The Best Free WordPress Plugins for Multi-Author Blogs

Are you one of those folks who employ a lot of writers/contributors to your WordPress site? Do you spend much of your time communicating with your fellow writers? Do phrases like “don’t use external image URLs”, “make sure to use the H3 tag” or “please centre-align the images” constitute most of your emails to your site’s contributors?

You’re not alone. Team management is no trivial task, let along long distance team management. I mean come on, how many of us bloggers have an office where we can sit down and collaborate with our writers? That’s not the case for the majority of us.

Thankfully some WordPress developers took it upon themselves to solve this dilemma. This ushered an era of WordPress plugins solely dedicated to solving the crisis of multi-author WordPress blogs. Not just solving – these plugins took in-house collaboration to the next level. “In-house collaboration” means using WordPress instead of third party software like Basecamp, to communicate with your team. I coined the term myself, haha!

So here we go. Let’s dive into some of the best plugins for multiple author WordPress sites. Using these plugins will boost your productivity by tenfold, if implemented meticulously.

Edit Flow

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Edit Flow is one of those plugins that makes you wonder why it’s not just part of the WordPress core, it’s that useful. Even on the blogs I create where I’m the only writer, I’m not sure how I would get by without it. The calendar view and custom post status features alone make it almost indispensable. But for a multi-author site, it’s an absolute must.

Here’s what it can do:

  • Calendar – A convenient month-by-month look at your content.
  • Custom Statuses – Define the key stages to your workflow.
  • Editorial Comments – Threaded commenting in the admin for private discussion between writers and editors.
  • Editorial Metadata – Keep track of the important details.
  • Notifications – Receive timely updates on the content you’re following.
  • Story Budget – View your upcoming content budget.
  • User Groups – Keep your users organized by department or function.

Full Details & Free Download »

Co-Author Plus

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One of the prominent requirements for a multiple author blog is publishing posts which have been have been co-authored by two or more people. As we all know, WordPress allows us to have only one user per post. There’s no “written by Samantha Brown and Harry Woods”. With the Co-Author Plus plugin, you can do just that – you can credit multiple users in a single article.

As a bonus, you can add the authors as bylines without creating WordPress user accounts. Simply create a guest author profile for the writer and assign the byline.

Download Co-Author Plus »

Co Schedule

This plugin connects to CoSchedule, a team content marketing editorial calendar. Send unlimited social messages with each blog post. Finally, there is an all-in-one editorial calendar plugin for WordPress that brings true automated social media publishing to your blog. CoSchedule is the first (and only) social media editorial calendar for WordPress that allows you to schedule your blog and social media on the same drag-and-drop calendar. Now, you can save time and grow traffic by scheduling blog posts and social media at the same time.

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Full Details & Free Download »

Dashboard Notepad

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Or as I like to call it

Sticky notes for WordPress

This simple plugin proves to be immensely useful when communicating with your authors in your WordPress site.

As an administrator, you can create a widget, define its size and post the message (duh). You can also control who sees them, based on user roles. The message will be displayed on the user’s dashboard when he/she logs in.

Need to inform your authors about a scheduled downtime? No need to send bulk emails. Simply add a sticky note using this natty plugin.

Download Dashboard Notepad »

Genki Pre-Publish Reminder

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Somewhat similar to Dashboard Notepad, this plugin displays sticky messages at the top of the post sidebar or below the main post editor, on the WordPress post/page editor screen. Write your message on the Reminder List and style it using the options available.

When the users open their WordPress editor, they’ll see the message. The output of the settings shown in the previous screenshot is:

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Download Pre-Publish Reminder »

Editorial Calendar

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This here is one of those quintessential plugins for dedicated bloggers. It helps you keep on track of your post schedule by displaying the deadline of each post in a calendar. As most of you know, a regularly updated blog (does not necessarily mean daily) is quintessential for success.

This plugin allows you reschedule posts using a drag-and-drop interface, quick edit the post title, content and publish time, as well as manage posts from multiple authors. Be it a one man army or a multi-author blog, Editorial Calendar should be installed (and actively used) in your blog.

Download Editorial Calendar »

Drafts Scheduler

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At times, you might find yourself with a handful of “ready-to-publish-only-awaiting-the-publish-button” kind of articles. I’ve landed in this very situation multiple times in the past!

Well, publishing the articles (let me tell you) takes a lot of your time. This plugin will automatically schedule all your drafts based on you timeframe you set. It can be a fixed number of randomly selected draft posts, published at equal intervals of a day, week or a month.

The only downside of this plugin is that all the drafts are scheduled to be published. These also includes the drafts that aren’t ready yet. Thankfully, there’s an Undo Schedule button to save you when you’ve accidentally scheduled all your drafts.

Download Drafts Scheduler »

Top Authors

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Now this is a plugin that can be a very powerful motivator. It simply displays a list of authors in your site, sorted by the number of published posts, inside a widget. The author with the highest number of published articles, sits at the top feeling “like a boss” next to his/her fellow co-workers.

As always, the widget can be placed anywhere in the site.

Download Top Authors »

Fancier Author Box by ThematoSoup

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It is customary to have an author bio after every post. Almost all the high profile blogs have an author bio attached after every post. It creates a psychological connection between the writer and the reader. Some blogs even have an email subscription form coupled with the author bio.

However, the traditional author bio box is a bit lacking in features. Its design and features also vary with the currently active theme. Fancier Author Box obliterates this problem by providing a feature-rich author bio box. You can connect multiple social accounts, show recent posts, pages and custom post types and design each element of the author box to your heart’s content.

Download Fancier Author Box »

Audit Trial

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Audit Trial is like the NSA when it comes to your site’s registered users’ activity. You can essentially track whatever a user does once he or she logs in to your site. It saves the username, time, activity and the origin IP address. You can also track what pages the user views, post login.

Download Audit Trial »

Good Writer Checkify

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This plugin serves as a checklist for your authors to follow, before publishing every blog post. It’s quite natural for some authors to forget certain post formatting instructions. You can briefly lay down your editorial guidelines in the form of a checklist using this plugin.

Download Good Writer Checkify »

User Role Editor

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With multiple authors swarming in your blog, comes the need to divide power. User Role Editor the only plugin you’re going to need when it comes to assigning specific user roles to the different users in your site.

The plugin presents you with a checkbox for every valid user action available in core WordPress. Using this exhaustive list of user permissions, you can create a user who can solely activate new themes and/or plugins and nothing else.

Download User Role Editor »

Edit Flow

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Saving the best for last, Edit Flow is one of the most powerful multi-author management plugins available. It’s so huge, that the developers have modularized it into 7 different modules – each serving a specific purpose.

  1. Calendar – A convenient month-by-month look at your content.
  2. Custom Statuses – Define the key stages to your workflow.
  3. Editorial Comments – Threaded commenting in the admin for private discussion between writers and editors.
  4. Editorial Metadata – Keep track of the important details.
  5. Notifications – Receive timely updates on the content you’re following.
  6. Story Budget – View your upcoming content budget.
  7. User Groups – Keep your users organized by department or function.

Backed by WordPress VIP, this plugin can single-handedly manage your entire site’s workflow. Check out our review of this badass plugin.

Download Edit Flow »

Conclusion

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As with all WordPress plugins, you must always remember the golden rule – use only what you need. Extra plugins means greater (and sometimes unnecessary) load on your server. If you use other productivity tools like Any.DO or Todo.ly or even Basecamp, stick to that. I’ve personally used and recommend the first and last services.

Finally, if I were to pick a plugin to recommended, it would be Editorial Calendar. It is truly a must-have plugin for serious bloggers. To be honest with you, it is sometimes a real pain in the ass, but what’s life without discipline? It’s hard. It’s irritating at times. Even frustrating. But every successful person in the history of this planet had to become and remain disciplined in order to reach their goal.

Over to you – what’s your take on these plugins? Which one would to pick or use already?

 

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