The use of avatars is nothing new; we're used to seeing them on our social media channels, communication platforms, and gaming. Indeed, many of us would rather use an avatar than a picture of ourselves on our profile pages. Every time you post on social media or leave a comment on the bottom of a blog, that little image that appears to the left is your avatar. If you've ever used an online chat service, you may have noticed that avatars are becoming increasingly popular in these, too. 
But avatars for websites; now, that’s another thing. However, the thinking is that if you can connect with customers better on social media and through other digital channels using an avatar, why can't it be the same for websites? Well, yes, it can, and its use is growing. 

What is an avatar? 

At the risk of teaching you something you already know, but in case you don't know, an avatar represents a human being. Now, that could be the business owner, as a sole trader, or it could be a representation of everyone in your business or a culmination of what your business offers. 
For example, your avatar may be a builder or a plumber if that is the nature of your business. Alternatively, it could be a sharp-dressed gentleman in a suit or a lady with beautiful hair that represents a hairdresser. 
But businesses and organisations are now starting to use an avatar on their website that's beyond the small image that appears in their URL. The fashion world is leading the way in avatars becoming part of the industry’s digital identity. Consumers are now able to design their own clothes by dressing a digital form of themselves, their avatar. Direct-to-Avatar (D2A) has created a solution to the growing problem in fashion of extreme waste and over-production. It has allowed designers to become more sustainable, and unique 

Avatar to Gravatar 

Welcome to Gravatar (the 'GR' stands for Globally Recognised). In 2004, software developer, Tom Preston-Werner, took the avatar concept and expanded it to enable people to create an avatar for their websites. Originally contained to blogs and then WordPress websites alone – Preston-Warner sold out to Automattic, owned by WordPress – it has since grown into a worldwide phenomenon. Indeed, gravatars are being used over eight million times around the globe every single day. 
Incorporating a gravatar on your website ensures it is displayed on every bit of your business's online content; website pages, blogs, social media channels, business listings, communication channels, and more. It's as much your 'handle' as it is your 'username'. It is how people – your customers – can identify and recognise your business from all the others online. 

Why use a gravatar? 

There are several reasons why using a gravatar on a website is a good idea. 
Automatically loads your avatar – with an avatar integrated into your website, you won't need to load a new one each time you leave a comment online. Your avatar, which is your brand, will be automatically loaded. Any comment you leave on an authoritative website or across any social media or communication channels will show your personal image (icon) that people can identify as your business instead of a generic image next to your name. This is a great way to build brand consistency across the web. 
Establishes brand identity – by using an avatar on your website, you can establish a powerful brand identity worldwide. Your avatar will be seen globally whenever you are active on the web. 
Greater transparency – in WordPress, your website administrator can activate Gravatar on your site. This means that you will have greater transparency about anyone posting on your site with an avatar because it will be displayed next to their comment. What better way to position yourself as a thought-leader in your industry, boosting visibility, credibility and trustworthiness with your audience. 
Builds reputation and trust – many fake social media and communication channel profiles exist. When you use a gravatar, you are creating a means by which your audience can instantly recognise your brand. They can identify with your business, recognise your authority in your industry, promote authenticity and create a strong reputation that consumers can trust. 
Greater credibility – if you are a regular promoter of blogs and articles, active on social media channels or often comment on posts, your gravatar is displayed every time you do this. People can identify with you as a human being that is genuine, knowledgeable and credible among your colleagues, peers and your worldwide audience. 
Increased website traffic – because your Gravatar builds your globally-recognised identity, and your avatar appears on all your web activity, people will be able to find your website with just one click on your avatar, driving more visitors to your site. 
Brand consistency – with so many web channels used by businesses today, it can be difficult to maintain brand consistency. But a website avatar is an extremely efficient way of building your digital brand consistently across all platforms. 
Cost-effective marketing – for SMEs and sole traders, marketing budgets are not only small but also stretched. Using Gravatar on your website is a great way to cost-effectively build brand awareness, consistency, reputation, credibility and global recognition. 
If you haven't thought about creating an avatar for your small business's website, maybe now is the time. A website avatar is possibly one of the easiest, most cost-effective ways of developing your brand on the global map. 
It’seeze Twickenham web design company delivers affordable, professional, custom-designed websites that successfully promote your business and brand. As a local web designer, we are able to provide a highly personalised service and ongoing expert support. Opt for a free Website Health Check that will decipher the areas where improvements can be made to your existing website, or we can build a new website that matches your needs. Contact us for more details. Call us today to create the website of your dreams and turn your business into a success. Contact us for more details. 
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