I’m not kidding, doing this will instantly help you add credibility to your website or blog.
You only have to it once, it takes 2 minutes and it’s free – the rest is automatic.
In fact you don’t even need to have your own website to get use out of this. If you leave comments on blogs or websites this is still worth doing because it will ensure your chosen image will show next to any comments you make online.
I’m talking about a completely free tool called ‘Gravatar’ that links your email address to an image of your choosing.
Now before we go any further let me quickly show you how it works.
Here’s a screengrab from one of the article comment threads on the Insider’s Edge website. As you can see the first comment has a little personalised image next to it (that’s the ‘Gravatar’), whereas the second one shows a default placeholder.
And here’s an example of an author box from a post on this site – which also uses a Gravatar…
Now while there’s nothing wrong with having the default, placeholder image showing on pages and comments (it’s FAR better to get posting and commenting than not) having your own image does 3 great things:
1) It instantly brands your content – It’s a great way to build rappor with website authors, bloggers and other commenters because your comments and blog posts will be instantly recognisible thanks to the little image displaying alongside them.
2) It brings together your presence online – Your articles, comments, forum posts and any site that uses this technology will be instantly identifiable as yours. By using that same image for your Social Media profiles you can keep that consistency going even further.
3) Authenticity and credibility – People will start recognising your work, whether your posting on your own blog or website or guest posting elsewhere. It can also help ensure any comments you make get through without a hitch. I get at least 100 spam comments on Insider’s Edge a day from automated bots although 99% of these are blocked by my software. Your Gravatar (author image) is linked to your email address and therefore instantly helps to show websites, forums and comment threads that you’re a real person.
Now you may be thinking “I don’t want my picture showing anywhere!”
Well you don’t have to. You could use an image of anything (as long as it’s clean!). So for example it could be your website logo, a picture you’ve taken… anything that appeals to you.
Let me show you how it works.
How to add your Gravatar
Creating your own Gravatar is pretty straightforward and you can set one up for free simply by going here:
Let’s go through the setup step-by-step quickly:
The next two steps are pretty straightforward. You’ll be asked to enter your email address and then check your inbox to confirm your new Gravatar account.
Having trouble entering your email? If, when entering your email, you receive a message in red box that says ‘The email address firstname.lastname@example.org already belongs to an account in our system” don’t panic! It just means you’ve already had a Gravatar account set up previously – probably from setting up a WordPress.com account in the past or from installing a plugin. It’s nothing to worry about, if you can’t remember your password simply hit the ‘Forgot your password’ link and you’ll be able to retrieve your login details, log in to Gravatar and skip to the next step.
The email you receive should look something like this (I’ve marked the confirmation link for you).
After clicking through you’ll be asked to create a username and password. You don’t need to stress too much about what username you choose in the sense that you can control what name appears on posts and comments yourself. With that said I’d avoid anything too controversial.
Now comes the important bit…
After clicking the link you’ll then be given several options as you can see in this screenshot:
Now in most cases you’ll have an image on your hard drive (maybe a photograph of yourself) so you can just choose the first option. You then just need to locate it on your computer.
Tip: If I’m uploading an image I normally copy or move it to my desktop to make it easier to find.
(By the way if you’ve got a webcam or a fancy computer with a camera attached you can choose the third option. It’ll activate your camera so that you can take a self portrait there and then to use as your image).
This is the next screen:
Now it might be that you don’t need to resize your image here but this preview screen makes it handy for you to see how your finished Gravatar will look online. The small preview is perhaps the most useful one as that’s the size it will most frequently be seen at. Move the corners in and out (I’ve circled them in red above) until you’re happy and then click the ‘Crop and Finish!’ button at the bottom.
You’re almost there!
The next screen will look like this:
If you’ve chosen a picture of a severed head for your Gravatar or something a bit controversial, I’d consider going back and choosing a different image. The rating of your Gravatar will affect where it can appear and you don’t want the image to be blocked on certain websites simply because it’s too risque.
This next bit is essential:
You need to actually click on your image here and then click the ‘confirm’ button in the pop up that follows for it to register your choice.
That’s it! You’re done.
Now when you post articles on your site, or guest post on other people’s site your image will display in the author box (provided the site supports and has Gravatars enabled – and most do).
The same applies to any comments you now make. On websites that supports Gravatars (like this one) your image will display next to your comment. You just need to make sure you use the same email address that you registered your Gravatar to above.
In case you’re wondering, you can add as many email addresses as you like to your Gravatar account. Each can have its own image or they can use the seperate images, it’s up to you. To add an new email address to your account simply click ‘add a new email’ when logged in to your Gravatar account and repeat the steps listed above.
Why not give it a go now and see it working for yourself? Simply follow the steps above and try leaving a comment below!