Here’s a neat little addition to your WordPress site that should help make your site a little more personable – display someone’s Gravatar (what is a Gravatar?) on your site when they visit and leave a comment. This post isn’t about how to display those nice little pictures as that is covered elsewhere. But what we do want to do is encourage people to have one of those pictures to display in the first place.
Making it easy to get a Gravatar
My guess is that the vast majority of people and commenters on your site do not know how to set up a Gravatar. In fact, I would even go so far as to suggest that a good number of them don’t even know what a Gravatar is. So what we want to do is make it easy for them to get a Gravatar whenever it is detected that they don’t have one. That’s the purpose behind the nice little WordPress plugin Gravatar Signup Encouragement by Milan Dinić.
Configuring Gravatar Signup Encouragement
After going through the normal process to install the plugin you will have a settings page. One of the interesting things about this plugin is that it doesn’t have a separate admin menu item under settings or similar. Rather, this plugin puts all of its settings consolidated under the standard WordPress Settings > Discussion area. I actually kind of like this approach as it keeps some clutter off the admin menu, but it does initially throw a person for a loop when they are used to seeing a separate settings menu item.
Anyway, just go to Settings > Discussion and scroll down on the page to the section marked Avatars and if you are a little bit observant you will notice that there is a whole new set of parameters listed in a new sub-section called Gravatar Signup Encouragement.
There are some links in this section for an instructional video, help files, and a help forum. The setup seems to be pretty intuitive and it gives you a lot of options as to where to display the encouragement. And just what is the encouragement?
The encouragement is a message that is displayed to the visitor whenever they enter an email address (or sign in) and it is determined that it looks like there is no Gravatar, then a customizable message is displayed to the visitor. Included in this message is a link to http://gravatar.com to facilitate easy signup.
The concept is simple – and smart. While not absolutely critical to your site, smart marketers will note that getting people to engage and stick to your site is important. And having the site be more personable with Gravatars is one way to do that.
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