It is no surprise that the vast majority of high traffic blogs have multiple authors. One person can only do so much themselves, so there comes a point where a blog needs to hire other writers in order to expand.
I started my first multi-author blog in 2007 with a blog called Blogging Tips. At one point I had over a dozen bloggers writing for me. This helped me increase the posting frequency on the blog and allowed me to take a step back and focus on managing the blog instead.
Hiring other people is usually the right thing to do when you have taken a blog to a certain level; however multi-author website owners face a unique set of problems. They need to ensure that all authors maintain the high standard that the owner did in their articles. They also need to ensure that all authors adhere to the website’s formatting guidelines.
Collaboration is vital too; whether it is between owner and author, or an author with other authors. Everyone needs to ensure that they work together and ensure they work towards a common goal.
In this article, I would like to share with you fifteen great WordPress plugins that will help those of you who work with many authors. Each plugin can be downloaded free from the official WordPress plugin directory.
The core version of WordPress comes with five different user groups: Administrator, Editor, Author, Contributor and Subscriber. Unfortunately, there is no way to change the permissions of users or any way of adding additional user groups. This is why plugins such as User Role Editor are so important to multi-author website owners.
The plugin allows you to add or remove permissions to any user or user group. New user groups can be added too. I use this plugin on most of my WordPress powered websites in order to control permissions of writers better. For example, I always add the ability to upload images to the contributor user role. For more information, please read my recent article about User Role Editor.
A great alternative to User Role Editor is Members. Developed by Justin Tadlock, the plugin features a role manager that allows you to change the capabilities of any user.
The plugin also features membership functionality such as sidebar login widgets and the ability to block logged out users. Posts and pages can also be restricted to certain user groups. This allows you to add a private area with content that is only visible by staff.
The best way to test the permissions of a user group, or user, is to login yourself and test whether permissions are correct. This lets you see what a user group can do, but it also lets you see what they see. When doing this, you may find that users can see menu items, settings and options, that should not be shown to them.
Adminimize helps resolve this by allowing you to enable or disable options for every single user group. It is the most comprehensive solution for removing unnecessary items from the admin area of WordPress.
Another plugin that lets you control what authors can see is WP-CMS Post Control. In comparison to Adminimize, it is a more simplified solution; however it allows you to enable and disable all features from the post and page editor screens.
5. Edit Flow
Edit Flow is a featured packed editorial plugin that makes collaboration between authors and editors much simpler. It includes a calendar for scheduling, custom statuses for posts (e.g. “Posts to Be Proofread”), and the option for editors to add comments at any stage.
A notification system is built-in to allow everyone to stay up to date with the current stage of articles. Users can also be allocated to user groups. It is the perfect plugin for blogs that have an editorial process where articles are reviewed by one or more people.
The core version of WordPress only allows one user to be attached to a post or page as the author. Co-Authors Plus addresses this issue by allowing multiple users to be credited for writing an article.
Writers who have co-authored an article will have the articles listed in their profile and feed as normal. The plugin is also set set up so that contributors can help write an article, but not edit the article after it has been published.
Dashboard Notepad is a basic WordPress plugin that I have used many times in the past. It lets you quickly add notes to a widget that is displayed in the dashboard area. You can then define who can edit those notes and who can read them. The plugin was also designed to integrate with the Members plugin I mentioned earlier.
Authors frequently forget formatting rules and post guidelines. Rather than being frustrated by this, you can help authors out by posting a checklist underneath the post editor using Good Writer Checkify. Authors can then check each list item to remind them that the guideline has been followed.
Another option for displaying important notes to authors is Genki Pre-Publish Reminder. It lets you display notes at the top of the post sidebar or below the main post editor. A simple solution that you will find very useful.
Editorial Calendar is such a useful plugin that I use it on all of my websites (even when I am the only author). It allows you to schedule posts for the coming week in seconds via a drag and drop visual calendar.
Post titles, content, publication time and post status, can all be edited quickly using the “Quick Edit” feature. It is perfect for planning your posting schedule for the coming days or weeks.
11. Drafts Scheduler
Drafts Scheduler is a useful plugin if you stick to a specific posting schedule and/or publish a lot of articles every day. I use it for a video website of mine to schedule draft posts to publish in random order over the following month.
WordPress will automatically send updates about new comments to the author of a post. cbnet improves this by allowing anyone to be updated about new comments. You can specify that all people from a user group have to be emailed and enter specific email addresses for those that do not belong to the specified groups. The plugin can also be configured to email people when a comment is held for moderation.
13. Audit Trail
Audit Trail is a useful plugin for monitoring what staff are doing (or not doing). It will track any action such as a post or page being saved, a theme being changed or an option being updated.
14. Top Authors
A simple author widget that displays the authors with the most posts. Top Authors can be configured to display Gravatar profile images and administrators can be excluded from the list. The plugin also lets you modify the list template directly from the widget area.
It is customary to display a biography of authors after their post. This helps readers connect with authors and reminds people that there is a real person at the other side.
Unfortunately, the bio area is sometimes quite basic. Fancier Author Box is a quick and easy way of enhancing the bio section with more information. It can display profile links from ten social media services, the author’s URL, and a latest posts tab that displays all the author’s recent articles. The settings area allows you to change the colors of the tabs and the color of the content area.
I hope you have enjoyed this list of plugins for multi-author plugins. If I missed any good multi-author plugins that you think other Elegant Themes readers would enjoy, please feel free to share it in the comment area.
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