How to create an avatar/gravatar for blogs
A few easy steps can get your custom image on gravatar-enabled blogs.
As a blogger, you’ve undoubtedly seen many different avatars — custom images that represent certain commentators. These images are a kind of personal logo that identifies them and says something about their personality.
There are many types of blogging platforms (Blogger, WordPress, Problogger, ScribbleLive, Moveable Type, etc). Many of these blogging platforms support the use of avatars (avatar support may be theme-specific). As a commentor on different blogs, you may get tired of creating accounts on different blogs, and subsequently, uploading an avatar image in your account’s profile. In an effort to centralize the management of your avatar(s), Gravatar.com was established. Gravatar, globally recognized avatar, is quite simply an image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things.
Here’s how Gravatars work A commenter creates an image suitable for a avatar and uploads it to his account on gravatar.com. Gravatar uses a rating system akin to that of the movie industry: G, PG, R, and X. These ratings are used by bloggers to set limits on the kinds of gravatars that appear on their sites — a gravatar with a G rating will appear everywhere while a gravatar with an X rating may not appear on many blogs at all.
Blog owners will setup their blogs to be gravatar-enabled (display gravatars). Then, when a commenter submits a comment, their blog’s gravatar plugin takes the commenter’s e-mail address (submitted in the comment form) and attempts to find a match at gravatar.com. If it finds a match, it displays the corresponding image. (The e-mail address is not used anywhere in the underlying page code.) If there’s no image on file, the plugin either displays nothing or displays a default image chosen by the blogger.
If you frequently participate in blogs by leaving comments for blog posts, you should consider creating a gravatar. Its easy and its free. Here’s how.
- Go to gravatar.com’s Signup Page.
- Enter your e-mail address in the box and click Signup. A message appears, telling you that an e-mail message has been sent to your account.
- Check your e-mail. You should find a message from Gravatar with the subject “Welcome to Gravatar.”
- Click the URL link in the e-mail message. Your browser opens and displays a message confirming that you have successfully activated your account.
- Enter a password for your account in each of the boxes that appear and click Set Password.
- If you want to receive a Gravatar newsletter, click the button in the next screen. Otherwise, click No Thanks.
- Use your favorite graphics application to create an image suitable for use as a gravatar. For best results, it should be 80×80 pixels in size and not include a border. (Keep in mind that it might be displayed at smaller sizes.)
- Save the image as a JPG, GIF, or PNG image with an Internet-friendly name (no spaces or weird characters).
- Use your Web browser to open your My Gravatars page on gravatar.com. (You may need to log in to your account.)
- Click the add a new one link.
- In the next screen, click My computer’s hard drive.
- In the next screen, click the Browse button. Then use the standard dialog that appears to locate, select and open the image file you created for your gravatar. The pathname appears in the File box.
- Click the Next button. The file is uploaded and appears in the rating screen.
- Click the appropriate button to apply a rating to the Gravatar. Don’t lie; this is important. And remember that for maximum exposure, it’s good to create a gravatar rated G or PG.
- Your newly created Gravatar appears in the My Gravatars screen. Click it to select it for your e-mail address. When prompted, click the Confirm button. Here’s what it might look like when you’re finished:
You can repeat steps 10 through 14 to add additional images. You can then change your gravatar by simply selecting one of the new images. As you’ll see your gravatar changes globally wherever it’s used when you change it.
From that point on, your gravatar should appear whenever you post a comment to a gravatar-enabled blog.