One thing that can be confusing for new bloggers is all the different technology. A common question for new commenters and bloggers is: “How is your image next to the comments on your blog. For me, the answer is Gravatar.
The next question is usually: What is Gravatar?
Let’s backup to another definition first: what is an avatar. An avatar is a graphic that represents you and the words you post online. On many modern social media platforms it’s often referred to as your “Profile Picture”. Gravatar is a globally recognized avatar, created by the same folks who brought us WordPress. Gravatar is the way your picture comes up next to comments on blogs without you having to register or login to an account.
There’s a great video on Gravatar.com that goes into more depth too that you should watch!
Where is Gravatar used?
You mostly see Gravatar used on WordPress.com and WordPress.org self hosted blogs.
Can I use Gravatars on my blog comments?
If you’re using WordPress.com there’s an article about using Gravatar for your visitor’s comment icons
If you’re using self-hosted WordPress there’s an article in the WordPress Codex about using Gravatar for your comment icons.
** Self Hosted WordPress Warning ** Sometimes your theme will override the settings in which case you might need to edit your theme files to use Gravatar. I know it’s a bummer :/
If you’re using blogger there are ways to work around it but I’ll talk about changing your avatar or profile picture for blogger comments another day!
Why use Gravatar?
The best part about gravatar is that you don’t need to login for it to work, you only ever have to login when you want to update your photo. By having a consistent avatar across many different social media platforms you’ll be making it easy for visitors to recognize you in all these different places.
Oh and when you change your Gravatar it automagically updates all your old comments to use your most up-to-date Gravatar!
See how easy it would be to recognize me alongside my comments on different blogs. Here’s some examples from today’s comments:
How can I get a Gravatar?
Just go to Gravatar’s website and signup with the email that you use comment. Add either your photo or a brand logo, try to use something consistent with your avatar or profile photos on your other social media platforms if you can and that’s it! Now go set that up so when you use my comment form below you’ll see your photo next to your name instead of the mystery man!