Updated: August 13, 2020
The Importance of the Author's Resource Box and My WordPress Bio Box Plugin Recommendations
That handy little author bio box at the bottom of every article and post is often overlooked by developers, speed enthusiasts and content marketers. It shouldn’t be.
Nearly every reader and visitor to your blog will glance at that box. That box represents trust and the ability to visualize the author. Does the content writer have a trustworthy face? Is the writer within the trustworthy age range for the topic? A well-written and sourced article on mortgages or brokerage services may have more advanced tips and insight than anything you’ve read on CNBC or the Wall Street Journal but if the author’s photo shows what appears to be a 16-year-old, rest assured the article’s credibility will take a hit.
- Think SEO
- Think Speed
- Think Syndication
- Think Credibility
- Think Nofollow Links
The bio box is a treasure trove for SEO when done properly. That same box with the same biography and some links will appear throughout the site on every article the author provides. Make it powerful.
If you provide content to other sites and services as part of a content marketing strategy or you frequently syndicate your content through news sites including Google News that author bio box will appear on many third-party sites. That’s the power of syndication after all. You need that box to include important information about the author while directing readers from external sites to visit the source itself – your site.
Spotlight the Author’s Credibility to Increase Customer Trust In Your Site
Think of an author’s resource or bio box as an extension of your public relations department.
- You want readers to feel they know your authors.
- You want them to follow them.
- You want readers to see your authors as experts.
- You want them to click and read the author’s other articles on your site.
That box puts an additional human face on a digital company and that’s invaluable. Make sure to include a single sentence from your copywriter’s perspective about the company. Let his or her readers know that the company is a good place to work and fosters creativity and productivity. Oftentimes this can be (and should) quite organically with a simple formula.
The Author Resource Bio Box is For Credibility Not Sales
You want to develop enthusiasm for your talent. You’re not going to use a bio box to get sales (although when done properly it often does) but you will make sure to create a direct link to the company and the writer.
- Does the writer work with you exclusively?
- Is the writer a freelancer that you can make available to your customers or clients?
- Does the writer have a unique or well-developed expertise you can push as exclusive to your company?
- Has the writer written for any other popular news sites or blogs?
- Has the writer written a book that you can include? You may include a direct link to the book on Amazon provided you use a NOFOLLOW link. Failure to include Nofollow in the link itself may cause Google to lower your SEO ranking as the search giant has been known to see such links as spammy.
By creating a concrete link between the writer and the company you can essentially borrow some of the credibility that writer has built through his or her words.
Include Something Extra in The Bio
People are more than their educational background and work history. While background and work history, if applicable, must be included it’s also good to include a quick sentence that humanizes the author. Include a single sentence that will allow readers to feel they know the personality behind the content and try to choose something that relates to the author’s authority over the subject. Think along these lines:
- Sports, Recreation and Hobbies
- Surprising hidden talents
- Unusual experiences
- Favorite pastimes that aren’t shared by nearly everyone (leave Netflix out)
- Major humanizing personal accomplishments (lost 100 pounds or learned to drive a stick-shift last year)
Make sure your author comes across as the dynamic expert that he or she assuredly is without boring the reader by the second sentence.
Keep the Author Bio Short and Poignant
An author bio shouldn’t be more than four sentences and never more than 100 words. Keep the sentences short but powerful. You’re looking for impactful sentences that are both amusing and convey a lot of information.
A comedian named Dulcé Sloan (she’s hilarious) includes one of the most impactful and amusing sentences in her stand-up routine.
Think about that short sentence for a minute. It’s funny, witty and in truth conveys a great deal of information in only four words. If I were writing Dulcé Sloan’s resource box I would certainly include that for a touch of levity.
Write in the Third Person or Ask Someone Else to Do It
A bio box should be presented as a factual follow-up to the article. A simple resource that lets the reader know who wrote what they just read and whether the content can be trusted. Write the short bio in the third person. Third-person perspective gives the impression of impartially and increases trust because it was written as if by someone else.
At ServerWise we don’t write our own bio boxes. I’ve written over forty bio boxes for ServerWise clients and two for other ServerWise authors, but I haven’t written my own since my Fiverr Pro days.
Consider asking a good friend to write up a brief and snappy three to four sentences for you. If you like it, optimize it for SEO and use it everywhere. That’s now part of your own brand recognition as an author and content creator.
Don’t Get Too Creative or Use Adult Material or Be Too Whimsical
While it’s true that you want to showcase some personality, you want to keep it professional. Think about it this way: a copywriter for an adult gaming blog has an adult-oriented bio box referencing his high beer consumption, wild parties, and love of nude beaches. That style of bio probably works fine for that niche but not for syndication. Can you imagine CNBC or a local ABC affiliate allowing that box on their site? Without the box your content can’t be syndicated so don’t limited your own reach. Be a real person but don’t go into mature content or get too whimsical. You can be both professional and relatable in three to four sentences.
Your Author Bio Photo Is Important
That single photo of you is going to appear everywhere, and it should. The most successful online personalities use the same profile photo in their author bio box as they do on their social media accounts. Not every reader will remember your name but over time they will immediately recognize your face. Over time, they’ll associate your face in the same photo with authority and expertise in your niche.
- Don’t get creative.
- Don’t do a wacky background.
- Don’t wear something that prominently displays a known brand (Nike, Reebok, Gucci, etc).
- Keep your photo simple and update it whenever your appearance changes.
- You want to look like yourself always.
Don’t use a graphic or cartoon avatar to represent you. Too many startups do this for various reasons, and it’s a mistake. If you don’t want to put your own name on your own content or use your own photo hire a writer who will be proud to include his or her name.
The Best Optimized Author Bio Plugin for WordPress
Is it a list when there is only one? We tested five of the most popular author box plugins and only one met our metrics for site speed, optimization of the plugin and failure to increase WordPress latency. The other plugins added to many calls and DOMs to the page to be worth it.
But before you run to install another plugin let’s make sure you actually need it.
Make Sure You Need Another Plugin
Check to make sure that you don’t already have an author bio available through your editor. ServerWise.com uses Elementor Pro and though the Elementor bio box isn’t flashy it does get the job done so no need to add another plugin. If you can use your existing WordPress Editor you should as it’s already actively using resources.
Elementor includes an easy-to-use author bio box that does not decrease site speed – it is quite basic though.
WP Bakery does not have a built-in author bio box element but many of the addon packages do. I have not tested WP Bakery addon elements for speed and optimization.
Visual Composer also doesn’t have a built-in bio box feature. I can’t speak to any VC addons.
The Only Plugin That Tested Well
We tested the most popular author box plugins for speed and optimization and only one plugin passed our tests.
Simple Author Box
Free. Does provide an upgraded Premium version.
A simplistic but highly adaptable box with social media buttons and several layouts to choose from in the free version. The Premium version adds additional functionality including the ability to apply the nofollow attribute to author links.
Check out my author box directly below. Can you tell that my author box was written in strict adherence to the formula I shared above?
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