Gravatars – What They Are and How to Use Them

gravatar-example10Avatars on the internet are pretty cool.  They let you provide a small picture to tell more about yourself on a certain blog, forum, or community website.  But it can be a hassle to have to upload a new photo for each site that you want an image to appear.  That’s where Gravatars come in.  Gravatars are Globally Recognized Avatars and the idea is that you link your picture to your email address in one place and that avatar can be pulled into a variety of other websites.

You can get your own Gravatar really easily at www.Gravatar.com.  Just enter your email address, confirm it when you get the welcome email, and upload your photo!  It will then begin appearing when you enter your email address (usually required anyways) on a Gravatar-enabled website.

Here’s a video that does a good job explaining Gravatars:

Gravatars are easy to implement in WordPress.  Many new WordPress themes have them included, and you can definitely ask for them if you get a custom designed WordPress theme created for you.  Gravatars can be used to show the author of a blog post (especially helpful in you have multiple authors), display who left comments, show regular community members and more.

Designers and developers using WordPress can drop Gravatar functionality anywhere in their code with this line:

  <?php
   echo get_avatar( 'email@address.com', 80 );
   ?>

but there are also plenty of WordPress Plugins for implementing Gravatars in WordPress.  Don’t use WordPress?  Don’t worry – you can get Gravatar code and plugins for a range of other CMS platforms.

I implemented Gravatars in a variety of ways on the Wenatchee Valley Fitness Blog:

gravatars-used-gg

And here are some other examples of Gravatars being used nicely:

gravatars-used1

gravatars-used2

gravatars-used3

Most people just use profile pictures for their avatars, but here are some examples of a few really cool Gravatar images:

gravatar-example7gravatar-example8gravatar-example6gravatar-example2gravatar-example5

gravatar-example4gravatar-example9gravatar-example3gravatar-example1

Need a WordPress blog to connect with your current and potential customers?  I can help!  See examples here or get in contact with me to get started!