That was actually a question posted at the SME networking clubs that I’ve joined recently, I thought it’s useful if I put my answer on the blog as I already knew a few of you are actually running multi-authors blogs, and many are accepting guest posts, I had to expand my answer and add more details on how to handle guest bloggers. So, I will take you through three ways to manage guest bloggers, each way has its own difficulty level, pros and cons. You choose what’s way work best for you and fits your needs.
Ways to Handle Guest Bloggers
Before we start, I know many bloggers wants to get others to write for their blogs, I bet some of you are still wondering why guest blogging is not working for their blogs. Anyways, I just want to make sure that you know how hard work it takes to grow your blog, it’s not easy to manage a multi-authors blog unless you have a good plan, good design, great community around your blog, and most importantly is that you must be ready to spend quite enough time to develop and manage your blog.
Here is a post I wrote a while ago that has useful recommendations on building and designing a multi-authors blog.
Just one more important thing..
In most cases, you will need to have a page on your blog for geust blogging information, guidelines and rules, you can take a look to our guest blogging page as an example.
Now, let’s talk about ways to handle guest bloggers.
Method #1 The Easy Way to Handle Guest Bloggers
I call it the easy way because it doesn’t require any technical work from your side, but from the other side it takes more communications work between you and your guest authors. This way is useful when you don’t want to have your guest bloggers register to the blog, or have any access to your dashboard, so basically all what you need to have is a simply way to communicate, for example: a simple contact form, or maybe just include your contact info somewhere so contributors can get in touch with you.
This way works simply like this: contributors email you and attach the article with their bio, and you publish it like any other blog post under your own account, of course you should include their bio and credentials manually in the post.
Pros – This way is easy! Technically speaking, there is no need for extra plugins and any type of special development.
Cons – Here are some things that I don’t like about this method:
- You don’t keep any contact in your WP blog, all contacts are done via email.
- There is no user profiles
- You do all the work manually!
Method #2 User Registration Required
This time you want to register authors and allow them to have an account, this is useful when you want to display their bio and links somewhere on their posts, also have a page for each author on your blog, which I think is a good idea, by doing this you automate the process and makes it easy for yourself to manage guest bloggers.
Here are two posts that could help in this stage:
- Adding Custom Fields in WordPress User Profiles
- Customize WP Author Archive Page (Thesis Theme Tutorial)
Now that authors are registered, and by giving them the right capabilities, they can simply submit their guest posts.
Here are some notes:
- Allow registration (anyone can register), and set level to subscriber.
- Ask them to get in touch so you will get to know them (avoid spammers), then upgrade their account to contributors. (why contributors?)
- Contributors are allowed to submit posts as pending for review, yes they can see other posts and stuff inside WP dashboard, but they don’t have control over it, means they don’t have capability to edit, change or delete anything. (not a big deal if they can see other posts, however this will be solved only if you follow the method #3)
- Once you get a pending for review post, you can then check, edit and publish it on your blog.
- You can also install some useful plugins to assist you, for example:
- (Role Manager by Thomas Schneider, which gives you control on who can do what, really useful plugin)
- (WP Status Notifier, by iDope, sends notification by email to contributors about status of their posts)
- (Peter’s Post Notes, by Peter Keung, allow editorial notes)
- (Great pens widget, for Thesis) maybe consider is as some sort of promotion
P.S. Plugins mentioned above are tested and recommended, I personally use them on my blog for more than 2 years now, however you can find other useful plugins that dose the same job by searching the WP plugins directory.
Pros – This method is great for these reason:
- More control over the blog while automating part of the publishing process.
- Each contributor has a profile, they can edit it by themselves any time.
- You can grab and display author bio and social profiles on posts.
- You can mass email all users at once to send them updates and news. (check out Emu2 – Email Users 2 plugin)
Cons – This method is great, but needs adjustments, you will discover issues by time based on your niche and audiences:
- Pay attention to spam if you are allowing anyone to register, (using some plugin like SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam is useful)
- Users may have access to some part of your WordPress dashboard (will talk about this in method #3)
- Still this method require a lot of work (one of my own problems).
Method #3 More Advanced Way to Handle Guest Bloggers
If you want to have more control of your blog, protect it from spammers, and disallow guest bloggers to get into your blog’s dashboard, but at the same time still having them as registered users, then this is probably the most way I can think of. However, it requires heavy work from your side to get everything to work together correctly.
The idea here is to use a plugin like “Gravity forms” and their nice “User Registration Add-On” plus the other plugins mention in method #2.
Not sure if I can explain the whole process with more details here, but it’s still useful if I can outline the main idea for you, so here you go:
- Make sure to implement Custom Fields in WordPress User Profiles
- Set your blog to “no one can register” (we will use Gravity Forms to do the job)
- Create a form to register members. (see example form on our blog)
- Create a form to submit posts; this form will actually work on the front end, so no one can access your WP dashboard. You can set post submission to be pending for review. (It’s more advanced setup) , but Gravity Forms has a really good support, I am sure they will help you out.
- Use some plugin to limit access to dashboard for contributors, for example:
- Adminimize (extremely useful plugin, full control on who sees what!)
Pros – Simply this is the best way to handle guest bloggers in my opinion.
Cons – The only issue that I see is this method requires a huge amount of effort and time, it could take a couple of months (based on your needs) to develop a really easy to manage and fully automated multi-authors blog, oh! and be ready to spend some money on premium plugins, and get a good theme framework, in this case I would recommend either Thesis or Genesis, free stuff won’t help.
After two years of running a multi-authors blog and dealing a lot with guest bloggers I came up with a conclusion, the best way to handle guest bloggers is to actually have them registered to the blog, this is not only good for managing things, but it’s extremely useful to for building community, especially if you want your guest bloggers to contribute more often for your blog.
I am at still in the middle of creating a perfect multi-authors blog. One of my blogging goals is to make FamousBloggers.net a better blog.
I hope this help in any way.