We love author bios on WordPress websites. Whether in the “About” page or in an author box on a blog post, and in the sidebar widget.
Where we’d love to see more on content powerhouse sites is the author archives page.
What is an author archive page?
An author archive page is an internal result page that filters content written by a specific author (or WordPress user roles: author, editor, contributor, administrator).
Author archives can be powerful for SEO and user experience, but most WordPress website owners don’t leveraging them to full potential. As a result, SEO benefits, and other UX and branding benefits, are sacrificed.
The problem with most author archives on WordPress
In short, most author archives are too thin in unique content to index in Google. The meta titles and descriptions are also generic to make a different in the SERPs.
The author page usually only shows author name, photo, short bio, and a list of all blog posts published on the site. There’s not enough unique information or content on the page for it to matter as much to your blog visitors or search engines. To prevent thin pages from getting indexed, most WordPress admins
noindex, follow author archives in their Yoast or RankMath SEO plugin settings.
Benefits of a Custom Author Archive Page
A smarter approach is to build a custom author profile page to pair with author bio box (shows on actual blog posts). A proper author page can give website owners, editorial teams, and individual staff writers immense credibility with readers, customers, and search engines.
SEO benefits of author profiles
Signal to Google and Bing you, your editorial team, or individual authors contributing to your blog are qualified professionals. Not only by having author bios visible on the page, but also using Schema.org structured data.
Further, you can leverage the power of strategic internal linking by pinning the most popular (most searched) posts on the author profile page and boosting their rankings. This is especially powerful for authors and sites with high volume of content, because it prevents evergreen content from getting buried in endless pagination.
Finally, online reputation management. When you google your name or your company, you want the first 10 results to be your website / blog, your social media accounts, and other positive search results. A good author page on your site or on a site where you’re a guest contributor gives you one more positive result on page 1. This way, sites where you have bad reviews or customer complaints can be suppressed to page 2 of Google.
User experience and brand recognition benefits of author profiles
People want to know, especially in technical subject matters like medicine, finance, and automotive, who you are, what you know, and why to trust you. Author pages, in addition to About pages, Contact pages, and author boxes help convey trust by surfacing author biographical info, professional work experience, social profiles, contact information, etc.
As readers and users of the web, the average person has become better at detecting BS, i.e., keyword-rich content engineered by a marketing copywriter or content legitimately produced by a subject matter expert.
A good author page also piques users interest by offering them more relevant links and information about the author.
Author landing page template that boosts content credibility, Google rankings, and online reputation
9 web elements of a WordPress author page with strong UX, SEO, and name recognition.
- Basic author information — Personal information (short or long bio), photo (headshot or logo), job title (user role), links to social media profiles. This should be automatically generated from WP user profile pages.
- Internal Search box — ability to search keywords for posts, pre-filtered for this specific author.
- Featured articles — ability to choose new, popular, proud articles published. Internal linking to articles with high Search Impressions helps SEO (ranking positions). Making it easy for readers to find each author’s best stuff helps UX metrics like pageviews, time on site, etc. When people read multiple articles you wrote, they remember you, your website, your brand.
- Writes about — Automatically shows links to category (or tag) archives in which the author has published content along with # of articles. Signals to readers and robots your topics and areas of expertise. Emphasis on archive with the highest article count.
- Latest articles — all articles listed in chronological descending order (default WordPress rule) with a ‘Show All’ to let readers and robots see the entire collection of articles without requiring them to get lost in clicking pagination links.
- As seen on — popular sites author or their work has been featured on for social proof and trust builder.
- Appearances — ability to add columns, custom sub-headings, and links to interviews, tutorials, events, conferences, webinars, and other interactive content author created or participated in.
- More contributors on website.com — automatically create links to all contributors or to most frequent contributors on the website. Great way to distribute link equity to author archive pages and subsequently to popular posts.
- Contact Form — form that directs inquiries and submissions to specific authors.
How to add custom author profile pages to WordPress
To add or update the author archive page template, you need to create or modify the author.php file in your current theme.
Method 1: If you’re looking to create a basic author template with author bio in the sidebar widget and posts displayed in the main body of the page, then check out this tutorial: https://qodeinteractive.com/magazine/wordpress-custom-author-page/
Method 2: Hire a WordPress theme designer and developer to give you the custom look, feel, and functionality desired.
Method 3: Use our template via our free WordPress plugin — coming soon. The plugin will generate a new author.php file that will adapt to your child theme CSS styling and layouts and create mobile-responsive author archives pages.
Method 4: User various page builders to create custom author profiles with the web design elements of your choice.
If you don’t have solid author archive pages, make them. Or at the very least, own one of the many available author bio box WordPress plugins.