Many blogs feature more than one blogger contributing to the blog’s content. There are WordPress Plugins that can help you control access to your WordPress blog as well as help customize the blog to accommodate multiple bloggers on one blog.
As part of my almost finished month long series on WordPress Plugins, I wanted to move away from the single blogger blogs to look at the specialized WordPress Plugins designed to help blogs with more than one blogger. Such blogs offer a lot of challenges for the administrators, as well as the bloggers involved, as they struggle to stay in contact with each other and their readers, and control the level of access on the blog to protect it.
A lot of the WordPress Plugins I’ve already covered offer great tools for multiple blogger blogs. All blogs, especially high volume and traffic blogs, have to deal with the issues of comment spam, so WordPress Plugins Battling Evil offers great tools and resources for stopping the flow of evil on the blog. International audiences will love the ability to read blog posts from many different bloggers through the use of Translation and Multilingual WordPress Plugins. Multiple blogger blogs tend to feature a lot of images, so there is help in WordPress Plugins for Images, Photographs, and Graphics for managing those images.
Counting WordPress statistics becomes even more important as many multiple blogger blogs measure their success on traffic, especially income generating traffic. To help make the blog money, I highlighted various Monetizing WordPress Plugins, too.
There are a lot of WordPress Plugins to help you manage, control, and feature various authors on your WordPress blogs. Most of these are not for the novice WordPress users as they require heavy configuration and customization, as well as understanding how the various access permission levels work in WordPress blogs. They also include editing and changing the code within a WordPress Theme template files. For tips on installing any of these WordPress Plugins, see Roles and Capabilities and How to Install, Configure, and Use WordPress Plugins.
Whether your blog features two to five bloggers, or maybe 25 or 200 different bloggers, each blogger needs a way of telling the world “I wrote this!”, distinguishing their posts from the posts of others.
The first thing that needs to be checked in a new multiple blogger blog is that the WordPress Theme features the “author” information and link called the byline, the line under the title that says something like “by Lorelle VanFossen”. Many WordPress Themes are designed to exclude the byline or author credit as most blogs are for a single user. For more information on this, and adding an author template file similar to a category page listing author posts, see Author Templates in the WordPress Codex, the online manual for WordPress Users.
Authors on multiple blogger blogs can be highlighted and featured in many different ways. They can be featured on the front page of the blog as a “featured” author, listed in the sidebar by author name, have their bio or other author profile information showcased on their blog posts and on their author page view, and so much more.
To include information about the author on their blog posts, check out the many options available in Post Meta Data WordPress Plugins.
Get Author Profile WordPress Plugin helps you include information about the post author in the post meta data section. You can include their first and last name, display name, email, website, number of posts they’ve published on the blog, chat IDs, and biography profile information, among other bits and pieces.
Usermeta WordPress Plugin and Userextra WordPress Plugin also allow using author information within the post meta data section. These are not for the lighthearted and require editing the Theme template files and familiarity with PHP, but will help if you really want to customize the information in your post meta data section.
Post Author Profile WordPress Plugin is a full replacement for
the_author_link() template file which adds a link under the post author’s name. It will add information on the author’s blog URL, how many posts written by the author, bio information, and other information supplied on the author’s user profile page.
Profile Pics Plugin Release and Add User Photo WordPress Plugin adds an optional picture of the author to their Profile page which can then be incorporated into the template files to display on posts, author pages, and other page views on your multiple blogger blog design. This is a great way to feature columnists by their photograph or another visual image by a listing of their featured post, recent posts, or other post listings.
Weasel’s Authorshare Plugin adds a statement of participation on multiple blogger blogs such as “Alice has written 60% of all published articles” like a score card.
Multiple Blogger Management WordPress Plugins
Managing more than one blogger is one of the toughest jobs a multiple blogger blog faces. It involves monitoring blogger activity, possibly editing blog posts and comments, restricting access to different areas, and staying in touch with your stable of bloggers. There are a variety of WordPress Plugins to help you handle more than one blogger, each handling a different part of the puzzle for multiple blogger management. I haven’t found a “do-it-all” Plugin, yet. Have you?
I covered a lot of different WordPress Plugins that will help you manage your multi-blogger blog in Plugins for the WordPress Administration Panels and WordPress Plugins To Help You Administer Your Blog.
With a stable of bloggers, especially if any of them publish future posts, it’s often easy to overlook a day that goes without posts, something a multi-blogger blog might not want. WordPress limits the list of upcoming posts to the Manage panel, but you often end up on the Write Post panel thinking “Um, when should I schedule this to be released?” The Future Posts Calendar WordPress Plugin is designed to help you fill in all the empty post days or to help you better schedule your future posts around specific events or time periods. It also helps you cover those annoying “Is this leap year or not?” questions, holidays, and other event dates.
Working with many different bloggers, especially those unfamiliar with WordPress blogs and the process, you might want to help them remember to set their post categories before publishing. Category Reminder WordPress Plugin displays a colorful reminder next to the Publish buttons. It can probably be customized to remind authors to do other things with their post before publishing them, like setting the MORE comment tag, writing an excerpt, including their bio, or whatever is consistently forgotten on your multiple blogger blogs.
Post Avatar WordPress Plugin is a WordPress Plugin that adds a “list” of images in your Write Post panel for authors to choose from to include in their posts. For blogs which feature series or category icons, or logos used repeatedly in their posts, or multiple blogger blogs which similar needs, this is a fast and easy way to help the authors use the same frequently used images in their posts.
Import Users Plugin for WordPress allows new WordPress users with multiple bloggers, or those with a long list of bloggers to add to their WordPress blog’s contributors and users list, to easily import the list to their blog’s User panel. It will automatically notify by email the people on the list and send them validation and password access information. If any are unreachable or invalid, the Plugin will report on how many were added and why each failed.
If the blog administrator, owner, or editor requires review and editing of any posts before they are published, the Draft Notification WordPress Plugin automatically emails the administrator when a new draft is saved. The email contains the post’s title, the author, and a link to the draft post so it can be reviewed and released on the blog.
Multiple Authors WordPress Plugin works best for WordPress blogs with multiple authors collaborating on individual posts. It keeps track of who edited the entry and adds them as one of the listed authors when the post is published.
Want more control over the tracking of who did what on the blog? The Audit Trail Plugin also allows you to track user actions on your blog including login and logout, post and Page revisions and changes, and other multiple user actions. It is fully localized for international usage.
Report Posts WordPress Plugin allows users to report a post as inappropriate or incorrect. A list of the reported posts will appear in the Administration Panels. This could be invaluable for multiple user and blogger blogs with a large number of contributors, allowing the readers to help with the management.
User Levels, Authors, Permissions, and Authority Controls
One of the most important aspects to managing a multiple blogger blog is protecting the security of the blog. WordPress offers easily controlled Roles and Capabilities, assigning who can access what on a per user basis. Other WordPress Plugins can help you control these security levels and features even more.
Role Manager, originally by David House and Owen Winkler and now managed by Im Web Gefunden, is the most popular WordPress Plugin for managing and controlling the level of access users, contributors, and editors have on your WordPress blog. You can customize the different levels of access for each user, allowing them to see only what you want them to see, as well as edit only what they are permitted to edit.
Draft Control WordPress Plugin provides management control over post drafts, allowing users above a level 5 to view post drafts. It also allows greater control over drafts for editing, deleting, and categorizing.
TDO Mini Forms WordPress Plugin allows registered and non-registered users to submit posts to your WordPress blog. The posts are kept in “draft” until the administrator will publish and release them. The form includes a request for an email address so submitters will be notified when their post is published.
WordPress Hide Dashboard Plugin hides various WordPress Administration Panels from users, so they see only what you want them to see.
Google Code’s WordPress Group Restriction WordPress Plugin enhances the current user role feature by allowing administrators to manage access to content and supports assigning users and pages to existing groups, allowing page filtering so the user sees only what the administrator wants them to see.
Subscribers Only WordPress Plugin allows you to designate specific posts as “subscribers-only” for reading by the general public. You can set all posts in a category as subscriber-only, or individual posts regardless of category, or a combination thereof. User roles and permissions can be set on who can or cannot read subscriber-only posts. No changes to the WordPress Theme or template files required.
The WP Members WordPress Plugin has very poorly written documentation, but from what I can gleam from the features, it allows finite control and management of a multiple user or multiple blogger blog on what the user sees and can access. If you have a lot of members on your blog and you want this level of access control, check it out.
With more than one blogger on a blog, the issue of communication gets a little more complex. You have the communication between the administrator/owner and the blogger, communication between the readers and the blog, and communication between the readers and specific bloggers.
Communication between the readers and the blog itself, as well as specific bloggers, is usually handled by the blogging process and blog comments. So let’s focus on the more multiple-blogger-specific communication techniques.
Communication between the readers and the bloggers, as well as increasing the interactive nature of the multiple blogger blog can come through Survey, Polling, Rating, Testing, and Reviewing WordPress Plugins, Video, Music, Podcasts, Audio, and Multimedia WordPress Plugins, and Subscribe, Email Mailing List, Blog Update Alerts, and Newsletter WordPress Plugins, and well as the offerings in WordPress Plugins for Comments.
To help you communicate with the multiple bloggers on the blog, you can choose the traditional email or chat methods, or leave them a note with a WordPress Plugin or two.
Quick Notes on the WordPress Dashboard Plugin offers a way for bloggers on multiple blogs to stay in contact and leave notes for each other. It adds a “to do” list type note form to the Administration Panels. It can be configured in many ways and control over access set by user roles and permissions.
Our Todo List Plugin goes a little further, adding support for mulitple users to add notes and check off tasks.
I covered a lot of various methods of emailing users, subscribers, and others in Contact Form WordPress Plugins, but two Plugins stood out as good choices for multiple blogger blogs.
Email Users WordPress Plugin allows you to email registered blog users, based upon their role and permissions. It adds a submenu under the Write Post panel for easy emailing. It does have some restrictions. Currently, emails are text only and the blog administrator needs to take care to not email everyone at one time, working within the email restrictions of the blog’s server. For those with multiple bloggers, this is a great way of staying in touch and sending out announcements.
Weblog Tools Collection offers PXSMail Plugin with Akismet, a great tip for helping you avoid nasty email spam from emails generated with contact forms on your WordPress blog using the PSXMail Plugin contact form with the Akismet API.
Multiple Blogger Blog Navigational Aids
Faced with more than one blogger blogging about one or more topics on a blog, and you could have a navigational and organizational nightmare. There are a variety of WordPress Plugins to help you help your readers navigate the nightmare of all those verbose bloggers on your multiple blogger blog.
Related, Recent, Most Popular Posts and More Blog Navigation WordPress Plugins, Customizable Post Listings WordPress Plugin and Ultimate Tag Warrior WordPress Plugin for Dummies will add navigational aids to multiple blogger blogs, helping the visitor find more reasons to stay on the blog and check out all the great content available.
Bloggers who blog articles in a series are very common on multiple blogger blogs. To help connect all the dots of these various articles, consider using a WordPress Plugin that offers article series options and connections to interlink the different articles in different ways.
WP Category Posts Plugin shows a list of posts within a specific category, which could easily help you focus on category specific posts, aiding coverage of related post topics by the same or different authors.
Posts by Author WordPress Plugin show the last X posts by the current author either at the bottom of every post, or where you manually specify in each post. Using the built-in options page, you can choose the number of posts to show, set the header text, choose to show the post dates, select the format of the date, and choose whether or not to include the current post in the list. Other options have been added since the first release.
The List Authors Widget displays a list of authors in a sidebar widget, which makes it easy to feature your stable of bloggers.
Level10 Blog Matrix WordPress Plugin is a very diverse WordPress Plugin which offers a wide range of sidebar navigation and information Plugin template tags. Recent Post lists can be filtered and showcased by author and category, and within a calendar. The “filter” process of what will and will not be shown is extensive, by author, category, date, archives, links, Pages, next and previous posts, and feeds. For example, you could showcase only the most recent posts by a certain author, or a certain author within a specific post category.
A different kind of word counting WordPress Plugin is Weighted Words. It goes through your posts in the database and creates a list of words you use the most in your blog posts. It doesn’t decide which words are keywords. It just lists the ones you use the most. If you have a lot of bloggers blogging about different topics, you can easily modify this Plugin to list the words as a tag list inside of their search links, adding a tag effect that more closely relates to what is being discussed, not just the tags bloggers have tagged their posts with.
Multiple Blogger Specialty WordPress Plugins
There are a lot of different Plugins which can be incorporated into a multiple blogger blog that are not necessarily directed towards multiple user blogs. Once you determine which needs your multiple blogger blog has, I’m sure there is a Plugin out there that will help you handle it.
I did, however, find a few interesting Plugins worth considering for blogs with more than one blogger.
Author Adsense WordPress Plugin permits ads to be displayed by author, so the post author gets credit for the ads, not the blog itself. For multiple blogger blogs, this is an interesting way to share the wealth.
If your blog also includes a phpBB forum, the Recent phpBB Topics WordPress Plugin will showcase recent forum topics and discussions on your WordPress blog sidebar.
User Voices WordPress Plugin doesn’t help you with your podcasting – it’s not that kind of voice. If you have different people working on different sections of the same blog post, or creating a dialog of different voices on the same post, you can style the different sections to represent the different “voices” in the post content. A drop down menu to assign the different text sections to various author styles. This is ideal for multiple blogger blogs where multiple bloggers help write one post, but also for screen plays, theatre productions, storytelling, or for giving different styles to your own blog post.
Do you have a multiple blogger blog? Or a blog with more than one contributor? What Plugins are you using to help you customize the look and feel and control over your multi-blogger blog? Any recommendations? I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s out there.
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