For years I never displayed any author info or bio on any of my sites. Until last week I didn’t have a bio description under articles on this site, which is unusual for a blog like this.
I guess I never thought it mattered.
And then I hired a really good writer for one of my sites. She writes her own column. She’s the best writer in the niche IMO. She’s funny, opinionated, knowledgeable and her prose flows unlike 99.9% of the stuff posted online. With her help I’ve doubled email newsletter opens for that niche site and newsletter.
And yes, I also still publish mountains of bread and butter content from my main writing agency.
My point is because she has a column, she provided a bio and so I set her up with authorship and assign all of her articles to her profile.
After doing that it occurred to me, I should do the same on Fatstacks, so I did. I created a bio and now have it appear at the bottom of articles on this site (like this one).
I liked the look of articles with a bio attached and so I started thinking about and researching how to do a bio for corporate branded sites with a writing staff or where content is outsourced to anonymous writers at a content agency. One option was to create pen names or one pen name, but I didn’t really like that option. It’s viable and a good idea in some instances, but wasn’t right for me.
A day later I ended up on WPbeginner.com (we all end up there sooner or later trying to figure WordPress stuff) and I noticed that site had a great solution to the corporate bio conundrum. Here’s what they do:
That was the solution I was looking for and so that’s what I use for content outsourced to anonymous writers at agencies.
When else do I include bylines in content?
The 3 situations where I add bylines to articles
There are 3 instances where I’ll add author bylines, either as a dedicated author or a manually added one at the bottom of the content.
When a credentialed expert contributes an article that showcased their expertise, I will include their byline. In fact, I will insist upon it because their credentials add to the authoritativeness of the article. For example, I recently worked with a chiropractor who submitted two articles to my site. Those articles discussed information that was much more credible with the chiropractor’s credentials and name attached.
2. Well-known person
If a well-known person or someone from a recognizable brand in the niche contributes an article, I ask that they include a byline. The name and/or brand mention lends credibility to the content and so it’s good for the site and readers. For example, if Brian Dean or Pat Flynn wrote for this site, their name would be attached assuming they would agree to it. Both of them are very well known in the online marketing / SEO spaces.
3. Repeat contributor / column
I’ve already mentioned this, but when I have a good writer who contributes regularly, I assign them their own author bio for their articles. This way readers who like her work can quickly find her other work on the site. Often such writers will do their own promotions of their content so having a dedicated author page with all their work makes it easy for them to promote their work on my site.
The repeat contributor concept is something I’ve started recently and really like it. I’m paying far more than normal for the articles, but they are by far the best material on my site. My intention is the column will grow a loyal audience and those other websites will reference the outstanding work with links. Even if the articles don’t generate enough revenue on their own to cover the cost, I like publishing top-tier content on the site – it elevates the entire site.
Author page vs. manually inserted bio at the bottom of a post
I only create an author bio that results in an author archive page if I expect that person to contribute regularly.
Otherwise, I just add the byline manually at the bottom of the article.
The general corporate website bio has a dedicated authorship bio and archive (I no-index the author pages BTW).
Is using pseudonyms okay?
I see nothing wrong with it. I wouldn’t make up credentials or degrees, but otherwise, it’s fine. There’s no harm done unless you manufacture credentials (misleading) and/or impersonate a real person without their permission.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes.
Hyperbole? Maybe, but go check it out to see what some readers say.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.