One of the features which originally attracted me to WordPress was how easy it was to update. With just a little training, the average business owner can add content, photos, stories and even new pages to keep their site fresh and vibrant.

We make this training process part of our web design package because we want our clients to own their sites, adding new content to keep it interesting for human visitors and search engines.

The challenge? Sometimes they break things by making changes to settings which affect how the entire site functions. When they do that, we find ourselves rebuilding some or all of their website.

But that doesn’t have to happen. WordPress has user roles which define how much access a user can have. So as we set up new websites, particularly for companies with multiple people who will be submitting content, we talk to our clients about user roles. These various roles allow you to decide how much control you want to give different users:

  • Administrator –  An administrator has full and complete ownership of a blog with control  over posts/pages, comments, settings, theme choice, import, and users.

Be careful who you give administrative control to because this person can, if they choose, delete the entire blog.

  • Editor – An editor can view, edit, publish, and delete any posts/pages, moderate comments, manage categories, manage tags, manage links and upload files/images.

This user status is the best of both worlds.  It gives the user wide control over the content, but protects them from making structural changes.

  • Author – An author can edit, publish and delete their posts, as well as upload files/images.

This is an important role if you have a multi-author blog – associations in which each board member submits their own updates or a blog like ours, where everyone writes occasionally. In this case, you rely on each author to manage their own content, but only the editor or administrator has the ability to make changes on any content on the site.

  • Contributor – A contributor can edit their posts but cannot publish them. They do not have the ability to upload files or images.

The contributor role is ideal if you have new employees or operate in a regulated industry where you need to have someone knowlegable look over all the content  before it is published.

  • Subscriber – The subscriber role as it exists in WordPress is basically an author who can’t post.

We use this role as people leave the company.  We want to be able to attribute content to them, but remove them from the active author list.

User roles give you the ability to manage workflow on your blog. They also provide a higher level of security if people leave the firm, since their access can be changed at the push of a button. If you are building your website with WordPress, take a few minutes to plan  your user strategy on the front end. You will be glad you did.

Roundpeg, an Indianapolis web design firm, builds websites exclusively on the WordPress platform.