Have you ever noticed that certain websites bookmarked in your web browser or saved to the main screen of your mobile device have customized icons attached to them? These are called favicons. They are icons chosen by the site developer to provide a unique image associated with that website. There are two things you should know about them as a WordPress user:
- implementing them in WordPress is easy; and
- you really should be using one if you are not already.
Before we get to instructions for implementing the favicon on your WordPress site, let us first discuss why you should do so. A favicon is a visual representation of your website to your regular users. It is very similar to a branded logo used by a big-name corporation. The graphic image you choose to represent your site instantly creates a link in the mind of your users that causes them to think of your site whenever they see the icon.
Let’s say one of your users adds a bookmark to your site in a mobile web browser. Every time they open that app, they will see your favicon on their favourites page and, in some cases, on the page displaying frequently visited websites. Even if they had no intention of visiting your site when they opened the browser app, seeing the icon may encourage them to do so.
Implementing the Favicon in WordPress
Before you actually assign a favicon to your WordPress site, you have to create one. WordPress requirements are very specific: the image must be at least 512 x 512 and in one of the popular image formats like JPEG or PNG. We have found that you can use transparent images as long as they are created using current standards. Once you have your image created, do the following:
- Navigate to the Dashboard in the WordPress Admin area
- On the left side click ‘Appearance’, ‘Customize’, ‘Site Identity’
- Click on ‘Select File’
- Upload your image and click to save.
If you’ve done everything correctly, you should see your new favicon appear next to the web address in the bar at the top of your browser window. All of your users will also see the same icon next time they log in. Even better, your link will be saved with that icon whenever anyone adds your site to their list of favourites.
The only other thing you need to know in this regard is to keep your graphic simple. WordPress is going to reduce the size of the image significantly, almost to the point of being a thumbnail, so overly complicated images may be hard to identify when presented as favicons. In light of that, it is not a good idea to use an existing image that is already the size of a standard wallpaper – simply by resizing it to the 512 x 512 format. Start with something as close to the correct size as possible. This will yield the best results with the finished product.