If you are a regular visitor on the web, chances are you have come across blog posts that have pictures alongside their comments. So, how do you set your picture against your forum posts or blog comments?
Not all forums or blogs allow users to use pictures alongside their comments. However, those that do use the same easy-to-use system called Gravatar.
If you aim to have your picture alongside your posts or questions, then read on to get a clear understanding. However, should you need quick and comprehensive assistance, we are here to help you.
What is an Avatar?
Before we get into details about how to get your picture in blog comments, we need to learn about the concept of avatars first.
Simply put, avatars are small pictures you see next to forum posts or blog comments. Some users might use three-dimensional characters to represent themselves, while others choose a cartoon or some graphical icons that are significant to them.
Using an avatar on forums requires a universally accepted system that helps in transferring the picture across platforms. Otherwise, you have to set up new avatars for different blogs and forums.
And that’s how Gravatar comes into play.
Gravatar: A Quick Introduction
Gravatar, or globally recognized avatar, is a service that serves avatars to various websites. It is owned by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com.
By default, Gravatar images have the standard settings of 80 x 80 pixels. They can go up to 512 pixels wide.
Gravatars are linked to email addresses that you use to sign up for the service. Whenever you leave a comment, the forum or blog will retrieve the avatar from your Gravatar account using your email address. An encrypted version of your email called the MD5 hash is used to prevent spams.
The purpose of the MD5 hash is to identify your Gravatar account and prevent the sending of your real email. No one can see your email from the MD5 hash. For instance, the MD5 hash for firstname.lastname@example.org is 3b3be63a4c2a439b013787725dfce802.
To prevent the display of inappropriate images, Gravatar has a voluntary rating system. You can choose from the following ratings depending on your audience:
- PG — possibly offensive and may contain rude gestures and mild violence. It is suitable for the audience above 13 years old.
- G — suitable for all audiences.
- X — this rating is for a more mature audience.
- R — intended for an audience above 17 years old.
The ratings can be selectively set by websites that support the Gravatar system. For instance, you may set your rating to G if you expect children to visit your site.
Why You Should Use Gravatar
As an individual, the main benefit of using a Gravatar image is to enable other users to identify you on the web. What’s more, you don’t have to upload an avatar every time you sign up to a different site because Gravatar will take care of it.
If you’re a blogger, a Gravatar image also adds credibility to your content. Using a professional picture will convince the readers that they’re reading a reliable source.
For forum owners, Gravatar provides an improved and heightened user experience for your members. People are more likely to interact with profiles that have a picture, so Gravatars will encourage user engagement on your platforms. In return, this will translate into more traffic and more social shares.
How to Sign Up for Gravatar
Now that you know how important it is to have a Gravatar account, let’s learn how to sign up for the service. Here’s how to do so:
- Visit www.gravatar.com and click Create Your Own Gravatar. If you have a WordPress.com account, select the Already have a WordPress.com account? and login. Otherwise, follow the next step.
- Enter your email address, username, and password. Press Create your account.
- Check your email for an email sent from WordPress.com and click on the activation link. If you can’t find the message, check the spam folder.
After your account is live, it’s time to upload your picture:
- Sign in to Gravatar and head over to the My Gravatars tab. Click Add a new image.
- Select Upload New, choose an image from your computer, and press Next.
- Crop your image to a proper size.
- Choose an appropriate rating for your avatar and hit Set Rating.
That’s it, and you are good to go! Every time you leave a comment on a Gravatar-enabled forum or blog, your avatar image will automatically appear.
Gravatars make it easy for you to have a profile picture across different platforms and websites. You only need to sign up, upload a picture, and set a proper rating. There’s really no reason for you not to use this service but if you find to dive deeper about the Gravatars you can read more here.