Since we are WORDPRESS developers and most of my clients are using WordPress to manage their sites I thought I should explain the importance of setting up a Gravatar.
What is an Avatar? This basically refers to an image (usually square), which you use to represent yourself on a website or blog. And with all the accounts we set up for social media, its getting tiring having to add our pictures to every website or blog we register on.
Gravatars are a way of at least starting to get around that problem. The term itself simply stands for Globally Recognized Avatar, and the concept is that using a Gravatar lets you to attach a single image to a single email address. Then, whenever you post a comment to any one of thousands, even millions of sites from all across the world, this one image will be automatically attached to your name.
That’s part of the reason that most blogs ask for your email address when posting a comment. When the comment is published, the site will attempt to retrieve a Gravatar using that email address. If no Gravatar is found, you get the lovely generic placeholder image instead.
Why are Gravatars Important?
First, they are an invaluable tool for helping establish your online presence and identity. Whether business or personal, brand and recognition are always important.
All you have to do is leave a comment on an article and your Gravatar will appear along with your message. There is no need to sign up as a member of the site, or to upload an avatar. It’s all automatic. Plus, if you ever decide to change your Gravatar, the image change will be automatically reflected on all of your previous comments, because the images are retrieved directly from gravatar.com.
This also means that it’s not too late. Even if you have already posted thousands of comments on hundreds of blogs, you can still register your own Gravatar, and suddenly see your image reflected in all of those old comments – as long as the sites support Gravatars.
Let’s say you’re a doctor and one day you visit and comment on several large reputable site.
What are the chances that somebody else, like you and interested in what you are interested in might visit these same pages? Or even the same posts? Probably better than you think.
Now, if you only leave your name, do you think that the other person would notice that you commented on all three posts? Possibly, but the chances are slim.
But what if they saw the same Gravatar three different times?
I would think that the probability of recognition just went up significantly, especially if you have an interesting an easily recognizable Gravatar.
It does happen. I’ve experienced it myself, visiting different sites and recognizing the same individual posting here and there, all based on their Gravatar! I can also tell you that the more often I see that person’s Gravatar, the more likely I am to click through to their website, because it becomes clear that we share similar interests (given that we are visiting the same sites).
Here’s another example. Suppose you are browsing through a site that you’ve never been too before, and you see the Gravatar of one of your own heroes in the comments section. How does this affect your impression of the site? Chances are it will increase it’s credibility, as you think to yourself: “Wow, so-and-so reads this blog too! It must be good!”
This is very similar to the new LIKE options for Facebook. When you visit a site that one of your Facebook friends has LIKED, doesn’t that make you want to read the content more knowing that someone you know also found that article and thought it was interesting? Gravatars can have that same effect.