…one man's contribution to the Weeeeerly Wild World
[This topic was originally posted back in November 2013, but I have now updated the steps to edit your profile from WordPress, as it has since been made more straightforward.]
When I began blogging many moons ago, one aspect to get my head around was Gravatar.
From my perspective, which may be a correct way of interpreting it or not, Gravatar is a separate service that is bolted on to WordPress. The concept is there hidden within the name, and revealed when you click on “What is Gravatar?” (clearly people have to ask, so they provide a clear button to direct them to the answer): “A Gravatar is a Globally Recognized Avatar… An “avatar” is an image that represents you online.” The idea is that you use Gravatar as a central point, linking to all of your stuff… such as your blog.
The problem is, I think, that it’s not globally recognised by the average web surfer and I used the term ‘concept’ above because even though the service exists and is therefore not merely a concept, its concept to be globally recognised has, from what I see, not quite hit the nail on the head. This is kind of a shame because all you really need to have a Gravatar account is an email address (more on this below), then whenever you comment on supported sites/blogs and put in your email address, it will automatically look you up and links to your gravatar profile for the convenience off all.
“On Gravatar, users can register an account based on their email address, and upload an avatar to be associated with the account. Gravatar plugins are available for popular blogging software; when the user posts a comment on such a blog that requires an e-mail address, the blogging software checks whether that e-mail address has an associated avatar at Gravatar. If so, the Gravatar is shown along with the comment.” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravatar
I didn’t intend to knock Gravatar here, but I felt an introduction and my views were a good starting point. The reason I want to share this post is because I occasionally come across fellow WordPress bloggers (or bloggers of other platforms) who aren’t using Gravatar to their advantage: there are many who have a Gravatar profile (I think you get one by default when you sign up to WordPress) that have failed to point to their blog from their Gravatar page/profile.
The reason why this is important is because when you like or comment on someone’s blog your icon appears in their list of likes/next to your comment. Then when someone clicks on your icon they end up on your Gravatar page. I think generally people will click on your icon because they want to see your blog – but if your Gravatar page isn’t set up to point to your blog then it can be tricky to find it (certainly more steps are involved than the casual surfer will contend with). Which is a shame.
Of course you can go directly to www.gravatar.com and sign in from there, or sign up if you haven’t yet done so. From my understanding, the other popular blogging platform that is Blogger doesn’t have such close links (or any) to Gravatar like WordPress does. They seem to be refusing to play along for whatever reason. This is a shame because I often feel like there are two worlds when it comes to blogging, with the other camp not being within ear-shot of any comments or likes I may want to share. Not being a Blogger blogger means I’m clearly less familiar with that platform compared to this one but I do believe it’s possible to use Gravatar there too. Searching Google for ‘gravatar and blogger’ should point you in the right direction. It seems quite long winded to set up, even compared to WordPress, but it might be worth the effort.