5 Reasons You Need To Have A Gravatar

Funny how time flies. Turns out it was 4 1/2 years ago that I actually wrote my last piece on gravatars, how to create them, how to set your blog up to show them, etc. What I missed in that piece all those years ago was why anyone should have them. I guess I thought that would be obvious, but time has proven that no, most people still don’t get it. So, let’s look at 5 reasons why you need to have a gravatar.

Dad Me Uncle Morris
Which one is me? πŸ™‚

1. Identity – Having a gravatar gives you an identity and helps you stand out from all those people people who comment on blogs and don’t have an image of any kind. People are more trusting of you and your comments if there’s an image associated with it.

2. Brand – Although your face should probably be your strongest brand, you can also use a logo of your business for your gravatar image. Truth be told, I have multiple gravatars and each one is associated with a different email address. Each one also uses a picture of me, which allows me to change up from time to time when I’m commenting because people always recognize the face sooner than the website or blog it’s attached to.

3. Protection – I’ve seen times when comments are somewhere that don’t read like the person who’s purported to have written them, if you know that person. Sneaky weasels do that to promote spam, and it can ruin the name or reputation of the person whose information they’re using. However, if you have a gravatar associated with your email address and no image shows up, that could vindicate you. Spammers aren’t as smart as we all think they are; they don’t always know your email address when writing spam comments.

4. Looking good in your own space – You write a blog others comment and have pictures next to their names, and you’re responding with nothing except one of those default gravatar things showing up; how professional does that look?

5. Influence – If you comment often and you have an image associated with your image eventually you start getting better known, and that helps your influence spread on the internet, even if it’s only within your relatively small sphere of influence. People love seeing my face (so they say lol) on their blogs along with a comment or two.

There you are. Now, having a gravatar won’t help you with blog sites like Typepad, but for pretty much everywhere else a gravatar will help you stand out. Come on, what are you waiting for? Check out the first post I linked to if you want to know how to do it, or just go to gravatar.com and follow the very easy instructions. Go now… okay, go after you comment. πŸ™‚

44 thoughts on “5 Reasons You Need To Have A Gravatar”

  1. Mitch, I could not agree with you more on this. I still know many that do not have one! I almost put a few comments into spam and then realized they were friends. This one post I’ll be sharing throughout the networks. Thanks Mitch!

    1. Yeah, I know it. For some reason wordpress.com blogs keep messing with me, which is why I stopped even trying & went to using my gmail address instead. Stuff always seems to want to pick on me. lol

  2. After our conversation the other day, I’ve updated my avatar for Overcoming Blogger’s Block. I should be okay now.

    1. Good deal Marcie. On that blog post you wrote, I notice your image is now showing. I think that looks great & should work better for you; how do you feel?

  3. I still don’t understand people not evening having one. Seriously, you don’t have an gravatar? It’s free and people get to see the person leaving them a comment. I don’t really approve many comments on my blog without one. My blog has so many spammers commenting, that I had to put the moderation back on to eliminate that problem, but even they put up fake photos to get past my watchful eyes.

    1. Sonia, you can change the settings so that images have to be rated a certain way, although most of the spammers know how to pick pictures that have a G-rating. Still, I’d rather see someone’s face than nothing at all. I just think most people aren’t sure how to do it, even if it has been around for a very long time.

  4. Mitch,

    I have to admit I never even knew what a gravatar was and didn’t know how to go about creating one. Guess I’ll have to go back and read your post from 2008 to see how to get one. I always wondered why my picture never shows up when I post to your blog.

    1. Beverly, you’re the reason why I decided to bring it up again (not you personally but people I was expecting didn’t know how to do it). Sometimes those of us who’ve been doing things a long time forget that not everyone knows this stuff, even if they’ve been around a long time as well. Just had some guy use the phrase SSH on me this evening & I had no idea what he was talking about, but supposedly it’s been around for at least a decade.

  5. Good post Mitch,

    I was going to take off the helmet but after further review I’m not going to take off the helmet in order to make Google happy.

    If you don’t show your face then your image will not load in Google authorship but it still works through gravatar so its all good.

    1. I didn’t know that Darnell; learning stuff every day. However, as it pertains to the authorship, I’m going to say that having people figure out who you are by your image benefits you way more than making Google happy; at least that’s how I’ve thought about it.

  6. All excellent points. One thing I’d like to add – if I may – is to pick a gravatar you like and stick with it. Like McDonalds arches or the blue oval of Ford, this is your social media brand. Changing it regularly to show off your kids, your cat or your new car may be OK on a personal Facebook page, but not for business.

    1. That’s a great point Allan. I’ve never understood why people change their images of themselves so often in so many places. I have different images associated with different email addresses and blogs, but if I stay consistent with one particular source, such as IJS, it’s always the same one.

  7. Hey Mitch,

    I think that as newbies come into the blogging sphere they aren’t familiar with what a gravatar is or why you need it. I agree it’s mostly for branding purposes but I will allow comments without one only under a few conditions though.

    I always check out the blog that’s attached to it so I can pretty much tell if they’re new or they just haven’t figured out how to set it up yet. Like right now I have one of my mastermind gals whose gravatar for some reason is going all weird on her so she’s back to being a green monster for now.

    I give newbies the benefit of the doubt but I also share in my P.S. to them that they need to get that set up and why.

    After that if they don’t I just don’t approve their posts and they finally will come around and ask why! Dah!!!

    Great job and I’ve only written about this once myself but I have it in my commenting rules too. Hey, we’re trying to help them out right!


    1. Exactly Adrienne. I’m trying to remember what prompted me to even remember that I’d written on this topic once before but it points out to me that I’ve written on tons of stuff that’s still evergreen that probably deserves an update and mention in some fashion. That original gravatar post certainly didn’t need to be written again, so writing a new post on it & linking to the original suffices pretty nicely. I bet you have older stuff you could do it with as well.

  8. I totally admit it, and I honestly feel sceptic about non-figurative gravatar images as well. I think that a face can help to build up the trust for the first sight, that’s why I prefer gravatar face images.

  9. Yeah the picture can really help, just as much as the lack of one can hurt.

    Many times I’ve looked at a person’s comment just because their Gravatar makes me go WTF??

    I’ll say another thing. The how and why of it needs to be simpler and better explained. I’ve been setting up a few new blogs for brand new folks and it is not intuitive in the least for them to get their picture to show up.

    When I explain how it’s done, they always go “I never would have figured that out!”

    Since WordPress is all about blogging, and they own Gravatar anyway, they need to incorporate that into the user profile screen, or have it be a pop-up when you login. There should be a brief description of what it is and WHY you need it, and also a way to sign up for a Gravatar account right from the dashboard.

    There’s too many ghost bloggers out there, when all that’s really needed is a quick heads-up in a place they’ll see it.

    1. Great stuff John. I don’t think many of us write about it often enough because there are so many new people who pop in all the time with blogs. Your idea is great about WordPress making it part of the startup, especially for WordPress.com people since they own that as well, but sites like Typepad and Tumblr should probably do the same thing, as well as accepting gravatars from other places.

  10. Hey Mitch,

    Thanks for sharing this informative post. I agree with the benefits of making a gravatar. To increase credibility, making a gravatar can boost it which leads to trust on perspective customers.

  11. Hey Mitch… I agree with your points. One should have the Gravatar if he/she want to brand him/herself.
    Even I was not having a gravatar after a few month of blogging. But When I felt the need for an identity, then I createdvmy gravatar account.
    by the way I enjoyed your article while reading it πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Ravi. Truthfully I added my gravatar way back because I wanted to see my face popping up in lots of places I was commenting in. I never thought about it as a way to brand at that time.

  12. Gee, I don’t know Mitch, you’re the one on the left, right? πŸ˜€

    You are so right though, having a gravatar is important. For years I used to use dumb cartoons but then I woke up to myself and started using one of my photos.

    1. Sire, I was shocked when you finally went to your own image. But I also remember that when you did it you started off with the topless image, trying to mirror your original avatar. lol

  13. It is absolutely necessary, no matter how it is used. I often switch picture between my company logo and my personal photo. By the way, I am not sure you have seen this yet, but it seems that Gravatar website require to have WordPress.com account now, which is weird!

    1. WordPress.com actually bought Gravatar a couple of years ago so if you were already in then you’re fine. If not then it’s the same deal as for folks who want to comment on Blogger posts having to create some kind of Google account to do so for many of those blogs. As for my gravatars I have different pictures for each email also, but it’s me in every one of them.

  14. It still amazes me how many people still don’t have Gravatars and to be honest it annoys the hell out of me. It’s not hard to do and when people comment on a blog it looks so much better.

    Ok, I don’t mind those that aren’t bloggers and haven’t got a clue, but when it comes to those that should know better, they just don’t have one, ggrrrrrr.

    Sorry rant over, strangely feel better after that!!!

    1. LOL! I figured you might Karen. It’s kind of a pet peeve of mine as well but I deal with it because some people have this strange perception that they’re protecting their privacy by going that route; if only they knew.

      1. If they think they are protecting their privacy then, lets be honest, they haven’t got a clue about what they are doing lol

  15. Hi Mitch,
    Glad to see you hitting had on this. I hate faceless commentators on my blog. I often take time to contact and guide them through getting a free gravatar account.

    Nice read, and have a splendid week ahead

    1. Thanks Enstine. I hate it as well but I don’t push people away because of it. I hope that more new people will go ahead and get their images up; what’s to hide right?

  16. gravatars are needed to identify a particular blogger. In this regard, I do agree that we should have our own picture uploaded for that. It helps in recognizing us among the blogger community. It thus helps in link building in the long run.

    1. That’s an interesting leap Yogesh. I’m not sure it helps in link building at all. What I do believe is that it can help one make a positive impression in places where they participate often.

      1. I am stating that it helps in building the links as we get acquainted by our fellow bloggers. The chances of “what we speak is read” increase.

  17. ok I just got gravatar. When I comment on my own site it doesn’t show up! Any idea how make that happen? Hopefully it will at least work here….

    1. It did work here Emina. You have to make sure the email exactly matches the user email address on your blog for it to work. I went to see what might be showing on your site but I don’t think the link you’re using is your site since your name isn’t on it anywhere and the site you’re using doesn’t accept comments. So I’ve got nothing else for you on that front.

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