You may have noticed in blogs and forums (including ours) that some people have an image next to their comments. The image is a small picture called an avatar – a graphical representation of the user. It may be a picture of the person or a fun/pretty background or even a ‘brand’ image to show off their own blog/website – like ours in the comment at the bottom of this article.
An avatar makes it easier to find your comments that might otherwise be lost amongst a long list of comments – spotting your own picture is quicker than peering at the names of commenters.
It also lets you ‘brand’ your comments – if you comment on sites regularly people will soon come to recognize your avatar. This can be useful if you have a blog/website of your own as people will naturally want to find out more about who you are (obviously you should not post spam comments but meaningful and helpful comments can be a useful way to draw new visitors to your own site or other forums where you are active)
Avatars can also be more fun! Leaving your pictorial imprint on discussions helps make them more interesting and less ‘texty’ as well as leaving your mark on the web.
Get Your Own Avatar For Free – It would be painful to have to manually create or add an avatar at every single blog/forum you visit – what you need is an avatar that is automatically added to comments when you post them – at any site that supports it.
Step forward Gravatar (Globally Recognized avatar) – a free service providing globally unique avatars. Your Gravatar is an avatar image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things like comment or post on a blog.
Once you have your own Gravatar, this image will automatically appear when you comment on any website that supports it – e.g. popular blogging platforms like WordPress and many other forums/websites like TechLogon. Millions of Gravatar images are served billions of times per day – a huge number of sites support it.
- To get your own free Gravatar just visit their website here and click ‘Get Your Gravatar Today’ then follow the simple instructions to load an image from your computer (or webcam or a website) to use as your Gravatar.
- The final picture is about 80 x 80 in size and you can crop your picture to fit or try another until you are happy with it.
Tip: Your Gravatar is tied to the email address you used when creating it – the email address is how it knows it is you when you post a comment. Obviously, if you post a comment using a different email address then your Gravatar will not appear. Likewise, if you post a comment on a website that does not support Gravatar then your Gravatar will not appear.
Once you have your new Gravatar you will want to try it out –
feel free to post a comment here to see what it looks like.
Updated Dec 2012 – sorry but for security and performance reasons we no longer support the use of gravatars in our comments section below, but many other websites still do.