How to Get Your Pic in Blog and Forum Comments

CookieBoy 150x150 How to Get Your Pic in Blog and Forum Comments

Cookie Boy

Get Your Picture (Avatar) in Comments

It took me ages to find out how to get a picture, called an Avatar, in comments on forums and blogs. I couldn’t find info about it anywhere on the internet and I was too embarrassed to ask!

As it turns out it is really, really easy. A universal system exists where you can upload your Avatar or photo and it then delivers avatar images globally. It’s a free online service called GRAVATAR (Globally Recognised AVATAR).

A gravatar is always square and can be up to 512 pixels wide, although the standard is 80 x 80 pixels. Gravatars are linked to your e-mail address. Whenever you leave a comment on a blog post, the blogging/forum software uses your e-mail address to retrieve your avatar from the gravatar website.

Don’t worry, your e-mail address is not actually used directly. It gets encrypted with an unique code and does not send your real e-mail address in the process. This avoids spam and prevents anyone retrieving your email address from the Avatar.

When choosing your gravatar image you can select which of the following ratings is most appropriate for it:

  • G – Suitable for all audiences
  • PG – Possibly offensive, usually for audiences 13 and above
  • R – Intended for adult audiences above 17
  • X – Even more mature than above

(This prevents nudie pics from being shown on a kid’s site!) Webmasters running websites supporting the gravatar system can set the appropriate rating for their site. For example, if you ran a site that children might visit, then you would set the site’s gravatar rating to G. This would ensure that only G rated gravatars would be displayed and any gravatar with a higher rating would be replaced by a safe, default image.

Sign Up for a Gravatar

To sign up for a gravatar, you need to:

  1. Go to and click on the signup link
  2. Enter your e-mail address and then click signup
  3. Check your e-mail and click on the activation link in the e-mail sent to you from gravatar.
  4. Choose a username and password
  5. Click on the link to add an image
  6. Choose an image from your computer and upload it to gravatar
  7. Crop and size your image
  8. Choose a suitability rating for your avatar

Your “Avatar” is now linked to your e-mail address through the gravatar system and will appear when you leave comments on gravatar enabled blogs and forums. Sweet!

(By the way, I hope you like the picture of my bird, Cookie (the cockatiel). Some of you may have heard him prattling on & whistling in the background during webinars! Part of his extensive vocabularly is “I’m a happy soul!” and he whistles a confused rendition of “Pop Goes the Weasel.” )

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