There’s a certain level of trust that is gained when an audience learns more about an author after reading his work. An author bio, first seen on book covers, is a long way to learn about content that we consume. On blogs and websites, an author bio box serves this purpose. These digital author bios include a photo of the author along with a few sentences about him and his work or accomplishments.
For website owners, author bios are a great way to reward writers for their work by giving them proper credit and exposure since these bios can include links to a writers website or social profile. If you’re interested to add author bios for your WordPress site, you’ll be glad to know that there are a lot of choices for the WordPress author bio plugins.
WordPress Author Bio Plugins
#1 Sexy Author Bio
Sexy Author Bio works for single or multi-user sites. It enables users to add their avatar, social profiles (23 networks including Twitter, Facebook and Google+) and actual biographical information from the Settings -> Users page in the WordPress dashboard.
Avatars are generated thru a Gravatar account, or a URL to an image can be used instead. The avatar size can be adjusted, and it can be linked to any specified URL.
This plugin allows for flexible customization, down to every style element that makes up the author box: font face, color, style, etc. If you want to have freedom designing an author bio, this plugin is a great choice.
#2 Fancier Author Box
Fancier Author Box has all the essential features of an author box, but it adds a Latest Posts tab to the box that displays an author’s most recent posts. This is set by default, and you can only customize the tab’s color and style, but not the content.
The box can be shown at the top, bottom or both in posts or pages. Custom post types are also recognized and can be configured under the Global Settings page found in Settings -> Fancier Box.
In addition to the 13 social networks (doesn’t include Blogger or WordPress), a user can link to his company website and include his job title. Avatars are shown via a Gravatar account. A paid version is required to upload a custom image.
Built with HTML5 and integrated Google Authorship, Starbox calls itself the Author Box for Humans. Similar to Fancier, the author box also comes with a Latest Posts tab.
For multiple author sites, each author can customize their author bio including which social networks to include or the design of their author bio box itself. An author can also link to 11 social profiles (including Klout) and his company website. Avatars are generated by uploading an image file in Users settings.
Boxes can be placed at the top or bottom of a post. One box theme allows a slide down author box at the top of the post, so the box remains hidden unless the arrow beside the author’s name is clicked.
#4 Simple Author Box
Simple Author Box lives up to its name with a minimalist and clean design. While the overall look is one that’s modest, there are surprisingly a lot of customization options under the hood. Google fonts are available for texts within the box. Colors for text, box elements and even social icons can be customized.
The default avatar source is Gravatar, with no option to upload your own image. There are 30 social network fields you can fill in the Users settings page. While the default box position is at the end of a post, there is an option to manually embed the box in the template file single.php or author.php.
#5 WP Author Box
The free version of WP Author Box has customization options, one extra tab for Latest Posts, Facebook and Google authorship, responsive design and can be added to the top, bottom or both positions in a post.
The premium version ($17), on the other hand, offers more interesting features. There’s an option to add unlimited tabs that can mean more information about an author. You can add a contact form in one of the tabs using Gravity Forms or Contact Form 7, making it easy to communicate with the author directly.
In addition to placing the author box on top or bottom of posts, you can add it to the sidebar via widget or anywhere else in your site with a shortcode. For multiple author sites, there’s more control over which users get access to the author box settings, and an author can be featured using the Top Author widget.
AuthorSure may not offer a lot of design options for its author box, but it does compensate for other features not found in most other WordPress author bio plugins.
For one, this author box plugin is designed to link a byline (the name that appears under a post or page title) to an author page using rel=”author”. For this, you would need to create a page for an author to link to.
The same link to an author page can also be applied to the author name in the author bio box. Also, author pages can be related to Google+ profiles using rel=”me”. If you want more control over where your author boxes appear, there’s an option to use a shortcode. You can also display all author boxes in one place using another shortcode.
#7 Attractive Author Box
Attractive Author Box is a premium author box WP plugin ($15) that comes with 24 skins and custom tabs, this plugin is great if you don’t want to spend too much time tweaking the design for your author box.
Social profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn) can be shown in their separate tabs, with an option to select which ones to enable or disable. There’s also a custom tab option for modifying content inside a tab. In addition to placement on top or bottom of posts and pages, the author box can be placed in feeds or anywhere else in the site using a shortcode.
#8 Birds Author Box
Birds Author Box has a simple, tabbed-style design for displaying social links and latest posts in addition to the author bio.
Settings are accessed by going to Users -> Birds Author Box. Here you can configure the author box placement (top or bottom of post or page), enable or disable tabs for social media and latest posts, add a photo (upload of image allowed), choose an avatar style (can be square or round) and choose icon sets for social profile links.
Not a lot can be done for the author box’s design, so unless the default minimal look of Birds is what you’re going for, it’s best to go with other WordPress plugins that offer more flexibility.
#9 Elite Members
For $12, Elite Members plugin will enable multiple authors to manage their own author boxes from the WordPress admin page. There are three author box layouts which can be shown automatically on the bottom of posts, using a widget or anywhere on the site via shortcode or template tags.
Top contributors can be featured using a time-based shortcode to be inserted on a separate page or anywhere else on the site. The author box design can be modified, including avatar shapes, text and background colors.
#10 Custom About Author plugin
If you want to acknowledge guest contributors in your site but don’t wish to create a user for each author, Custom About Author plugin solves that problem. A separate user profile is created for the guest author under Users -> Custom Authors. Here, any admin can add a profile for the guest author. You can specify the author’s biographical information, link to website and social profiles and Gravatar email address.
Once done, this information can be applied into the guest post using the Custom Field option below the Post Editor. Look for “post-author” in the drop down and select the author profile you have previously created. The purpose of this WordPress author bio plugin is for the site admin to do all the back-end work for guest authors, thus ensuring uniformity and security in displaying author boxes.
SEE ALSO: Useful WordPress Star Rating Plugins
Most author box features are similar, but some do stand out whether from a design or function standpoint. Now that you’ve seen more about each WordPress plugin, the choice is now up to you.
The key to choosing the right plugin depends on which features you find are the most important ones that you must have for authors. For some, being able to link to a particular social network that’s not as popular (like Klout or Github) may be one prerequisite for an author bio. Others might want design flexibility and responsiveness.
No matter your preferences, you should always check to see that your chosen plugin gives authors the credit and recognition they deserve by allowing them to link to their website, products or services, share more information about their work and let them be seen in their photos.
Authors are essential to websites and blogs, and it’s only right that they are recognized in the places that they write. If you own a blog, an author box plugin is one of the best things you can add for your authors.