“Having a what?!” – asks you. Okay, probably not you. But I’m going to take a minute to briefly explain the concept of a favicon anyway.
I know that setting a favicon isn’t usually on our initial to-do lists when launching a new WordPress site, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not an important element. Actually, I consider it one of the most significant simple tasks you can do for your branding, and in this post I’m going to explain why.
First of all, what a favicon actually is. As for everything these days, we can go to Wikipedia and find out. When we take their definition and translate it to English, we’ll come to a conclusion that a favicon is simply this small icon displayed in our browser’s window.
For example, here’s one on themefuse.com:
Why having a favicon is crucial
This is really simple and there’s not much to explain here. Favicons have only one job – to make your site recognizable. It’s purely a tool for branding.
Here’s how it works. These days, people tend to browse many sites at once by using a number of tabs (which every modern browser supports). Each tab gets a title and an image displayed to the left of the title.
If you have a favicon set then this is where it’ll be displayed. If you don’t have one then you’ll see a standard placeholder image like the one below.
(Another place where favicons are displayed is next to all bookmarks saved both in users’ local web browsers, as well as in online tools like Delicious.)
This makes favicons great for visually distinguishing your site from all the other ones. Quite simply, if you want to provide a way for your readers to be able to identify your site in a blink of an eye, favicons provide such a way.
What makes a quality favicon
Favicons themselves are not complicated at all. You just need a piece of graphics that you can save as a 32×32 icon file (or even 16×16).
The most intuitive way to build a nice favicon is to take your site’s logo and simply convert it to an .ico file.
However, if your logo is too complex, you might need to get a little more creative. Like for example, take the first letter of your site’s name and turn it into a favicon (like Facebook does).
When it comes to the actual process of preparing the icon, modern image processing apps have the possibility to save your graphics as .ico files, so there’s no problem here.
How to set favicons in WordPress
WordPress is quite a user-friendly environment for every website management task imaginable. And this is great because you don’t have to be a tech specialist or a programmer to set a favicon in place.
Unfortunately, favicons are not a native functionality in WordPress, but you can include them easily by installing a new plugin.
There are two I can recommend, so choose whichever seems to fit your situation better.
This is the most basic plugin you can get. There are no settings, you just need to enable it in your WordPress admin panel. Once it’s enabled, it’ll include the favicon link in the head section of your WordPress blog.
You need to upload the favicon file by hand to make this work. Your favicon has to be named “favicon.ico” and it needs to be placed in the root directory of your WordPress installation. The best way to get it there is via FTP.
This is a more advanced plugin offering quite a lot of cool features. For instance, you don’t have to upload your favicon by hand, you can do it via the built-in file uploader in WordPress, and additionally you get to set more than one favicon for your site.
This plugin lets you use different types of favicons: .ico, .png, and .gif. You can also set different favicons for your website and your admin panel (backend). And on top of that, the favicons are visible on iOs devices (iPads and iPhones) as well.
Of course, both plugins are free.
Now, there’s one more way of setting a favicon. Instead of getting third-party plugins you can get a quality theme right from the get-go (hint), which will take care of this for you…
That’s it for my tutorial, but feel free to share your thoughts. Do you have a favicon on your WordPress blog? If so, how did you set it in place?