What is a gravatar and why do I need one?

Laura Christianson of Blogging Bistro  continues her series of fantastic tips for social media and website management.

A gravatar is a Globally Recognized Avatar – your avatar is the thumbnail image that appears when you comment on someone’s blog.

If you have a Blogger profile, the image that accompanies your profile is posted whenever you comment on blogspot.com blogs. But that avatar works only for blogs hosted by Blogger. To make your avatar show up on WordPress (and other) systems, you’ll need to create a gravatar… a universal avatar.

Why do you need a gravatar?

To develop brand identity.

A custom gravatar – I recommend using a professional-looking photo of your smiling face or your company logo – establishes a consistent look for your brand. Wherever you go on the Web, your gravatar subtly promotes your brand. Eventually, people will begin to associate your face with your brand.

If you don’t use a gravatar, you’re stuck with a default avatar. WordPress, for example, gives me the following default options:

Wordpress avatars

A “Monster ID” to brand my company? I don’t think so!

I ran into one glitch after creating my own gravatar; I noticed it wasn’t appearing on many of the comments I was publishing on other people’s blogs.

My problem?

I was commenting via an e-mail address that didn’t correspond with the gravatar I had created. (Depending on what type of blog I’m commenting on, I may use my business address or my personal address).

The solution?

I added additional e-mail addresses to my gravatar account. Here’s how to do it:

Go to:

  • My Account
  • Add an e-mail address
  • Type in the address
  • You will receive an activation e-mail
  • Click the link, which takes you back to gravatar.com
  • Select an e-mail address to modify
  • Click an image you’ve already uploaded (or add a new one), click “Confirm”


Within minutes, my gravatar on comments I had already posted was updated to include my gravatar.

Your turn! Create your own gravatar right now and post a comment here, so we can see who you are!


This post first appeared May 18, 2009 on Blogging Bistro. Used by kind permission.

A relationship marketer for over 25 years, Laura Christianson owns Blogging Bistro, a company that helps people enhance their Internet presence through Websites, blogs, Twitter, and Facebook.  She’s the author of three books and enjoys mentoring emerging writers and teaching at writers’ conferences. An active member of NCWA since 2004, Laura lives in Snohomish with her husband, their two teenage sons, and two gigantic tomato plants.


4 thoughts on “What is a gravatar and why do I need one?

  1. Hi Laura.

    This is a great tip. I use a gravatar most of the time when commenting outside Blogger. The only downside is that the SEO advantage goes to gravatar.com rather than my own website. But, like you, I think branding well is worth that cost, though.


  2. Hi Laura,

    Thanks for this post. I’d always wondered why my photo sometimes appeared and sometimes didn’t when I posted comments. I followed your steps – and discovered I already had a gravitar.

    After a bit of sleuthing, I realized I don’t have a Blogger profile photo. Why doesn’t the gravitar work with Blogger sites?




  3. Kimberlee – Blogger has its own dedicated avatar. To make your picture show up when you leave comments on Blogger sites, you need to set up a Blogger profile (it’s free and only takes a couple of minutes). Be sure to upload your picture to your profile, of course.


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