Rather than using generic avatars, you should consider creating custom avatars for your WordPress website. By default, the content management system (CMS) displays avatars next to comments. If a visitor leaves a comment, WordPress will show his or her avatar. If you respond to the visitor’s comment, WordPress will show your avatar as well. How do you create custom avatars in WordPress exactly?
WordPress supports the use of Globally Recognized Avatars. Known more commonly as Gravatars, they are custom, universally recognized avatars. You can create them at gravatar.com. Gravatars are square-shaped avatars that are automatically embedded in WordPress.
There’s no option to upload a custom avatar in WordPress. Rather, WordPress will show the Gravatar associated with your email address next to your comments. If you don’t have a Gravatar set up, it will show a generic placeholder avatar.
Gravatars are connected to email addresses. WordPress user accounts, of course, are also connected to email addresses. If you have an admin account on your WordPress website, the CMS will show the Gravatar associated with the admin account’s email address next to all comments that you publish. If you create another user account on a different website with this same email address, your comments on that site will feature the same Gravatar. Gravatars follow users by email address.
Setting Up a Gravatar
To create a custom avatar for your WordPress website, you’ll have to set up a Gravatar. Go to the Gravatar website and create a new account. You’ll have to enter an email address and a password when creating a Gravatar account. Keep in mind that the email address must match that of the user account for your WordPress website.
After following the link in a confirmation email, you should be able to log in to your newly created Gravatar account. Now you can upload an image to use as a custom avatar or Gravatar on your WordPress website. Selecting the “Upload” option will allow you to choose an image on your computer.
All Gravatars are displayed as square-shaped avatars. You can still choose an image in an alternative shape, but you’ll have to crop it. The Gravatar setup page features a cropping tool. Just drag the box to specify a square-shaped section of the image as your Gravatar. Once you’ve saved your Gravatar and specified a rating, it should be good to go.
Setting Your Gravatar in WordPress
After setting up your Gravatar, WordPress will automatically show it next to all comments published under the user account with the same email address. To verify it’s working correctly, go to the “Users” section.
The “Users” section in WordPress will reveal a list of all registered user accounts. It will feature your user account as well as any other user accounts created by other administrators or users. Your Gravatar should be displayed directly to the left of your user account name. If you don’t see it, refresh the “Users” page. Also, check to make sure your Gravatar email address is the same as your user account email address.
Changing Your Gravatar
If you want to change your Gravatar, simply log back into your Gravatar account and upload a new image. You don’t need to change your user account in WordPress, nor do you have to create a new Gravatar account. Logging in to your existing Gravatar will allow you to upload a new image to use as a new Gravatar.
You can only use a single Gravatar at any time. With that said, you can have multiple images on your Gravatar account, and you can use any of them as your Gravatar. To change your Gravatar, click the image that you want to use and click the “Confirm” button.
How to Create a Custom Default Avatar for Visitors
Assuming you continue to use Gravatars on your website, visitors will have the freedom to create their own custom avatars at gravatar.com. Visitors who frequently leave comments on WordPress websites — or other platforms that support Gravatars — may create a Gravatar so that their messages stand out. Visitors who leave comments under the same email address associated with their Gravatar account will see their Gravatar.
Unfortunately, most visitors don’t have a Gravatar. Many of them, in fact, don’t even know what a Gravatar is. When leaving comments, WordPress will show a generic placeholder avatar. But you can set a default avatar for visitors by using a plugin.
The Add New Default Avatar plugin will add a new option to set a default avatar. After installing it, go to the “Discussions” section under “Settings” in WordPress. At the bottom is the option is to add a new avatar. Upload the avatar that you want to use as the default visitor avatar to your website. For the add a new avatar option, enter a name in the first field and the URL to which the avatar was uploaded in the second field.
You should see the new avatar as a default avatar option on the “Discussions” page. Clicking it will make it the default avatar for visitors. Visitors can still use their own custom avatar by setting up Gravatar. Those who don’t have a Gravatar, though, will see this new avatar next to their comments. You can choose any relevant and appropriate image to use as the default visitor avatar.
How to Disable Avatars
The “Discussions” page offers an option to disable avatars altogether. To stop WordPress from showing avatars, click the “Show Avatars” button so that the checkmark is removed from it.
Without avatars, comments won’t feature an image next to them; they will only feature the user’s name. Nonetheless, you can disable avatars in WordPress to prevent them from showing.
Creating custom avatars for WordPress is easy. With a Gravatar account, you can create multiple custom avatars for your user account. You can also create a custom default avatar for visitors by using the Add New Default Avatar plugin. Custom avatars such as these will improve your website’s aesthetics. Rather than generic placeholder avatars, comments published by you and your website’s visitors will feature custom avatars.