An avatar is part of your personal brand.
This is mine. An avatar is your personal logo and is used to visually recognize your personal brand. It should be used anywhere you write, or publish, on the Internet.
I use this picture on each and every article associated with my name including my websites, blog and social media accounts.
I chose this “logo” of myself as it quickly conveys; my profession, what I really look like, and has a unique blue/green the really stands out. You can quickly pick out my avatar even when standing across the room!
Why Use an Avatar?
An avatar provides instant recognition of you, the author. This visual signature will influence your known readers to read more of your work. Remember most Internet users make decisions to “Click” (and read more) or “Bounce” (away from your page to something else) in about 2.5 seconds.
Just like a signature, an avatar lets your readers to visually recognize your brand.
Choosing Your Avatar
While your avatar can be any type of image, symbol, logo, icon or character that suits your style, I recommend using a picture of yourself. Whatever you choose, make it part of your personal brand and keep it the same.
As we (docs) are in the service industry, by using a picture of yourself, you will demystify and personalize yourself. While doctors might be tempted to use the typical 3/4 pose in a white coat or suit, a more candid and relaxed image is recommended. This will help exhibit some transparency (doctors showing human traits) and will further distinguish you amongst your competitors.
Choose something that is easily and quickly recognized. Select a photo no more than 150 x 150 pixels. You want to keep the file size as small as possible for easy uploading.
Most avatars are small and square. Choose an image that is easily and quickly recognized. A photo of about 150 x 150 pixels is probably ideal. Crop the image to make it square. Square is best to minimize any automatic cropping when uploading to a website. This ensures that your image will be uniform.
Using Your Avatar
Use your avatar just as you would your signature. It should be used with any article your write for your own site, your social media forums, but more importantly, should be included on anything you write on other websites and forums so your readers can easily find you.
Use the same picture every time so that your readers can instantly recognize you in various forums. For instance, my avatar appears on my FaceBook page, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ accounts. Just as you would keep a consistent theme across your different sites and accounts….keep the same picture.
When visually scanning what to read next, any clue will increase readability.
This same picture appears in the “authors” column of websites where I write regularly such as Physicians Practice.
This website allows your avatar to follow you from blog to blog when you guest post or comment. It is free and removes the need for you to upload your image every time you write. It makes it easy to keep your brand consistent across the web and adds some professionalism to your posts and comments and also ensure consistency.
Best of all, it’s free!
To Your Growth!
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Medical Website Optimization