If you are running a magazine or a website with multiple authors/contributors, you must already be aware of the difficulties that come along with it. Not only do you have to synchronize with multiple authors, you must also take care of the publishing schedule, editorial workflow, and many other things.
In order to make your life easier, we shall be taking a look at some of the best free plugins that can help you manage your multi-author blog or magazine.
Multi-Author Websites: Five Essential Plugins
When it comes to being useful for multi-author websites, there are thousands of plugins in the official repository. Sadly, a good number of them are not really awesome. A website or magazine, no matter how big or small, cannot risk trying out an unknown or sub-standard plugin. Therefore, I have tried to cherry-pick the top five most useful ones. Here they are:
1. Advanced Access Manager
Advanced Access Manager lets you restrict user access to both your WordPress front-end and back-end. You can manage user roles, capabilities and even decide who has access to posts, pages and custom post types. Apart from filtering admin panel and dashboard widgets, this plugin can also help you promote or demote users as per your needs.
Have an author whom you wish to grant comment moderation privileges? Yes, Advanced Access Manager is your solution. Similarly, if you wish to assign editorial capabilities to an author, this plugin can make your life easier.
After activation, you will be greeted by the plugin’s own settings page under the menu named Access Manager. You can specify which user role you wish to edit, and thereafter, you can add or grant privileges as needed. You have the ability to edit either an individual user account, or an entire user group (say, “Editors”).
For instance, you can restrict access to certain sections of a menu simply by selecting a checkbox:
Similarly, if you wish to offer selective abilities to users, Advanced Access Manager can help you out here too. For example, you can specify that a given author group can edit unpublished pages, but not published ones. You can also allow your authors to moderate comments or mark them as spam, but not delete them.
Useful For: Websites with multiple users having variable levels of access (say, a Chief Editor, sub-editors, copy editors, proof-readers, as well as authors — each of them will obviously have a different access role, and Advanced Access Manager can help you organize such roles).
2. Edit Flow
Edit Flow is a super plugin that includes a lot of functionality for your multi-author website. It comes with a calendar, editorial comments, custom statuses and many other collaborative features.
First up, you have the calendar. It can help you get a month-by-month or week-by-week look of your editing schedule: you can get a bird’s eye view of which articles are ready to go, which still need to be edited, and ones that are published. This can be very useful to help you plan out your publishing policy.
If the default post statuses of Draft, Pending Review and Published do not make the cut for your site, you can rely on Editflow’s custom statuses. You can create your own special statuses for posts. For instance, if you want a post, after being submitted for review, to be viewed by a sub-editor before being approved by the Chief Editor, you can create a separate custom status named Proofreading. This way, a post moves from Draft to Proofreading to Pending Review to Published.
Editflow also offers editorial comments to help you communicate with your authors. For instance, if the editor feels that a particular post needs revisions, he or she can send the post back to Draft, and also leave a comment on the post explaining to the author what exactly needs to be done.
Similarly, editorial metadata can also help your team communicate about the goals of a given post, deadline, etc.
Beyond that, you can also create user groups (say, group all tutorial writers under one head, to foster easier collaboration), plan out your content budget as well as send email notifications to authors, editors and whoever else is involved in the publishing process.
Useful For: Actually, it is almost a must-have for big teams and blogs with numerous writers and editors.
3. Editorial Calendar
Editorial Calendar can help you get an overview of your publishing schedule for a specified period, say a month or week.
You can also edit your publishing schedule right from the calendar itself: drag and drop posts, re-arrange them, and so on. Apart from altering the publishing schedule, you can also quick edit post titles and other attributes. There is a working demo to help you better understand the functionality of the plugin.
Useful For: Blogs or websites looking for a simple calendar to make the publishing process better organized.
4. WP Status Notifier
WP Status Notifier basically sends emails to concerned authors or editors each time a post status is changed. Thus, when an editor has approved and scheduled a particular post, the plugin can email the author of that post regarding the change in post status.
Similarly, WP Status Notifier can also be used to email authors if one of their posts is sent back to Drafts for further revisions. More importantly, in the settings page, you can also specify email addresses of editors or admins who need to be notified each time a new post is submitted for review.
Useful For: Folks who need an email mechanism to update and inform editors as well as authors about submitted/approved/rejected articles.
5. Co-Authors Plus
Co-Authors Plus can help you assign multiple authors to a single post or page. Posts or pages with multiple authors assigned to them will appear in the feeds and author pages of each respective author.
After activation, the plugin adds a separate section in the Add New Post/Page editor, wherein you can select the concerned user accounts and assign them as co-authors for the given post or page.
Beyond that, the plugin also allows you to add “guest authors” to your WordPress website without actually creating a separate user account for them. You can find the details regarding this functionality here.
Useful For: Websites that often publish content authored by more than one writer.
So, which of these should you use? Well, considering the fact that each of these plugins serves a different purpose, the decision can actually be made only by you!
If you are looking for the ultimate plugin to help you manage your multi-author blog, Editflow is definitely a good choice! Not only does it come with an editorial calendar and features to help you set a budget for a given story or article, it also offers editorial comments functionality alongside editorial metadata and helps in making the publishing process better organized. In fact, Editflow itself can eliminate the need for many other plugins in this list: such as WP Status Notifier and Editorial Calendar.
The other two, Advanced Access Manager, and Co-Author Plus, are more related to user accounts. If your website has way too many user accounts, you should, indeed, consider giving these plugins a try.
Do you know any other plugin that can help in managing a multi-author website? Share it with us in the comments!
*Featured Image Credit: jjpacres