WordPress is a natural fit for multi-author websites. Its ability to assign User Roles and Capabilities makes it easy to gather content from any number of authors – no matter where they’re located.
Depending on your specific needs, you may want to implement some extra features such as managing editorial flow, improving content organization, or adding some bling to author profiles.
Here are 10 free plugins you can use to bring out the best in your multi-author site:
Looking to allow anyone (or almost anyone) to post content to your site? User Submitted posts will allow folks to post content via a form on the front end. Just add a Shortcode to a page, post or widget and the form will appear in the appropriate place.
There are controls for allowing only logged-in users to add content, and you can set whether submitted content is automatically published or placed in draft status. There are many available options, including the ability to use the TinyMCE editor (the same one used inside the WordPress Dashboard).
Edit Author Slug will give you some control over one of the more annoying aspects of a multi-author site. By default, WordPress will create a Permalink for each author like this:
The plugin will allow you to change that Permalink to something of your choosing, such as:
http://www.yoursite.com/staff/john-doe/. You can even change Permalinks based on the user’s role. It’s a little thing but handy nonetheless.
Meks Smart Author Widget can automatically detect the author of a post and display their profile in a WordPress widget. Alternately, the widget can be shown only on specific single post or archive templates.
Options include the ability to size the author’s avatar to your custom specifications and replace the widget’s name with the name of the current author being displayed.
Editorial Calendar is one of the more popular plugins in its category – and for good reason. It brings some sanity to scheduling upcoming posts by displaying everything in a handy calendar format.
Everything is drag-and-drop, so you can switch posts around, edit them, and more – all from one screen.
A common issue with multi-author sites is that site-runners have to log in to WordPress and check to see if any new drafts have been added by authors.
Post Status Notifications improves the situation by sending out email notifications to administrators when a new draft post has been added. Authors can also be notified when their post is published.
Content Progress provides an easy way to display the progress of a post as it makes its way through the editorial process. You can flag posts with labels like “Needs Scheduling” or “Add Media” right from the WordPress post listing.
The plugin will also automatically detect empty posts, as well. Editors and authors can even post comments regarding a specific post. Shortcodes are available to list progress on the front end of your site.
Display a listing of authors in a page, post or widget with Authors Avatars List. The plugin comes with a TinyMCE add-on that allows you to easily add Shortcodes wherever you like.
There are also options for showing or hiding specific users or groups, displaying individual users (with or without names and bios), and the ability to paginate your author list.
Change Author is a nice option for providing credit to authors – even if you don’t want to allow them access to create posts in the WordPress Dashboard. All they need is a basic WordPress ‘Subscriber’ account. Administrators can then select their name from a custom meta-box in the post editor.
WP Author Bio provides an easy way to spruce up author biographies. It features lots of customization options and a way to provide direct links to an author’s social media accounts. Bio boxes can be added through a Shortcode or by adding PHP code directly to a theme template.
Editors and authors can keep a running conversation within a page or post with Peter’s Post Notes. A meta-box will appear on the Page/Post editors allowing you to both add and read comments.
There’s also a Dashboard Widget that will display recently made comments. It’s a nice way to keep the lines of communication open during the writing and publishing process.
Multiply Your Efficiency (and Fun)
There are many ways to enhance your workflow and better display and organize your site’s authors. With the plugins above, the somewhat clunky process of managing content from multiple writers can be streamlined.
Plus, your sites’ authors and visitors will benefit from tools that improve author profiles. Running a multi-author WordPress website just got a bit easier.
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