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A Picture's Worth 1,000 Words

...and Favicon is where it's at!

Want to make your web site standout in crowded favorites lists in browsers and address bars? How about displaying your logo next to links to your site.

First, you have to create a logo for your site; a very tiny logo to be specific. The size of the logo should be exactly 16x16 pixels (you should keep the detail to a minimum and use only a few colors) and it should be saved as a Windows icon file (logo.ico for example). "What if my image editor doesn't support saving files in Windows icon format?" I hear you asking.

One solution is saving your image to any format, then use your ftp client to change the file extension (logo.gif, logo.jpeg, logo.jpg, whatever) to logo.ico before uploading. If you're using CuteFTP (I use this client), right-click on the image file to change, select Rename, then replace the file extension with .ico. I have a neat little program called "PIC2ICON" that makes this process quite simple - you can download it at http://www.startupinternetmarketing.com/downloads/p2i020b.zip

After you've created your icon and named it correctly (favicon.ico), you have a few choices:
  • You can place a copy of your icon in the root directory of your site where most of your pages likely reside.

  • If you have a large site with multiple directories, you can place a copy of your icon in each directory.

  • You can place your Favicon anywhere you like by including a LINK TAG within the "HEAD" section of your HTML pages that looks like this:
    <LINK REL="SHORTCUT ICON"href="/your/path/favicon.ico">
It's probably best to place a copy of your icon in each directory that contains pages as well as in your root directory because Internet Explorer 5.X will first look for the Favicon in the current directory of the page the visitor is bookmarking. This way, it's guaranteed that Internet Explorer 5.X will grab the icon.

The methods outlined above will work in Explorer 5.x and higher without having any negative effects on other browsers.

It's simple! Every time someone bookmarks you web site, your customized icon will be displayed in their Favorites folder in place of the generic Internet Explorer logo. You see, Internet Explorer 5.X has been specially programmed to automatically seek out the Favicon file whenever it is asked to bookmark a page. It is a function that cannot be turned off and is completely transparent to the browser. Therefore, if you do not have a Favicon file for your web site, your server logs will register the "favicon.ico not found" error each time that someone using an Internet Explorer 5.X browser bookmarks you.

The beauty of this is that your site becomes much more noticeable among the other bookmarks... a feature that may help you to draw more repeat visitors. Unfortunately, right now only Internet Explorer 5.X supports Favicons. Neither Netscape users nor Mac users have access to this funky feature. However, don't be too quick to dismiss the usefulness of this tool. Almost a quarter of all surfers are currently using Internet Explorer 5.X... a fairly significant percentage!

So where will your icon appear? There are six possibilities:
  • The Favorites directory of the visitor's browser. Here your icon is sure to catch a few eyes among the list of generic Internet Explorer icons.
  • The Favorites directory located off the Windows start button.
  • In the location bar. Imagine how professional this will look! Every little bit counts, right?
  • On the desktop. If the visitor bookmarks the site, holds down the control key, right clicks on the bookmark, then drags it to the desktop, the icon will be copied there as a shortcut.
  • On the taskbar. Again, if the visitor bookmarks the site, holds down the control key, right clicks on the bookmark and drags it to the task bar, the icon will be copied there.
  • On the links bar. As with the desktop and taskbar, if the visitor bookmarks the site, holds down the control key, right clicks on the bookmark and drags it to the Links Toolbar, it copies the icon and title there.
Check out a few Favicons for yourself by bookmarking us, here at Startup Internet Marketing (http://www.startupinternetmarketing.com), Yahoo! (http://www.yahoo.com), or MSN (http://www.msn.com). Once you've done this, take a look at the location bar and the favorites menu in your browser to see exactly how big a difference a customized icon can make!


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