Your first question may be ‘what is a gravatar’?! A gravatar is the small square image that ‘follows people around’ on the web! If you look on our home page there is a comments widget in the middle column and you will see that some of the people that have left comments on our website have a photo showing. If you have a gravatar set up and connected to the email address that you are using to comment on a site, blog or forum, then your photo (or the image that you have set up) shows automatically.
Why use a Gravatar?
Gravatars can help to make your website more ‘inviting’ and sticky for your readers by giving a more ‘personalised’ experience, with ‘real’ people involved, and they can also help you to more quickly build relationships externally when you comment on other people’s blogs and forums, for similar reasons. People can see you and it can help them to feel like they know you better than if you are just an ‘anonymous’ commenter. You may also become more recognised if you are a prolific commenter and/or are particularly active in social networks that use the same image for you.
How to set up your own Gravatar
It is very easy to set up your own Gravatar. Go to www.gravatar.com and register for a free account. You just need to enter your preferred email address and then check your inbox for an email that enables you to finalise setting up your account. Once you are logged in you will need to upload an image. You don’t need to worry too much about the starting size of the image as the website gives you an opportunity to crop it to the correct, square, size as part of the upload process but if your image is very big you may want to shrink it a bit first (if you are on a PC you can do this easily using the Microsoft Office Picture Manager).
Enable Gravatars on your website
So now you will have your Gravatar set up. The next thing you might want to do is to enable gravatars on your own website. We work with WordPress and all you need to do if you have a (self hosted) WordPress site is to go into Settings and Discussion and go to the bottom ‘Avatars’ section (a Gravatar is a Globally Recognised Avatar) and select ‘Show Avatars’. If you are using other platforms, have a look at the Gravatar Implementation Page to find out how to do this on your platform.
So, there you are; I am going to comment on this post as soon as I have published it so that you can see my gravatar appear on the comment. Who else wants to do the same?