Favicon – A Small Image That Packs a Punch

Using favicons for your business websiteYou may or may not have ever heard of a favicon, the small image that appears in the address bar or on the tab of the browser when a website is displayed, but this little image can give you a small advantage over the competition.

When you visit a website, the web browser you are using (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc.) will look for the small favicon.ico file in the root directory (or in another location if you use a meta tag to tell the browser where the image is located), which it will then display either on the browser tab for most browsers or in the address bar, next to the URL.

Internet Explorer favicon

Internet Explorer places the site favicon in both the address bar and on the tab. If no favicon is present on the site, the Internet Explorer icon is used.

Internet Explorer places the icon in both places and Safari only puts the icon in the address bar.

Chrome favicons

Google Chrome places the favicon icon in the tab and uses a document type icon in the address bar. If the site does not have a favicon, the Google “g” logo is used instead.

If you don’t have a favicon for your site, different browsers have different ways of handling the situation. Chrome, Internet Explorer and Opera will use their own icon (Chrome uses the Google “g”), while Firefox just shows an empty box using a dotted line for the border.

Firefox favicons

Firefox puts favicons on the browser tabs, as well. If no favicon is found for the site, a grey box with a dashed border is used for the default icon.

A favicon is an easy way to provide a little branding for your visitors’ browsing experience, while differentiating yourself from all of the browser icons that show up in your visitors’ browser tabs.

Apple Safari favicon

Safari only shows favicons in the address bar and there are no distinguishing features on the tabs. If there is no favicon for the site, Safari uses a blue globe.

Creating a favicon and placing it in the right location on the site isn’t the easiest thing to do, but your web services provider should be able to help you get it done if you provide them your logo. There are also online favicon creators, such as favicon.cc, which allow you to import an image and create an .ico image for your site.

Is using a favicon on your business website a huge deal? No, but it is always a good idea to take advantage of small branding opportunities, if you can. Does your site use a favicon? Do you have any opinions on favicons? I would love for you to share your opinions below.

  • Garrett

    Hi Jonathan.. here is a little project I started and seemed relevant to the topic. It’s called Super Favicon. People understate the importance of the favicon so I started a database to collect as many as possible. We just passed 1800. Check it out at http://www.superfavicon.com. Feel free to share it with your readers.. I find it’s great inspiration.

    • http://www.jonathanjeter.com Jonathan Jeter

      Thanks for your comments. It looks like a great resource!