WordPress 101: Managing Users

Your readers are your bread and butter and how you decide to interact with them from the get go will determine how successful your blog becomes. Your blog cannot be successful without loyal readers. It needs to be easy for people to leave comments; if it’s a pain then you won’t get many comments.

Also, at some point you may decide to introduce contributors to your WordPress blog and you’re going to need a way to manage them. You don’t exactly want a contributor to have admin rights on your WordPress blog, so to control different levels of user permissions, WordPress has several different levels.

Types of WordPress Users

  • Subscriber – This is someone who simply reads your blog and leaves comments.
  • Contributor – Someone who can read/write posts but they do not get published, they get sent to a moderation queue.
  • Author – This allows someone to write and publish their own posts.
  • Editor – Can write posts, publish posts and manage the posts of others.
  • Administrator – Can control every aspect of your blog.

Deciding What User Level to Give Out

It’s important to think about this. This is YOUR blog and you don’t want to give out too much control to other people. Unless you are in partnership with someone, you should never, under any circumstance give out administrative rights to a user on your blog.

If you want to invite contributors to write for your blog and give contributor level access, all their posts will go into a queue. After a while, this may come to annoy your contributors as they have to wait on you to see their posts go live. There are also significant limitations built into the contributor user level. For example, they cannot upload pictures or embed any content. This will quickly become a headache if you have to continually upload images for them.

The next option would be to give writers Author level access. This give a little more freedom to them. They’ll be able to do the same things as a contributor but they’ll also be able to upload images and publish their own posts. If you allow writers to publish your own posts, it would be wise to lay out guidelines for them to follow. Such as what time to publish, what kind of images they can use, overall content guidelines, etc. This is a good level of access to give, you don’t give up too much power but your contributors will have a little more freedom.

If you want someone to be a more hands on that Author level, you could give them Editor Access. This will allow them to edit and maintain any content on the site, their own and others. They can moderate comments, edit posts, delete posts, delete pages and ban users. Give out this level sparingly as you are giving up a lot of control.

The next level above Editor is Administrator. An admin can control every aspect of the site that all the previous user levels can in addition to controlling themes, plugins and overall site settings. This is same amount of power that you have. Give it out sparingly or you could find yourself losing complete control of your blog.

User Generated Content

A lot of WordPress blogs can be altered in a way to accept user generated content. It should be well considered about what type of content you’re willing to allow on your site. People will push the barriers until they meet resistance. So, if you choose to allow user generated content (other than comments) it’s a good idea to do a few things:

Make them register for Contributor Level Access – This will help fight spammers and makes sure that people who want to contribute are willing to go through the necessary steps.

Keep them at Contributor Level Access – At first at least. You’ll want to approve all content that goes up on your blog. As time goes on and you can begin to trust your community, you can remove this roadblock so that when users submit content, it goes live immediately.

Clear out Abusers

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– If someone is abusing their privileges, simply get rid of them. You can easily delete a user account. To prevent them from registering again, use a plugin like WP-Ban to ban their IP address from your site completely.

Conclusion

Allowing users to contribute to the success of your blog is an important aspect of blogging. That being said, each decision you make should be considered and implemented with a strong will. Never forget that it’s YOUR blog. Your users make contribute to it’s success, but at the end of the day you have to live with it.