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Blog Exercises: Choose an Appropriate Gravatar for Your Readers

Blog Exercises on Lorelle on WordPress.All WordPress sites have Gravatars integrated into the core. Gravatars are Globally Recognized Avatars, images that represent you in blog posts comments, featured author images (integrated with Gravatars), author images, BuddyPress, and other Gravatar-enabled features.

Near the beginning of this year of blog exercises, you were asked to add or update your Gravatar to represent yourself well on your site and across all WordPress and Gravatar-enabled sites. The avatar image is associated with your email address. When you comment using that email address, the image will be automatically used.

But what about those without Gravatars?

In addition to feeling pity for them, and encouraging them to set up their own free Gravatar profile, you may select a Gravatar image to display within your blog comments for them.

WordPress Gravatar avatars for non-Gravatar members on WordPress sites.

There are seven choices.

  • Mystery Man: The Mystery Man Gravatar image is a silouette of a person. It’s boring but inoffensive and not distracting within the comment box area, and definitely not distracting to your WordPress Theme design. For professional and business sites, this is probably your best choice.
  • Blank: Blank is blank space, a box that appears as nothing next to the comments. It is the cleanest and most minimal design choice for a Gravatar, but some WordPress Theme comment layouts put numbers before the Gravatar, and a blank space between the number and the comment may look a bit odd. It is definitely not distracting and will fit in with most WordPress Theme designs.
  • Gravatar Logo: What better way to make someone want to get their own Gravatar than promoting the Gravatar brand. The white G against the field of blue is not distracting, blends in well with most designs, and may encourage your regular readers to register and add their image to your comments.
  • Identicon: This is a generated Gravatar. It changes colors and patterns across users so the image isn’t static. I think of it as the Quilted Gravatar. The images are colorful geometric shapes resembling quilt blocks. If your site’s topic is about crafting, home, nature, health, or suits such a graphic, this would be an excellent choice.
  • Wavatar: The Wavatar is a bit like the MonsterID Gravatar. Another generated Gravatar, it features odd cartoon style faces in the box. This is idea for sites on humor, children, parenting, gaming, and just for fun.
  • MonsterID: MonsterID Gravatar is also generated, changing with different users. It features cartoon monsters, the kind that are artful and not very scary. This is idea for fantasy, children, parenting, gaming, science fiction, and cartoon and anime sites, as well as just for fun.
  • Retro: Retro is another generated Gravatar, changing with each anonymous user. This one is hard to describe as the graphics look like old computer games, like the old Atari Pong and Space Invaders games. They are two toned and pixelated and ideal for gaming, craft, science fiction, technology, and artistic sites, or again, just for fun.

To set the Gravatar to appear for commenters not registered with Gravatar:

  1. On the WordPress Administration Panels, go to Settings > Discussion.
  2. Scroll down to Default Avatar.
  3. Make a selection in one of the radio boxes by the Gravatar of your choice.
  4. Click Save Changes to save your selection.

Past comments without Gravatar images will not change to the new selection. This only applies to new comments.

Blog Exercise Task from Lorelle on WordPress.Your blog exercise today is to set your Gravatar image for those without Gravatars commenting on your site.

Make your Gravatar complement your site’s design and topic.

Consider encouraging regular commenters to get their own Gravatar so their image will be featured across millions of sites on the web, or at least the three WordPress sites they comment on regularly.

If you do not have a Gravatar set for yourself yet, now is the time to give yourself an image and avatar to be seen on all the WordPress sites you leave comments on.

Remember to include a hat tip link back to this post to create a trackback, or leave a properly formed link in the comments so participants can check out your blog exercise task.

You can find more Blog Exercises on . This is a year-long challenge to help you flex your blogging muscles.

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen.


  1. Posted September 19, 2013 at 5:06 am | Permalink

    If your blog is not too serious, I heartily recommend the plugin Rage Avatars, which offers “rage faces” as an alternate source of generated gravatars.

    What can i say? It cracks me up…

    • Posted September 19, 2013 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      Ah I forgot about those. Yes, if you are on a self-hosted version of WordPress, there are Gravatar/Avatar Plugins to change the look and feel of them, including creating your own. Thanks!

  2. Posted September 19, 2013 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Recently, my Gravatar did not show up on a few sites, especially self-hosting sites. Once it didn’t show up on my comment in this post of yours. I wondered if Gravatar sometimes had a bad day.

    • Posted September 19, 2013 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      I’m not sure if Gravatar has bad days, lol! I am sure that once in a while there is a glitch in the system on either WordPress or Gravatar’s side.

      The most common reasons why Gravatars do not appear is that people are signed out of the site or and they add a different email address when commenting, or they sign in under a different email address not associated with a Gravatar.

  3. Posted September 19, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    The photo makes the connection so much more personal

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