What’s an Avatar? What’s a Gravatar? How do I install them on my blog?

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NOTE: Gravatar is now fully integrated into WordPress so there is no need for plugins.

An avatar is a picture or illustration that you’d like to use to represent yourself on the web. I love avatars and wherever possible I attempt to upload my picture – not because I love my picture but because I would like to be recognizable no matter the site. If you take the time to start conversations and comment on other blogs, why not make yourself more visible by having an avatar?

Every single day I take a look at the widgets in my sidebar to see who’s been visiting, and often time I go visit their blog if I’ve not been there in a while. A face, graphic, or symbol is much more recognizable than simply a name and a link. It’s such a pleasant surprise to find one of my ‘virtual friends’ on another site, blog, or application.

Gravatar is a site where you can upload your avatar once and any application can use their API to serve that image on your application or blog. I’ve also had a Gravatar for quite some time, but the service has been somewhat spotty… up and down. This would cause your application or blog to load slowly. But that’s all changed now!

Gravatar was acquired by Autommatic!

I’ve added Gravatars to my blog now that I know Autommatic has acquired Gravatar. You should integrate them on your application or blog as well – and it’s quite simple to do! At Gravatar’s site, you’ll find all the implementation guides that you need to integrate Gravatars into your site!

Integrating Gravatars in WordPress

Here’s how to implement Gravatars in WordPress:

  1. Download the Gravatars plugin for WordPress and upload it to your wp-content/plugins directory.
  2. Enable the plugin.
  3. Within your comment.php file, place the image within your comment where it can be easily seen. I right-aligned mine, shrunk it down a little, ensured that the content of the avatar was appropriate and also utilized a different default Gravatar (the Gravatar default is ridiculously hideous), here’s how:
    <img src="<?php gravatar("R", 40, "http://www.marketingtechblog.com/blank.gif"); ?>" class="gravatar" align="right" />

That’s it? Yup! Three steps! Check out my Gravatar in the following comment!

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