Blogging

Multi-Author WordPress.com Blogs

Multi-Author WordPress.com Blogs

Provided your writing is engaging the enthusiasm you have for your topic makes your blog worth reading.  Enthusiasm plus even more content and a wider range of viewpoints for readers to consider makes multi-author blogs worth reading.

  1. Does your blog need more content?
  2. Does your blog need more exposure?
  3. Would you like some support to reach your goals?
  4. Have you considered creating a multi-author WordPress.com blog?

Without doubt multiple authors can publish more content than one blogger can,  but little things make a big difference in small groups and teamwork comes with challenges.

Despite the challenges that we have looked at here, multi-author blogs still bring great opportunities. In fact, many of the challenges above can be turned into strengths if they are properly handled. — Daniel in The Challenges of Multi-Author Blogs

Successful groups have a clearly defined purpose and committed members.

Small group success depends on three types of functions being performed – task, maintenance, and personal functions –

  • task functions help to keep the group focused and directed towards achieving its goals;
  • maintenance functions help group members to stay involved, and ensure that everyone is able to contribute to their maximum potential;
  • personal functions address the personal needs of group members to ensure that the group functions in the best possible way – these activities include the ways in which conflicts and disruptive behaviours are handled.

These functions are complementary, which means they must all be performed if a group is to work well. — Small Group Skills

puzzle piecesPreparation

Recruit additional enthusiastic authors for your WordPress.com multi-author blog.  Set some ground rules by deciding who will do what by when (deadlines) and be sure that everyone commits to doing their part.   Be sure to schedule ample time for content creation, promotion, answering comments, locating similar blogs, reading and leaving comments on related blogs, link building and relationship building.  Lay out a method for how, when, and how often you will communicate as a group. For some tips on what to cover see Submission Guidelines on my Guest Posts page.

Evaluate the theme

Assess whether or not your blog’s appearance and structure are the best ones for a WordPress.com multi-author blog or if changes need to be made.  The results of your evaluation may be branding changes, reflecting new goals,  a change in theme,  CSS customization of the existing theme or another one, or even a complete blog make-over. — 12 Step Blog Evaluation

You can view free themes and paid premium themes in the Themes Showcase where feature filters can be used to select the theme that will best suit your multi-author WordPress.com blog. Or you can locate the theme you want to use here > Appearance > Themes. Each theme has a thumbshot and a features summary description. You can browse and when you find one of interest you can click “Preview”. When you are ready to make your selection you can click “Activate”.

Note 1:   Regardless of the theme, bylines will only display now if there are at least two authors who both have at least one published post in the blog. Work-around for single Author bloggers who do wish to have a byline display on their posts.  Some themes display full articles on Categories and Archives pages and some don’t.

Note 2: Chateau, Choco, Duster, Elegant Grunge, Enterprise, Liquorice, Matala, Mystique, The Morning After, Next Saturday, Pink Touch 2, Selecta, Skeptical and Twenty Eleven, Twenty Ten, Vertigo and Vostok display the author’s profile and gravatar when viewing a single post at the end of the post.

puzzle piecesCreate a custom menu

The arrival of custom menus at WordPress.com provided bloggers with the ability to structure their blog like a website. What’s critical is to understand when creating a website structure is the differences between pages and posts, and the impact of restructuring.

We organize our posts by use of categories. There is only one dynamic page in a blog for posts andwe cannot post to more than that one page. However, we can create the appearance that we are posting to multiple pages by setting up a custom menu and displaying Categories in tabs along the top horizontal navigation menu. Here’s a custom menu walk-through.

Create a Custom menu for a multi-author WordPress.com blog > Appearance > Menu

To create a custom menu, give it a name and click Create Menu. Then choose items like pages, categories or custom links from the left column to add to this menu.

After you have added your items, drag and drop to put them in the order you want. You can also click each item to reveal additional configuration options.

When you have finished building your custom menu, make sure you go to the “theme location” module at upper left on the menu page. Select your custom menu name from the pulldown labeled “primary location.” Click the save button in that module.

Refresh your browser so that it isn’t possibly pulling a cached page and view your blog see your new menu.

puzzle piecesUser Roles – Adding Users

You may select which team members have administrative authority multi-author WordPress.com blog and which are authors only. Wen founding a multi-author blog consider the range of user roles and functions, and note having a single blog Administrator may be the best choice to make.  Add the users following this guide.

Your new user will receive an email inviting them to sign up for a WordPress.com account (and, optionally, create their own blog if they want). Once they have signed up, you’ll see them listed as a Contributor on your Users tab. You can change their role (to Author or Editor) later if you’d like.

Ask your new Authors to create and register an Avatar, Gravatar, Blavatar and to complete the information on their Users Profile page.

WordPress.com provides Authors widgets. The widget can display the names or avatars of all your blog’s authors, links to a list of all their former posts, as well as links to posts they’ve recently written.

WordPress.com provides an Authors grid widget. The Author Grid Widget is a great way to showcase your blog’s authors in your sidebar. The widget displays the avatars of all your blog’s authors, which link to a list of posts they’ve each written.

By creating a Category for each authors name and having the authors assign that Category to every post they create and publish:

  • readers can locate all posts by an author by clicking their name in the Categories widget display;
  • readers can subscribe to the feed for the Category;
  • This is the format for a category feed on WordPress.com blogs: http://NAME_OF_BLOG.wordpress.com/category/categoryname/feed/
  • Note: If you enable blog subscriptions the author’s name will be displayed in the email posts received by subscribers even if the theme does not display authors.

WordPress has a built-in multi-author editing safe-guard. If an author attempts to edit a post that another is working on in a WordPress.com multi-author blog a warning will display.