The Importance of Utilizing Gravatars
If you've been blogging for long enough then you've undoubtedly noticed that some users have small pictures that show up next to the comments that they leave. They may have a picture of themselves or it may be a custom picture that they've created. Either way, these little pictures are affectionately known around the online world as "Gravatars," a clever play off "avatars," and have become staples around successful bloggers and casual bloggers alike.
A Gravatar, as defined by en.gravatar.com, is an acronym for "Globally Recognized Avatar." In layman's terms, it's a picture that you've uploaded onto the Gravatar website that, once uploaded, becomes associated with a certain email address. Anytime you use that email address - for example when you're filling in the required fields on a blog commenting form, or participating in an online chat forum - that picture will show up next to your name and help to identify who you are and set you apart from everybody else that is also commenting.
Setting up a Gravatar
When you go to the website you are given two options for setting up your personalized Gravatar: one way will set it up so that it will be tied in with your WordPress account and the other way will allow you to create and activate your Gravatar even if you don't have a WordPress account by linking it to your email address.
For WordPress Users:
1. Log onto the Gravatar website using the same email address connected to your WordPress account.
2. Select the method you will use to import your photo.
3. Arrange your photo how you want it to appear.
4. Select the appropriate rating for your photo.
5. Confirm the photo and you're finished! It will now link to your email address and appear when you leave comments.
For Non-WordPress Users:
1. Head over to the Gravatar website and click on the link that says "Get Your Gravatar Today!"
2. Type in the email address you want associated with your Gravatar to get a link with instructions detailing how to proceed.
3. Select and upload the picture that you want as your Gravatar.
4. Once uploaded the website will send it to your email address and the Gravatar will be linked to it from there on out.
The Importance of Utilizing Gravatars
Aside from being ridiculously easy to set up, there are several important reasons that every serious blogger needs to take the time to set up a Gravatar.
The internet is such a vast place that it's easy to get lost in the shuffle, especially with blogging - after all there are hundreds of millions of blogs out there, all vying to be recognized. By having a Gravatar that pops up every time you leave a comment you begin to set yourself apart from every other anonymous comment out there, identifying you as an individual and not just another faceless name. It helps you to create a brand identity that follows you around your circle of the internet.
Since it's probably safe to say that you comment on and interact with more than one blog, having a Gravatar that shows up by your comments allows people to bridge the connection of who you are from blog to blog. This will help you establish your role in the community and help you to come across as a more professional blogger. The more professional your online presence is, the wider range of opportunities you're likely to come across.
One thing you do have to be mindful of is uploading an image that could make you look like a spammer. It's usually safer to upload pictures of yourself because people take you more seriously that way. The last thing you want is to be flagged as a spammer because your picture was misleading. It's wise to stay away from the generic pictures that you can find on all Windows desktops and go with custom photographs.
So Easy a Caveman Could Do It
As social media forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and blogging continue to grow and establish themselves as staples in both our professional and personal lives it's important to find ways to set yourself apart. Creating and uploading a Gravatar is one of the simplest things you can do as far as creating an identity on the Internet, only taking a few minutes of your time and giving you a wealth of benefits in return.
When you consider all the pros that accompany having a Gravatar there's really no reason not to set one up for yourself - you'll quickly establish more credibility as a blogger and widen your online presence. When people begin to recognize you on a wide variety of blogs their trust in you will exponentially grow as well. In fact, when you look at the big picture, there really are no disadvantages to setting up a personalized Gravatar.
About The Author: This Guest post is by Christine Kane from Internet Service Providers, she is a graduate of Communication and Journalism. She enjoys writing about a wide-variety of subjects for different blogs. She can be reached via email at: Christi.Kane00@gmail.com
Source: SiteProNews * December 30, 2011 * Issue #1637
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