usually composed of initials, company logos, or any other distinct imagery that identifies a brand. Favicons come in handy for several reasons. First, they add an extra touch to your site’s user experience and make your site more recognizable. Secondly, they create a robust brand identity that stands out in a crowd of other websites when several tabs are open. Let’s delve in and explain why you need a Favicon for your website including how to create it.
The Evolution of the Favicon from IE to Google SERP
Favicons first cropped up in 1999, when the Internet Explorer (IE) was the most popular browser. In fact, it was introduced as a way to help users differentiate bookmarks faster. The bookmarked pages were known as ‘Favorites’ in the IE. The name “Favorites” was blended with “Icon” and the popular Favicon reference was born!
The use has evolved over time and these days; favicons are displayed on the address bar next to the website link.
You will also see them on your browser history and on the pages you bookmark. Google also added Favicons to Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) from 2019.
How to create a Good Favicon
Seeing that Favicons form a significant part of brand identity, it is essential to put the best foot forward when designing one for your site. Here are some questions to ask yourself when looking to create the best one for your website:
- Does it have a unique touch that makes it stand out from the crowd?
You want a Favicon that is conceptually different from what other websites within your industry are using. That way, your website is set apart from the sea of similar ones.
- Does it accurately represent your website?
Proper brand identity requires consistency on all fronts. Hence, the favicon needs to be a perfect representation of your niche and industry. It should be easy to recognize the visual style of your brand in the favicon.
- Can you get away with an animated GIF?
Animated GIF Favicons might be great at setting you apart, but they are not for everyone. If you are to go the animated route, you should ensure that you create something that is eye-catching. Go for a favicon with a flickering effect.
- What size will be best suited for the Favicon?
Favicons are generally small. It is, therefore, not the opportunity to stuff it with all the details and colors imaginable. It is best if the favicon is small and easy to understand.
There are several aspects to consider when designing the most fitting favicon for your website. You want the favicon to be a great representation of your brand. Here are factors to look into when creating a suitable Favicon for your website:
Simplicity is the utmost sophistication, especially when dealing with something that small in scale. A clean design with simple shapes and colors is more appealing since it does not run the risk overwhelming and messy. A favicon is an incredible visual element for a website. But even so, simplicity goes a long way.
Most browsers will accommodate favicons that are 16px. It is, therefore, necessary to have the size in mind when creating one. Some companies can get away with using a smaller version of their logo. However, it may be too messy with other logos.
- Brand identity
Favicons sell your brand. They tell people what to expect from your business and what you do. Employ creativity to create a favicon that instantly gives away what your brand represents.
A graphic image for a Favicon may not be practical for all businesses. Something as simple as the company abbreviations or acronyms can suffice. Try out different variations to determine the one that works best.
- Color coordination
Excellent color choice is king in creating the perfect favicon. Good color coordination makes it easy to identify the focal point of the favicon. Also, seeing that favicons are small in scale, choosing the right colors makes it possible to create a recognizable piece.
Technical requirements for creating a favicon
Some technical considerations go into any favicon for it to be practical and easy on the eyes. Here are some that you have to keep in mind:
Since you want a favicon that you can use in the browsers, address bars, tabs, and bookmark views, 16px is usually the most recommended size. However, you can use 24px if you wish to use it in a pinned site in Explorer 9 or up to 195px if you will use the favicon in the opera speed dial.
There are different formats that you can use for your favicon, such as:
- Windows ICO
This file format is most common owing to the fact that it has multiple resolutions and bit depths. This format offers a 32pixel icon that you can find handy with Internet Explorer Window 7 taskbar. It helps that you do not have to use the element with it.
This format has a user-friendliness appeal. It is easy to use since it does not require a special tool to create. It produces smaller file sizes that support alpha transparency. The biggest downside, however, is that Internet Explorer does not support PNG files.
This file format works best with Opera Browsers.
If you need a showstopper, the GIF format is your friend. It draws more attention to users. That said, some users may find it to be too overbearing and irritating. You have to find the perfect balance if you decide to use GIFs.
While you can use this format, it may not be your best choice since you may have to deal with poor resolution quality. You are better off with PNG which does better even with small-sized favicons.
Why are Favicons Important & Why You Can't Do without one
Favicons are not only good to look at on the search engine address tabs. They do way more than that. Favicons play an integral role in creating brand recognition and boosting the legitimacy of a site. They are a visual marker boosting memorability while ensuring the best user experience for your web visitors. Here are some of the most significant benefits fop favicons:
- They bolster brand recognition
Brand visibility generates leads and increases traffic which, in turn, increases the opportunities for conversion. Favicons serve that purpose perfectly by increasing the visibility of your website. More customers know and remember your company, all thanks to a well-done favicon. Visitors can save bookmarks on their home screens and are more likely to return.
- They foster legitimacy
Visibility and recognizability in a brand go a long way in bolstering user trust. A potential customer is likely to view a memorable site as more credible than one they are encountering for the first time. Favicons make your brand more memorable, making it appear legitimate to users. Customers will not be wary of shopping or working with you.
- You get bookmarks
Browsers like Google Chrome tend to bookmark sites with Favicons. That is a positive ranking signal that ensures more traffic comes to your webpage. With favicons, users can identify your site in their bookmarks, making them more likely to come back and grow loyalty with your site.
Are Favicons important for SEO?
Search Engine Optimization is an essential marketing tool in the digital age. Keep in mind that your target consumers clock hours online and prefer to shop from online stores compared to the traditional brick-and-mortar ones. That presents a ripe market for eCommerce stores. This is where SEO comes in handy to grow your digital presence. Now, optimizing your site for search engines boosts your credibility drives more traffic to your site, and increases the likelihood of conversions. The good news is that Favicons can help your SEO game significantly. Here are a few reasons why:
- Sites with favicons get more clicks compared to those without. The high click-through rate and dwell time give a website an upper hand with the search engine result page (SERP) ranking.
- Users are more likely to interact with websites that are memorable and credible. A notable Favicon gives your website that advantage, increasing the chances of people visiting your site. With more people visiting your site, your SERP ranking will go up.
Checking your Website’s Favicon
You can simply do a quick search on Google to find out how your favicon is displayed on the SERPs. Here are a few quick ways to do it:
- Type the link on your browser while replacing mysite.com with your domain link
- You can use online services like Realfavicongenerator to check how the favicon looks on other sites.
If your favicon doesn’t show up correctly or isn’t showing up at all, then first keep in mind that it will often take some time for the crawler to pick it up. Still, find out if the icon is located in your website resource root folder. Also, determine if the code pointing to the image is written properly. Also, check if the location is accessible to the crawlers.
That’s it! We hope you now know a thing or two about the essence of a favicon for a website. So, craft a bespoke Favicon to elevate your brand identity to your target audience. Ensure you check that your icon also appears as expected on SERP.