What is Gravatar and why should you be using it?

Have you noticed that so many people have awesome display photos in their profile while you just have a gray icon in there. The reason is, they have Gravatars that is seen everywhere, on their profiles, comments, forums, articles. You must be wondering, what these Gravatars are and why should you be using it?

There has been a lot of confusion and speculation about it while most of the people find it useful, a small faction of people also considers it unnecessary and a privacy risk. Let’s discuss everything you need to know about Gravatars and why are they so important.

What is an avatar?

Before we discuss Gravatars, we should first understand avatars, an avatar is basically your graphic representation in the online world. It’s the image that appears before your name whenever you interact with any website on the internet. Earlier on people mostly used icons for identification purposes and it was a virtual identity.

What is a Gravatar?

Gravatar is a portmanteau of globally recognized avatar that integrates with WordPress and follows you everywhere on the web and appear alongside your name when you comment or post on a WordPress website. So it is an avatar, but you don’t have to register your avatar on every website you register, Gravatar is globally accepted and having an account saves from registering everywhere. WordPress incorporates gravatar into all its sites, once you create a Gravatar account and register along with your email address, It will be seen with your name everywhere on the web.

In short Gravatar is your visual identity, you can create your mark with the help of Gravatar because people will recognize you. Your Gravatar image could be anything such as your photo, your company logo or anything you want the world to identify you with. Also to the picture, you can also build a nice profile that is connected to your account.

Why should you use it?

There are many reasons why it can do good to you, and it is necessary for your online presence. Creating a gravatar account is easy and free, and you can easily associate your uploaded picture with your content. Millions of avatar images are served 8 billion times every day; this figure is just to give a perspective to how many people are benefiting from it each day.

Also, you don’t need additional plugins to manage user avatars, you can add user gravatar with minimal effort. You don’t need to manage accounts or information of the users or commenters on your WordPress website, Gravatar takes care of this for you.

As a user also it is very beneficial, you don’t need to go and register on every site that you comment and submit your Gravatar. Also, you can change your image across the globe by changing it at one place that makes it absolutely easy and hassle-free.

Like I mentioned earlier, a gravatar can help establish your identity globally and can also help you set up your brand’s identity. If you are a blogger or a small business owner and you wish to establish your identity in the online world, it is very important for you to create a Gravatar account soon. Your posts and comments along with your Gravatar will make people recognize you or your company. You can also promote your firm or company by putting your company logo as your Gravatar.

This is also one of the primary reasons why you should set up a Gravatar; it can increase the non-spammy traffic to your website. When you visit other websites, blogs and voice your opinions there, people notice your Gravatar, and they might end up visiting your blog. Although it is less likely, if you put your real picture instead of an icon, people can show interest in your website.

If you frequently comment on websites of your niche and solve people’s queries or contribute by voicing your opinion, chances are that people might notice you and might visit your website. It is also easy for the website owners to identify their constant visitors through their Gravatars.

How does a website fetch your Gravatar?

When you register for a particular website or wish to comment on it, you need to submit your email address. If the email address is the same with which you have created a Gravatar account, it will fetch your Gravatar from there and automatically show in the comments or elsewhere.

How to create a Gravatar?

Creating a Gravatar is pretty simple, there are clear instructions to set up an account and it is absolutely free. You need to go to the Gravatar homepage first and click on the sign-in button on the top right of the page. If you have a WordPress account, you can use your WordPress username and password to log in or else you click on the ‘create your own Gravatar’ option.

You need to enter your email address and a password for the gravatar account, click sign up and complete the registration process. Your account is created, now you can choose and upload a suitable profile picture that you wish to appear everywhere. You can add other details such as social media links, websites in your Gravatar account.

Privacy Concerns

Many consider Gravatars to be a privacy risk because it can collect information about the way you navigate the internet. But it cannot gather information if you don’t comment or post everywhere with the email address. Many people know it and are comfortable as this is a free service with huge benefits. They don’t provide your details or personal information so it really isn’t a privacy issue.

Wrapping Up

I would say Gravatars are very important and they simplify things for us so you should be using it without much thought. It will only make your experience with WordPress much better and smoother.

Hope this article has helped you in understanding Gravatars in a much better way. Let us know your thoughts about this article and feedback, if you’re using Gravatar and your experience with it in the comments section.

Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at 85ideas is a team of WordPress experts led by Brian Harris. Here to share amazing tuts, guides and collections.

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