When you’re running a WordPress site, including your author bio can give a significant boost to credibility.
Certainly, when I’ve landed on a new site and read an interesting post I find it more reassuring to see a photo and bio of the author.
And it’s 100% more personal than ‘posted by admin, 13 June,’ which frankly leaves me feeling cold.
An author bio is there to build trust with your readers, to bring in that human touch and hopefully start a dialogue. In certain situations, it can also establish your reputation and position you as an expert, especially on multi-author sites.
WordPress includes a biographical element in each user profile and links to a free Gravatar account to display your avatar photo. [Set the content in Users -> Your Profile -> Biographical Info.]
Some WordPress themes utilize that information in their built-in author box.
But, with many themes, the author bio can be quite plain and uninteresting.
That’s where an Author Box plugin can help.
By using an Author Box plugin, you can extend the core functionality to make your author bio more eye-catching and encourage your readers to follow and engage with you and your team.
To help you decide on the most attractive author box plugin we’ve put together a selection of the best ones that we’ve come across.
Fancier Author Box
Fancier Author Box is a free WordPress plugin developed by ThematoSoup. It has plenty of features to help you build contacts with links to your website and social networks.
The Bio Tab automatically pulls in the WordPress User Profile information including your Gravatar image and your short Bio Description. The plugin adds extra fields to the User Settings so that you can add Position, Company, Company URL, plus the major social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube, and Vimeo).
There is a second tab that automatically displays your Latest Posts. Here you can select the number of posts you wish to display up to a maximum of five.
The plugin moves away from standard WordPress settings by allowing you to select where and how you display the information.
You can choose whether to display it above, below, both or neither on your posts and pages. Plus, you have control of the color scheme so you can select colors for the active and inactive tabs and the content color.
- Uses standard WordPress biographical info
- Connects to major social networks
- Displays in multiple positions on your posts and pages
- Allows different color settings for each element of the author bio box
Fanciest Author Box
The Fanciest Author Box is the premium version of the Fancier plugin from ThematoSoup.
It extends the functionality to give you a whole load more features and control over what, where and how you display your Author Bio. The profile photo is now customizable too, allowing you to move away from the WordPress default.
Aside of the Bio Tab and Latest Posts Tab, you can now build tabs for each social network:
Each of the social tabs loads the most recent posts to encourage social media engagement:
The Fanciest Author Box also allows you to display your author bio in more places with the introduction of Widget Box, Shortcodes, and Template Tags.
Finally, the developers have also included Lazy Loading on the Social tabs to maximize your page speed.
- Easy to use and customize
- Widget, Shortcode & Template Tag
- Retina and Translation ready
- Lazy load for improved page speed
- Automatically added before, after (or both) your posts, pages and custom post types
Starbox – the Author Box for Humans
Starbox tags itself as the Author Box for Humans as:
You need Human readers to actually engage with your content and fall in love with it.
Starbox is developed and supported by Squirrly, who also offer SEO plugins and Content services.
The Starbox settings panel oozes premium quality and is simple to use. It includes a preview box, so you can immediately see your changes before saving them:
You set up other information in the User Settings menu. The Starbox plugin adds a section in between the standard WordPress settings. This allows you to add:
- Custom profile photo instead of the Gravatar image
- Job settings (Job Title, Company, Company URL)
- Custom bio instead of the default one
Social settings are limited to Facebook and Twitter, with an option to make them ‘nofollow’ links:
- Choice of professional themes
- Shortcodes to add Starbox in the post content or widget areas
- Customizable settings for each author
- Easy to configure settings with preview mode
- Choose to add before or after your posts and pages
Simple Author Box
Simple Author Box adds a responsive author box at the end of your posts – there is no option to add it at the beginning or in a widget like some of the other plugins featured here.
That said, it does bring a certain panache with a strong emphasis on typography and color design:
Using the combinations of color, size, fonts, and styles along with over 30 social profiles you can soon create a variety of author box effects:
- Fully customizable to match your theme design
- Choose from over 30 social profiles
- Mobile responsive
- Automatically insert the author box at the end of your post
- Option to manually add the author box in your template file
WP – Author Box
WP Author Box is one of the top-ranking WordPress plugins in the author box category on Codecanyon with a current rating of 4.9/5.0.
The plugin provides full control over your author box displaying information via the unlimited responsive custom tabs. You can increase your author’s followers by adding social icons displayed below the user profile and custom avatar image.
One of the latest features is the integration of a Contact Form tab that integrates with Contact Form 7 or Gravity Forms:
When it comes to setting the appearance of WP Author Box, then you have full control. There are six predefined skins (red/green/orange/black/blue/gray) that you can choose from. Or if you prefer then you can pick a custom color to fit in with your theme. You can set colors for the Active Tab, Inactive Tab, Content and Footer sections via the color picker.
The WP Author Box plugin also comes with custom widgets that you can use on any of your sidebar and footer widgets.
If you’re running a multi-author site, then the widget will automatically feature the current author. Alternatively, if you want to add a little more competition why not try the Top Author Widget? You can set the ranking based on number of author posts over various periods:
- Creates Unlimited Tabs to increase reader engagement
- Includes Widgets and Shortcode
- Choose from six predefined skins and over 30 social networks
- Fully customizable, create your own skin using color pickers!
- Automatically added before or after (or both!) your posts, pages and custom post types
As you might expect, the WordPress Author Box plugins reviewed here offer many similar features, all designed to create more user engagement on your site.
Ultimately it’s the design features which sets each one apart. Some offer more customizations of color and typography, while others focus on a greater array of social networks. Some plugins restrict the placement of the author box solely to the end of posts, while others offer endless inline possibilities via shortcodes.
If you’re looking for a free plugin, then Starbox is the one that impresses me most with its professional ‘look and feel’, both in the backend admin settings and the front end display.
Whichever you choose, consider which one will fit in best with your site and be the most appealing to your readers.