We’ve all heard about blogging; it’s been with us almost since the internet took off at the turn of the millennium. The crux of it has always been about self-published content i.e. genuine ideas, thoughts, commentaries, experiences, etc. Since so many people have resorted to blogging, blogs nowadays feature more than one author and are regularly open to guest posting.
Having multiple authors means having the potential for immediate expansion, because each of them can cover a certain theme, bringing with them a whole new crowd. Let’s take sports for example. You start by writing about football because you follow it, you’ve played it, and maybe even know a pro or two, however, your long-term options are limited to the football crowd. After some time, you bring in a friend that writes about basketball – now a whole new avenue has opened, effectively doubling your potential audience. Your blog is gaining steam and now you’re adding writers to cover hockey, soccer, baseball, tennis, etc. – these things tend to steamroll quickly.
Additionally, when the opportunity presents itself, you can look into guest posts. These can have multiple benefits for your blog – you’ll be featuring a high-profile author, garnering more traffic, or you’ll be giving space to an up-and-comer that can prove to be a wise decision down the line. Guest posting can connect you with authors as well as other blogs, making both the content creator(s) and the host reach a wider audience.
Giving credit where it’s due
When you have multiple authors publishing (in-house and/or guest bloggers) you’ll need to make sure all original content is appropriately credited. Authors always look to “sign” their work, regardless of the format they operate in, so chances are they’ll demand it. By emphasizing the author behind the post you’re enabling the readers to follow them directly, and potentially read everything that person publishes – this means more traffic for your blog. Finally, if it’s regarding a guest post, the whole deal behind it is mutual promotion, so if a featured author brings in the crowd, you want to emphasize his/her other publications (personal site, social media plugs, etc.).
The online signature
The online equivalent of an author’s book cover is the author box, usually found on the top or bottom of their posts. A great thing about the author box is the form, which is, for the most part, standardized – a picture with a name and potentially a title, followed by a short blurb that describes the author. Within the standardized form, there’s also plenty of room to be unique – use a professional image or a fun caricature; a serious text listing references, or a humorous snippet about the author’s pet – the possibilities are numerous.
If you’re using WordPress as your blog platform there are a couple of ways you can go about adding authors to your posts. The most straightforward way is through code, but that presents an obvious obstacle requiring coding knowledge. Alternatively, you could get a theme that natively supports the author box, which while handy, locks you out of a lot of potentially great themes limiting your design options. Finally, there’s the option to get a plugin like the Simple Author Box, that’s designed to enable everyone, from newcomers to experienced users to create professional-looking author boxes in the easiest way possible.
What you need from an author box
We’ve already mentioned what an author box in its unofficially standard format needs to have – a name, an image, and a short text. All that needs to be stylized to fit your overall theme seamlessly, but also different enough to emphasize the author. This includes visual customizations like size, padding, borders, colors, font, etc. Along with making the box visually fit, you’ll also need to add social media plugs, which are essential nowadays for any content creator. Finally, once you’re done creating the perfect box, you’ll need to make it scale to any screen size.
Visual configuration aside, sooner or later you’ll probably need to contend with things like adding multiple authors to a single post or adding co-authors and guest authors. Doing all of this manually will cost you more time than you want to spend on it, so you’ll need to implement an automatic filtering option that streamlines the process.
Everything we’ve mentioned and anything else that could pop up can be handled through code if you possess the know-how or you could use the aforementioned Simple Author Box plugin that’ll get the job done in just a few clicks.
The author box is the simplest way to recognize your writer’s work, and as you’ve seen, there are a couple of ways to go about it, each with its benefits and drawbacks. All things considered, we find that using a plugin is the optimal solution, especially if your coding skills aren’t up to the task. We’ve tested out a few of them and found that Simple Author Box deserves our recommendation, so be sure to check it out.