It’s Halloween, the pumpkin lanterns have been carved, the ghostly costumes prepared, the spooky tales rehearsed and the sweets have been stockpiled.

In the spirit of All Hallows’ Eve (pun fully intended) I will ask you the question…

Trick or Treat?  You choose. 


Have you ever noticed when you read a blog post that has prompted others to leave their views, that some comments show a photo of the person who has left the comment?

Not always a photo, it could also be a small logo or icon, but it is a badge of identity. These personalised responses stand out from the other grey head and shoulders silhouettes, known as ‘the mystery man’.

So what’s the trick to personalising your comments? It is a clever free tool called a Gravatar*, which means a ‘globally recognised avatar’. You will have already set your avatar, your graphical representation, on your Twitter or Facebook ID so that it appears beside your posts and tweets.

However, by setting a Gravatar your chosen image will follow you as you visit the millions of websites globally that support this technology. Your image will be linked to your email address and stored centrally, so that every time you leave a comment on a forum or a blog, your image is placed there too.

So, for anyone building their online profile as a thought leader, a blogger, a small business etc, it is an essential part of establishing your online presence. An image is more easily remembered than a username, and an image linked with a name builds recognition with your audience.

‘Nice’ tricks may not quite be in the tradition of Halloween, but as it is free, quick and easy, why not visit the Gravatar website and give it a go?


While we are talking about making comments on blogs and forums, why would you bother?

It is always a treat for the writer to receive feedback from their readers, and a compliment when someone takes the time to share their views and engage with the writer. Comments added also help the blogger’s page rankings by contributing more content and keywords that make the page more searchable.

And there is also a treat for the person leaving the comment.  If you want to build your own online profile, and raise your visibility in your community, you should be leaving comments on other people’s blogs and posts. Not only will you become recognisable for the views and information you share, but if your contribution adds content to the conversation, you will generate visitor traffic to your own website or blog too.

So which will it be, Trick or Treat?

It’s okay, you don’t have to choose, you can do both! Why not set your Gravatar and then leave me a comment to let me know how you got on?

* Gravatar, a Globally Recognised Avatar,