When it comes to talking about website strategy, I usually focus on simple but dramatic elements that make a big difference to the look and feel of your website. For example, if you want users to associate your brand with their comfort, avoid website elements that remind you of a virtual used car salesperson. This time, let’s focus on a subtle yet straightforward detail that will make your website look and feel more polished— favicons.
What Is A Favicon Anyway?
A favicon, short for “favorites icon” and a website icon or tab icon, is a file containing one or more small icons (just 16×16 pixels) associated with a particular website or webpage. The image is usually a brand’s logo, the first letter of the brand, or another image representing the business. Although you have probably noticed favicons before while browsing the Internet, you might not know much about them.
You will see favicons displayed in three main places online:
- Next to a website URL in the address bar
- Next to a website title in a list of saved bookmarks
- Next to a website name in an open tab label in your user’s browser
I think of favicons like fashion accessories—you can certainly be dressed well without your favorite earrings. But, if you are dressing to impress, the right accessories can make you look and feel more polished and professional.
So Why Should Your Website Have a Favicon?
Is a site icon an absolute necessity for a website? Not really. But incorporating one is a small thing that can improve your website quality in a big way.
1. They Save Users Time.
Suppose a user visiting your website for the first time happens to be in a hurry and decides to bookmark your website later. Then, when she is ready to revisit your website later, your site icon will make it easy for her to quickly recognize and click on your website within her list of bookmarks.
Additionally, if a user has several tabs open at once, the favicon makes it much easier for her to scan and find your website again. They increase the usability of your website, too. For instance, if a user wants to return to your homepage, clicking on the favicon is easier than hunting for more complicated navigation.
As with your mobile device, where the app icons make navigation simple and convenient, favicons make it easier for users to navigate your website in their browsers. It’s a tiny thing, but tiny things can have a huge impact in a world where consumers make split-second decisions.
2. Site Icons Increase Brand Recognition.
How could a small detail like a favicon increase brand recognition? Picture yourself at a huge networking event. You have done all the big things to attract the right clients: you have great marketing collateral (Spring Insight would love to help you with that, by the way), you have prepared the perfect elevator speech, and you are dressed for success. Now picture yourself with all of these things, PLUS you are wearing a smile on your face letting everyone know you are approachable.
In the same way that wearing a smile makes you as a business owner more memorable, your website’s site icon makes your brand more memorable. Favicons help users remember and recognize your website while browsing multiple URLs. Also, seeing your organization’s logo in various places reinforces the connection between the brand and the products or services the user is considering.
Like a smile is more memorable than a signature, graphics are more accessible to recognize than text. So you can’t go wrong by adding a favicon to increase your brand recognition.
3. Favicons Reflect Professionalism and Credibility.
The default image is a blank document if you don’t have a favicon. Just think about what that image represents. Instead of controlling your brand’s message, you are inviting others to define your organization. That can be dangerous.
By contrast, when users see your logo, they know they have come to the right place, which provides added reassurance. Also, keep in mind that users make split-second decisions about the perceived professionalism of online businesses and services. The more polished the site, the more professional it appears. Something as simple as not having a favicon can make your website appear less credible, especially when appearing side-by-side with your competitors.
How Do You Create a Favicon For Your Website?
Creating a favicon for your website is easy. If you have a WordPress site, most themes provide a place to upload your logo or another image to use as your site icon. Since the image will appear tiny, highly detailed logos are not a good bet. You may need to modify your logo or choose a more generic image representing your industry.
There are also some suitable favicon generators (for example, Favicomatic) that will convert any image to the right file size. Here’s a favicon cheat sheet to help you create and code your favicon for the more tech-savvy.
Not into tinkering with your website? Our website team can handle website strategy and maintenance for you. We’re professional, fun, and easy to work with. Sign-up for a free website assessment with us to find out what Spring Insight can do for your brand.
So, there you have it. Using a favicon signals that your business is professional and cares about even the most minor details. If you want your company to become a favorite, it helps to have a favicon.