What is a Gravatar?
Gravatar (an abbreviation for globally recognized avatar) is a service for providing globally-unique avatars which was created by Tom Werner. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravatar.
You can see how my Gravatar image displays in the side bar. I have different versions, for different e-mail addressees and have unique Gravatars for each of my sites.
Having your own Gravatar allows you to choose the image that will display next to your own Blog post author or sidebar About You boxes (if engaged and supported). Your Gravatar will also display on websites and blogs that you leave comments on that integrate the Gravatar service.
For WordPress sites it is default functionality. You can view your site's avatar settings here: Settings > Discussion -- page down and select "Gravatar Logo".
What determines what displays for your Gravatar is based on your e-mail address. So it makes sense when you set up your Gravatar image that you tie it to the e-mail address that you use most when posting and commenting on websites and blogs.
The benefit of setting up your custom Gravatar is that it makes your comments more personable and when it comes to business more credible. I always wonder when I see comments that don't have a custom Gravatar why those folks what to remain anonymous.
You'll see Gravatars that are logos or other icons as well. I don't use my photo but folks who know me agree my Gravatar is me! Surprisingly, I have seen folks use Gravatars that are not very professional in appearance nor do they lend to the contributor's legitimacy. Choose wisely!
Gravatars allow you to do a little extra marketing by displaying your most important tool -- your brand -- which is you! Remember, we're talking about perception here and that's why a nice photo, logo or representation of yourself works best for business activities.
Creating a Gravatar
Choose the graphic or photo you would like to use. Starting out with a square graphic works best, however, you will have an opportunity to crop and adjust how your Gravatar will display.
Gravatars display at 80 pixels in height and width (80 x 80). You can upload the best quality size you have and the system will resize for you. You'll just want to make sure you use a photo or graphic that looks good at that size.
Then go to: http://en.gravatar.com/
The Gravatar site is very easy to use and only takes a couple steps to setup your Gravatar. Once setup your Gravatar will display automatically on any site that has Gravatar support as well as seamlessly on WordPress.com.
So what are you waiting for -- go get your Gravatar!
At your service,