Customizing default avatars in WordPress

It's the little things

It’s the little details that warm my soul. Seriously. It’s not hard to make something that’s initially lovely. I’m a simple guy. All you need is a little color and some basic design skills, and I’ll take a look. But if it’s all surface-level, if a closer look reveals a lazy artist, I’m going to give up.

I’m not just talking Web design.

Skateboards, chocolate milk, and Eastern Europe

Take skateboarding for example. You can find something that looks like a pretty sweet deck at your local toy store: killer graphics, solid wood, shiny trucks. But once you hop on it and try to cruise, it’s no good. It sputters. The bearings — the little details — are shoddy. Or my car. It’s well-designed. It’s comfortable. It smells like strawberries. Honestly, it might even be a little boring. But here’s something lovely about it: there’s a mini-fridge hidden in the glove compartment. I can stash chocolate milk in there, turn on my air conditioning, and keep it cold for 300 miles. I buy it in Krakow, barrel through Czech Republic, and drink chilled chocolate goodness in Vienna.

That, my friends, is a lovely little detail.

How to create a custom default avatar in WordPress

If you’re looking for a well-designed website, a good WordPress® theme will can help get you there. It’ll work. But, it’s the little details that show you care.

On websites? Take the default avatars WordPress uses for people who comment on your site. I mean, it’s OK. It makes sense. A dark-grey shadow of a person over a light-grey shadow background. We get it. It’s a mysterious nondescript person. What if you wanted something that fits your style a little more? What if you care about the little details?

floweravatarCheck out Northern Belle Diaries. Lisette figured out how to make her default avatars match the look and feel and mood of her website. Instead of Mystery Man, Identicon, or Monster ID, she has something that fits: a bouquet. Perfect for something called Northern Belle Diaries, no?

And we’re in luck. Lisette took some time to show us how to do it.

In her post, How to Create a Custom Gravatar for WordPress Comments, she walks you through all of the steps. Make your graphic, upload it to your hosting account, put it in the right folder, and edit your code. Don’t worry, it’s simple. Just follow along. Lisette’s a good guide. Anyone who warns us of misplaced semi-colons and uses pirate-speak in a warning can be trusted.

Be very careful with this next step, as one extra semi-colon could break your site! Be ye warned! Save a copy of your functions file before attempting this.”

Customizing an avatar: it’s small, I know. It’s only 48×48 pixels of your website. But, it doesn’t take much to show visitors you take this stuff seriously. Think like a craftsman. Tweak the small things. It’s worth it.

Shawn Pfunder
Shawn's been working with freelancers, entrepreneurs, and business owners for more than 20 years. He's consulted companies large and small on communication, social media, and marketing strategies. At heart he's a small-business superfan. He believes that working for yourself is one of the most courageous and creative moves anyone can make. Currently, he's the Editor in Chief for The Garage. When he's not hanging out with solopreneurs, Shawn loves to write, run, and travel. He's passionate about teaching and he's convinced that a good story is the best way to do it — especially if it involves El Caminos, potato fields, and really loud music.