The recently released WordPress 2.5 was a major update and included many new features, most notably the inclusion of Gravatars. Gravatar stands for globally recognized avatar. It essentially provides an easy way for blog commentators to attach their own image to comments all across the web.
Why you should add Gravatars to your Blog
Gravatars are supported by all major blog platforms however it’s the inclusion of Gravatar in a WordPress Release which will really make it the system which all bloggers use (I’m actually suprised it took so long for Gravatars to be integrated with an official release of WordPress as both are developed by Automatic).
WordPress is without doubt the most widely used blogging platform which means more and more people will be using Gravatars than ever before. In the last few weeks I have seen loads of non web development related blogs add Gravatar support to their comment areas and commentators have jumped on the Gravatar bandwagon. When you see non-internet savvy users take to a service you know it’s going to be popular!
They are signing up because :
- Signing up only takes a few minutes
- Users can add many different images to their profiles and quickly assign them to their email address.
- Users can use different email addresses for different blogs they comment on so that the pictures are unique to those blogs (ie. you could use a golfball image for a golf blog you visit and a fishing image for a fishing blog you like).
- Once you have set everything up you don’t need to do anything else, your avatar will simply appear next to your name.
As I said above, the inclusion of Gravatars in WordPress is a big thing as it is encouraging the use of one system for comment avatars. In the past blogs have used a variety of websites for commentators images including blog communities like MyBlogLog and BlogCatlog and in house registration systems (ie. asking the user to sign up).
Gravatar was also popular but it does now seem that most WordPress bloggers will favour this comment image system as it officially supported. I have no doubt that once the vast number of WordPress bloggers add Gravatar support to their blogs, other blogging platforms will be encouraged more to add it as well.
How do you add Gravatar to your blog?
Bloggers who use WordPress 2.5 and above can now use the get_avatar function to add Gravatars to their blog. Older versions should download the WordPress Gravatar Plugin.
If you don’t use WordPress, don’t worry, as Gravatar is supported by most major blogging platforms including MovableType, TextPattern and Expression Engine. They are also trying to add offocial support for hosted blogging platforms LiveJournal and Blogger (Note, 3rd party solutions exist for Blogger).
Full details of how you can add Gravatar to your blog can be found in the Gravatar implementor’s guide.
Avatars are a great way of encouraging more participation on your blog as it allows your readers to express themselves with their own picture or image. With more and more people using the Gravatar service it makes sense to make sure your blog comment area supports it.
link : Gravatar