How to Enable Author Bio Boxes on WordPress

An author bio is now an accepted trend on the web, especially on multi-author sites. It establishes reputation and trust, which isn’t quite there when all you know is the author’s name. It can also make the reading experience more personal.

But a good bio box should be eye catching and attractive. It doesn’t help to have a bio if no one notices it. So here are the possible ways to make it work:

Enabling author bio with plugins

The easiest way to make and display an author bio is to use a plugin. You may be giving up a bit of control that programming provides, but it is probably the most efficient option nonetheless. Here are three of the best ones:

Fancier Author Box

Fancier Author Box is one of the better looking and full featured plugins out there. You can basically change any possible option you would need. The plugin displays icons for almost any major social network and the author’s gravatar. It also displays job information and an extra tab which displays the author’s latest posts. Each author can choose whether or not to display their bio on posts. The colors of each element are customizable.

WP Biographia

WP Biographia lets you display an author bio throughout the website. You can choose when and where to have it displayed. The border style, background color and the amount of user information in the Biography Box are customizable. WP Biographia displays links to most major social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.

Social Author Bio

Social Author Bio displays the bio box (plus the author’s avatar) along with built-in and custom social icons on pages/posts. Google+ Authorship is fully integrated, so your Google+ avatar will show up in search results. There is complete control over the HTML and CSS that produce the Social Author Bio. Additionally, a shortcode can be used to place the box. The location and basically every aspect of the bio box can be customized.

Enabling author bio like a pro (!) – programming

So we’ve gone over a few of the plugin options for creating author bios. Now let’s go over some, perhaps more difficult, programming solutions.

1. Adding Authors to WordPress.

First off, you need to login to the WordPress dashboard and go to the Users menu. Click on Add New.

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Fill out the New User form with as much information as possible. The more information you put in, the more information will be shown to visitors. The user will then be able to login to your site and fill out their profile.

2. Editing the Author Profile.

Once the user logs in, they can go to Users -> Your Profile to fill out their information.

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They can fill out the above form with all their contact and biographical information.

Under the contact information area in the user profile, the user can enter their website address, making it easy to link back to them from a post.

That’s all well and good, but many people want to display links to their social media profiles too. This can be added to the users biographical area, but it means they’ll need to type in the HTML by themselves.

By default WordPress doesn’t come with input boxes available to add this user information in the contact area. However, we can add a snippet in the functions.php file to create new input boxes so the user can enter their social media information.

3. Adding Social Media Information to the User Profile.

Copy the code below into the functions.php file to add input boxes for the user social media profiles.

(Note. Always double check your current setup before including the following lines. The theme you’re currently using, or the plugins, could have already enabled some additional social media fields in the user profile.)

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Go back to the user profile form and you’ll see new input boxes to add this information.

You’ll also be able to access this data anywhere in your theme by using the get_the_author_meta() function.

4. Creating the Author Bio.

If the user has filled out all the information on the profile page, you should have enough data to create an author bio under all posts they write.

This will be done in the single.php file since we want it to appear under all posts.

Find the the_content() function. All of the author information will go after this point.

In the author area, we need to include the following elements:

The Author’s Name

To display the author’s name, we have a choice between using three different WordPress functions:

  • get_the_author() – Returns the author’s display name.
  • the_author_link() – Returns the author’s display name with a link to the author’s website.
  • the_author_posts_link() – Returns the author’s display name with a link to the author’s about page on your WordPress site.

In this tutorial, we’re going to use the the_author_link() function, so it displays a link to the author’s website too.

The Author’s Image

We’re going to use the author’s gravatar as the image. If they ever change the gravatar, it’ll change for all previous posts too.

To add the author’s gravatar, we can use the WordPress function get_avatar($email, $size). This takes two arguments: email address and size. We can get the author’s email address by using the WordPress function get_the_author_meta( ’email’ ).

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The Author’s Bio

The bio is the description provided by the author. We can get this content by using the get_the_author_meta($meta) function.

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The Author’s Website

To get the author’s website, we use the same function again, but ask for the website address by using get_the_author_meta($meta) function.

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The Author’s Social Media Profiles

We added the social media profiles functionality earlier. We can now access the profiles by using the get_the_author_meta() function. With this data, we are going to create a list of all these profiles so we can display them next to each other. As such, we need to check if this content is set before we add it to the page. The below snippet shows how to get this data.

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The Full Author Bio Code

Now that we know how to get all this data, we can put it together to create the author bio area. Place the below code just after the the_content() function in your single.php file.

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How do you handle author bio boxes on your blog right now? Do you display them at all?