How to override WordPress post author names

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I was working on a website ahwile back and needed to be able to change the author that WordPress displayed on certain posts.

As it stands, the user that creates a post will be listed as the author of the post with their byline displayed at the top.

What if you want to change that byline? Maybe the person that published a post isn’t the one that wrote it and you want them get credit for writing it.

In this situation, I needed the ability to change the author byline on any post and it needed to be set to someone that didn’t necessarily have a user account on the website.

On the website there were only three users but they were publishing content written by many other people. Due to the process we used to create and publish posts there was no need for the writers to have access to the WordPress dashboard.

This will also be the case if you have guest posts on your website. There is no need to create an account for someone that will only have one, maybe two articles on the site. But someone guest posting on your website is going to want recognition for the article they wrote.

One option is to create user accounts for the writers of the posts or guest authors and set them to the role of Author or Contributor. That way they can create posts and publish them (Author) or just create but cannot publish (Contributor) posts. But that might not be the most efficient way to do it. In our case it wasn’t.

Read more about WordPress user roles here.

So how can you change the author name on a post or add a guest author without adding them as a WordPress user? Or override the author byline WordPress displays on a particular post? Enter the (Simply) Guest Author Name plugin.

How to override post author bylines / add guest authors

(Simply) Guest Author Name is a plugin that fixes the problem mentioned above.

Simple Guest Author Name plugin

On any post you can change the author byline so it displays any name you want.

While its not a terribly popular plugin it has worked great for my needs and it has great reviews from those that have installed it. I use the free version but the developer offers a premium version if you are looking for more features.

After installing and activating the plugin select a post and find the section in your editor labeled Guest Author.

From here you can set the Author Name, add a Guest URL to create a link when the name is clicked, add a Guest Description to be used for the author bio displayed at the bottom of the post, and a Guest Gravitar Email to use their Gravitar picture in the bio. If no Guest description or Gravitar Email are used there will be no bio at the bottom of the post, just the byline at the top.

The plugin has a few settings that can be changed as well. Go to Settings > Guest Author Name to access them.

Simply Guest Author Name Settings

From the settings menu you can turn on Quick Edit for Guest Author Name allowing the author name to be modified from the Quick Edit feature. Display Guest Author in Author Column in Post list/admin to display the author name when viewing a list of posts from the WordPress admin dashboard is also there. Finally, Allow html in guest author description turn on or off HTML use in the author description to allow more rich formatting.

wordpress author byline
Default WordPress byline using the name of the user that published the post.
override wordpress author byline
New author byline used without creating a new WordPress user.

Something to be aware of with the free version of this plugin. When someone clicks on the new author byline they won’t be taken to a list of other posts by that author. Normally when you click an author’s name in WordPress you will be shown all of the other posts by that author, with this plugin you won’t get that behavior unless you buy the premium version.

Additionally you can’t add guest authors / override author names on pages without the premium version.

Final thoughts

(Simply) Guest Author Name is a simple plugin that works well to change the names WordPress displays for authors of posts. It’s one of those plugins that solve a unique problem without being bogged down with too many features and simply does what you need.

I build and maintain multiple WordPress websites. By using the experience gained from building these sites I help others create and customize their own websites.
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