Brand Your Blog’s Commenters

Do your visitors show up as nameless faces… mystery men hiding in the shadows… or cartoony monsters?

You can use that space to make your blog stand out and be unique by getting rid of the default mystery man and using your own custom gravatar image.

Choose Your Custom Image

First you need an image to use.  What image you choose would depend on your blog, of course.  Maybe a smaller version of your logo, or an icon that matches your branding.

Once you’ve chosen your image and edited it for use as a Gravatar (my image size needed to be 48px by 48px but this depends on your theme), then you’ll want to upload it to your blog and copy it’s URL.

  • Go to “Media” -> “Add New”
  • Then click on “Select files” and choose your image file to upload
  • Next notice the URL box and highlight then copy the image’s “File URL” (near the bottom of this image)

Tip: You can create and edit images free online with Pixlr if you need graphics software.

Set Up A New Default Avatar

Second you need to install and configure this plugin: Add New Default Avatar

  • Go to “Plugins” -> “Add New”
  • In the search box, type “add new default avatar” then click “Search Plugins”

  • You’ll see the plugin listed, click “Install Now” then confirm it’s okay to install

  • When you see the confirmation message, you can click “Activate Plugin” to turn the new plugin on

  • Next go to “Settings” -> “Discussion” to tell the plugin what image to use

  • This is the section of the page to look for and enter a name and the URL in.  Name goes in the first box (Like “My Custom Image”) and URL goes in the second (the one you copied earlier).  Then click “Save Changes” to save your information.

  • When the page reloads you’ll want to scroll down to where you see the custom image listed and click it’s radio button then click “Save Changes” again.

The End Result

Now each visitor who leaves a comment, but doesn’t have a Gravatar setup, will get your custom logo or branded image.

turns into

Your turn!  Go setup your custom WordPress avatar images (or email this post to your virtual assistant or website designer and they can make it happen for you).

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  1. Way too cool. I’m going to go do this right now :).
    Leanne Chesser recently posted… Self Esteem Building Activities: Catch Your Negative ThoughtsMy Profile

    1. Isn’t it fun? And quick and easy is a nice bonus.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Dancing Around the WorldMy Profile

  2. Hey, Michelle!
    This is important, of course, as it is always better to see who are you talking to and who is visiting the blogs. Putting a face and showing up is always better than just doing a conversation with mysterious persons. It adds more personalization to the whole thing.
    Kristina L. recently posted… Select Foam Coupon CodeMy Profile

    1. Yes, ideally every commenter would have their own gravatar. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Smile With Your Blog CommentsMy Profile

  3. Thanks – had done two already but will look at the image one. So cool
    Roberta Budvietas recently posted… Get Stuck inMy Profile

  4. Way too cool. Thx can’t wait to pimp my blog :-)

  5. Can we resize the avator image in “add new default avatar” plugin or it has just a default size to publish?

    One more question is, can we modify php files to choose avator image location rather than using a plugin? Because installing more plugings I am very frustrated.
    Ross recently posted… Create, Edit PDF Files & Include DOM API Using New Merged PDF ComponentMy Profile

    1. Hi Ross, if you’re familiar with your php coding yes, you can! :) Just add this to your functions.php file:

      add_filter( ‘avatar_defaults’, ‘newgravatar’ );
      function newgravatar ($avatar_defaults) {
      $myavatar = get_bloginfo(‘template_directory’) . ‘/images/own-gravatar.jpg’;
      $avatar_defaults[$myavatar] = “Own”;
      return $avatar_defaults;

      You’ll need to change the image location in the code to where you’ve uploaded yours and then go into the discussion panel and select it there.

      This may not work with all themes.

  6. Hi Michelle,

    Simple and easy step by step instruction here.

    Connect a face with the comment, help the connection-building process. We connect with the people behind the comments, and leaving a smiling picture helps us to see that person with greater ease.

    Thanks for sharing the steps with us Michelle.

    Enjoy your day.

    Ryan Biddulph recently posted… How Do You Spend Your Precious Energy?My Profile

    1. It sure does. I love being able to connect with faces and recognize people I interact with on blogs on Twitter, Facebook, etc.

  7. Shamely got stuck and i gave up. I am not techie and i dont want to message up my back end.
    I will try again

    1. Hey Pamela, which part did you get stuck on? I’d be happy to try to help if I can. :)

  8. Oh SNAP!! What a excellent idea! Who new?!!

    Thanks for sharing this and for giving all the steps to do it!

    I’m going to put this on my to do list!

    I definitely would rather NOT have the creepy mystery man image, lol!
    Roshanda Gilmore recently posted… How To Write A Blog Post That Will Keep Your Readers Hooked!My Profile

    1. He is a little mysterious, isn’t he? Here’s to getting rid of creepiness!

  9. Michelle, you are beyond brilliant in teaching us tips just like this one.

    Thanks so much!


    1. You’re welcome Sherrie. Little tricks like this are fun.

  10. I’m adding this to my list of to-do’s right now. thanks for sharing.
    Nancy Rose recently posted… Soul of A CountryMy Profile

    1. Whoops – sorry to make that to-do list grow! But at least this is a quick and easy one. :)

  11. Hi, Michelle:
    I admit to probably being the oldest one here- so maybe it’s a generational issue.
    I don’t get it. To me, this is akin to posting my photo next to every comment on the blog. It would appear as if I were inventing my own comments. Or, that I am adding a superfluous image just because. (I do note that one blogger managed to use MY photo for his post….that alone is a good reason to be wary of this.)

    So, I post a wonderful image- unless I label it (desired to be anonymous) or (gravatarless soul), what is the benefit?
    Roy A. Ackerman, Ph.D., E.A. recently posted… Which wins- the mental attitude or the placebo effect?My Profile

    1. Hi Roy, this change will only over ride the mystery man, so it won’t affect anyone who’s already using their photo (like yours still shows up).

      It’s just a fun little trick. Yes, it’s just choosing a photo we like instead of the default gray man. In my mind the benefit would just be another chance to brand the blog and be different from the crowd. Plus, that gray man doesn’t match my color scheme. :)

      I have seen some great examples of this used well, with a logo or image labeled “Guest” or “Add a Gravatar” or similar.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… The #1 Way to Keep Hackers Out of Your BlogMy Profile

  12. Mmmm… Clever stuff Michelle.

    Never even occurred to me to make use of those ‘headless spaces’. These little touches really make a blog and brand that sticks out – it’s worth the effort.

    I gotta go paint my roof now, but when I come down, I’m coming right back here to implement what you’ve shared in this post.

    Cheers :)
    Jym recently posted… Connecting to the Clouds: Optimize, Accelerate, and Protect your Blog in under 5 minutesMy Profile

  13. Hi Michelle,

    I came across this post while researching brands and blogging.

    I just wanted to note for readers who have the blogger platform that this technique is also possible – you just have to familiarize yourself with the template, then impliment some changes.

    I use a hack that acknowledges blogger profile ids then a blogger’s profile image is pulled and used as the avatar – other commentors who don’t use google to login and post get a standard avatar customized to my template. (you can see the examples here:

    It really looks nice and readers are encouraged to comment.

    1. Awesome! Thanks so much for sharing that info, Amber.

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