If you own a WordPress blog, you will want to build your brand online by regularly blogging about the latest and greatest topics in your niche.
Allowing comments on your own blog and commenting on other people’s blogs is part of this process – it says:
Hey! I’m a social, helpful person and I like to have conversations.
Most WordPress themes – though not all – have a small profile avatar image associated with blog comments, and often next to the author profile as well.
It’s known as a Gravatar – a Globally Recognised Avatar.
Why use a Gravatar?
A Gravatar helps you get recognised online. If you regularly comment on WordPress blogs, or post on the WordPress.org forums, you may have noticed the thumbnails of the same faces showing up again and again.
A Gravatar marks you out as an active community member. It makes you recognisable, and people are more likely to click through to your website if they see your photo. You might even achieve a level of fame one day!
If you don’t have a Gravatar, one will be generated for you, usually the Mystery Person icon, which is grey and boring (you don’t want to be grey and boring, do you?)
The Gravatar.com website allows you to create one profile that you set the image for, sparing you the need to upload an image each time you post a comment.
Once you have it set up, you don’t need to do anything else – unless you want to change the image at a future date.
Add Your Own WordPress Avatar Image Step By Step at Gravatar.com
What image to use?
You should choose an image that represents you or your brand. So it could be a company logo, or a well-taken headshot of yourself. For consistency, choose an image that you use across your website and social media accounts.
I use my photo as a Gravatar, but you can use a logo or cartoon avatar, as shown in the example below.
Create a WordPress.com account
Start by visiting gravatar.com.
Click on the Create Your Own Gravatar button.
As Gravatar is owned by WordPress.com, if you already have a WordPress.com account, you will probably have set up a Gravatar too. If this is the case, please log in and check.
(Confused about the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org? Read this post.)
Assuming you don’t have already have an account, complete the three fields in the form.
They say to triple-check email address, and it’s so important. If you make a typo in the email and submit the form, you won’t be able to set up your account, and you won’t be able to try again with the same username!
You will be given a suggestion for username. You can choose something else, but if it’s been taken you’ll be told. Your username will appear publicly on any comments on WordPress.com blogs, so pick something that reflects your name or your business name.
Once you submit the form, you’ll get a message saying there was a confirmation email sent to your email address.
Remember to check your spam folder. Click on the Activate Account button in the email to proceed.
You’ll be invited to Sign in to Gravatar.
When you do, you’ll come to the Manage Gravatars screen.
You can add a secondary email address to your profile, but first click on the link to add a new image.
On the Upload image screen, you have four options.
You can ignore Past uploads, as you haven’t uploaded anything yet.
If you’re feeling beautiful and brave, select From webcam. You’ll need to enable your webcam for the site, and then you’ll be able to take and save the shot.
Adding an image from a website
Selecting From URL will take you to a page where you can enter the URL of an image. Make sure it’s one you have permission to use. 🙂
If you don’t know the URL, visit the page with the image you’d like to use. Right-click with your browser and you can copy the link to the image. On Chrome it’s Copy Image Address. There are similar commands on other browsers.
Paste the URL into the box and choose Next.
Crop Gravatar is the next screen.
Click and drag the cropping handles – the dotted area – to select the crop area.
If the crop area is smaller than the maximum size, you can also move it by clicking in the middle and dragging.
You’ll see a preview of your Gravatar in small or large size.
Once you are done, click the Crop and Finish! button.
You’ll then be asked to Choose a Rating for your Gravatar. These range from G (suitable for everyone) to X (for adult images). If your Gravatar is for business use, keep it respectable!
Upload an image from a computer
Another option for adding your image is the Upload new option.
This option will allow you to choose an image from your own filesystem to upload. When you’ve chosen one, click Next.
The options following are exactly the same as the previous steps – crop and rate your image.
What size should my Gravatar image be?
Gravatar supports retina-ready images, meaning that they will appear crisply on hi-res retina screens e.g. on newer iPhones. You can upload images up to 2048px in size.
Once you’ve added your image, you go to My Profile and add some profile information.
Here if you want to, you can change your display name from your username to your real name. You can also fill in some background information about yourself.
Using the menu options to the right, you can add your website(s) and contact details.
How does my WordPress avatar image display?
Display of Gravatars is down to the individual theme. Most WordPress themes support Gravatars.
Gravatars usually appear next to any WordPress blog comments you make. Here are a couple of examples:
Some themes, such as Canvas theme, will show Gravatars as circles. Circular Gravatars can be enabled in your theme with this tutorial.
They can also show up in your Author section if that’s enabled in your theme. You can see that below this post.
What else can you do with a WordPress.com account?
As well as creating Gravatars, a WordPress.com account enables you to:
- Set up your own free blog at wordpress.com. But you do have a blog already, right? 🙂
- Sign up for an Akismet account. Akismet is an anti-comment spam service for WordPress, free for personal bloggers. You can subscribe to a paid plan which also includes VaultPress backups and security.
- Set up surveys and quizzes with PollDaddy.
- Use the Jetpack plugin on a self-hosted WordPress site. Jetpack brings numerous features such as site statistics, brute force protection, social sharing, custom tiled galleries and more. Jetpack also lets you use Hovercards – pop-ups which show profiles when you hover over a Gravatar.
If you found this post helpful in setting up a WordPress avatar image (Gravatar), please share!