There are numerous ways to identify yourself online, either through your website or via social media pages. However, once you go outside of your own domains to interact with blog or forum comments, you are essentially anonymous; unless you employ the use of a Gravatar.

The term Gravatar is a partial acronym for the phrase ‘Globally Recognised Avatar’.

It is effectively a visual summary of the online personality that you choose to portray – one which allows you to create a ‘brand’ image of yourself.

It could be a formal head and shoulders shot of you, a graphic image that depicts your brand or logo, a photo of your best-selling product. The choice is yours: pick whatever you feel is suitable for your business.

What is a Gravatar?

Everyone who is active online reads a variety of blogs and investigates forums within their industry or area of interest. Reading articles and posts is always useful, but sometimes interpreting and interacting with the comments that follow is even better!

Looking for a moment at those who comment, there are ‘spammers’ who leave generic comments, there are those who appear to have a genuine but ambiguous interest in the subject, and then there are the people who contribute relevant comments. These people often have an image, or Gravatar, next to their names.

How do I create a Gravatar?

Creating a Gravatar is a simple, fast process and it is completely free. Anyone who already has a WordPress account can log in to http://en.gravatar.com using their existing log-in details.

For those who do not use WordPress, a Gravatar account can be associated with an e-mail address, just follow the instructions after clicking on ‘Get Your Gravatar Today!’.

From there on it is a simple matter of completing a profile, uploading a suitable image and adding a few personal or business details. Gravatar.com also offers the option to add links to existing blogs, websites and social media pages.

All Gravatar profiles are in the public domain, and an individual link to each profile is also provided. Having created a Gravatar, it is always at your side effectively. Whenever you write a comment on a blog or article, your Gravatar will appear alongside it.

Advantages of a Gravatar

If you comment regularly, other users will soon begin to recognise you, so it is important to ensure that you have chosen a high-quality image that portrays you in a professional manner.

There are absolutely no catches; you will not be bombarded with spam e-mail or harassed to purchase upgrades. A Gravatar is quite simply one of the best free marketing tools you will ever employ.

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About the author:

Alistair Harris is ClickThrough’s head of content. A double-award-winning senior journalist, Ali holds both the NCTJ and NCE qualifications and has more than ten years of experience in traditional press and PR. He has worked in digital marketing and SEO for the past three years and is passionate, enthusiastic and committed to quality.