Gravatars: A Powerful Free Way To Brand Your Comments!

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gravatar logoWhat is a Gravatar?

Gravatar may sound like a funny word, but its one of the hottest tools to increase your branding value while blogging… for free!

Have you ever wondered how come some people’s comments on blogs get a sharp looking image next to their comment, while yours gets a boring generic image?


Gravatar stands for “Graphical Avatar” and essentially means picture that represents you. In the world of self branding, that’s your picture! It’s your face! It also is the answer to the riddle!

By setting up a profile (login) containing your picture at (now owned by you can become instantly recognizable on every blog you visit! The setup is quick and painless and once set up requires absolutely no special effort to “use” when commenting. The images simply appear on any blog that supports them when you submit your post.

This awesome little video explains some of the advantages and shows you how fast and simple it is to sign up!

Click here to get your free Gravatar account. 

A WordPress Set Up Walk-Through

My colleague, Jim Landers, from Jupiter Jim’s Marketing Team, has a great introduction and walk through to take you by the hand and show you how to get set up.

Tired of Generic People Commenting On Your Blog?

If you have a blog and are interested in your commenters being prompted to get their OWN unique gravatar (without annoying those that already do), a quick wordpress plugin is in order!

Gravatar Signup Encouragement is a simple plugin that encourages users without an avatar on Gravatar to make one!  It creates a prompt (and link to the website) for any user who’s email was not found on file at Gravatar.

[GSE has now become outdated and un-updated in several years. I recommend upgrading to Commentluv Premium which includes an actively supported version of this feature.]

Assuming you are signed in and have your own avatar, you will not notice any changes to your blog. Log out of your blog and then try to leave a comment with a random nonsensical email address, to see the prompt.

User’s that do not have an email on record will see something similar to this screenshot:

Comment Box Screenshot with Gravatar Encouragement Plugin In Use

That’s all folks!

Got any cool gravatar stories or suggestions? I’d love to hear them! Here’s to better blogging! Like this tip? Tweet It, Digg It, Facebook Share It and Leave a comment!

~ Kim ~
Simple Tech Tips For Marketing

PS: If your gravatar does not appear to be working for YOUR own administrator account for your blog, click here.


Originally Published January 1st, 2010 and most recently updated October 21st, 2014

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  1. says

    Thanks for another great insert into building a better blog Kimberly! I wish everyone would take the time to Brand themselves better!

    Live Full Out & On Purpose,

    .-= Susan Davis´s last blog ..Social Media Etiquette 101 =-.

  2. says

    Hey Kim – great post! Gravatars are essential when building a business online – social proof, and it lets people know you aren’t a spammer! I never accept friends that don’t have a picture of themselves on facebook, twitter etc… and it seems like your gravatar picture follows you everywhere so you aren’t constantly uploading pictures (like the Ning groups etc..) Thanks for sharing this Kim.
    .-= Jan@social media rockstar´s last blog ..Crush It! Why now is the time to cash in on your passion =-.

    • says

      Jan I see you got keywordluv working! Look at you rock! Once you figure out what keywords you are aiming at for your blog you will want to use them in place of “social media rockstar” (which of course you are!) Those will be keywords that Google will then credit your blog with, and it will help you rank over time!

  3. says

    Kim, While I’ve used a gravatar for a long time I didn’t know that it meant “Graphical Avatar”.
    What a cool idea the Gravatar Signup Encouragement plugin offers to someone who doesn’t have it yet. Thanks for the plugin update. I’ll let you know if it works with the Fresh News Theme.
    .-= Darlene Davis´s last blog ..Notes From A Kindle Junkie – Part I =-.

  4. Toni King says

    Great explanation about the Gravatars Kimberly. I know I registered with Gravatar, but I don’t recall getting it as a plugin… I logged in and changed my id pic from the MonaVie pic to my own, but it still shows up as the MonaVie pic… Will investigate it further as soon as I get a chance. Cheers Toni

    • says

      Toni that image is definitely a actual gravatar, hosted with them. You can verify this by right clicking on the image, and selecting “view image” or “view background” or “view background image” depending on your browser. Your’s says when viewed:

      This implies you have more than one account somewhere, an old one you don’t know how to get to anymore. I would contact gravatar directly, now that they are owned by wordpress they should be able to check both hosts for you.

      It has to be linked to your email address I believe, or your email and url. You could test this by putting a different email in the gravatar signup you JUST made, and then making a test post here using the new email address and I expect it will show the new image (as long as its not domain linked which I do not believe it is).

      If that didn’t make much sense, catch me later/tomorrow on Skype!

  5. says

    Thanks for posting this, been wanting to get this done. Was just on my WordPress Blog working on it and wanted to get it done before leaving a comment Here so, my Avatar would he Here too but having trouble finding where to add this to my Profile on the Dashboard. Saw the plug in for it but where do you add your Photo ?

    • says

      First help me out by telling me if after you enter your Name/Email/URL to leave a comment, and start typing one, but before you hit submit… if you do not get a little message under the comment box that says “You do not seem to have a Gravatar on file… get one now from here (link)”.

      Either way, the answer is to register a profile at and use the email address and domain name there that you use to submit on comments. Then on any blog that supports them it will be automatically recognized when you submit the post. No need to set it up on each of our blogs individually. You used to need to set it up on too but now owns gravatar so it’s all one system.

  6. says

    Kimberly, this is a wonderful post! Thank you so much for this and this is the first time I have seen that video! So simple! I will re-post immediately.
    Mahalo (thank you) for posting such valuable content!
    Kellie :)
    .-= Kellie Hosaka´s last blog ..THE LAW OF ATTRACTION & QUANTUM PHYSICS =-.

  7. says

    Hi Kim,
    Thanks a lot for sharing this useful tip. I wasn’t familiar with the Gravatar Signup Encouragement plugin – I’m gonna’ check it out :)!

    Ever since I came across your fantastic blog, I’ve become quite the fan and always look forward to coming back to see what insightful articles you’ve got for us. Thanks again and keep ’em comin’!


    • says

      Heya Ingrid! How’s it going hun? I haven’t seen you on twitter in a bit but I’ve been so busy (and had a temporary twitter suspension) that I don’t know that I’d catch something if it bit me! hehe!

      Thanks for all your support, really appreciate it!

  8. Kongkor says

    Hi Kim,

    Thanks for the great explanation about Gravatar. I just had my WordPress account activated after importing my postings from blogger yesterday and as I was toying with it today, I signed up for Gravatar as well. Now that you’ve explained, you’ve save me lots of time researching. Kudos Kim


    • says

      Hey Kongkor! Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner things have been crazy busy here! Glad you got it set up and working, nice to see your face! Good luck with the new blog wordpress setup!

  9. says

    Hi Kim,
    Informative post. I didn’t knew there was a plugin for encouraging the users to have a gravatar. Thanks for introducing it.

  10. says

    Hey Kim and others!

    I am the author of Gravatar Signup Encouragement and since I prepared a new version, I’m wondering if anyone would like to try beta version and give me thoughts about it?

    I will listen to your suggestions and answer on every question.

    • says

      Hmmmm… for unregistered users the message below the text box is not displaying. Its either hiccuping with commentluv, keywordluv or si-captcha’s fields would be my guess. The popup after comment submission does work though, which I think is very nice. I need to edit the message on it (since most dont know what a gravatar is) but the new settings are an improvement soon as I get them working :)

      • says

        It isn’t shown anywhere since you turned off this option (I don’t see code in source code of this page).

        If you have a problem where to show message, you can choose below which field you want to show it.

        • says

          Milan, that plugin just wasn’t quite ready for this blog. Under defaults it was not displaying. I tried moving it from displaying under the comment box to displaying under the email box with no luck. I was able to get the “after comment popup” for non registered visitors however to work and that is very nice. But no dice on displaying before they hit submit. It was definitely running, allowed and NOT working when you came and looked for the code.

          I finally disabled the plugin because it was giving me, as a registered commenter, the “blank white screen” on wp-comments-post.php after every single comment until I disabled it. I even tried installing the suggested google libraries.

          As I said earlier, my best guess is that it doesn’t like another plugin I’m running. However I don’t have time tonight to troubleshoot. I’m optimistic about the new settings though!

          • says

            I found a reason why this was not working. Your theme (Thesis) was not compatible with my plugin (which means it didn’t work even with previous version) so I updated code of my plugin to make it compatible with Thesis. You can now download updated version.

            I tested updated plugin on Thesis with both comment form and dialog after comment is posted and it worked with both registered and unregistered users so if you still have issues please send me list of your plugins so I can see if my plugin is incompatible with any of them.

            Thank you for your bug report, it helped me to solve potential problems with Thesis and other themes as well. (this is why I asked that someone test it!)

            BTW, it looks like you have two plugins for email notifications. I get two emails for every comment you posted.

  11. says

    It really looks odd to list the commentors with that face-less heads. Its so easy and effective but still not known to many new bloggers and readers. Your post is a step towards educating them.

    Another thing that irritates me is entering site name or keyword in “Name” box of comment form when a blog has keywordLuv installed.

    I guess it will never end, as everyday thousands of new fellows are entering, but at least we can try to spread the word.

  12. says

    It really looks odd to list the commentors with that face-less heads. Its so easy and effective but still not known to many new bloggers and readers. Your post is a step towards educating them.

    Another thing that irritates me is entering site name or keyword in “Name” box of comment form when a blog has keywordLuv installed.

    I guess it will never end, as everyday thousands of new fellows are entering, but at least we can try to spread the word.

  13. says

    Hey, Just stopping by and wanted to say THANK YOU! Just changing over our branding images and couldn’t remember the name of this and I thought to myself that you probably had a post on it and poof! There it is!!!!

    Love you Girl!

  14. Betty says

    Kim, I really do hope that you don’t consider my many posts on your blog today as spam. LOL I have been sitting here reading your posts pretty much since this morning. Today, I am finally able to sit down and dedicate time to reading and commenting. You have taught me so many things and thank you. I am trying to implement them all so that I can have more credibility with my blog and my comments on other blogs. I have be banging my head against the wall trying to figure out how everyone has an avatar in their comments no matter where. Thanks to your post, I have figured it out. Thanks again!

    • says

      Consider lots of comments spam?!?! Are you kidding sister?!?! I’m over here going woo-hoo I got comments! You’re rockin it and I am very thankful! :)

      It’s interesting because while that post itself is useful (everyone needs a picture) because I used the actual name of the picture service, it never gets found. I’ve got a draft started of a second post – on this same exact thing – that is titled more like “How To Add A Picture To Your Comments” and is pretty much the same content just wrote differently. I hope that that will make it more findable.

      I also need to write a second post because it’s gotten important to actually fill out the profile on that site (besides just adding a picture) because of the new Gravatar Hovercards. They are enabled on all sites and a lot of us are enabling them on our sites too although at the moment that requires code. To see them, come back to the blog and hover your mouse over my comment picture for a few seconds, and up will pop a “business card” with click-able links, click-able pictures and all sorts of good stuff including a link to my blog etc. As people enabling hovercards becomes more common, having them fully set up will help bring additional traffic to your social media sites and blog.

      Glad you got it working and got your smiling face up on your comments! Thanks again Betty!

  15. Betty says

    Kim, I really do hope that you don’t consider my many posts on your blog today as spam. LOL I have been sitting here reading your posts pretty much since this morning. Today, I am finally able to sit down and dedicate time to reading and commenting. You have taught me so many things and thank you. I am trying to implement them all so that I can have more credibility with my blog and my comments on other blogs. I have be banging my head against the wall trying to figure out how everyone has an avatar in their comments no matter where. Thanks to your post, I have figured it out. Thanks again!

  16. Jean says

    Thanks, Kim. I’ve debated with myself for months about this. Think I’ll just do it! I’ll let you know if it’s not as easy as it sounds!

    • says

      Okay Jan, now I really hope you’re going to come back and tell me WHY you would debate this? I want to hear the internal chatter that has been going on and what arguments you were using. Please share, these insights will help others!

      • Jean says

        Well, Kim, I just thought it would be too complicated. But you made it sound so easy. Buuuuttt … now it’s back to sounding complicated. I am on Blogger, not WordPress, so …

  17. says

    This was the very first thing I learned when I was starting! And it is the very first ‘tutorial’ I made. I watched my tutorial the other day and I realized I need to re-do it now that I have Camtasia, but there is never enough time!!

  18. says

    This was the very first thing I learned when I was starting! And it is the very first ‘tutorial’ I made. I watched my tutorial the other day and I realized I need to re-do it now that I have Camtasia, but there is never enough time!!

  19. Allegra Sinclair says

    Hi Kim,
    I have my gravatar set up so my picture shows when I visit other blogs but my picture does NOT show up on my own blog. Any idea why? I hope you’re having a POWERFUL week! Allegra

    • says

      Hi Allegra! This is real common. Usually it is just because you do not have the profile on your blog set up to use the same email your gravatar email is using. To check this, log into your dashboard, on the left sidebar go to “Users”, then find your username, and then click it and open it up and see what email address is in the. If it’s not your gravatar-assigned email address than that is why!

        • Marla Hughes says

          Allegra, I can answer that: Yes, but if she doesn’t know the answer, Kim will know (or find someone) who does!
          Yes, I know, I haven’t done my Gravatar yet, but I’m working on my website so figured I’d make mine and do the plug in for my website at the same time.
          Luv ya Kim!!!!!!!!!

    • says

      Hey Lorie, I see you got your gravatar working! Congrats on that! Hopefully you didn’t have any trouble setting it up? Might want to fill out some of the details on the profile there, so that sites like mine that allow your image to be hovered and show a mini version of your profile actually link to all your good stuff. If you have any questions, give me a shout!

      • says

        Hi Kim,

        The gravatar is working good. no problems until now. thanks.

        actually i have another question. maybe you can help.

        what plugin are you using for “Related Posts” and how does it work? do you choose the articles that appear in the related posts or they come automatically and based on what.

  20. says

    Hi Kim,

    Thnaks so much for the heads up on the Gravatar. It was so easy! I think that I tried to use this before because I already had an account with an old email address. I is amazing the things that I am learning from you and others at TSA. This makes doing a blog so much easier since there is always someone who can make the learning curve less steep.

    • says

      Yay Joyce! I’m glad to hear you got it set up and working! Yeah if you change email addresses, and you don’t log into the account and update the email address, it just stops working because it no longer finds you when it looks for you. Next time you update your email address, just log into your account and update the account and you’ll be off and running again! I’m glad your enjoying TSA if you have any other questions, just shout!

    • says

      Sooreneccs, changing your gravatar one in a year would make you HUMAN or at least not be suspicious. Lots of us update our social pictures and stuff once a year so I don’t see that that would be cause for any alarm. Let me know if you have any trouble getting yours set up since I see it isn’t working at the moment. Good luck!

  21. says

    Hello Kim, I love this post! I cannot beleive the amount of people that leave comments without a Gravatar. I could understand if it was something hard to do but as you have clearly stated here it is pretty simple to do..

    Thanks for sharing.. Chery :

  22. says

    Hi Kim,

    You gotta have a gravatar! When someone comes to my blog or any side and doesn’t have one, my mind immediately goes to “I don’t trust this person.” Now, I know there are plenty of newbies out there that may have not gotten around to it. I will make an exception on my blog for them.
    But…if they don’t have a gravatar, they cannot come into my blog.
    It is also important for branding purposes. Kim, I had so many different hair styles over the years, that a few months back I had to take a new picture for my gravatar and then put it up all over the place so it would be congruent.


  23. says

    Hello Kim,

    This is a simple fix to your blog, but I can see how it would have a massive impact on branding yourself and building rapport. Nobody likes to respond to comments or replies that are from people with no gravatar image because you don’t know who you are talking to! By having a nice, friendly gravatar image on your account when you post, you make the reader much more inclined to comment back to you because they are more comfortable. Thank you for sharing and hopefully my gravatar pops up with this comment :)

  24. says

    The funny thing about gravatars is this.
    When I monitor the spam messages I get, they almost never have a gravatar. When I get comments to my blogs from real people (not spam bots), they almost always have a gravatar.
    So a quick way for me to look through my spams messages is to simply look for a gravatar. If there is none, I just leave it as spam and delete it… forever.
    So gravatars are a sure token of credibility.

  25. says

    I’m surprised at how many people still don’t have an avatar — especially considering the alternatives on some blogs. I’d far rather have my own chosen picture of myself than some randomly generated monster.

  26. says

    Kim, I have had a Gravatar for many years and and I think its a great tool to use to brand yourself when you share on social media and blogs. Thanks for providing this post and the helpful videos to help everyone who has not gotten one yet.

  27. says

    Gravatars are often an important component in your author box plugin if you use one and it’s much easier to find the real people in your spam filter as the photo makes them stand right out.

  28. says

    Yes, gravatars are good markers for being a ‘real’ person on the web.
    Some people don’t have a blog to associate with their gravatar, but some people do and still don’t associate their blog(s) with their gravatar.

    They comment, but they have not linked themselves to their blog. Then it is a case of googling to try to find where the person writes.

  29. says

    thanks so much for having this article for all of us to refresh and learn more…

    When I was first introduced did not see the need.. but boy ho boy, did I see the need when I had to add my picture every time I needed to add wow.. what I relief to know Gravatar works automatically without even thinking of it.. and as Jim said.. you set as you like and the rest will be done automatically for others to know you better :-)
    Thanks again

  30. says


    I don’t think I ever noticed the feature on CommentLuv Premium, that I’ve been using for a long time, thanks to you, that encourages people to get the gravatar! That is most awesome and thanks for sharing that information. Also, I incorrectly read that Gravatar means Global Avatar but like you said Graphical Avatar would make more sense! Great post and thanks for sharing the link to my video and blog post, Miss Kimberly!!!

    ~ Jupiter Jim

  31. says

    I think a gravatar is essential in building your brand online. Plus i cant stand it when someone ain’t rockin one when they comment haha. Makes it much more personal and trusting.

  32. says

    A few months back, I signed up for a Gravatar. I really enjoy the fact that I can associate several email addresses with it. And having one is helpful as I think it makes comments much more personal. I haven’t necessarily noticed an measurable outcomes from having one, but I’m sure it has helped.

  33. says

    Hello Kim…..Your post on Gravatars is well appreciated here…..In my early times of being apart of B3….having a gravatar was the only reason that a person realized I wasn’t a spammer…..I had to do some work on commenting, and finally learned to not be disguised as a spammer, when I left comments….The Gravatar was just the first step……Thanks Kim…..Smokey

  34. says

    Hi Kim,
    when I came across the Gravatar, fortunately when I started blogging, I thought it was such a cool way to have a photo and other info appear when you comment.

    Thank you so much for this information and the videos, which I watched just incase I missed something.
    I don’t think I want to block anyone who doesn’t have an avatar, but I could see how this could apply to some businesses.


  35. AskKim says

    @Yorinda Wanner Definitely Yorinda! Everyone needs to do what’s right for their own business. It’s good to know what tools exist even if you’re not going to use them for a certain project. 

  36. AskKim says

    @Rachel Lavern Thank you Rachel! I know it’s definitely old-news for you but sometimes we have to back track a little and help the new guys get up to speed :)

  37. AskKim says

    @Karen Peltier Agreed Karen! It’s really less about measurable things achieved of having one but instead is more about the headaches that happen if we don’t have one. Getting one is just pretty much expected for professionalism today!

  38. PromosOnWheels says

    i was reading another article about this and heard “testing” pics helps too — so maybe a half smile or smile can lend itself to a certain perception, etc. and in your case, Kim, being dressed appropriately for the topics you write about, makes sense.

  39. SteveVargerson says

    Obviously Kim I now realize the significance of Gravatars as they are the unanimously accepted gifts to WordPress.

  40. BigLeaguesBook says

    So true Kim. Adding a pic to my profile was one of the first things I tried to do on my website. The task was not intuitive. Six months later, I became aware of the word Gravatar and its plugin on wordpress. :)  I hope all registered users on my website pick one for the reasons mentioned above.

  41. isuperAltamash says

    BigLeaguesBook totally agree with you and @Kimberly Castleberry It’s really true between is my gravtars looking hot :D. Literally its so true to have a gravatar otherwise its just looks spam or as you mentioned in your post not so hot and if some commenting ofr building as a blogger for readers, it’s really so important.

    Altamash Sid
    (from Altamash sid & Brands)

  42. donnamerrilltribe says

    Hey Kim,

    I had several different gravatars going on a while back.  People were getting confused.  They were all pics of me, but with all my fooling around with hairstyles, they needed one on all platforms.  I also needed a professional shot for my new blog, so I did that and then went over to every single platform to have the exact same gravatar shown. 
    People noticed right away!  So point being, even if we have a gravatar set up, it has to be the same on all platforms we are on.  So learn by my mistake!

  43. says

    interesting.. since last time I was here I pay more attention and forund out that many people still does not have gravatars.. wow.. I feel lucky to have knowing the B3 group to teach me so many things that are needed as an internet marketer…
    Thanks so much again.

  44. WilliamAmis1 says

    Kim, great article on the importance of being unique. Just free registration at Gravatar. Takes care of issues one would have to leave a supportive comment. 

    I for one, would not allow anyone without a valid Gravatar, ability to leave a comment. I will not approve someone who is not willing to show themselves. I believe in transparency and that is it.

    Hey, you want people to know you as a real person? That is good enough reason to sign up.

  45. julieannevanzyl says

    Excellent tutorial Kim, there are still a lot of new bloggers who’ve never heard of a gravatar before.  Good idea to prompt people to create one before they comment!

  46. says

    Hey Kim

    This is great information for people who are new to blogging or even just have had a website built that has a blog.  Business owners especially don’t understand this whole Gravatar bit.

    Thanks  Andy

  47. says

    A gravatar is one of the most important things to set up when you’re a blogger.
    It makes you a “real person” in the minds of people reading your comments, and greatly enhances the likelihood of them clicking on your links to follow you onto your own blog.

  48. says

    Hi Kim
    A gravatar is something that all bloggers should have. It make commenting so much more interesting and the change that your comment are not marked as spam is so much bigger when you have an image next to your name of your comments.

  49. Mazestic says

    Excellent deals Kim. Getting daughter her own website for holidays ans these deals came in handy. Thanks for sharing.


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