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Choosing the Right Avatar to Promote Your Web Presence

2010 September 28
by Annie Wallace

As most people know, you only get one chance to make a first impression. When it comes to people encountering your web based persona, that first impression is often made when their eyes become drawn to your avatar. Which is why it’s so important to make sure you present the right image, whether your writing on a blog, forum or some kind of social media.

Avatar Do’s

When choosing an image to represent you, it needs to be something that is both striking and personal. Though there are a few other details which should be kept in mind for people wanting to build up a professional presence online:

  • Try to use a neutral background
  • Use the same avatar (and username whenever possible) on all the different sites you join (important!)
  • Keep it simple, yes you want it to stand out, but don’t go overboard.
  • Photos are the best choice for personal avatars, don’t use a corporate logo for a personal account, personal accounts are about promoting you. If you do decide to use a picture make sure you look presentable, especially if you are going to use your avatar all over the web. Don’t try and look like someone your not, but at the same time try to give a good impression with your picture.
  • If you choose to go for an image or a photo of an object rather than a picture of yourself, make sure to use something that’s simple, stands out and is instantly recognizable.

If you want some ideas about what kind of avatars to create, its worth checking out Seth’s ‘The Power of a Tiny Picture’ and Donna’s ‘Why Fake Social Media Avatars Suck’.

Avatar Don’ts

Some of the common mistakes that people make when first selecting their avatars is to use one of the following for their online persona’s:

Abstract Pictures – These can be beautiful, but random shapes and colors don’t do you any favors when it comes to establishing yourself in the minds of strangers. Instead, abstract images often having the exact opposite effect, as peoples eyes just slide over the picture before they quickly forget about it. You would be much better served by choosing something memorable which accurately reflects your ‘brand’ as a person or business.

Celebrity Images – A lot of people fall for the trap of using a celebrity photo or famous cartoon character of some kind for their avatar. These are extremely popular choices, but they do nothing in regards to promoting your personal brand and because they already represent a well known icon people normally fail to associate the image with the account it has been tied to.

Religious Icons – Whilst having faith is certainly nothing to be ashamed of, using religious imagery tends to attract unwanted attention from people of opposing faiths looking to make a point of some kind. Of course if you are attempting to attract a faith based following it may well be worth integrating religious icons with your avatar, but otherwise its normally best not to.


Once you’ve decided on an image to use, make sure to upload it to Gravatar, a service which integrates your Avatar into all the major blogging platforms. That way not only will you have your avatar on sites you regularly visit, but you’ll be able to use it when commenting on other peoples blogs as well.

Post image by Uqbar is back

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