What is a Gravatar & Do You Need One?

Have you ever wondered why, when you comment on a blog, you end up with a Mystery Man avatar displayed against your comment, whereas other commentators have their own images displayed?

You may have thought that the people who have the nice avatars took the time and trouble to upload an image to the site at which they are commenting but actually, that is not the case. Those people simply created a gravatar – a globally recognised avatar.

Creating a gravatar is something you only ever need to do once and your avatar gets automatically displayed on all WordPress blogs and many other sites too – isn’t that cool? To setup your own gravatar, go to the gravatar site.  As I said, you set it up once and you don’t ever need to worry about it again – unless you want to change it, of course.

Perhaps the main benefit of having a gravatar is that it helps you with the matter of ‘branding’. If you are a marketer and have your own blog or website, I would consider having a gravatar to be pretty important. For one thing, it tends to draw people’s attention to what you have said. However, even if I were not a marketer, I would personally still create one because it gives your comments a consistent look across the entire web.

If you never setup your own gravatar, the default avatar gets displayed against your comments – and this is, usually, the Mystery Man. I say ‘usually’ because, it need not be. It is perfectly possible for the blogger to change the default avatar for their own blog using a simple WordPress plugin and, until recently, we were using an image of a dove as our default avatar.

But, I felt that having the same dove displayed against different comments was a bit boring and I recently came across a plugin that displays random comic faces as the default avatar. As I thought it would be more interesting to have different avatars showing up where people had not uploaded their own, I am currently testing it.

If you don’t like the avatar displayed against your comment at this blog, don’t worry too much about it. It is not personal; it is just a bit of harmless fun. However, I would be very interested to hear what you think of them.

2 thoughts on “What is a Gravatar & Do You Need One?

  1. Ellen

    Thanks, Will. Have been wondering about this. And curious what will show up here!

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