Drawing attention to the author or authors on your site may be a key piece of your overall strategy. Perhaps you’re trying to establish a more personal tone. Perhaps you’re trying to build a reputation. Perhaps you’re trying to attract quality contributors. These are but a few potential reasons why you might want to make sure your readers connect the content with the person writing it.
Out of the box, WordPress provides users with a biographical info section in the User Profile screen where post authors and site users or members can add information about themselves.
Depending on your theme and how its settings are configured, information about the author can display in Post author archives…
And at the end of every post…
With some WordPress themes, however, you may find that all that glitters is not gold.
For example, you might want an author box that lifts your writers above the ground with cheerful thoughts and links to their social profiles, and discover that, while you love your theme with a love that shall not die, you can’t customize its bio boxes to your heart’s content.
So, do your current author boxes perform as well as they could? Or are they a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions? If you’re looking to liven up your author profiles, then one of the plugins below may just do the trick.
So, without further ado…
Simple Author Box may have started out as a way to create simple and beautiful minimalistic design for author bio boxes without having to break into the code, but since being taken over by WebFactory Ltd, the plugin now offers a huge range of customization options for your author bio box.
This plugin gives you the ability to easily customize everything about your bio box. The range of settings and options is quite impressive.
For starters, you can edit your author bio directly from the plugin’s settings screen, add/edit social media icons, and even set up a custom gravatar.
Tabbed sections offer everything from toggle settings that let you do things like display a bio box anywhere on your site using a shortcode or code snippet, show author email address, or hide various elements and features, to customizing its appearance, changing different colors of elements like author name, borders, backgrounds, etc., and then make it stand out from the rest of your site’s content using unique typography styles.
You can also preview changes to your bio box in real-time while you play with the settings.
Beware when tapping into the suite power of this plugin’s sweet customizable options. Deceive not thy sweet self into thinking that having complete control of your bio box designs will make thee a cutting-edge bio box designer.
The free version of Simple Author Box incorporates mobile responsiveness, a Gutenberg block, and is fully customizable to match your existing theme design.
Upgrade to Pro for advanced features like changing author box position in the content, linking the author’s name to their website or page, adding author avatar hover effects and changing image position, social icons settings, color palette and font and font sizes for additional elements, as well as enabling guest authors and co-authors, and adding widgets to your site.
If you’re looking to add feature-rich author boxes that blend in perfectly with your website or blog, try our WordPress white labeling plugin Branda.
Branda is our full white label solution for WordPress, so it lets you customize your site’s front-end and back-end, including author boxes.
Branda takes care of every aspect of your author box design from configuring design options, visibility, and elements of the author box, to customizing author and social media profiles, colors, avatars, etc. You can also use custom CSS.
Branda is the only premium and 100% free white label plugin for WordPress. So, if you’re looking to customize a whole lot more than just author boxes on your site, with Branda, all the world’s your stage.
The plugin offers a widget and shortcode designed to be used in WordPress single post author and author pages, and custom styling can be added through a CSS box.
Although this plugin may have fewer customization options than the previous plugin, it still offers an impressive range of useful options and settings for tweaking your site’s author bio boxes styling.
If all you need is a simple plugin that will make your site’s author bio boxes stand out from the content, the Author Bio Box plugin offers a one-page settings screen with colorful design and border styling options.
The plugin also gives you the choice of displaying author bio boxes only in posts, the home page and posts, or none.
Starbox offers a fairly functional free version, with various toggle and dropdown options, plus customizable fields for adding author information.
Fields are limited in the free version, but you have complete control and many more options to choose from when you buy the Starbox PRO premium version of the plugin.
The free Starbox plugin aims to make it as easy as possible to add attractive author boxes to your website. Activating the plugin adds additional fields to the default WordPress user profile page allowing your users to enter links to their Facebook and Twitter social media profiles, submit their job title, company name, company URL, as well as the default biographical info.
The plugin’s settings let you choose whether to activate the author boxes on posts and/or pages, display the box before, after, or before and after the post content, and more. The free version provides six themes for styling the author boxes on your site. Depending on your chosen theme, the author box may include a latest posts tab. You can also quickly change the size of the text used to display the name and author bio, independently from each other. A handy preview panel lets you see how your choices will display in real-time.
While most author box plugins rely on Gravatar to display your profile picture, Starbox also gives you the option of uploading an image directly to your user profile page. Through the individual user profile pages, users can choose from one of the available themes, and set the author box position themselves.
Author boxes can also be manually inserted directly into posts, pages, and the sidebar areas of your website by using the included shortcodes. This makes it easy to add multiple author boxes to a single post or page.
This author box plugin is packed with useful features, making it a popular and highly recommended choice. The premium version of Starbox gives you the ability to add links to more social media websites and also offers a number of themes to choose from, incorporating HTML5. However, the free version is more than capable of displaying professional author bio boxes on your WordPress website.
With the About Author author bio box plugin, you must first create a shortcode that includes your choice of template style and the information you want to include in your template, and then you configure your author settings and select the template you have created.
This can feel a little confusing at first, but it gives you the option of configuring and using multiple post author templates throughout your site, including posts, pages, sidebars, etc.
With the free version, you can create functional author bio boxes with customizable font, color, and social media options but you are limited to two template styles, two profile image layouts, and a few other restrictions. The Pro version gives you 10 design author templates, more profile image layouts, more social media settings, profile header backgrounds, multiple author options for images, widgets, and shortcodes, responsive design, and more.
The plugin developers claim that Molongui Authorship “provides you all the missing features you might need to properly manage and credit all the contributors to your site.”
This may not be an exaggerated claim. This comprehensive and feature-rich author box plugin is suitable for all types of WordPress sites, especially sites featuring multi-authors, co-authors, and guest authors.
The plugin’s settings screen has a number of tabs for configuring and customizing a wide range of options from layouts, templates, typography, avatars, and social media icons, to SEO metadata, byline modifiers, conditional logic, shortcodes, and more. It also integrates with the WordPress Theme Customizer.
Choose the free version of the plugin if you just want to display an enhanced author box on your site. If your strategy depends on attracting content authors or promoting multi-authoring, guest authoring, or co-authoring on your site, then the premium version unlocks a range of additional elements and advanced customization features (like shortcodes and the ability to make links ‘nofollow’) that will let you dive deep under the hood to tinker, tweak, and finetune your author bio box settings to your heart’s content.
The premium version also includes export/import settings tools, REST API, and access to premium support (in case you run into a tragedy).
Co-Authors Plus is another plugin you can install if you collaborate with multiple authors on the same post and need an easy way to give all authors credit.
Co-Authors Plus isn’t an ‘author bio box’ plugin in the sense that it helps you define the design and structure of author bio elements. Instead, this plugin makes it simple to credit more than one person for the creation of an article. As such, this plugin is great if you plan to publish articles with two or more authors and want to give both equal credit for their contributions.
The plugin upgrades the core authors meta box, which is displayed on the edit post and page screens. This lets you search for existing users on your blog and then add them as a co-author for the post or page you are working on. You can drag and drop the authors that have been added to a post in order to change the order their bio boxes are displayed in when your post is published.
When you assign a co-author to a post or page, they can then edit that page according to their WordPress user role settings.
Another interesting feature of this plugin is the ability to add bylines without having to create a user account for each author. This makes it easy to create guest author accounts, allows you to credit guest posters by giving them a byline, and eliminates the need to create an actual user account for one-time authors who submit content for your WordPress site or blog.
Note: To display multiple bio boxes on a single post, you will need to manually add some code to your theme’s templates files, so bear this in mind before downloading and installing this plugin. If you don’t mind messing with code, there is helpful documentation on the plugin’s site to help you achieve this without drama.
Also, if you are using the Genesis theme framework on your website, then you will want to install the Genesis Co-Authors Plus plugin. This free tool works alongside this plugin, enabling support for multiple author boxes on a single post.
Meks Smart Author Widget lets you display your author/user profile info inside a WordPress widget.
The widget provides a range of flexible display options, including custom avatar size, linking avatar image and user display name to author archive page (you can also override the author link URL and link to any page or URL you like), and a smart feature that can auto-detect and display the current post author on single post and author templates.
Note: This plugin provides only an author box widget. To display the author info on a widgetized area of your site (e.g. your sidebar) and within your posts/pages, we recommend installing both this plugin and one of the other plugins listed in this post.
Hiding the Original Author Box
Many themes already include an author box, and if this is your case, then you will probably find that the plugins above add a second author box to your pages.
This was the case when I tried creating this post using the WordPress Twenty Twenty theme.
Of course, you don’t want two author boxes displaying throughout your site, so in order to remove the original author box, you will need to dig into your code a little.
As always, if you’re making changes to your theme, it’s better to use a child theme.
In order to remove the default author box for your theme, you will need to find out where the code is located. Most often author boxes will show up on your single post pages, and so you will want to check your single.php file and search around for the code that pulls in your author box.
In many themes, however, the single.php pulls in other files, and the code you need will be in one of those other files.
For example, when searching for themes that I could use for testing, I looked at the WordPress Twenty Twenty theme. I didn’t find information about my author box, but I found that the
singular.php file (normally
single.php in most themes) pulls in a file called
content, which looked like what I wanted.
I then went to the
content.php file and tracked down the code that was displaying my author box.
Depending on the theme, this could be just a little bit or a lot of code. With the Twenty Twenty theme, it was just a little bit of code.
I could simply delete that code. (Again, remember that using a child theme is best. You could just copy the original content.php file into your child theme and then delete the part you need to delete.)
Here’s the code I would want to delete in the Twenty Twelve theme.
Here’s an example:
This worked. Now, the Twenty Twenty theme displays just one author bio box … the one we have added via the plugin.
And that’s it. If you’d like to spice up your author profiles, methinks one of the above plugins should work out for you – making your bios stand out a little more and hooking these up to the authors’ social profiles at the same time. Try them. You may love all, trust a few, and do wrong to none.