If you’re using WordPress then you probably already know what a Gravatar is, however even if you aren’t you should! If you’re not sure what a Gravtar is and why you should have one, then this post is for you. Simply speaking a “Gravatar is an image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things like comment or post on a blog.” All wordpress sites that use the default comment form use Gravatars to pull in your image so that it appears beside your comment.
In addition, its used as your author image and frameworks like Genesis specifically use Gravatars to pull in your image when you use the Genesis – User Profile widget. Using a Gravatar makes you look more legitimate and puts a face with a name, so that when you comment on a post, the original poster can see who you are and and better connect with you. If you don’t use a Gravatar then when you comment, a little gray man will appear and you’ll appear to be just another anonymous commenter, even on a site that you frequent often. Sometimes bloggers will assign a custom image to be used in the place of the default little gray man, but many don’t. I personally don’t have a custom image assigned for non-gravatar users, however I might consider adding one in the future for branding purposes. Moreover, because I encourage the use of Gravatar’s I’d hope that most that visit my site have one and that I can see their smiling faces.
Alright, so let’s get to setting up your Gravatar!
You’ll first begin by visiting Gravatar.com and signing in with your WordPress.com. Even if you’re on self-hosted WordPress, you should still have a WordPress.com account set up. You’ll need a WordPress.com account for many reasons with using WordPress, but more specifically if you plan to use Jetpack on your Dashboard, you will need one.
Once you’re logged in you’ll be taken to your Gravatar Dashboard, where you will begin the setup process for your Gravatar. Note: Your Dashboard will not prompt you to Manage Gravatars, since you don’t have any set up. However, once you do have one set up, you can go in and add new ones and change them as needed.
You will add the image you want to use for your Gravatar by selecting add a new image.
You can choose to upload the image from your computer’s hard drive, an image on the internet, or by using a previously uploaded image.
Once you upload your image, you will see a preview of it. If everything is good to go with it, you can move forward to cropping your image. Crop the image however you see fit, but remember that your Gravatar will display very small, so its best to focus the cropping on your face or focal point of whatever image you’re using.
After cropping you will be prompted to choose a rating for your Gravatar. They give you a description of each rating so you can choose which one is most appropriate and best fitting for your image. I recommend “G rated” images, since they are suitable for display on all websites with any audience type.
This is the last and final step, in which you will select where you would like to use the newly uploaded image. You will select from the email(s) already attached to your account and once you do that you’re good to go! You now have your Gravatar set up and assigned, so when you comment on a WordPress site using the email attached to your Gravatar profile it will display that particular Gravatar.
You can set up different Gravatars for different emails, which you can manage in your Manage Gravatars section of your Dashboard. If you look at the very top right under the Manage Gravatars heading, you will see where you have the option to add an email.
The process for setting up a Gravatar can be done in just a few moments and painlessly at that. The great thing is that its already attached to your WordPress.com account, so its not another username and password you’ll have to remember. Having a Gravatar is another way of allowing others to get to know you, plus they won’t think you’re a spammer when you comment on their site. Its something small, but adding that legitimacy can make the difference between someone connecting with you, or even choosing to reply to your comment on their site. Also, if you have the author box enabled on your site to display after each post, you don’t want it to display a random or default image. It adds to the overall professionalism and branding of your site. Its a good thing to have in place!