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How to Credit Multiple Authors (Co-Authors) for Posts in WordPress

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How to Credit Multiple Authors (Co-Authors) for Posts in WordPress

When it comes to online publishing, WordPress is the go-to choice for individuals and large multi-author publications alike. While managing your site, you might have to manage guest contributors, or even multiple contributors working on the same article. The problem is that you want to give credit where credit is due but you also want to manage a smooth editorial workflow and control on the website. In this article, we will show you how to credit multiple authors or co-authors for a post in WordPress. We will also show you how to manage guest authors without creating user accounts.

First thing you need to do is install and activate the plugin Co-Authors Plus. It is a free plugin which enables you to credit guest authors and contributors without even creating a WordPress account for them. Most importantly, it allows you to assign co-authors where you credit multiple authors for the same post.

Upon activation, the plugin adds a “Guest Authors” item under the Users menu in your admin sidebar. Go to Users » Guest Authors. There you can add new guest authors. You can use this feature to add guest authors and credit them in the post without ever creating a user account for them. This is a very handy feature because often guest authors are not regular contributors.

Add Guest Author Screen for Co-Author Plus

To credit the contributors of their work, you need to go to the post edit screen. You will see a new meta box which allows you to choose authors for the specific post. This allows you to add guest authors or even multiple authors (co-authors). By default, if you are the logged in user editing the post, this plugin will add your credits there as well. But you can easily remove that if you did not contribute to the post.

Assign Multiple Authors

Adding Co-Authors Plus Template Tags

By default, all WordPress themes use the_author() template tag to display author information below each post. Your template files would need to be updated to use Co-Authors Plus template tags instead of the_author() template tag. Here is the safest way to do this.

First create a backup of your current theme. Then open your single.php file in your theme and look for the code the_author() or related author tags. Here is a list of commonly used author tags in WordPress themes.

Then you need to replace those tags with the Co-Author Plus template tags. Below is a list of Co-Authors Plus template tags:

  • coauthors() – Displays the first and last name of each co-author without any links.
  • coauthors_posts_links() – Displays the first and last name of reach co-author with links to their profile page.
  • coauthors_firstnames() – Displays the first name of co-authors.
  • coauthors_lastnames() – Displays the last name of co-authors.

An example replacement code would look like this:

if ( function_exists( 'coauthors_posts_links' ) ) {
    coauthors_posts_links();
} else {
    the_author_posts_link();
}

The code above checks if the co-authors plus plugin is available. If it is, then it shows the author names and profile links. If not, then it fallbacks to the default WordPress hooks.

Depending on the structure of your theme, you might need to do this in your index.php, archive.php, categories.php, and page.php file. Note: in some themes, you might only have to edit the content.php file or just the loop.php file. If you are using a child theme, then please rely on the appropriate hooks for the framework. We cannot possibly cover all the available theme frameworks that are out there.

Co-Authors Plus does an excellent job at managing a multiple authors on single blog posts without creating actual WordPress accounts for the users. Being an open source software, WordPress gives you the freedom to do the same thing in many different ways and it is always interesting to know about other ways people are doing the same thing. So if you have found some other solution to credit multiple authors on a single post, please let us know in the comments below.

Additional Resources

Co-Authors Plus Documentation

How to effectively attract and manage guest bloggers in WordPress.


Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress lovers led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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  • Saurabh

    Hello Syed!
    I just submitted my author-bio.php code. I wants to tell you that currently, without doing any tweaking, if I am crediting an article to contributor, it is working fine but not with those Guest Authors

  • Rajesh Magar

    Thanks Syed,
    I just wanted to confirm that is this feature already come embedded in Genesis framework child theme. Or I need to make changes in that too.

    • http://www.wpbeginner.com Editorial Staff

      Not sure. Try it in your theme because that would be the easiest way to find out. Most likely, you would have to make modifications in Genesis.

  • Navneet

    This is a great plugin for blogs with huge number of contributors . But can we credit only a part of the post to another author .

    • http://www.wpbeginner.com Editorial Staff

      You can, but then you might as well just use citations.