Adding People to Your Site
A new WordPress website starts with only one member: you. You assume the role
of administrator, which means you can do anything from write a post to vaporize
the entire site. Eventually, you may decide to make room for company. Usually, you
make that decision because you want to work with co-authors, who will write posts
for your site.
Before you add someone to your site, though, you need to decide what privileges
that person will have. WordPress recognizes five roles, listed here in order of most
to least powerful:
• Administrator. Administrators can do absolutely everything. For example, if
you add a friend as an administrator to your site, he can remove you, delete
all your posts, and switch your site to a Hawaiian beach theme. WordPress
strongly recommends that every site have just one administrator, to prevent
• Editor. Editors have full control over all posts and pages. They can create their
own posts, and they can edit or delete any post, even ones they didn’t create.
Editors can also manage post categories and tags, upload files, and moderate
comments. They can’t change site settings, tweak the site’s layout and theme,
or manage users.
• Author. Authors have control over their own posts only. They can create new
ones and upload pictures, and they can edit or delete their posts anytime.
Everyone else’s content is off limits.
• Contributor. Contributors are a more limited form of author. They can create
draft posts, but they can’t actually publish them. Instead, contributors submit
their work for review, and an editor or administrator approves and publishes it.
Sadly, contributors can’t upload pictures, even for their own posts.
• Follower or Subscriber. These people can read posts and add comments. Word-
Press.com calls them followers, while WordPress.org calls them subscribers. If
you run a WordPress.com site, it automatically notifies your followers about
newly posted content (perhaps by email, depending on their personal preferences).
If you run a self-hosted site, your subscribers won’t get any notifications,
but they can opt in to an email subscription service.
NOTE In WordPress lingo, all of these different types of people—administrators, editors, authors, contributors,
and so on—are users. Technically, a user is any person who has an account on your site. This account identifies
the person and determines what he’s allowed to do. Everyone else is an ordinary, anonymous visitor.
The Role of a Subscriber
Why would I add subscribers? Can’t everyone read my posts
and make comments?
Ordinarily, there are no limits to who can read posts and write
comments. In that way, subscribers are no different from
regular, unregistered guests. Yes, subscribers may get email
notifications about your content (if your site is hosted on Word-
Press.com, or if you added the right plug-in to a WordPress.
org site). But they certainly won’t get any extra privileges.
However, the situation changes in these special cases:
• If you create a private site (page 397), every reader needs
a subscriber account. Without one, they won’t be able to
see anything on your site.
• If you restrict comments with the “Users must be
registered and logged in to comment” setting on a selfhosted
site, and you don’t allow Facebook or Twitter logins
(page 270), only subscribers can leave comments. This is
a pretty severe restriction, and few sites use it.
• If you add a social plug-in like BuddyPress (http://
buddypress.org), you want to give accounts to as many
people as possible in the hope that they exploit the plugin’s
enhanced features, like sharing content with friends
and chatting in discussion groups. That’ll make your site
feel more like a community.
Adding New People to a Self-Hosted Site
Using the dashboard, you can register new users, one at a time. You supply a few
key details (like a user name, password, and email address), and let your users take
it from there.
Here’s what to do:
1. Choose Users→Add New
2. Choose a good user name for the person you’re inviting..
3. Type in the person’s email address.
WordPress uses that address to send the person important notifications, including
NOTE The emails WordPress sends often end up in an email account’s junk folder, because they contain links.
You may need to tell new users to check their junk mail to find the messages with their WordPress credentials
4. Optionally, specify the person’s first name, last name, and website.
5. Type in a strong password
TIP If a frustrated user arrives at your site but doesn’t know his password, he can click “Lost your password?”
on the login page. WordPress emails him a link that lets him pick a new password.
6. Pick a role from the drop-down list.
7. Click Add New User.
WordPress creates the account, sends a notification email (if you chose the
“Send this password…” option), and takes you to the Users→All Users section
of the dashboard. There, you can review a list of everyone you ever added to
your site. Point to a user name, and you see two straightforward links—use Edit
to change the person’s account info and Delete to remove the account.
Helping Your Peeps Log In
To log into your site, users need to request the login page. That
means that if your site is at http://cantonschool.org, they need
to visit http://cantonschool.org/login. Alternatively, people
can go straight to the dashboard by requesting the wp-admin
page (as in http://cantonschool.org/wp-admin). In that case,
WordPress asks them to log in before they can continue.
If you have a lot of users who haven’t used WordPress before,
you may need to help them find the login or dashboard page.
Here are two good options:
• You can create your own welcome email message that
contains a link to the login page, and send it to everyone.
Use your favorite email program or get the Email Users
plug-in (http://tinyurl.com/emailusers), which lets you
send a mass email to all your users at once. This plug-in
is a big help if you don’t have their email addresses handy.
• You can add a link that goes to your login page. Put that
link in the main site menu, or add the link to a sidebar
using a Text widget (page 166) or a Custom Menu widget
(page 228). Make sure you give your link some descriptive
text that clearly explains why the person needs to log
in, like “Log in to write your own posts” or “Log in as a
You might want to add one other detail when you add a new user: changing the
name WordPress displays when that person contributes content.
When your site has a single author (you), there’s no reason to attach the author’s
name to every post. But once you have multiple people contributing to your site,
it’s important to distinguish one author’s work from another’s. The standard year
themes (like Twenty Twelve) handle this gracefully: As soon as your site publishes
posts from more than one person, it modifies the text it adds to every post to include
author information, like this:
This entry was posted in Uncategorized by mpm_site_admin. Bookmark the
Ordinarily, WordPress identifies a post author by his user name, which often makes
for a lousy byline. Fortunately, you can choose something more meaningful and