Favicons: What They Are and How They Help You

Examples of a favicon in BrowsersFavicons are an extra opportunity to place your branding inside the browser but beyond the confines of your webpages. They often load even before your webpage does and they can act as a lasting reminder after a visitor has left.

What is a Favicon?

All major web browsers show a small icon in or near the address bar as a webpage loads. In tabbed browsers it usually appears on the tab as well. Often this will be a generic icon for a webpage but it can be replaced with a ‘favicon’. Favicons are small but within their limited dimensions they can be any design.

The term ‘favicon’ is an abbreviation of ‘Favourite Icon’. Their original purpose was to make a particular saved web address easier to find in a list by adding an illustrative icon to the title. When a visitor adds a web address to their browser favourites as well as the title of the webpage the favicon is saved as a small graphical mnemonic.

How Favicons Help

Favicons can help in three ways:

  1. Firstly the favicon is simply another spot to place your branding. Although small, the favicon’s position outside the page generally puts it in an area without other distractions. With ever increasing banner blindness amongst web users this tiny spot can punch above its weight.
  2. When a visitor loads a webpage the favicon often loads before the actual webpage. Using a favicon can confirm to visitors they have the correct web address for the site and that it’s loading. This is particularly reassuring for users on a slow connection.
  3. Finally, a favicon appearing against a browser favourite allows you to place your brand in the user’s browser even when they’re not on your website. If you are looking to generate regular repeat visitors this can really help. Even when users aren’t looking for your website in their favourites an eye catching favicon can act as a reminder that you exist. Your favicon is an extra cue gently coaxing repeat visits from that hard won ‘add to favourites’.

Getting Your Own Favicon

Favicons aren’t just an image. Different browsers display favicons at different resolutions and different colour depths. In order to meet all the different variations a favicon needs to be a special kind of image file. As the name favicon suggests this is an icon file. Icon files can contain the same image at several different resolutions and colour depths. This ensures whatever variation the browser needs, the favicon file will be able to display it correctly.

If you want a favicon on your website there are lots of tools out there to help with favicon creation. Alternatively, if you’d like one designed for you, or your existing logo recreated as a favicon, eSlice can design one for you. Contact us if you’d like to learn more.

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One Response to “Favicons: What They Are and How They Help You”

  1. aetna dental Says:

    Hi! Quick question that’s completely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My website looks weird when viewing from my apple iphone. I’m trying to find a
    theme or plugin that might be able to fix this problem. If you have any suggestions, please share.

    Appreciate it!

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