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How to Create a Multi-Author Blog With WordPress? Having multiple authors on a blog can take your content creation to the next level. A multi-author WordPress blog allows you to tap into a diverse range of voices, expertise and insights while scaling up content production. But allowing multiple people to publish posts on your site also comes with challenges, like permissions, moderation and branding consistency.
Luckily, with the right WordPress plugins and settings, you can easily turn any WordPress site into a smoothly running multi-author blogging machine. This comprehensive guide will teach you step-by-step how to create a multi-user WordPress blogging site that feely enables authors to contribute while maintaining full oversight. Let’s dive in and get multiple writers blogging!
Top Benefits of Having Multiple Blog Authors
Before we get into the how-to, let’s look at why you may want to take on the challenge of running a multi-author WordPress site:
- Wider range of perspectives – Multiple authors means more diverse content and broader appeal.
- Increased production – More authors means you can publish more content.
- Leverage expertise – Guest authors contribute niche knowledge your own team may lack.
- New marketing channels – Guest bloggers promote your site to their own audiences.
- Fresh ideas – New authors bring new spins on topics to spark creativity.
- Improved credibility – A roster of contributors adds trust and authority.
- Opportunity to mentor – You can help shape new writers.
Clearly, enabling multiple contributing bloggers on a WordPress site can significantly expand your blogging firepower. But how exactly do you make it happen? Let’s go through each step.
1. Choose the Optimal WordPress Platform
Not all WordPress platforms are created equal when it comes to multi-user author support. Here are your top options:
- WordPress.org – The self-hosted open source WordPress software has the most flexibility and customization options for multiple users.
- WordPress.com – WordPress.com’s hosted plans limit you to just 2 authors for basic sites. You need a Business plan to add more.
- WordPress Multisite – Allows creating a network of sites with individual authors assigned to each site. Adds complexity.
For most multi-author blogs, WordPress.org will give you the greatest control and enable seamless author workflows. The following steps will assume you are using the hosted platform, but can also apply to WordPress.com Business accounts.
2. Install a Multi-User Registration & Login Plugin
To allow others to sign up for author accounts, you’ll need a plugin that provides registration and login forms. Top options include:
- WP User Frontend – Provides independent sign up, login, profiles and more for free.
- Frontend Admin Pages – Free sign up and login pages. Also has comment moderation tools.
- Users Ultra – Adds advanced user management and permissions. Paid premium version available.
- User Registration – Simple customizable registration forms. Free and paid versions.
Once installed, these plugins will enable back-end control over sign ups while providing front-end forms where writers can create their blogging accounts.
3. Set User Roles and Permissions
By default, WordPress just comes with Admin and Subscriber roles. To grant posting privileges while limiting higher-level access, you’ll need to update your User Roles. Helpful role options include:
- Editor – Allows editing and publishing own posts but not others’ posts.
- Author – Provides basic post publishing capability but limits editing published posts.
- Contributor – Can submit content for review but cannot publish posts directly.
Under Users > Roles in the dashboard, you can customize key permissions like editing, publishing, media uploads and more for each role. For a true multi-author setup, Editor is generally ideal. Give select top writers Editor access while making everyone else an Author or Contributor.
4. Moderate New User Registration
Letting anyone instantly sign up and start posting content on your site is risky. Instead, set up a moderation workflow so you can review each new user registration before approval.
Plugins like WP User Frontend allow requiring admin approval for new sign ups. You can also make registration closed and manually create any new user accounts yourself in the dashboard under Users > Add New.
Reviewing each user individually gives you control over who joins the blog while building a roster of qualified contributors.
5. Set Author Bio and Avatar
Consistency is key for a professional multi-author site. Make it easy for writers to populate their bio and select an avatar during registration with a plugin like WP User Frontend.
Require writers to provide a short bio that presents their credentials and background. For their avatar image, suggest sizing and style guidelines to create visual uniformity across authors.
Pro tip: Run gravatar integration so avatars sync automatically if authors already have a Gravatar account linked to their registered email address.
6. Establish Brand and Voice Guidelines
While you want diverse perspectives, a coherent voice and style is vital for any publication site. Create brand and content guidelines detailing your house writing style, voice, formatting standards, referencing system, and tone.
Help writers grasp your publication’s angle on topics and overall mission. Maintaining a steady editorial direction while allowing individual author styles protects your publication’s integrity.
7. Set Up Private Author Areas
Giving each author access to their private blogging dashboard streamlines writing and separates user permissions. Top plugins like WP User Frontend or Frontend Admin Pages include intelligent author dashboards with submission workflows, draft saving, and more.
Alternatively, the Author Role Editor plugin just creates basic WordPress profile pages for authors to manage their posts. Either option helps segment author content creation and limits access to key admin settings.
8. Select an Author Byline Settings
Properly attributing each piece of content to the author is essential on multi-writer sites both ethically and for SEO.
By default, WordPress auto-inserts author bylines into posts and pages if the author is assigned in the backend editor. But you can further customize author attribution in different places like RSS feeds, metadata, and more.
The Author Bio Box plugin makes it easy to display author bios in a consistent, prominent place on posts for readers. For fine-tuned control, Author Byline Customization enables granular settings for presenting author names, links, images and more.
9. Moderate and Schedule Content
Moderating and scheduling systems help you oversee incoming submissions and coordinate content publication.
For moderation, the Frontend Admin Pages and WP User Frontend plugins include dashboards to approve or reject pending posts submitted by authors.
Bulk scheduling and social sharing plugins like Editorial Calendar or Social Networks Auto-Poster allow greater oversight of when posts go live. This allows smoothing out content publication across themes and topics.
10. Track Author Performance
Monitoring how each author’s posts are performing helps identify your MVP writers while guiding authors looking to improve.
Google Analytics reveals handy stats like:
- Views and visitors for each author
- Top-performing posts by author
- Engagement metrics like time on page
- Traffic sources driving readers to posts
Plugins like Advanced Post Stats also provide detailed single post analytics for each author to review.
11. Compensate and Incentivize Authors
Paying or otherwise incentivizing guest contributors encourages ongoing participation and quality writing.
Money isn’t the only motivator. Contributors often write for the brand exposure, backlinks, networking, or just the satisfaction of publication. Offer to feature select guest authors on social media, syndicate posts on partner sites, or provide blogger bio pages on your website.
But offering monetary compensation attracts the highest caliber writing talent. Pay per post, award bounties for top monthly contributors, or set up a simple affiliate program to reward referrals.
12. Automate Updates
Taking over another site owner’s WordPress instance? Automated plugins like User Role Editor and User Switching make it simple to quickly convert all existing users to appropriate multi-author roles in bulk.
This instantly transforms a single-author site into a unified multi-user environment. Be sure to reset passwords during transfer if needed to ensure a smooth transition.
Conclusion – A Multi-Author WordPress Site Unlocks Content Potential
Launching a thriving multi-author WordPress website does require adjustments to default settings, installation of key plugins, and careful user management. But the benefits for your content expansion, site traffic, and blogger community building can be immense.
With the strategies above, you can fuel your WordPress site’s growth by unleashing an army of contributing authors. Adjust author permissions and tools to find the right balance between oversight and creative freedom.
Soon your content output and diversity will dramatically scale while you cultivate a team of amazing writers. So embrace the hurdles of empowering multiple authors – with the right approach, a multi-author WordPress site can help take your blogging efforts to the next level.