If you host a blog or a website using WordPress, you will eventually have to deal with comments on your posts or pages (unless of course you opt out of turning comments on). When this happens, every comment is left with an avatar image next to the name of the person who commented. In other words, a small graphical thumbnail that represents the person speaking. You’ll find that many of the times, those avatars are just the default blank silhouette pictures and that, in my opinion, gets looking somewhat tacky. Not to mention, it’s boring. It’s much better when people have avatar images — it can add to the visual appeal, and it’s a small way to represent you as a person.
Enter Gravatar. Gravatar stands for Globally Recognized Avatar. Once you set up a Gravatar and set your avatar, your avatar will show up on any site that uses Gravatars whenever you leave a comment. Pretty cool, right? The best part is, it’s extremely easy to set up.
Set up WordPress to use Gravatar icons
If your site runs off of WordPress and you want to use Gravatars, you’re only a few steps away from enabling them. First of all through your WordPress admin page, go to Settings → Discussion. See the picture below (click on it for full size).
Here, you will see settings for your avatars. Make sure “Show Avatars” is checked. Then, choose the radio button that says “Gravatar Logo”. Lastly, choose the “Maximum Rating” you want to allow. This rating will come into effect later when you create your Gravatar, but for starters, this basically just specifies how “mature” you want your users’ Gravatars to be. If you choose “X” for your rating, any and all Gravatars will be allowed onto your site. However, if you were to just choose “G” for your rating, then all of the Gravatars that were rated higher than “G” would not show up. Once you have all that completed, save your settings and you’re ready to move on!
Create your own Gravatar icon for use on your site (and others)
Now, all that is left to do is to go create your own Gravatar icon. In order to do this, follow these steps:
- First, go to Gravatar’s main site. Once on the site, click the button on the main page that says “Create Your Own Gravatar”.
- You’ll be brought to a page where you can sign up for a WordPress.com account. If you already have an account, just click “I already have a WordPress.com account!”. However, keep in mind that just because you have a WordPress hosted site (on WordPress.org does not mean you have a WordPress.com account. If you don’t have a WordPress.com account, fill in the required fields for the email you use for your WordPress site and the username you’d be using for comments along with a password. Then, click “Sign Up”.
- Once signed up, you can click on the “My Gravatars” tab up top and choose “add a new image” on that page, otherwise hover over your blank Gravatar icon in the upper right and choose “Add an Image” from the drop-down list.
- On the next page, choose where you’re uploading your image from whether it be your hard drive, from the Internet, or somewhere else. After you choose your picture and it’s uploaded, you can crop your image to your liking.
- Lastly, you will be brought to a page that says “Choose a rating for your Gravatar”. This is where that rating comes in that I talked about earlier. You choose whatever you think is the correct rating for the image you’re using. The site gives good descriptions of what images fall into what ratings. If your Gravatar’s rating is “R”, then sites that have their maximum rating set to “G” or “PG” will only show the default Gravatar icon instead of your image.
After you set your rating, you’re done! You should see your new image show up in the upper right where the default Gravatar icon used to be. Now, whenever you fill in the email address and the username that you signed up for with WordPress.com, your Gravatar image will show up on any site that supports Gravatars.
Test it out!
Go ahead and test it out now that it’s all set up. Go onto your current WordPress site and leave a comment on a post of yours. If you aren’t already signed in with your credentials on your site, fill out the “email” and “username” fields with the same email and username you signed up with. Then, post your comment and you’ll see your new image as shown below.
Hey look! No more default logo.
Questions? Leave me a comment.