Sunday, June 28, 2009

Author, Brand Thy Self

Have you ever wondered why some websites appear as a lovely picture icon, while others appear as an Internet Explorer icon, when you add them to favourites or as a shortcut on your desktop?

Would you like your website to appear as a picture icon? Then read on.

To achieve this, you need to create a favicon—short for favourites icon, which is also known as a website icon, shortcut icon, url icon, or bookmark icon. It’s a tiny square 16 x 16 pixel picture. If you have a web designer, then he/she can do this for you. But if, like me, you are creative and like to take sole control of building and up keeping your own site, then you can easily do this yourself.

Here is mine, but much bigger so you can easily see it. I’ve chosen to create an icon that matches my website. Just like an author’s slogan—Humorous Character-Driven Romance, Packed with Emotion—little things like icons can really help to brand your name, and make you memorable to your readers.

First: you need to create the icon. I’ve found a fantastic site, Favicon.ico Generator, which not only allows you to create your own icon, they also has hundreds of icons you can choose from to download.

When you’ve finished creating your favicon, or choosing one from the site, you need to download it to your computer. Don’t rename. The file must be called “favicon.ico”, this is what the web browsers will look for.

2nd: you need to upload the “favicon.ico” file to your public_html folder in the root directory of your website.

That’s it!

You may need to clear you browser’s Cache before you can see the new icon, though. As there are several types of browsers, I will suggest this link on How to Clear Your Browser's Cache to save me having to explain how to empty the temporary content web browsers store on your computer while you're surfing the net. Things like cookies, images, and web pages are all downloaded to your computer while you are online, and take up space on your hard drive. Getting into the habit of clearing your browser’s cache often can free up space on your computer, and also protect your privacy.

When you are finished, you should be able to see your icon in your browser’s address bar, and next to your website page's title on the tab.

Best of all, when your visitors add your site to their favourites, they get a lovely icon next to the link. Or your icon on the desktop as a shortcut.

Until next time L'Chayim (to life—to good health)
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