Gravatar: Essential WordPress Plugin
Just in case if you’re not aware of this; Gravatar provides one of the most basic functionalities in WordPress (the website management platform you’re probably using; and if you don’t you should).
Among many other things in WordPress there’s the possibility to submit comments under standard blog posts, and sometimes under pages as well. Some comment authors get a custom picture (personal avatar) that’s displayed next to the comment. If you’ve ever wondered where this picture comes from then let us inform you that Gravatar is the service responsible.
Basically, Gravatar is a very simple tool. Some basic facts:
- You can sign up for free.
- You can assign an unlimited number of email addresses to your account.
- You can choose a profile picture (personal avatar) for each address, or use the same picture for all of your emails.
Then when you attempt to submit a comment on any WordPress blog on the internet, the blog will take the email address you’ve input, connect with Gravatar and get your picture, which will then be displayed along with your comment.
Let’s say this again. Gravatar makes it possible for you to have the same picture along with every blog comment you ever submit on any WordPress blog. This kind of feature is simply great in nature.
How to Sign Up for Gravatar
Start by going to the main page at gravatar.com, and registering for an account. The signup process is very similar to any other online service.
Next go to My Account > Add an Email Address.
The form you’ll see next is a very simple one and it features only one field – the email address you want to include in Gravatar. Once you click the “Add” button you’ll get an email containing a confirmation link (Gravatar has to know that you’re indeed the owner of the email).
After confirming the email, if everything goes well you’ll be able to submit your picture. Go to My Account > Add an Image.
You can choose four main ways of submitting an image:
- Your computer’s hard drive. This is the option you’re most likely going to use here. Simply upload a picture through a standard online form.
- An image on the internet. You can link to an image that’s already on the internet, like your Facebook profile picture, for example.
- A webcam snapshot. This is where you can take a picture of yourself through a webcam, if you have one.
- A previously uploaded picture. If you’ve used Gravatar before you can select one of your previous pictures.
If you’ve decided to upload a new picture, in the next step you can crop it to the desired dimensions by using the provided image cropper.
Next, you have to choose the rating for your picture. Standard TV-based ratings apply here, so your picture can be: G rated, PG rated, R rated, X rated. Of course, it’s best if you upload an appropriate image and then mark it as G rated. Most blogs allow only G rated avatars to be displayed along with comments.
Finally, you get to assign your new image to one of your email addresses, and this is it. From now on your new personal avatar is fully functional and will be displayed together with your comment on every WordPress blog.
There’s just one additional thing to talk about here:
What Does a Good Personal Avatar Look Like?
You obviously can’t use a random picture. Essentially, it all depends on the purpose of your comments.
For personal comments (comments on blogs you visit as a hobby, and such) it’s best to simply display an actual picture of you. Treat it just like your Facebook profile picture.
For professional purposes you can go in one of two main directions.
You can go for a picture of you, again. But make sure to use only professional looking pictures that are of high quality. Or you can use a picture of your main product or the logo of your brand. These can work well if you’re in the middle of a promotion of some kind or a product launch, and you’re submitting a lot of comments all around the place.
There’s only one task for you at this point – if you don’t have a Gravatar account yet, go ahead and sign up for one right now. If you do, tell us how many different images and email addresses are you using in your Gravatar profile, we’re curious.