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If you want a tool that helps visitors instantly recognize your website, then you should consider adding a favicon to it.

A favicon, short for favorite icon, is a tiny image that identifies and distinguishes a particular website or webpage from others.

If you have multiple tabs open in your browser at the same time, a favicon makes it easy to locate what tab you need without reading the text.

Related content: How to edit your website favicon?

Why are favicons important?

Adding a favicon to your website is one of the best strategies for marketing your website. There are other reasons why learning what a favicon is and how to use it can benefit your website.

The importance of favicon is:

Promotes brand identity and visibility

Still unsure what a favicon is used for? A favicon is an icon representing your brand, so users can easily identify your business. Favicons are visible on browser tabs, history, and bookmarks. Users are more likely to click on your website if your branding is clearly visible in their browser.

Favicons help your brand marketing and impact your search engine optimization (SEO). A good favicon should be visible on your user’s mobile phones and computer taskbars so that it can direct them effortlessly to your website’s tab. 

When you create a website with a favicon that has consistent design and legibility, users will subconsciously remember the image associated with your brand.

Improves user experience

The main purpose of a favicon is to help users identify a page quickly when they have multiple tabs open in a single browser window.

If you create a website with a favicon, users can easily identify and navigate to your website. A user-friendly website improves your search rankings since your website is easy to access, and people will want to revisit it.

Favicons also save users time from having to search for a tab or link. It helps users locate your website on their browser tabs and bookmarks in seconds. 

Makes websites look professional

Besides boosting visibility, learning what a favicon is and adding one when you create a website will give your website a professional look and strengthen your brand’s credibility. 

The modern online user wants to interact with trustworthy businesses. The importance of favicon is one of the ways visitors will judge your brand’s credibility. 

If you create a website without a favicon, the browser will display a generic icon, which could harm your website’s traffic.

What are favicons used for?

Favicons are used in a few significant areas, including the browser’s address bar, history, and bookmarks. 

  1. Browser tabs

Favicons are displayed next to the website’s title on a browser’s tabbed interface. 

If you have multiple tabs open on a single browser, a favicon helps you know which websites are which. It also shows you where you want to navigate.

  1. Browser history

The favicons in your browsing history make it easier to identify websites you’ve previously visited. If you have a long browsing list, an easy-to-recognize favicon is essential to help you find what you need.

  1. Bookmarks drop-down menu

Favicons also appear in the browser’s bookmark list. Bookmarks are your saved shortcuts to your favorite, most frequently visited pages.

  1. Bookmarks bar

Your bookmarks can also appear in the top bar of your browser, right below the address bar. This helps you to navigate to your seconds, and favicons will help you quickly identify each link.

Where do favicons appear?

Here are the primary locations where favicons can be found:

  1. Address bar: Some browsers display the favicon in the address bar, providing a visual confirmation that the user is on the desired website. This can reinforce trust and recognition.
favicon on address bar
  1. Bookmarks and favorites: When users bookmark or add a website to their favorites list, the favicon is often used as the bookmark’s visual identifier. This assists users in quickly identifying and accessing their preferred sites.
favicon on bookmarks
  1. Google listing: Favicons next to a website’s listing in Google’s search results offer users a quick way to recognize brands, differentiate search results, and improve the overall search experience.
favicon on google search result page

What type of image is a favicon?

what type of image is a favicon

After talking about what is a favicon image, we will now discuss about different types of favicons.

Favicons are tiny in size and can appear as fewer than three characters of text or simple images that represent your website.

Don’t confuse a favicon with a logo. While a logo can be used as a favicon, a favicon needs to be smaller in size or encompass just a part of your logo. 

For instance, Facebook and Twitter’s favicons look the same as their logos. The multicolored envelope graphic for Gmail and the “W” for WordPress are other examples of what a favicon is.

The recommended format for a favicon icon is ICO. The ICO format is a special multilayered image file. Each layer holds a different size of the image for use in different contexts, which is handy when you create a website with a favicon.

What size should a favicon be?

The standard sizes for favicons are:

16 × 16 pixels for web browsers

32 × 32 pixels for taskbar shortcut icons

96 × 96 pixels for desktop shortcut icons 

However, different interfaces, including apps, might require other favicon sizes for enhanced visibility. The right favicon generator can create a custom favicon for your specific contexts.

What formats do I use for a favicon?

  • Windows ICO: The ICO format is the standard for favicons, supported by most browsers and operating systems.
  • PNG: PNG files are widely used for favicons due to their lossless compression and support for transparency.
  • SVG: Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) favicons are resolution-independent and offer crisp, scalable icons, but browser support may vary.
  • GIF: They can be used for animated favicons, adding motion to your site’s icon.
  • JPG: While less common, JPGs can be used for static favicons, but they may lose image quality due to compression.
  • APNG: Animated Portable Network Graphics (APNG) allows for animated favicons, but browser support is limited compared to gifs.

Do I need a favicon for my website?

Yes, you do need a favicon when you create a website. Since online businesses constantly compete for users’ attention, you need a favicon to stand out from the masses. A favicon serves as a memorable visual cue for your brand.

Learning what a favicon is and how to use it can help users engage with your brand and recognize your business. If they have multiple tabs open, a favicon makes finding your website easier. Users spend less time searching for the link to your website and more time on your pages.

How to add a favicon?

If you’re using WordPress, here’s a step-by-step guide to adding a favicon:

1. Click “appearance”: start by logging into your WordPress dashboard. On the left-hand sidebar, locate and click on “Appearance.” This section controls various aspects of your website’s design and appearance.

2. Click “customize”: After clicking “Appearance,” you’ll see a list of customization options. Click on “Customize” to access the WordPress Customizer, which allows you to make real-time changes to your site’s design and settings.

3. Click on “site identity”: Within the Customizer, you’ll find a range of customization options organized into sections. Look for and click on “Site Identity.” This section typically includes settings related to your site’s title, tagline, and logo.

set a favicon in wordpress

4. Navigate to the “site icon” section and click “select site icon”: In the “Site Identity” section, scroll down until you find the “Site Icon” option. This is where you can upload and set your favicon. Click on “Select Site Icon.”

favicon site icon

5. Publish your changes: After selecting and cropping your favicon, click the “Publish” button in the upper-right corner of the Customizer to save your changes. This will make your favicon live on your website.

Where is The Publish Button on WordPress: Illustrated Guide

6. View your website: Finally, open a new browser tab and visit your website. You should now see your newly added favicon displayed in the browser tab, enhancing your site’s branding, and helping visitors identify your site more easily.

How to create a good favicon?

A well-crafted favicon should be instantly recognizable, even at tiny sizes, reinforcing your brand and facilitating user engagement.

  1. Use space wisely: Maximize a small square canvas (usually 16×16 or 32×32 pixels) to ensure clarity and impact.
  2. Simplicity: Keep the design clean and straightforward. Avoid intricate details that may be lost in small sizes.
  3. Brand identity: Incorporate elements like your logo or key symbols that reflect your brand’s identity for instant recognition.
  4. Abbreviating: Consider using initials or abbreviations to convey your brand within the limited space effectively.
  5. Color coordination: Stick to your brand’s color palette for consistency and brand recognition. Limit the color scheme to a few harmonious shades.

Final thoughts: What is a favicon?

We cannot stress enough the importance of using a favicon when you create your website. While it might look tiny and insignificant, it impacts user experience and brand identity. Favicons are one of the most valuable assets of a website.

A favicon should be recognizable and straightforward to ensure a user-friendly experience. It saves users time since they can navigate to their favorite websites with ease.

It doesn’t help to know what a favicon is if you don’t create one for your website. Using a favicon will significantly enhance your brand marketing and increase user engagement.

If you need professional advice and help in developing your marketing strategy, Bluehost’s got your back. Our team of experts will provide the support you need for your WordPress website.

  • Tiffani Anderson

    Tiffani is a Content and SEO Manager for the Bluehost brand. With over 10 years experience across all facets of content and brand marketing, she strives to combine concepts from brand marketing with engaging content through the lens of SEO.

    University of North Texas
    Previous Experience
    Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media
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