How To Add A Favicon To Your Site

First, what is a favicon? In the image below it is the little picture of my head that is shown in the browser address bar, and in the tab for the web page I’m visiting. It also appears as the bookmark icon if you save my site to your favorites. It can be anything, your logo, your face, a familiar symbol or something that you wish to brand your site with.

Blog Tech Guy Favicon

Second, how do you get one on your site? The easiest way I have found for people to do it themselves is to follow these steps.

1. Find/create the image you want to be used as your favicon. It doesn’t really matter what the size of this image is, but a square image is best. The final image will be 16×16 pixels so bear in mind it’s going to be small when finished, so see if it looks good that small first.

2. Go to HTML Kit here. This is a great FavIcon From Pics generator.

3. Simply upload your image here and it will then provide you with an example of the image and a link to download it from. I highly recommend NOT using the animated version, unless you want to annoy your visitors.

4. The image will be in a zip file, so extract favicon.ico to somewhere you will remember on your computer (the Desktop is usually easiest).

5. Upload the favicon.ico to your website, either via FTP or through WordPress (simply go to Write as if you were writing a post and Add image. You don’t need to save the post after it uploaded). Either way remember/copy the URL to the file once it is uploaded.

6. Finally you will need to edit the header of your website to tell the browser where the favicon is located. In WordPress you can do this through Design > Theme Editor and selecting header.php. Some themes will already have a line mentioning favicon.ico so you simply need to edit that line, else before the closing tag insert this line:

The image does not always appear first time, browsers are a little picky about displaying them, but you can always try in a different browser, or delete your browser cache/temporary internet files, closing the browser and restarting. If you have done steps 5 and 6 correctly it WILL work, have faith. You can even ask a friend if they can see it on their computer.

It’s a nice little touch to a website that can add an air of professionalism and branding.

[Thanks to my client Oriana for the idea for this post!]

What is RSS?

The following is taken from an article I wrote on Life Goggles explaining what is RSS, and answering the question what are web feeds?

With the launch of Internet Explorer 7 (IE7), RSS has finally came to the masses. Tech savvy (and Firefox) users have been using them for years and yet many people have never heard of them. What is RSS and what are web feeds? RSS may stand for Really Simple Syndication, but what does that mean to you? A web feed is for all intents and purposes, the same as an RSS feed. But what are they and how do you use them? And how are they beneficial to your blog?

RSS simply allows a website to automatically publish a basic file of “what’s new”. A user (i.e. you or your audience) can subscribe to this file (called a feed) and be notified of anything new that has been written on that particular website since you last received an update. It’s a quick and easy way of finding what is new on a site without necessarily having to visit the site yourself. Using a feed aggregator (more on these in a second), you can quickly keep up-to-date on the latest updates to many websites all in one place, and your audience can receive updates to your site via another channel.

Let’s have a quick look at my other site, Life Goggles (the link will open in a new window). When visiting this site, you can see the large orange RSS icon at the top right of the page. On other websites the location and look of these can vary, some examples are below:

Feed icon RSS icon2 XML icon

That’s all very well, but once you have found a feed, what do you do with it? You need to add this feed to a feed aggregator, a system that collects all your feeds in one place and converts the feed into an easily readable format. There are quite a few ways in which to read these updates.

1. Online
a) Website RSS readers. Some examples are:

Pros: Requires no software installation, available from any computer.
Cons: Need to be online to access.

Google Reader
Screenshot of Google Reader. Source: Google Reader

b) Personalised homepage. There are many varieties of personalised homepages where feeds (as well as other “widgets, such as email inboxes, weather updates, clocks, etc) can be added. These include:

Pros: Can also add other “widgets” besides RSS feeds.
Cons: Need to be online to access.

c) Browser Readers. Users of IE7 and Firefox web browsers will see the feed icon on their toolbars “light up”, or appear when a feed is available for a website. They can then subscribe to these feeds and read them directly in the browser as if they were a webpage.

Pros: Easy to add a feed, work just like bookmarks/favourites, but to a feed rather than a webpage.
Cons: Personal preference, I don’t find the feeds as easy to read to other systems.

2. Desktop
a) Standalone reader software

Pros: Can download and read offline. Typically faster to use.
Cons: Only available on the computer the software is installed on.

b) Integrated into your desktop email

Pros: Simplifies the reading process, just like email. Doesn’t always require separate software installation.
Cons: Only available on the computer the plugin/software is installed on.

Screenshot of Mozilla Thunderbird. Source: Wikipedia

For those who don’t want to use an online/desktop reader, feeds are often available by email. Over at Life Goggles we use a service by Feedburner that automatically emails out any updates to this website every day, and one by FeedBlitz that sends out emails once a week. You can sign up here to see how each of these services work. You can unsubscribe at any time, so don’t worry about trying them out.

Overall RSS/web feeds are an attempt to allow users easy access to the latest updates on their favourite websites, in one convenient place of your choice. Your method of reading them is down to personal preference, try a few of the free options (there are many more than mentioned here, a web search for ‘RSS reader’ will find plenty of alternatives. If you have any suggestions please let us know) and see which one you prefer. Once you find out, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them! Feel free to try out the My Blog Expert RSS feed or the Life Goggles RSS feed.

Why Should I Blog?

Why should you, or your business, have a blog? There are many reasons listed below, but if you’re a business they all add up to one thing – increased sales:

It’s a method of communication

That’s communication to everyone, whether your friends, or your customers. If you’re a business it helps put a personal “face” to the business – you’re not just a corporate website, you’re a person. You may seem more friendly and approachable to others as you’re having a dialogue with them. A blog is a conversation, not a lecture.

New and unique content for your site

Visitors like to see something new on your site. So do search engines, and a blog is an easy way of doing this.

Increase loyalty

People like to know who they’re dealing with. If they know who you are and have been treated well by you in the past (you respond to their comments and questions), then they may act more loyally towards you than a competitor.

Increase links and search engine rankings

Writing valuable content is going to get you linked to from other websites. Search engines will like this and your site will appear higher in the rankings for searches on similar topics.

Increase the value of your brand

Whether the brand is your business or you doesn’t matter. You could develop into being seen as a guru in your industry by providing regular, smart insight.

Your competitors are doing it

Your competitors are getting all the advantages of blogging above that you are not.

Increase sales!

If you would like further information on this, or how I can help you set up your blog please contact me.

What Is A Blog?

Wikipedia defines a blog as:

a website where entries are written in chronological order and commonly displayed in reverse chronological order

Simply a blog is a website. A blog differs slightly as it is much simpler to update and run. They are usually driven by easy-to-use management software and are very simple to use. The word “blog” is a portmanteau of “web log” and can used as a noun and verb (“to blog,” meaning “to edit one’s weblog or to post to one’s weblog”).

Can I Write A Blog?

Yes, why not? Can you type an email, a sales letter or story? Then you can write a blog!