WordPress has been dominating the landscape of blogging for a long time now.
It is by far the most used blogging platform. Every single day, more than 500 new blogs are created with WordPress. And on an average 17 posts get published every second. It’s not surprising that an insane number of comment are added every day.
If you are a blogger, you can capitalize these comments to drive traffic to your blog, raise your brand awareness, and get people to interact with you.
But it’s not easy to get your comments approved on other blogs. Even if your comments get approved, it’s useless unless people notice it.
The one thing that instantly makes your comment noticeable is having your photo on it. People prefer to connect with a real and specific individual rather than a faceless crowd.
Luckily there’s a service called Gravatar that helps you upload a photo just one time and use it on your every blog comment.
Here I’ll be sharing a detailed guide to setting up Gravatar for WordPress.
Let’s get started with the basic.
What Is Gravatar?
Created by Tom Preston Werner in 2004, Gravatar is an acronym for Globally Recognized Avatar. This service provides an option to upload your avatar image once and then use it on multiple blogs. And if you change the avatar later, it will be updated automatically on previous comments, posts, etc.
Since you’re already on social media, I’m sure you’re familiar with the concept of the avatar, that little image that appears beside your name when you leave a comment on a platform like Facebook.
The Gravatar photo will appear based on your email address, without the need to log in and update your photo on every blog. It will show up just like this –
Automattic, the mother company of WordPress, acquired Gravatar in 2007, and it’s fully integrated into their CMS.
Why You Should Use Gravatar?
Gravatar isn’t just an avatar system for WordPress. It’s also used on many other platforms, such as GitHub, Disqus (another commenting system), Hootsuite, Techdirt, Mesmira, and many others.
Having your personal image when you post a comment on someone’s blog, will make people remember you when they see your profiles on social media or see you on other blogs. Images are easier to remember. So this will make it easier for your audience to remember you.
For those of us who read, follow, and comment on several different blogs across a variety of platforms, being able to just upload an image one time for all of them really is a huge convenience.
And as I said before, if you want to change your avatar photo, you can do it in a single place, and it will instantly change on all the sites where you post comments.
So, not only will people remember you and your brand, but because you have an image in the comments, people will click on it and visit your site, especially when they see you in multiple places in a short span of time. This means more traffic without hardly any effort from you.
Just be sure not to change your image too frequently. Keeping the same image for a long time will make it easier for people to remember your face and remember your brand. And of course, make sure you choose a good high-quality image, maybe the same as the image on your social media profiles, just to make your brand more consistent.
Having all this in mind, let’s dive a bit deeper and look at how to set up your Gravatar profile.
A Simple Step-By-Step Process to Set Up Your Gravatar
Another good news: it’s very simple to set up your Gravatar.
Start by going to the Gravatar homepage and clicking on the ‘Create Your Own Gravatar’ button.
If you already have an account, then simply log in directly. Your WordPress account info will be the same as your Gravatar login info.
If you don’t have a WordPress.com account, then create your account now. Just enter your email address, username, and password, and click on “Continue”.
You’ll then receive a confirmation link in your email. Just click on ‘Activate Account’ button to start using Gravatar.
Once your WordPress.com account has been activated, click on ‘Sign in to Gravatar’ button.
Since you don’t have a Gravatar image yet, you’ll be asked to add yours once you log in.
You can upload an image from your computer, webcam, past uploads, or by using a Web URL.
For the sake of this tutorial, I’ll show you how to upload an image from your computer. After click on ‘Upload new’, it will ask you to choose a file from your computer.
Then crop the image. Make sure it looks good in small preview, as most of the places it will be shown on that size.
After that, you need to choose a rating for your Gravatar to determine whether to show it on all websites or not. If you are a blogger, you should go with the ‘G Rated’ (obviously) to display it on all sites.
That’s it. Now, you have your first avatar image set up.
There’s just one more thing you need to set up, and then you’ll be all finished.
You need to set up your Gravatar profile. It’s just a bit of simple information so that when people click on your image, they see your profile info.
This is a great way for people to find more info about you, which could lead to them landing on your site later on.
When you’re done entering your information, click on ‘Save Profile’, and you’re done. Now you finally have your avatar created and ready to use.
You can set up multiple avatars with different email addresses to display the one you prefer on different sites. Although I wouldn’t recommend doing that. Keep it simple by using a single Gravatar for all websites.
Using Gravatar in WordPress
Most of the people create Gravatar account to show their image on WordPress comments.
When you are a commenter, there’s no more effort. All you have to do is, use the same email address that you’ve used while creating the Gravatar account. And your photo will be shown beside comment.
But when you are the owner of a WordPress site/blog, there are more options to manage avatars.
You can choose whether to have them displayed or not. By default in most themes, they are displayed. If not, you could navigate to WordPress Dashboard > Settings > Discussion, and scroll to the Avatars section.
You could also select the maxim rating permit for Gravatars. You remember the “movie style” ratings that you chose from when creating your Gravatar, right? It’s the same thing on the admin side.
By default, G is selected which means it can be shown for general audiences, and this is what I recommend you to choose.
You can choose other ratings, but remember that rating “R” and “X” can contain offensive images that may drive off your readers.
You could also choose a setting for the default avatar, to choose which type of avatar to be displayed when the user who left a comment doesn’t have a Gravatar setup with their email.
There are a few options for the default image:
- Mystery person: the grey image which can be displayed for any gender. You’ve probably seen this one on Facebook.
- Blank: No avatar will be displayed.
- Gravatar Logo: This will be the company’s logo, the inverted G logo.
- Identificon and Wavatar: These are 2 options that will be automatically generated by WordPress.
- Monster ID: Another cartoony image with a monster shape, automatically created by WordPress, and the user can’t control it.
- Retro: A low-res pixelated image with a “retro” style, created by WordPress, and again the user can’t control it.
I prefer using Mystery person or just keeping it blank. Never use Identicaon, Wavatar, MonsterID, Retro. These look spammy.
If you want to add your own image, then there’s another option for that.
You’ll need to install a plugin called Add New Default Avatar from the WordPress directory. Using this, you can upload the specific image you want to appear for users with no Gravatar account.
Remember that adding plugins is only available for WordPress.org, the self-hosted version. If you’re on the free WordPress.com version, then you can’t install it. (Check: WordPress.org Vs WordPress.com)
This could be used to improve the branding of your site, but it’s not absolutely necessary when you’re starting a new blog and are still figuring out all the different elements of blogging. Once you have an established brand, you can worry about the small detail like this one.
You can also do it without adding a plugin, but that means you will need to have some knowledge about coding so that you don’t damage any of the code. You can read this tutorial to help you add your own default Gravatar without any plugins.
This could help you reduce the load time for your website.
Gravatar has made things easier for everybody. It helps you as a reader to display your avatar without adding it for every site that you comment on. As you know, uploading your photo the old-fashioned way is a hassle, especially when you want to change your avatar.
And for the site owners, it helps build a personal relationship between them and the readers without much effort from them. This can aid in building a powerful, loyal community.
If you’ve never used Gravatar, you may feel a bit intimidated about getting your first avatar set up, but as you can see from my explanation above, the process is actually extremely simple. Just follow the instructions and you’ll be able to create your avatar in a matter of just a few minutes.
And as for the website owners, make sure to check the settings and make sure that they’re set the way you want them.
Once you’ve set up your Gravatar account, post a comment below to see how it appears on other sites :)