A small change can make a big difference, and that’s especially true when it comes to websites. A website’s favicon is the small, often colored, icon that appears in the upper left hand corner of your web browser. It’s the small piece of art that identifies a site as “favorite” or “frequent visitor”.
When a site has a unique and interesting favicon, it can grab the attention of potential customers, driving them to the site. A well-designed favicon can add polish to a site’s design and branding. It can also make a big difference in how a site is perceived by search engines.
If you run a fitness blog, for example, you can use a favicon that represents the muscles. After all, who wouldn’t want to visit a blog full of workout videos and information about getting strong? If you sell products related to food, drinks, or travel, you can use a fun-looking icon to represent your brand. For example, if you sell cookbooks, you might want to use a food-related icon such as a chef’, a burger’, or a taco.
When deciding what favicon to use, it’s important to keep the following guidelines in mind:
1. Keep It Simple
It’s best to keep the design of your favicon as simple as possible. Search engines don’t favor websites that have a lot of moving parts, so keep your design as clean as possible while still being able to represent your brand.
The most basic rule of thumb is to keep it simple and original. If you use an image-editing tool to make your icon, don’t use a clip-art image or a stock photo. Instead, find a unique image that represents your brand.
2. Keep It Light
Your icon should be light enough to be the focus of the person using the browser, but it should not be so small that it’s hard for them to see. In order to determine the right size for your icon, use these formulas:
- Your Website’s Name (ex: travb.com)
- Your Website URL
- (Your Website’s Name) + (Your Website URL)
- 1.8 x (Your Website’s Name) + (Your Website URL)
The first two numbers in the formula represent the width of your icon in pixels. The last two numbers represent the height of your icon in pixels. For example, if your website’s name is “Travb.com” and the URL is “travel blog”, your icon should be 128 x 128 pixels in size.
3. Keep It Fresh
Your favicon should be updated often. Search engines place a greater value on websites with fresh and up-to-date content. When creating your icon, it’s important to keep the following rules in mind:
- The design should be timeless
- The design should represent your brand
- The design should be easy to remember
- The design should match the vibe of your website
- The design should work well in all lighting conditions
- The design should work well on all devices
- The design should reflect current trends but still be able to stand the test of time
In order to determine how often you should update your favicon, use these formulas:
- Your Website’s Name (ex: travb.com)
- Your Website URL – The more frequently you update your favicon, the more value it will have to potential customers.
- The design should be easy to replicate
- The design should not be complicated – Make sure you practice making icons until you get the hang of it. You can use online tools to create your favicon at no cost. If you’re stuck for ideas, use Google Images to find an image that you feel represents your brand.
- The design should work well in all situations
- The design should be appropriate for all audiences – If your icon is not easy to understand or seems too complicated, even non-English speaking users may have a hard time using your site.
- The design should promote interaction and social media sharing
In order to determine whether your icon is fresh or classic, use the following formula:
- ((Your Website’s Name) + (Your Website URL) + (Your Website’s Name) + (Your Website URL))
- / 5
The first (Your Website’s Name) + (Your Website URL) represents the “age” of your website. The second (Your Website’s Name) + (Your Website URL) represents the “gender” of your website. The last (Your Website’s Name) + (Your Website URL) represents the “popularity” of your website.
For example, let’s say your website’s name is “Travb.com” and the URL is “travel blog”. Your age is 8, your gender is “male”, and your popularity is “average”. Using the above formula, you would add 8 + 1 + 8 + 1, which equals 21. Your overall score is 4 out of 5, which means your icon is relatively fresh.
4. Be Creative
Your icon is only as good as your imagination. You can be as creative as you want, but keep in mind this is the identity of your website. Make sure you’re creative enough, but not so much that it hurts your overall design. It’s also a good idea to have another person look over your creation before you deploy it. Even if you’re sure you did everything right, there may be something you overlooked.
The main thing to keep in mind is that no matter what you do, you’ll never be able to please everyone, so don’t get too attached to what you create. You can use the creative freedom that comes with having your own identity to find the perfect icon for your site.
5. Final Takeaway
In summary, your favicon is a small piece of art that represents your brand. Keep it simple and make sure to update it frequently. Finally, be creative and have fun with it, but also keep in mind the function of your icon. To get the most from your favicon, follow the above guidelines.