As your blog begins to grow, an effective way to build on its early successes is to bring in additional writers to contribute alongside you. Hopefully as the number of visitors who find their way to your blog increases, you are able to find ways to monetise the site and start generating an income from your project.
While it might be tempting to pocket the cash and sit back and enjoy the new source of income, a more prudent way to use the extra revenue would be to hire a freelance writer or two in order to increase the amount of content that can be added to site. As time goes by, you can slowly extract yourself from the day to day running of the site, including regular content creation duties, by letting others take on these roles, freeing up your time to work on other tasks or projects.
While WordPress makes it very easy to bring other contributors onto your team, with the process for creating additional accounts being very straightforward, when it comes to managing a successful multiple author blog, there is a bit more to be considered than just giving your new writers a login to the site.
In this post we will be looking at a feature packed free WordPress plugin that makes the transition from a single author to a multi-contributor blog a much smoother and easier process to manage. While there is a lot more involved in the transition than just choosing the right technology, such as selecting and successfully working with your new co-authors, we will cover those aspects on another day, but for now let’s take a closer look at Edit Flow.
How to Use Edit Flow to Manage Multiple Authors
This free plugin has been downloaded over 60,000 times and has an impressive 4.9 out of 5 star rating. It’s been updated many times and on a regular basis in order to add new features and ensure compatibility with the latest version of WordPress. This indicates that it’s a safe choice when selecting a plugin to provide key functionality for your multiple author WordPress blog. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at how Edit Flow can help you successful manage a multiple author blog.
Installing the plugin is very straightforward, simply search for ‘Edit Flow’ from the Plugins > Add New page of your self-hosted WordPress site, install and then activate it.
Once installed the plugin adds a new menu item to the admin dashboard sidebar entitled as you would expect ‘Edit Flow’. From here you can access the eight main areas that help you ‘redefine your WordPress publishing workflow’.
By default each of the eight features are enabled but they can easily be turned off should you deem it necessary to do so.
Out of the box, WordPress only has a few possible options for the status of a post. These are draft, pending review and published. With Edit Flow installed your site will now have the additional post statuses of:
- Pitch: idea proposed by a contributor that is waiting for approval
- Assigned: post idea that has been assigned to a contributor
- In Progress: contributor is working on the post
- Draft: post is a draft and is not ready for review or publication
- Pending Review: waiting to be reviewed by an editor
Of course, with Edit Flow, all of these can be edited and custom statuses can be created to suit your site’s workflow. These could include individual editor tasks such as grammar check or admin tasks such as adding links, images to the posts and setting the tags and categories if these aren’t assigned by your writers. These custom post statuses are used in the calendar making it easy to see what the status is of any posts that have been added or scheduled.
Edit Flow Calendar
The calendar functionality that is part of Edit Flow allows you to view the content that has been added or is scheduled to be added to your site during a specific date range. The calendar can be accessed from the main ‘Dashboard’ menu item sub-menu. The settings for the calendar allow you to set the number of weeks to be shown and the date range. It is also possible to filter the content by user, category and post status.
This feature is very useful for editors and contributors as it easily allows them to see any posts that have been assigned to them or those that are scheduled for a certain date. If you want your site to stick to a predetermined posting schedule then the Edit Flow calendar is a vital feature.
If your email inbox is in a permanent state of overflow then the editorial comments feature of Edit Flow will be a welcome addition to your workflow. With this feature enabled, editors and writers can discuss an article in the ‘Edit Post’ window underneath the post, adding any comments or amendments that are required.
This not only helps keep your inbox free of post discussion but it also makes the feedback on a certain post easy to locate as it is posted directly on the admin side of the post window. For those who want to be kept up to date with any editorial comments left, it is possible to get an email notification when a note is left. While this might end up temporarily clogging up your inbox, they can be safely deleted as the actual comment is stored on the site.
This is a very important feature for those wishing to simplify the process of managing a multiple author blog using WordPress. This feature adds a metabox to the ‘Edit Post’ screen and it can contain information about the post such as what it should include and how to structure the content. The default fields are relate to what should be included in the content of the post, the due date, whether the post needs a photo or not and the word count required.
However, with this plugin, you can easily create new fields for providing guidance to your writers. These could include a field which contains pages that the writer must link to in the article, which images to use, where to find information on the topic or anything else you could think of. Amongst the options, the fields can be text, checkboxes or dates. The visibility of the metaboxes can be set to viewable by all site users or just those working directly on the post.
Without notifications, your team will have to keep logging in to the site to see what they need to do. This makes enabling notifications highly recommended for Edit Flow in order to make it as affective at managing a multi-author WordPress site as it could be. From notifying the editor when a new post has been submitted for approval, to letting an author know when their content has been published, this feature is very useful.
This feature allows you to view the forthcoming scheduled content for your blog. With Edit Flow this is called the story budget and it’s a way to see a list of all the upcoming posts due to be published in one easy to read place. The posts can be filtered by status, category and user.
The Story Budget is handy for editors to have access to in order to get a quick but detailed overview of the current progress of the site’s scheduled content. The Story Budget can be accessed from the main ‘Dashboard’ menu item sub-menu.
Edit Flow is an essential WordPress plugin for those about to bring in additional writers to help them with the content creation duties for their site. Even if you don’t plan on turning your blog into a multi-author site, some of the features of this multi-author tool, such as the calendar and custom post statuses can come in very handy for a single author WordPress site.