User profiles in WordPress have two broad purposes:
- They can establish the identity of whoever is producing content on a WordPress site.
- They allow you to set specific roles and capabilities for contributors.
All WordPress sites must have at least one user, who is invariably the owner of the site. If you are new to WordPress, you will want to take a moment to customize your user profile, as the information within may be seen by your site’s readers.
Customizing Your Profile
Access your profile by choosing the appropriate option on your navigation bar:
You will then be presented with a screen of options. Let’s run through each one in order.
The following fields are essentially preferences for the back end of your site. The changes you make here won’t make a difference to what your site’s readers will see.
- Visual Editor: check the box and the visual editor will not appear in the post/page screen. The visual editor is a WYSIWYG editor, and comes in pretty darn handy. You almost definitely do not want to disable it.
- Admin Color Scheme: self-explanatory. Pick whatever color scheme takes your fancy.
- Keyboard Shortcuts: if you’re into efficiency, you can use keyboard shortcuts to speed up your comment moderation. Learn more about them here.
- Toolbar: here you can choose whether or not the toolbar displays at the top of your site whilst you are browsing through it. I personally find the toolbar very useful, but it is ultimately down to personal preference. I would keep it enabled for now and see how you get on with it.
This is the first set of fields that may be visible to your site’s readers. Once you have entered your first name, last name, and nickname into the relevant fields, you will have the option to choose what is displayed publicly via the “Display name publicly as” field. Whatever you choose will appear in blog comments and also in your author bio box (if you choose to have one).
As you will see, an email address is required, but it is not necessary to complete the other fields. They can be useful if you run a site with multiple users, as the information can be pulled and displayed publicly.
Take a look at my author bio box at the bottom of the post. That blurb was entered by me in the “Biographical Info” field in my profile settings on the WPMU.org back end:
If you plan on having a bio box for yourself or any other users, this is where you should write up your bio.
Finally, you can set a new password at the bottom of the page.
Adding New Users
By default, you will have full control over your WordPress site. However, when you add a new user, you will have a couple of new options to consider.
In order to add a new user, click on the “Add New” option as per below:
You will find most of the fields familiar, with exception to the two at the bottom. The option to send the user’s password via email is self-explanatory. But what about “Role”?
WordPress assumes that you may have multiple site contributors. For instance, at WPMU, we have the head honcho (James), the “senior” writers (Sarah and Siobhan), and then the new kids (myself, Tim and Joe) who get regularly bullied by the three aforementioned people. But that’s rather besides the point, which is that certain contributors are allowed to do certain things to the site.
And that is the beauty of user roles. There are five pre-defined roles, each with their own capabilities. The following is taken from the WordPress codex page, “Roles and Capabilities” – check it out if you want to know more about user roles.
- Administrator - Somebody who has access to all the administration features
- Editor - Somebody who can publish and manage posts and pages as well as manage other users’ posts, etc.
- Author - Somebody who can publish and manage their own posts
- Contributor - Somebody who can write and manage their posts but not publish them
- Subscriber - Somebody who can only manage their profile
And there you have a basic introduction to the creation and management of user profiles. Most beginner WordPress users won’t need to go beyond the information within this post.