Displaying an author bio at the end of your WordPress blog posts is one way in which you can:
- Build credibility and authority. Mentioning career achievements, general background and anything that builds your authority with your visitors can boost shares and opt-in levels.
- Help build your list. Use the space to link to a suitable lead magnet that visitors can download in exchange for their email address.
- Boost social followers. Author bio boxes can include social icons with links to your social profiles, encouraging visitors to connect with you. This is more useful where for example you have different authors contributing to the content on your blog.
Some WordPress themes have built-in support for author bio boxes. But not all.
So what do you do if you want to show the author’s bio box at the end of every blog post, but your theme doesn’t support it by default?
The main options are to:
- Edit your theme directly.
- Use a suitable WordPress plugin.
Let’s look at these in turn.
Edit Your Theme
Editing your theme isn’t an approach I would recommend.
Firstly, you need to know what you’re doing. A small coding error can break your site, potentially even making all your content invisible.
Secondly, themes are regularly updated in order to keep your site secure and to keep up with the latest WordPress developments.
Whenever you update your theme, this would overwrite any changes you had previously made and mean you would have to re-do them each and every time.
This is an unpleasant overhead that is best avoided if at all possible. Luckily you can avoid this by simply choosing to…
Use a WordPress Plugin
One major benefit of using WordPress is that thousands of freely available plugins enable you to customize your site in virtually unlimited ways quickly, easily and without any need for coding knowledge.
Sure enough, there are plenty of plugins available that allow you to add an author bio to your blog posts, regardless of whether your theme supports it.
If your theme does support author bios, most will still allow you to turn off the feature and use a plugin instead. For example, you may prefer the features provided by a plugin to those provided within your theme.
A quick search on Google reveals several possibilities for author box plugins:
It’s often easier however to search directly through WordPress’s plugin directory:
You can do the same directly through WordPress’s dashboard, via Plugins > Add New on the menu and then similarly searching for what you need:
This latter option has the advantage of showing you whether or not a listed plugin is compatible with your version of WordPress:
You’ll usually find a number of plugins to choose from, depending on the functionality you’re looking for. Before selecting and installing one, there are a few things I usually look at:
- The rating. Reputable plugins will have a star rating of some kind. Unless the plugin has a 4 or 5 star rating, it’s probably best to stay away. Also, note the number of ratings given. The higher the number of ratings, the more meaningful the rating is.
- The number of installs. Where a large number of people have installed the plugin, it’s likely to have been around for a while, be well regarded and be a relatively safe bet for you to install.
- Update frequency. WordPress is updated frequently, and plugins need to be updated too in order to maintain their compatibility and security. When a plugin hasn’t been updated for several months or even years, it’s a clear sign that the developer is no longer supporting it. It’s unlikely to be compatible with the latest WordPress version, and could even introduce security issues for your blog. So look for plugins that are regularly updated.
WordPress Author Box Plugin Review
Searching for an author box plugin on WordPress revealed over a thousand such plugins. To save you wading through them all, I have reviewed what I consider to be the top three options as follows.
Author Bio Box
This plugin creates a basic looking author bio box along with social icons:
At the time of writing, it has a five star rating from nearly ten reviews, and has been installed over 4,000 times. In another good sign, it’s also updated on a regular basis.
Once installed, you can adjust the settings via Settings > Author Bio Box on the WordPress menu.
The available settings are as follows:
Here’s an example bio box I created using the plugin:
It’s basic, but straightforward to use. Social icons will display based on which social profiles you have entered information for on the user profile within WordPress.
One drawback I found is that the plugin expects the full link to your social profile to be entered into WordPress. For most, this works fine but for Twitter, it doesn’t work at all as WordPress only retains your Twitter handle.
So on entering e.g. https://twitter.com/vwriterit, WordPress changes this to just vwriterit. The handle is then used for the link for the social icon, linking incorrectly to http://vwriterit.
If you have social icons elsewhere on your blog and don’t particularly need them in the bio box itself on a per author basis – or don’t use Twitter – this won’t be a problem. Otherwise, you will need to use a different plugin for now.
This is a more upmarket plugin with a long list of features and a more professional look and feel. The Latest Posts tab also helps to keep visitors browsing on your site for longer:
The author box is also responsive, so adjusts well depending on the device used.
Themes allow you to change the look and feel, and you can even place the bio at the top of posts if you want to.
There is also good support for multiple authors. Different authors can have different themes, and you can choose not to display the author box for certain authors.
A preview function lets you check the settings before making it live on your website.
The free version of the plugin allows you to add social icons for Twitter and Facebook, as well as access to ‘priority support’.
If you want to add additional social profiles, there is a paid version of the plugin, currently available for a one-off payment of around $30.
The fact there is a paid version is a good sign. It means the developers will make the free version the best it can be in order to attract paid users. It has a ton of very positive reviews, over 10,000 active installs, and is updated very regularly.
My only criticism is that it’s unclear if any additional functionality is available in the paid version other than more social icons, and additional support. But even then, for blogs that get a decent amount of traffic, upgrading is likely to be well worth it.
All in all, it’s a high quality, solid plugin that I’d certainly recommend.
Simple Author Box
One thing I like about this plugin is the clean, professional design, and the number of style settings you are given access to.
The settings allow you for example to choose between a square and round profile picture, and various options for the social icons.
It has a 4-star rating from 20 reviews so far, is active on over 10,000 blogs, and is updated regularly.
Again, the design is responsive, and displays well on smaller mobile devices as well as PCs.
There are however no options for displaying the box differently according to the author of the post. So if you operate a multi-author blog and need more flexibility, the best option is likely to be #2 above.
All in all though, it’s another solid choice for displaying an attractive looking author box for the posts on your blog.
So that’s three plugins you can choose from to display an author bio box at the end of all your posts within the next five minutes. Remember to get the cheatsheet you need to help do that.