Showing post author in WordPress isn’t that hard. Actually, it’s already there, embedded into practically every theme you can think of. Once you get your user profile ready, it only takes seconds to navigate to posts and to publish one for testing purposes. And if you check out the author of the post, you can see your username already attached to the post.
But what f you need to assign more than one author for specific posts? Unfortunately, WordPress won’t allow you to do that because its default settings allow only one author per post.
While we were on the hunt for WordPress plugins which would enable us to assign more than one author in our posts, we’ve always ended up with Co-Author Plus plugin. Although we tried to avoid it since the plugin hasn’t been updated for more than 2 years (which is quite much in WordPress universe) we gave it a chance. And to be honest, we couldn’t find anything wrong with it. Although not updated, the plugin works as expected.
What does that mean? Once you install Co-Authors Plus, a new meta box will appear underneath your posts, pages and custom posts. If you navigate to the box, you will be able to select authors for that post/page by using drag&drop technique. If you have way too many authors to select from, the plugin will autocomplete authors’ names if you started to write them down.
Create a guest author:
Since one of the biggest reasons for wanting multiple authors on one posts is having guest writers, Co-Authors Plus allow you to create one:
- Go to Users -> Guest Authors
- Click on “Add New” button found on top of the screen
- Write author’s name, contact info, bio and add a picture if you want to
- Save changes
Your new author will be stored in a database and you will be able to select his or hers name from the drop-down list. Still, if you navigate to Users -> All Users, you won’t see any of guest authors among them. Why? Simply because these guests aren’t your typical users who can log in. They even won’t get a password, but they can be only selected if their name is typed into “Authors” meta-box created by the plugin.
This part was easy, right? But you still have few more steps to do in order to actually show your new authors on posts and pages. WordPress works only with the_author() function and this plugin requires you to change that in template files. Instead of the standard function which will retrieve only the standard author, you can use one of the following functions:
coauthors() – show only authors’ name without any links attached
coauthors_posts_links() – Shows first and last names and adds links to them
coauthors_firstnames() – Shows first names only
coauthors_lastnames() – Shows last names only
If you were about to change template tags, you would use this function depending on the theme you’re using:
if(function_exists('coauthors_posts_links')) coauthors(); else the_author_posts_link();
You should change the standard function in index.php, archive.php, categories.php, single.php or page.php templates if you want to show multiple authors across the entire theme.
In the end, it does take a little bit more work to get everything working with this plugin, but it is still one of the best free solutions for assigning multiple authors for WordPress posts and pages.
Now that you have multiple authors assigned to your posts, you might also be interested in creating a list of your top contributing authors on the site.