A gravatar is the small square image that ‘follows people around’ on the web!
If you have a gravatar set up and connected to the email address that you are using to comment on a site, blog or forum, then your photo (or the image that you have set up on the Gravatar website) shows automatically, which saves you from having to upload your profile photo any time you register on a site, that uses Gravatars, with your email address.
Why use a Gravatar?
Gravatars can help you to more quickly build relationships externally when you comment on other people’s blogs and forums and register on websites and, if you are a business owner, it can help to make your website more ‘inviting’ and sticky for your readers by giving a more ‘personalised’ experience.
People can see you and it can help them to feel like they know you better than if you are just an ‘anonymous’ commenter / member. You may also become more recognised if you are a prolific commenter and/or are particularly active in social networks that use the same image for you.
From a productivity point of view, setting your Gravatar up once, i.e. connecting your profile pic with your email address(es), saves you time in the future.
How to set up your own Gravatar
It is very easy to set up your own Gravatar. Go to www.gravatar.com and register for a free account. You just need to enter your preferred email address and then check your inbox for an email that enables you to finalise setting up your account.
Once you are logged in you will need to upload an image. You don’t need to worry too much about the starting size of the image as the website gives you an opportunity to crop it to the correct square size as part of the upload process but if your image is very big you may want to shrink it a bit first.
If you use more than one email address, you may want to add those in too.
For Business Owners: Enable Gravatars on your website
So now you have your Gravatar set up. The next thing you might want to do is to enable gravatars on your own website.
I use WordPress and all you need to do if you have a (self hosted) WordPress site is to go into Settings and Discussion and go to the bottom ‘Avatars’ section (a Gravatar is a Globally Recognised Avatar) and select ‘Show Avatars’.
If you are using other platforms, have a look at the Gravatar Implementation Page to find out how to do this on your platform.
Go to the Gravatar website and set up your own Gravatar.