The word “gravatar” may sound a bit foreign to some, but the truth is that you see gravatars practically every time you go online. It’s that little photo on your website! In fact, getting your own gravatar and using it to represent either yourself or your business can be key to your personal brand. It’s closest cousin would be your avatar.
What is a gravatar?
The term, “gravatar,” is actually used to refer to both a service and the images they provide. It is these images that will identify you and help you stand out in the vast world of the Internet. The Gravatar Internet service provides users who register accounts with unique avatars (the name “Gravatar” refers to “Globally Recognized Avatar”) that become attached to their online blogging profiles— most notably WordPress. So, every time that user makes a comment online, their gravatar shows up next to it instead of the default avatar that may be provided by that website or blog.
Building online presence
Essentially, the whole idea behind having a gravatar is building online presence. This is why it is so important for companies and any individuals who want to become known and recognized. It’s basically a way of branding your social media use. For instance, many successful bloggers use images of themselves (or if their blog has a logo, that can be used as a substitute) as their gravatars to build up recognition whenever they make comments on other blogs, web forums, or even relevant news articles.
Every time you use the email address associated with that gravatar, your brand will show. So each time I use my corporate email, the same I use when I leave comments on another blog or subscribe to an online forum, my photo shows.
How to get a gravatar
At this point you may be wondering how you can go about getting a gravatar, and fortunately the process is actually quite simple:
- Go to Gravatar.com
- Register for a free account by clicking on the “Create Your Own Gravatar” button on the homepage (if you already have a WordPress account, you can use that to sign up)
- After receiving a confirmation email, you’ll have to upload the image you want used as your gravatar. For legal purposes, just make sure it is an image that is either copyright and royalty free, or one that you own yourself
- Adjust your image and/or crop it so it fits in the provided box
- Select an appropriate rating for your gravatar, from “rated G” through “rated X”. The higher it is rated, the more websites it may be restricted from.
- Use your gravatar! Whenever you go to a website where gravatars are an option, you’ll be able to click “use gravatar” and start building your online presence.
How to make gravatars available on your website
If you already own a website or blog, letting gravatars show up in your comments section is a great way to network and build your own presence among Internet users. In order to allow gravatars to show up on your own website, you’ll need a plugin. The good news is that you don’t even need to register for an account to do this. Check out the “Developer Resources” section of the Gravatar website (gravatar.com/site/implement/) to view the available plugins and different implementation options.