As a new WordPress user, have you ever wondered about how the grey icon that shows up next to your name and what it is called? Well, that icon is known as “mystery man” gravatar. In this post, we’ll explain what a gravatar is and why you should start using it.
Before delving into what is a gravatar, let’s talk about “avatar”. An avatar is a graphical representation of a user. It could be the user’s photo or a random icon they want to associate with. This is a common case in the gamer community. One of the coolest parts about discussion boards, forums, is that you can recognize active users fairly easily because of their avatar. It is difficult to remember names. Nonetheless, identifying a specific image is quite easy. As the web evolved and blogging started to become more mainstream, it was quite difficult to have an identity as a commenter. With forums and other services, users were required to register. Each user had their own profile, so they could add an “avatar” to their profile with no bother. However, blog commenting doesn’t require registration in most cases. So, how do we recognize users? That is when Gravatar comes in.
What is a Gravatar?
It stands for Globally Recognized Avatar. It is globally recognized because millions of people and websites use them. Most popular applications like WordPress have built-in support for Gravatar. When a user leaves a comment (with email) on a site that supports Gravatar, it pulls their Globally Recognized Avatar from the servers. Then that a picture is shown next to the comment. This allows each commenter to have their identity throughout the World Wide Web.
Why add one?
Using a Gravatar will make you easily identifiable on the web. If you’re a blogger, non-profit, small business, or anyone who wants to build a brand, then you need to start using it. Chances are that you read and comment on blogs. At first, your Gravatar might not get as much as much attention. But if the same person sees your comment in other websites they visit, they’ll probably end up visiting your website. We as publishers find it really easy to identify our loyal users by their Gravatar.
How can I get one?
The process of getting one is simple and free. All you need to do is go to its website. Sign up with the email that you use most often to comment. Add an avatar of yourself. This could be a picture of yourself, your company’s logo, or something unique. You really have to do it one time. Chances are you won’t be changing your avatar a lot. So it’s more like set it and forget it.
Most WordPress themes come natively with Gravatar integration with comments. If your theme doesn’t, then you know now that you should consider adding it. For further branding purposes, you can change the default mystery man gravatar on your site and put something else.
We’ll show you how to change the default gravatar in WordPress in the next article. We hope that this post helped you gain some ideas about Gravatars and why using it is beneficial.