Often times a new WordPress user will ask about the gray icon that tends to show up next to their name. Sometimes users will ask how they can turn this gray icon off. This gray icon is an avatar called Gravatar. But what is Gravatar and why should you start using it?
When thinking you wonder what is Gravatar, it’s ideal to first cover the topic of what an avatar really is. An avatar is considers a graphical representation of a visitor or user. It can be a person’s photo or picture, or even a random icon that they associate with. Back in the early days of the internet when the web was more anonymous, people use icons for different identification purposes. While forums and other community services will require users to have a profile often times with an avatar, blog commenting does not require any registration. This is where Gravatar comes into the picture.
What Exactly is Gravatar?
So what is Gravatar? Gravatar actually stands for Globally Recognized Avatar. It’s globally accepted and recognized because millions of different people and websites use them. Many popular applications, such as WordPress, have built-in support specifically for Gravatar. Once a user leaves a comment with an email on a website that does support Gravatar, then it will pull their Globally Recognized Avatar from the Gravatar servers. The pictures it then shown next to their comment. If you’re still wondering what Gravatar is, it’s basically a way that will allow each person who comments on blogs to have their own identity through the internet.
Why Should You Use Gravatar?
Now that you’ve found out what is Gravatar, you may wonder if you should use it. If your goal is to be identified on the internet, then it’s most ideal to use Gravatar. Whether you’re a small business, non-profit or a blogger, then you should start using Gravatar. Using Gravatar is wonderful for anyone who is trying to build a brand. Chances are that most people have either read blogs or even posted on blogs. In the beginning your Gravatar may not make as much attention, but if the same viewer happens to see your posts on numerous websites and blogs, then there is a good chance that he or she will end up visiting your blog or website. In the end using gravatar is an effective method for making yourself and your comments stand out in the world.
There is a wide range of different benefits when it comes to using Gravatar in WordPress. Here are just a few:
- It’s ultimately part of your branding: A lot of what bloggers do is leave posts and comments. So every time you leave a post or comment, you are leaving a part of what you and enhancing your brand.
- It will help to increase traffic: If you tend to leave a lot of comments and blog posts, then this can help you to be identified by multiple viewers. Again, this ties in with the fact that people who may see different posts of yours on different sites may end up going to visit your own blog or website.
- It will help to develop relationships: When bloggers see the same faces posting on their blogs, they can get to know each other in this aspect. Gravatar helps people and bloggers to recognize others. This benefit ties in with Gravatar being part of your branding method.
- It helps to build authority: If it’s the case that others see outstanding comments left on different blogs and websites, and those excellent posts are written by you, then people will tend to see you as an expert in that particular niche. In the end, Gravatar can help your authority in that niche to grow.
How Do You Get A Gravatar?
Gravatar is easy, simple and free. By going to Gravatar’s official website you will be able to sign up with the email that you typically use most often to post and comment on blogs. From there you will add an avatar of yourself. This avatar can be a photo or picture of yourself. It can also be your business’s logo or something that you find unique that you can associate yourself with. Users will only have to do this one time. Most likely you won’t ever need to change your avatar, or at least not very often.
The majority of WordPress themes already do come with Gravatar integration included with comments. If it’s the case that your theme does not, then you should take time and seriously consider adding Gravatar. In addition to branding purposes, you can also change the default Gravatar on your website in exchange for something else.