What Is a Favicon?

What is a favicon? It's the small image that identifies your site on a web browser.

If you research how to design a website, you might come across the term “favicon,” as it’s an important site element to have. You’re not the only one wondering, “what is a favicon?” While we interact with favicons every day, few people recognize the word, or know what it means.

A favicon — short for “favorite icon” — is a small icon that represents a website. These icons appear on website tabs in your browser, on your bookmarks list, or within the address bar. Do you see the small white “W” inside of a blue circle in the tab for this web page? That is WordPress.com’s favicon.

WordPress.com sites use their own word for a favicon: a “blavatar” (which is a mashup of “blog” and “avatar”).

A favicon (or blavatar) is designed to help identify a website, and is a great addition to your site’s branding. Many favicons are smaller versions of your blog or business logo. A favicon can help you:

Why do you need a favicon?

Now that you can answer the question, “what is a favicon?” you’re probably wondering if you actually need one. The short answer is yes. A favicon is the most basic way to tie together your branding efforts. While skipping a favicon won’t hurt your site’s performance in any way, having one can help your image immensely.

A favicon can also help improve your visitors’ experiences. Most people who surf the internet keep multiple tabs open at once. This allows them to easily switch between web pages. For example, shoppers may search for sales or make comparisons between products or services by keeping multiple tabs open.

By using a favicon, you make it much easier for visitors to return to your site — even if they have too many tabs open and can’t see the site name. It also makes your WordPress.com site stand out among the sites that don’t have favicons. Making it easier for your viewers to recognize your site tab will encourage them to stay on your page longer.

Creating a favicon

To create a favicon, you can upload an image into WordPress.com and crop it. If you prefer to format your image first, there are several online tools that can assist in transforming your image into the perfect favicon for your site. Favikon is a free online tool that allows you to quickly generate a favicon. With this tool, you can upload your logo or image, crop it, and download the finished icon.

Favicons are displayed as squares, usually 16 x 16 pixels or 32 x 32 pixels. You don’t need to worry about resizing it, though. WordPress.com automatically resizes images that are too large.

Uploading your favicon to WordPress.com

Now that you know about favicons and how they’re created, you’re ready to upload a favicon to your WordPress.com site. Here are the steps for doing so:

  1. From your dashboard, select Settings and then the General tab.
  2. Beneath your site profile, you will see an empty square where a favicon will go. Click the Change button under this square.
  3. This will redirect you to the Media Library, where you can select an existing image or upload a new one.
  4. Crop the image if you want to. Resize or reposition the box until your favicon looks perfect, and then click Done.

That’s all it takes! Now that you know what a favicon is, you can add one to your site, strengthening your brand’s personality and improving your site’s usability in the process.