In the last article in this series on managing multiple bloggers in WordPress, I explored how to customize the author bio box on a single post page using some basic WordPress template tags and code. In this article in the series, I’m going to explore a wide variety of WordPress Plugins that will help you customize the author bio box with little or no interaction with your WordPress Themes.
What’s interesting about many of these WordPress Plugins is that the end result is little different from what can be accomplished with just simple code. The design differences come from styling the author bio area via the stylesheet, not necessarily the code. With so many to choose from, I’ve focused on author bio WordPress Plugins that do something difference, not those that have the same end result, even if the method they choose is different, on the surface it doesn’t show that difference. Experiment with these to create the custom author box that best suits the needs of your site, but remember boring can become gorgeous with the help of a little CSS.
Displaying the Author Box with WordPress Plugins
Instead of changing the single post pageview in the Theme to feature an author box, here are some WordPress Plugins that will help you do that automatically without touching the code much. Some of these offer some level of customization and additional features beyond the default list of author data in the Profile panel of WordPress, while others are mostly customized through the stylesheet.
Post Author Box WordPress Plugin is a very simple author bio box Plugin that allows customization with some very basic post and author meta data such as the author’s name, links, description, email, avatar, post date and time, and information on when a post is modified.
Post Author WordPress Plugin goes a small step beyond by giving you options to add the author bio information to the top or bottom of the single post pages, category pages, author pages, and other archive or multiple post pageviews. You can add the author name, avatar, date of first publication, and author and date of the latest revision. This is excellent for sites with often updated content like educational or tutorial content. What it doesn’t do is feature the author bio or other information in the author profile. The author name does link to the author page which can be customized in greater detail.
Cool Author Box WordPress Plugin is more of a complete author box Plugin, adding a good looking author bio at the bottom of blog posts. It adds the author description from the Profile panel, author images through Gravatars, links to other posts by the same author, a link to their website, and more. It’s quick and easy to use and can be easily styled to match your WordPress Theme.
Tui’s Author Intro For Post WordPress Plugin uses shortcodes on its Options panel along with some HTML you provide to help you create a custom look for your author bio. You can display the normal author details, and if you are handy with some PHP, you can really customize the author bio box without ever touching your WordPress Theme.
WP About Author WordPress Plugin works with the default author details but offers some styling options with preset styles, background color control, and options on when to display the author bio box.
Advanced Author Exposed WordPress Plugin hides author information until the reader hovers over the author’s link. It’s an excellent example of the possible, but it does hide author details from the reader that you might want visible and makes for more work for the reader to find those details.
Some other basic author box WordPress Plugins to try include:
- Simple Author Box
- Author Bio Widget WordPress Plugin
- Better Author Bio WordPress Plugin
- Author Information Widget WordPress Plugin
- Just Another Author Information Widget WordPress Plugin
Adding Additional Author Content and Details
As showcased in the article on customizing author bios manually, there are a lot of details you can add to the author bio with code and WordPress Plugins, even to the point where the author doesn’t need to provide more than the most basic information in order for a bio to be generated. These can all be mixed and matched together with Plugins to create the ideal custom author bio box for your site’s design and needs.
Author Box Reloaded WordPress Plugin with its Author Box Reloaded Pack is one of the few WordPress Plugins to help customize the author box to include social networking sites and external links and icons such as Twitter, Facebook, Netlog, LinkedIn, and more. These are automatically added to the User Profile for the author to enter their own information. You can customize this Plugin in a variety of ways and it works with Gravatars or User Photo WordPress Plugin to add an author image. It also requires the Framework Reloaded WordPress Plugin and has some other requirements worth considering.
Posts by Author Plugin for WordPress displays the most recent posts at the bottom of every post, giving you the option to set the number of posts to show, the heading text, and other post details. The Recent Posts With Authors Widget for WordPress does much the same thing for fully widgetized WordPress Themes.
James Rowe offers code to display category and tag descriptions, not just the category and tag names, in the author’s bio. This adds some extra information and detail to the author’s bio that might help readers understand more about the thing they write about and the author’s work.
I’ve mentioned the Author Information Widget WordPress Plugin before and it bears another mention here. It is a Widget that appears in the sidebar or other widgetized areas of your WordPress site and displays the author information there when viewing a post by that author. It can be used to replace the author bio at the bottom of a post if your site’s design permits. It’s easy to use and really showcases your author in a place not normally used.
Author Image(s) WordPress Plugin displays the author image and bio for each contributor to the blog post. The images are stored on your site’s server in a specific folder with each image named with the author ID or login name. Combined with a multiple author WordPress Plugin, the images are automatically displayed replacing the Gravatar or other author image options. The author image can be linked to a variety of destinations including the author page. This Plugin requires modification of the WordPress Theme. It can also be used to display all the authors images on the site on a custom contributor list page.
Nettuts+ offers a step-by-step tutorial on how to write your own WordPress Plugin to add author biographies to your posts the way you want them to appear, if you have a head for a bit of code.
My favorite WordPress Plugin for managing and displaying content all over my blogs is Customizable Post Listings. It can be used within the author bio to feature most recent, random, related, and other post configurations. It can also be used in a variety of ways to feature author post content in the sidebar, author page, and more. All it takes is a little creativity and this Plugin can replace many.
Multiple Author Blog Author Bios
A challenge for multiple author blogs comes when more than one person contributes to an article. By default, WordPress only permits a single author per post. The following WordPress Plugins break that barrier in different ways.
Two WordPress Plugins are the most popular for easy adding of multiple authors to a blog post. Both work much the same way, adding an additional option to the Post editing panel to allow easy selection of the authors on the post. Co-Authors Plus and WT Co-authors allow contributors to select their name and others from the list and their names automatically appear in the bylines and/or within the author box.
Personally, I’ve worked with Co-Authors Plus on several sites and find it simple and easy to work with. It is designed to work with multiple blogger sites, especially magazine and newspaper style sites. Just type in the first few letters of the author’s name and it will appear in the list using search-as-you-type functions. Co-authored posts appear on the author pages and on author feeds. Editors may assign co-authors to a post as well, and permission levels may be set to permit only those assigned as authors to a post to edit it, adding more editorial control to the site.
The iTech Blog offers a tutorial on customizing the options and code for the Co-Authors Plus Plugin to display multiple author bios and images at the bottom of a blog post.
Again I’ve just showed you the tip of the ice berg for WordPress Plugins to customize and showcase your author’s bio on their posts. Use your imagination and creative skills to create interesting author bios, showcasing your authors as the celebrities and experts they are.
In the next article in this series on Managing Multiple Bloggers in WordPress, I’ll show you a variety of ways you can showcase all your authors on a contributor page or in author lists throughout your site.
Article Series on Managing Multiple Authors in WordPress
- WebVisions: Managing Multiple Bloggers in WordPress
- How to Manage Multiple Bloggers on WordPress
- Managing Multiple Authors: Showcasing the Authors
- Managing Multiple Bloggers: Author Content Management on WordPress
- Managing Multiple Authors: Customizing the WordPress Author Page
- Managing Multiple Authors: Customizing the Author Bio Box