I’m sure you have seen certain comments that have an attached picture of the commentator, while others have a grey shade instead. I bet some of you are wondering how to setup these personal images while some of you wouldn’t give it a second thought. Well, before the latter group decides to wave this image thingy off as nothing, let’s take a look at what it is and what it does.
That image tool is called Gravatar. But before we discuss on this, let’s look at what is an avatar first. Avatar (in web language, not the movie!) refers to a visual appearance of you. It is often used by the gaming community. Once the user log on, the chosen image will be attached to his username and it provides an easier way to identify the user compared to having to remember names.
But this idea was not practical when it comes to blog and forum comments. That is until Gravatar came along.
What is Gravatar
Gravatar is an abbreviation for Globally Recognized Avatar. As the name suggest, your chosen image will be displayed alongside your screen name and comment, anywhere that Gravatar is installed. It’s an online identity. These days, many application supports Gravatar, including WordPress. The beauty is that you don’t have to log in to each of these websites in order to activate it!
Steps to Setting Up A Gravatar
For those who are unfamiliar with Gravatar, the idea of setting up an online identity may sound like an uphill task. But the truth is that it is very easy and free to set up a gravatar of your own and I’ll show you how. Step by step guide.
Register an account
First, you need to hop over to Gravatar’s signup page to register for an account. It’s absolutely free and you do not need to pay for it. The signup should take less than a minute!
Fill in Email
Signup a new account with the email that you wish to have it associated with your comments. It can be your mostly used email or it can be a newly created one. Or you can have different gravatars for different emails. Just remember which email you used. Click signup.
Upload your Image
Now, check your email and click on the link provided. Go to My Account -> Manage Gravatars.
Feel free to add your personal avatar here. You can use an existing image or take a new image via your webcam. You can also crop and change your image size if you wish. Once you are happy, just click “Finish”.
The last part is to choose a rating. A “G” rating is recommended as it can then be displayed to everyone (when you make comments on blogs for example).
Gravatar for Publishers
WordPress is Gravatar-enabled, so are many other applications. But if yours isn’t, you can easily add it into your blog comments, forums or any other sections which have readers interaction.
Gravatar for Commentators
If you wish to promote your blog or your products or services, then all the more you should have a gravatar. Make it personal. Make it uniquely you. It’s always easier to remember images than names. A good gravatar is one which will stand out from all comments and one that will attract others to click on your link!
What is considered A Good Gravatar
There’s no right or wrong gravatar but there are a few tips for a better gravatar. For brands and organizations, this would be no problem for they would always use their official logo. However, for the common folks like you and me, here are a few things you may like to keep in mind when choosing an image for your gravatar.
A Clear Image
The purpose of the image is for your readers to recognize you, so do choose a sharp image, whether it’s you or your logo or products.
If you choose to put your picture, then strike an attention grabbing pose, whether it’s friendly or funny. Though I would advise to stay away from controversial or provocative ones.
Products or Interests
Alternatively, you don’t want to put your mug shot if you are uncomfortable with the idea. You could put an image that represents your products or interests eg flowers for gardening enthusiasts or even your pet.
There are some people who are worried about how their email may be easily made available through your gravatar. There’s nothing that I find in my research which leads me to believe that this is a serious security issue though. However, if this is a concern for you, then you may want to sign up with a different email from the ones that you actively use.
Don’t be faceless on the World Wide Web
So, join millions of people and set up your own Gravatar. Let your readers associate you with a unique identification. For publishers, having Gravatar turns your website into a more entertaining one and encourages more comments. So do give it a try.