The Ultimate Guide to Displaying Multiple Authors in WordPress (2024 Edition)

Are you looking to expand your WordPress blog beyond a single-author operation? Collaborating with multiple authors and guest contributors can supercharge your content production while adding diverse voices and perspectives to your site.

WordPress is the world‘s most popular content management system powering over 40% of websites, but its default setup is geared towards single-author blogs. Out of the box, each post can only be assigned to one author. So how can you elegantly display multiple authors on a WordPress post?

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll show you exactly how to add co-authors to your WordPress posts without any coding required. We‘ll be using the excellent free PublishPress Authors plugin which makes it a breeze to manage multiple authors. Let‘s dive in!

Why Use Multiple Authors on Your WordPress Blog

Before we get into the technical details, it‘s worth discussing some of the key benefits of publishing content from multiple authors on your WordPress site:

1. Increased Content Output

With multiple authors contributing content, you can significantly increase your publishing frequency and grow your content library faster. More content means more opportunities to reach new audiences and drive traffic to your site.

In fact, blogs that publish 16+ posts per month get 3.5x more traffic than blogs that publish 0-4 posts per month (Source: HubSpot). By leveraging a team of authors, you can more easily hit these higher publishing benchmarks.

2. Diverse Perspectives

Different authors bring unique viewpoints, experiences, and expertise to the table. A multi-author WordPress site can cover a wider range of topics and offer readers a variety of voices and opinions. This is especially valuable if your blog covers different categories.

A study by Kapost found that diverse content teams produce 48% of overall content across industries, yet are responsible for generating 54% of all page views. Diverse author voices = more engaging content.

3. Authority and Credibility

Showcasing multiple authors, especially if they are respected experts in your niche, instantly boosts your blog‘s credibility. It shows readers that your site is a destination for quality content from authoritative sources.

For example, 71% of marketers agree that credible content from respected voices is essential for building brand trust (Source: Edelman).

4. Community Building

Accepting posts from guest authors is a fantastic way to build relationships with others in your industry. It can lead to valuable partnerships, cross-promotion opportunities, and a stronger sense of community around your blog.

Case in point: the popular marketing blog Moz built its brand in the early days largely through publishing content from guest contributors. Moz founder Rand Fishkin attributes much of the blog‘s initial growth to its strong "community of contributors who were invested in writing for Moz."

As you can see, there are many advantages to running a multi-author WordPress site. But the default WordPress author system has some notable limitations. Next, let‘s look at how WordPress typically handles authors and posts.

Default WordPress Author Functionality

In a standard WordPress installation, each post can only have one author. When you create a new post, it is automatically assigned to the user account you are currently logged in as.

You can change the post author to a different user by editing the post and selecting a new author from the "Author" dropdown in the post sidebar. However, you cannot select more than one author per post.

WordPress does offer some author-related features out of the box:

Author User Roles

WordPress has a built-in user role system that defines capabilities for each user. The "Author" role allows users to publish and manage their own posts, but not edit others‘ posts. You can use this to give external contributors limited access to your site.

Author Archives

WordPress automatically creates an archive page for each author that displays a list of all the posts written by that author. The URL for an author archive page typically looks something like this:

Author Bios and Avatars

Users can fill out a short "Biographical Info" field in their profile which is then displayed at the bottom of posts attributed to them. WordPress also displays the user‘s avatar image (sourced from Gravatar) next to their name.

While these native WordPress features provide a basic framework for managing authors, they fall short for multi-author sites. Fortunately, the PublishPress Authors plugin picks up where WordPress leaves off and makes displaying multiple authors on posts a cinch.

Adding Multiple Authors to Posts With PublishPress Authors Plugin

The PublishPress Authors plugin is the ultimate tool for managing multiple authors in WordPress. It extends the native WordPress author functionality with powerful features like the ability to assign multiple authors to a single post.

Here‘s how to get started:

Step 1: Install the Plugin

First, you‘ll need to install the PublishPress Authors plugin. You can do this directly from your WordPress dashboard by going to Plugins → Add New and searching for "PublishPress Authors". Install and activate the plugin.

Step 2: Create Guest Author Profiles

By default, PublishPress Authors will import your existing WordPress user accounts as authors. However, one of the key features of the plugin is the ability to create "Guest Authors" without having to make a new WordPress user account for each one.

To add a new guest author, go to Authors → Add New in your WordPress dashboard. You can enter the author‘s name, email, bio, and other information. You‘ll notice you can leave the "User Mapping" field blank – this is what designates the author as a Guest Author.

Step 3: Assign Multiple Authors to a Post

Now the magic happens! When you create a new post (or edit an existing one), you‘ll see a new "Authors" box in the post sidebar. Here you can select multiple authors to attribute the post to. Simply check the box next to each author‘s name.

You can mix and match default WordPress users and Guest Authors on the same post. There‘s no limit to how many authors you can assign to each post.

Step 4: Configure Author Boxes

PublishPress Authors automatically adds author box displays at the end of each post showing the name, avatar, and bio of each author. You can customize the information shown in these author boxes by going to Authors → Settings.

The plugin provides multiple author box layouts to choose from including inline lists, boxed bios, and more. You can select your default layout and customize the colors and styles to match your theme.

If you want even more control over the appearance and content of your author boxes, PublishPress Authors Pro includes advanced customization options like custom fields and layouts. This allows you to add unique details to each author‘s profile.

Managing Author Pages and Profiles

PublishPress Authors also enhances the author archive pages on your site. You can enable custom author pages by going to Authors → Settings → Author Pages.

Here you can configure exactly what information and content appears on author archive pages, such as:

  • Number of posts to display
  • Post layout (list or grid)
  • Author bio layout
  • Which elements to show (author avatar, post excerpt, comment count, etc.)

You can also customize the URL slug used for author pages (e.g. /profile/john-doe instead of /author/john-doe).

To edit an individual author‘s profile information, go to their profile page under Authors. Here you can add a full bio, change their display name, set a custom avatar, and more.

Displaying Author Information With Shortcodes and Widgets

In addition to the automatic author boxes, PublishPress Authors provides shortcodes and widgets for displaying author information anywhere on your site.

The [author_box] shortcode allows you to insert a specific author‘s box into a post or page. You can customize which fields are shown.

The Authors widget can be added to your sidebar or footer and displays a list of your blog‘s authors with links to their archive pages.

Using these shortcodes and widgets strategically can help you highlight your authors‘ expertise and encourage readers to explore more of your site.

Case Study: Smashing Magazine‘s Multi-Author Setup

To see a real-world example of an optimized multi-author WordPress site, let‘s take a look at Smashing Magazine. Smashing Magazine is a popular publication for web developers and designers that publishes in-depth articles from a diverse team of authors.

On a typical Smashing Magazine post, you‘ll see:

  • Multiple authors credited at the top of the post with names, avatars, and links to their archive pages
  • Color-coded author boxes at the bottom of the post showing each author‘s detailed bio and Twitter account
  • Further article recommendations based on the post‘s authors

Smashing Magazine author boxes

Through smart use of the PublishPress Authors plugin and custom theme development, Smashing Magazine makes it easy for readers to learn more about each author and find related content. This helps establish topical authority while keeping readers engaged on the site.

If you want to emulate Smashing Magazine‘s setup on your own WordPress site, PublishPress Authors can get you most of the way there!

Best Practices for Author Bio Pages

Your author bio pages are key for establishing credibility and fostering connections with your audience. Here are some tips for crafting effective author bios:

  1. Use a professional headshot. Choose a high-quality, friendly photo that showcases the author‘s personality. Avoid low-res or blurry images.

  2. Write in the third person. Author bios should be written in the third person for a more objective tone. First person bios can come across as less professional.

  3. Highlight relevant expertise. Focus on the author‘s credentials, experience, and achievements that are most relevant to your blog‘s niche. Don‘t just list a full resume.

  4. Inject some personality. While bios should be professional, they can still be written in a relatable, human way. Consider adding a line about the author‘s hobbies or passions outside of work.

  5. Include a call-to-action. End the bio with a CTA for readers to connect with the author further, whether that‘s following them on social media or signing up for their newsletter.

By optimizing your author bio pages, you‘ll ensure readers can learn more about your blog‘s contributors and start building relationships with the voices behind your content.

Advanced Use Cases and Integrations

For advanced WordPress users, PublishPress Authors opens up some powerful possibilities beyond just displaying author boxes.

Some potential use cases:

  • Author-specific email opt-ins. Using a plugin like Thrive Leads or OptinMonster in conjunction with PublishPress Authors, you can display targeted email opt-in forms based on which author a visitor is reading content from. This can help segment your email list for more personalized marketing.

  • Author-based content recommendations. With the help of a related posts plugin, you can dynamically recommend content to readers based on the current post‘s authors, guiding them to discover more relevant content on your site.

  • Editorial workflow for multi-author teams. Larger WordPress sites can combine PublishPress Authors with the PublishPress plugin for a full-fledged editorial workflow solution. Assign authors, editors, and tasks to each post to keep your content pipeline running smoothly.

  • Author schema markup. For a potential SEO boost, you can use a plugin like Schema Pro to automatically add author-specific schema markup to posts based on the assigned PublishPress authors. This can help search engines better understand and display your content authors in results pages.

These are just a few ideas to get you thinking about how PublishPress Authors can tie into a broader WordPress strategy for your multi-author blog.

Managing a Team of WordPress Authors

As you add more authors to your site, it‘s important to have clear guidelines and processes in place for managing your content team. Some key things to consider:

  • Editorial standards. Establish clear standards for writing style, formatting, tone, and more to ensure consistency across all posts from all authors. Create an editorial guidelines document that all new authors must read and agree to.

  • Content calendar. Use a shared content calendar (e.g. in Google Sheets or Trello) to plan out posts, assign authors, and keep track of deadlines. This helps avoid overlap and keeps everyone aligned.

  • Onboarding process. Have a standardized onboarding process for new authors that covers your editorial guidelines, how to submit drafts, image requirements, and anything else they need to be successful. A bit of training upfront saves a lot of headaches down the line.

  • Regular communication. Keep your authors engaged and informed with regular email updates, a Slack channel, or even monthly video calls. Provide feedback on their posts and make them feel like valued members of your blog‘s community.

With the right tools and processes, managing a team of authors on your WordPress blog can be a smooth, rewarding experience.

Common Questions About Multiple Authors in WordPress

Before we wrap up, let‘s address some frequently asked questions about using multiple authors on a WordPress blog:

How many authors can you have on a WordPress post?

With the PublishPress Authors plugin, you can assign an unlimited number of authors to each post. The only limitation is the number of authors you have created profiles for.

Can I add an author without creating a WordPress account for them?

Yes! PublishPress Authors allows you to create Guest Author profiles that are separate from WordPress user accounts. This is perfect for one-off guest posters.

Will my site‘s SEO be affected by adding multiple authors?

Generally speaking, having multiple authors on your WordPress site can be beneficial for SEO. Google values expertise and authority, so showcasing multiple expert authors can boost your credibility. Plus, with more authors you‘ll be able to publish content more frequently which can drive more traffic. As long as you follow SEO best practices like using proper headings, optimizing your titles/meta descriptions, and internally linking your content, having multiple authors should only help your SEO efforts.

Do I need to know how to code to set up multiple authors?

Not at all! The PublishPress Authors plugin is fully functional out of the box without any coding required. You can customize your author displays and pages using the plugin‘s settings and shortcodes. Only advanced customization would potentially require editing your WordPress theme files.

How do I keep track of which posts each author has written?

PublishPress Authors adds a new "Authors" column to your main Posts screen in the WordPress dashboard. This allows you to quickly see which authors are assigned to each post. You can also filter the Posts list by author to drill down into a specific author‘s contributions.

Can I use PublishPress Authors with custom post types?

Yes, PublishPress Authors works with custom post types out of the box. You can enable or disable the plugin‘s functionality for specific post types under Authors → Settings.

Hopefully these FAQs clear up some common concerns about implementing a multi-author WordPress setup.


Running a multi-author WordPress site can be a powerful way to grow your blog, establish authority in your niche, and foster a sense of community. While WordPress doesn‘t provide the most intuitive tools for managing multiple authors out of the box, the PublishPress Authors plugin fills in the gaps.

With PublishPress Authors you can:

  • Easily assign multiple authors to a single post
  • Create guest author profiles without separate WordPress accounts
  • Display author boxes with custom layouts and information
  • Customize your author archive pages
  • Highlight authors across your site with shortcodes and widgets

Whether you have just a couple of regular contributors or dozens of guest authors, PublishPress Authors streamlines the process of managing them all.

As we‘ve seen, multi-author blogs can drive significant traffic and engagement when done right. By putting the proper tools and processes in place, you‘ll be well on your way to scaling your WordPress blog beyond a solo operation.

So what are you waiting for? Start collaborating with other passionate writers in your niche and take your blog to new heights! Your readers will thank you.

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