It follows you everywhere online. Comment on a blog, it’s there. But, what is a Gravatar anyway?
If you’ve made a comment on a blog recently, you might’ve noticed something in the comments section. Some people have avatars (profile pictures) when they comment. And some don’t.
Here’s an example from the Nimbus Magazine:
What’s the difference between these two images? Why does one user have a photo next to his comment, while the other doesn’t?
The users with avatars have a Gravatar account, a free service that links their email address to an avatar they’ve uploaded to the Gravatar site.
What about you? Are you using a Gravatar? If not, now’s the time to start.
What is a Gravatar?
Let’s go right back to the beginning.
An avatar is an image that represents you online. You might use a nice professional-looking headshot, a logo, or a picture of your cat. It’s up to you!
Gravatar stands for globally recognized avatar . You create an account with Gravatar using your email address and upload an avatar. Now, whenever you use that email address, your Gravatar will follow you.
It’s a free service that’s used by millions of bloggers for their comment sections.
Why Use a Gravatar?
So, why would you want to use a Gravatar?
Using a Gravatar gives you:
- A picture of yourself or your chosen avatar appearing beside your comments.
- A Gravatar profile.
- A hover card of your bio (if the site has enabled the use of hover cards).
How does that help you?
If you’re in business online, or if you’re a blogger, you want to build connections and name recognition. One way you can do that is by using the same image every time you comment.
Gravatar makes that easy. Your Gravatar follows you around the web and will show your chosen image every time you make a comment or interact.
Having a Gravatar also looks more professional. It’s a fact that the internet is teeming with spammers and bots (less than half of all internet traffic is human!). But those bots and spammers don’t usually take the time to set up a Gravatar.
Using a Gravatar instantly makes your comment look more legitimate. If you’re using a photo of yourself, it also helps build trust. It gives you more credibility, which in turn builds your authority.
How to Set up Your Gravatar
- Open Gravatar.
- Click Create Your Own Gravatar.
- Create your account, or click Login if you already have a WordPress.com account.
- You’ll receive a confirmation email to activate your account. Check your email and click on the link to activate.
- Click Sign in to Gravatar on the confirmation page.
- Add an image by clicking on Add one by clicking here! Or Add a new image.
- You now have the choice to upload a new image from your computer, import an image from a URL, take a photo with your webcam or use a past image you’ve uploaded.
- To upload an image from your computer, click Upload new. Then click Browse and select the image to upload, click Next to continue.
Or, to add an image from another website, click From URL, paste the URL of the image into the field then click Next.
To add an image from your webcam, click From Webcam. A popup will trigger asking for permission to share your webcam. Click on Share the selected device.
Click Take Picture to take an image, then click on Use picture once you’re happy with it.
- Crop your image to your liking by dragging the box out to the right size and click Crop and Finish!
- Choose a rating for your Gravatar – G, PG, R, or X. This will determine whether your Gravatar will appear on any given site. Sites specify Gravatars must be a specific rating or better to display. So, G-rated avatars will appear on any site, whereas PG-rated Gravatars will not appear on sites that require G-rated avatars, but will appear everywhere else.
What image should you use as your Gravatar?
There’s always debate over what kind of avatars businesses should use – should it be the company logo? Or a picture of the person? The owner? You? Or a mascot?
If you’re using a Gravatar for business, any of these options are a good choice. However, keep in mind that people connect with people, and nothing builds trust (and conversions) like a smiling face.
Your Gravatar Profile
Now that you’ve added your Gravatar image, you can turn your attention to your profile. Yes, your Gravatar account comes with a one-page online profile. But why would you want to bother with a profile?
Well, your profile can be viewed and linked to. You can also add your website, your social media accounts, and your contact information. Plus, with the hover cards feature, on any site with it activated, your bio will appear if someone hovers over your comment. If you don’t have a filled out profile, it won’t entice people to click.
Gravatar Hover Cards
Gravatar hover cards add an extra dimension to your Gravatar by popping up a card when you hover the mouse over them. The card contains information drawn from your Gravatar profile.
Not every site has this feature activated. However, if you have your profile filled out, your bio will be viewable by readers of the blog you’re commenting on. A powerful bio can help you entice readers back to your own site.
If you want to generate traffic and trust, why not spend a few minutes filling out your profile?
How to Fill Out Your Profile
There are several sections that you can edit. The most important are:
- Name and details
- Contact information
- Verified Services
You can also add additional images, change the background of your profile and add in your favorite crypto-currency wallets.
Here’s how to set things up:
- Click on My Profile.
- Fill out your name, display name, location, and a short bio in the About Me section. Note that you can add HTML in the About Me section if you choose.
- Add additional images in Photo Gallery if you like. These don’t appear as Gravatar options in your account.
- Add your website in Websites. Choose Add WordPress.com Site or Add Website, whichever applies to you.
- Enter your website URL and your website title. Click on Save Website.
- Try a new Background for your profile. You can choose to upload an image or use a solid color by entering a hex code. Click Save Background once you’re done.
- Add your Contact Information if you want to give people a way to get in touch with you. Choose from the drop-down menu and add your details to the field, then click Add.
- Add Verified Services if you’d like to verify that it’s you. Choose the service from the drop-down box and follow the prompts to authenticate the service.
- In Crypto-currencies, you can add your Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Dogecoin wallet for easy availability for friends and services.
Here’s an example of what your finished profile might look like:
How to Use Your Gravatar
On other sites
You don’t need to do anything specific to use your Gravatar on other blogs and websites. If the site has Gravatars enabled, all you’ll need to do is put in the email address associated with your Gravatar account when you’re making your comment. Once you submit your comment, your Gravatar will appear beside it.
On your own site
As a site owner, you can add your Gravatar to your WordPress admin account so that when you respond to comments your Gravatar appears.
Here’s how you can add your Gravatar to your admin account:
- Navigate to Users > Your Profile.
- Scroll down to Contact Info. Enter the email address associated with your Gravatar account in the email section.
- Click Update Profile. Your Gravatar image will appear under the Profile Picture heading.
If you decide you want to change your Gravatar image, click on the Gravatar link to go to the Gravatar site to update it.
For other users on your site
As a site owner, you have control over how Gravatars appear on your site.
- Navigate to Settings > Discussion.
- Scroll down to Avatars.
- You can choose to disable avatars entirely if you wish by unticking the Show Avatars box beside Avatar Display.
- You can set the maximum rating for Gravatars on your site. For example, if you choose PG, only Gravatars that have been designated G-rated or PG-rated will show.
- You can also choose the Default Avatar that appears for people who don’t have a Gravatar.
- Click on Save Changes.
Now your site is all set up and ready to go! Whenever anyone comments with an email address linked to a Gravatar account, their Gravatar image will appear next to their name.
And when you respond, your Gravatar will appear beside your name.
Wrapping it up
Gravatars are a simple way to keep your online presence consistent by using the same image as your avatar on every site you visit and interact with. Keeping your Gravatar profile filled out and updated with your contact details and website can help you get more traffic back to your site.
Got your Gravatar up and running yet? If you’ve set up your Gravatar, show it off to us by leaving us a comment here!