When’s the last time you got something that was both free and awesome?  When it comes to web based services, you can often get a ton of stuff for free but as the “awesomeness scale” moves into the red, you need to pony up.  Gravatar is one of those rare cases where the service is costs zippo and what you get is very valuable.

Jump back…what exactly is a Gravatar…we’ll let the experts explain it best:

Your Gravatar is an image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things like comment or post on a blog. Avatars help identify your posts on blogs and web forums, so why not on any site? -Gravatar

Clear?  If not, a your “globally recognized avatar”  is a picture you publish to Gravatar’s website that automatically gets attached to stuff you do online.  If you blog or post somewhere, comment on something or sign up on a website, your Gravatar will be there for you, enhancing your profile.  We really dig it.

Here’s are step by step instructions on how to setup yours.  Before you begin, make sure you have a picture you want to use as your Gravatar, a head shot or some other image that you want to represent you:

  1. Surf over to Gravatar, click the “Create You Own Gravatar” button.
  2. Enter your email address; create a username and password.
    Note: the email address you use is linked to your Gravatar…it’s the glue that Gravatar needs to identify you online.
  3. Follow the instructions in the confirmation email that is sent to you.
  4. Once you’ve confirmed your account, from your Gravatar profile page, upload an image to the My Gravatars section.   Take some time and fill out the My Profile page as well.
  5. Save everything and you are done.

Now whenever you contribute or collaborate online, your Gravatar will follow you.  We like this quite a bit and it always give us a smile when we see our Gravatar show up somewhere…like in the author bio at the end of this post.