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Favicons are those small icons you see in your browser right next to the URL in the address bar or whenever you bookmark a page, as shown below. It’s a great way to brand your site and it adds a subtle touch to your users’ online experience. They’re easy to make, but it doesn’t quite work as easily as renaming a .jpg or .gif file as a .ico. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to do it, using Adobe Photoshop. If you have the open-source equivalent, GIMP, you should already have an option in the “Save Image” dialog box.
Adobe Photoshop » Plug-Ins » File Formats
<link rel="shortcut icon" href="favicon.ico" />
Remember that this is a relative link as opposed to an absolute one, so if your favicon doesn’t show up, be sure to check where you saved it. Depending on your browser and cookie settings changes may not be reflected immediately, so try clearing your cookies and refreshing several times.
Yay for the smiley face! Click here to see it in action.
Alternative options: DynamicDrive has a free favicon generator which will convert a jpg or gif file into an ico.
Inspiration…: Smashing Magazine collected 50 of what they deemed to be some remarkable favicons.
… or lack thereof: Check out a bunch of free icon sets I’ve assembled that you can use for favicons without infringement of licenses.