WordPress allows one to associate an avatar with a user profile. This is a small picture that will be displayed on each post or comment you make to the blog, giving casual visitors a ready means of identifying all your posts.
However, it is not readily apparent how the site admin is to set this avatar. There are no settings anywhere in the Site Admin control panels for setting this. Accordingly, the admin is stuck with the default ‘phantom person’ for an avatar.
The key to rectifying this is to realize that WordPress does not use a local copy of your avatar. Instead, it uses an avatar that you upload to gravatar.com, and associate with your email address. According to the good folks at gravatar, their name derives from Globally Recognized avatar. By using this service, your avatar will automatically follow you to comments you make on random sites of others. This eliminates the need to upload an avatar to each site upon which you would like your avatar displayed.
Once you realize this, the implementation is pretty simple.
- Go to the gravatar.com website
- Watch the two minute video to get an overview
- Log in with your WordPress.com credentials*
- Click on ‘Add one by clicking here’. This will open a screen asking for the source of the picture to be uploaded
- Choose from Hard Drive; Internet URL; Webcam; Previously uploaded — as appropriate
- Assuming Hard Drive, a new window will open allowing you to browse your file system for the desired picture
- Locate the desired picture, then click ‘Next’. This will upload your picture
- Crop your picture as desired, then click next
- Choose your rating – G, PG, R, or X
- That’s it!
Allow some time for the changes to propagate throughout the internet. Clear your browser’s cache while waiting. Refresh your pages, and you should see your smiling face on your comments. WordPress knows your email address, so it goes off to gravatar to grab your picture!
*If you have a WordPress.com account, you also have a gravatar account. You are using akismet to fight blog comment spam, right? Akismet required you to create a WordPress.com account in order to obtain your API key.