Tutorial: What is a favicon and why you should have one?

favicons attract the user

What is a favicon?

Favicon is a shortened form of ‘favourites icon’. It can also be known as a page icon or an urlicon.  Favicons are very small images which are linked to a particular website or webpage.

Favicons are usually placed in the root folder of a website and generally have the file name favicon.ico.  However, developers and theme designers more sophisticated ways of using favicons.

A sample of some of the more famous favicons are shown below.

Examples of favicons


How are they used

These images of either 16 x 16 or 32 x 32 pixels in size are used to identify a website in:

1 – They are great when you are using tabs

favicons used in  browser tabs to identify blog

The favicon makes it easy for the user to switch between open web pages.

This is particularly useful:

  • when the text is not clear at the top of the screen
  • when someone is researching a topic and needs to refer back
A person is more likely to return to your webpage if there is a clear favicon on the tab.

2 – Bookmark or favourites list

using a favicon to search a bookmark list


This helps the user identify the a specific site.  A well designed favicon attracts the eye and makes it more likely the user will click the link, rather than the more bland non-favicon link, such as the third item in the list.

Why should I use favicons?

Though not essential favicons improve the general appearance of your website in the following ways:

  • A favicon improves the brand or look of your website.  It makes you appear to be professional
  • It will marginally improve the numbers of visitors to your site
  • As part of the complete package it will more make your website a little more valuable if you plan to sell it.


Smashing Magazine:  A list of 50 simple, well designed favicons


About Kenneth Byrd

Kenneth Byrd has a B.S. in Accounting and Management Information Systems and he also has a MBA. He works full-time as a consultant. He enjoys sports, freelance writing and internet marketing. To learn more about Kenneth, follow him on Twitter @kbyrdjr.