Way back when I managed the HubSpot Service Blog, I had a guest author come to me with a great idea for a blog post. She and her colleague wanted to co-write a piece about how HubSpot created its customer journey map.
I loved the idea, but when it came time to designate an author for the byline, my guest authors looked puzzled. They assumed they would both be included on the byline as authors of this post.
Here’s the problem. At the time, our blog software only permitted one author per post. So — long story short — I had to create a completely new author bio that included both writers’ names.
Why am I telling you this story?
If you own or manage a WordPress site, you may have encountered this problem, too. But here’s the catch: you can work around this limitation using a WordPress plugin.
In this post, we’ll provide you with a list of plugins you can use to add multiple authors to your web pages and blog posts. We'll also provide a few plugins that are extremely handy if you're managing multiple authors contributing to your site.
Why do you need a plugin to add co-authors?
The simple answer is: you can't add them without one. WordPress's default functionality doesn't support co-authors on posts. Without a plugin, you can only add one author per post.
That's why we've compiled this list of plugins below, so you can find the right tool for your WordPress website. Read on to learn more about each one of these plugins, their specific features, and why you might want to install them on your site.
Best WordPress Plugins for Managing a Multi-Author Site
- Molongui Author Box
- PublishPress Capabilities
- Co-Authors Plus
- Author Recent Posts
- List All Posts by Author
- User Role Editor
- Simple Author Box
- User Submitted Posts
- Editorial Calendar
- Post Pay Counter
Molongui Author Box offers some quintessential features that you might expect with a multi-author WordPress plugin. It lets you add and customize an author box for each post where you can include the author's name, bio, and social media sharing icons. You can also assign multiple authors in each box, so all of your writers are given equal credit for a piece.
One notable feature of this plugin is its guest contributor capabilities. You don't have to create a brand new WordPress user for each guest author who writes for you. Instead, you can use the "Guest" feature to attribute pieces to external contributors without creating a WordPress user.
PublishPress is a useful plugin if you have marketers doubling as writers for your website. Rather than being limited to WordPress's default user roles, this tool lets you customize permissions so marketers can both publish posts and have access to other areas of your site — like your online store.
With PublishPress, you can set special permissions for what users can do in your WooCommerce store. This lets you dictate who can update product tags and categories and who can add new products, orders, and coupons to your site. If you have marketers wearing many hats, this makes their workflow easier because they won't have to log in and out of separate accounts with different permissions.
One of the most popular multi-author WordPress plugins, Co-Authors Plus provides you with everything needed to manage a multi-contributor blog or website.
With this plugin, you can assign multiple writers to individual posts, and each writer can edit posts that they're associated with. If the writer has Contributor permissions, they can only edit posts that aren't published. All co-authored posts appear on a "co-author's archive page" as well as the author's individual feed.
While Varient is more of a WordPress theme than a plugin, it stills provides the tools required to set up a multi-author site. It's intended for news outlets and magazines, but really any business that regularly publishes posts can utilize its core features.
Those features include unlimited pages, post categories, and widgets. There's also an option to add polls to your content so you can survey readers.
Looking for people to chime in on your posts? Varient offers a comments feature where readers can post their opinions and participate in community discussions.
This WordPress plugin lets you display all the posts that were recently published by an author. Using a shortcode, you can display this widget either in the center of your pages or in the sidebar.
Once added, the widget will show viewers all of the posts that were recently published by the author of the post they are currently viewing. You can control the number of posts they'll see, the featured images for each post, and the publish date.
In WordPress, once a user logs into your site, they're redirected to the WordPress admin dashboard where they might have access to things you'd rather keep hidden.
With this plugin, you can clean up the admin area and create a less cluttered interface for your users. If a contributor doesn't need access to a certain aspect of the dashboard, you can hide that item from the dashboard for the contributor in question. You can also control the admin items that appear for each user type based on their role.
Sometimes readers might want to look through all of the posts written by one author. Or, they might want to read all of the posts you've published related to a specific topic. With this plugin, your readers will have the power to filter posts by author, category, or title.
This plugin is useful if you have an extensive blog that covers several different topics and subtopics. It makes it easier for readers to find the content they're looking for without having to sort through a bunch of unrelated posts. In a world where consumers are looking for the fastest, most convenient solution to their problems, this plugin can make all the difference between converting a lead and losing a sale.
User Role Editor allows you to customize user permissions outside of what WordPress lets you do by default. While WordPress comes with six, pre-defined user roles — each with its own unique set of permissions — User Role Editor gives you the option to create new roles with personalized capabilities and restrictions.
Why is this useful? Say you want your contributors to upload their own graphics to their blog posts. With the default “Contributor” role, this isn’t possible because contributors can’t upload files to WordPress — they need to be an “Author” to do this. While you could change user roles from Contributor to Author, that ungates users to new capabilities like the option to edit and delete published posts.
With User Role Editor, you don’t have to make that hard choice. You can simply create a new role that finds the middle ground between Contributor and Author.
Simple Author Box places a responsive author box at the end of your content. With the free version, you can add the author's name, a link to their website, and links to their social media accounts.
With the paid version, you have the option to add guest writers and co-authors. You can also customize the style and location of the author box. You can change its color palette, the font size, and where the author box is located on your page.
Guest contributing is a great way to grow a blog or website organically. It presents opportunities for backlinking which improves your site's ranking on search engines.
But, one roadblock that many businesses will run into is keeping track of guest submissions. Typically pitches will be submitted via email, where it's easy for things to get lost in the shuffle if you don't have an email alias dedicated to guest submissions.
With this plugin, your site visitors can submit new ideas for blog posts via a form on the frontend of your site. All you have to do is customize and install a shortcode on your desired page, and you can start collecting data like author name, email, post content, and more.
Not only does this make it easier to keep track of new submissions, but it also establishes a formal process for pitching new ideas to your site.
If you're posting to your site on a daily basis, it's really helpful to have an editorial calendar that keeps track of all your scheduled and upcoming posts. Since there's no default feature for this in WordPress, this plugin provides you with an overview of your blog and tells you when certain posts will go live.
This plugin offers drag-and-drop functionality, so you can quickly add and remove blog posts to and from your editorial calendar. If you're working with multiple authors, this makes it easy to keep track of who is writing what and when their scheduled deadlines are.
12. Post Pay Counter
Post Pay Counter is a little different than some of the other plugins featured on this list. This plugin helps you calculate how much to pay an author based on the posts they've written for your site.
You can choose to pay authors by the number of posts they've written or by the number of words included in each post. You can also compensate them based on how many views each post has received, so writers are always encouraged to write engaging and high-performing posts.
Even if you aren't paying your guest contributors, this plugin provides you with a lot of useful information about your site. You can see which authors have been the most successful with your target audience, and which ones are struggling to generate engagement. Armed with this knowledge, you can fine-tune your blog strategy and invest more into topics and writers who create more traffic for your website.
Now that you're familiar with a few multi-author management plugins, let's put one into action and show you how to add co-authors to WordPress posts.
How to Add Multiple Authors in WordPress
For this example, we used the first plugin featured on our list: Molongui Author Box.
Once installed, navigate to an existing post or new one. On the right, you should see an option in the sidebar that reads Authors.
Select that card and you should see an interface similar to the one below.
From here, simply add the authors that you wish to add to this post. Once they're all there, hit Add to attribute them to the post.
In the live view, you should see an author box appear that looks somewhat similar to this:
Managing Multiple Authors With Your WordPress Website
The more writers you have contributing to your blog, the more content you'll be able to push out. But, the more content you push out, the more difficult it becomes to manage your site.
That's why it's useful to install a multi-author management plugin for your WordPress site. Choose one, or a few of the options listed above to ensure all of your authors can write and edit posts and are properly compensated for their work.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in Jan 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Originally published May 13, 2021 3:00:00 AM, updated May 13 2021