Allow Users to Have Their Own Blogs on Your WordPress Site

One PublishPress user wrote to us and asked about this situation:

We have vendors and we want them to log in to our site and write about their technology. We want to approve their blog posts before they go live on the site.

This is possible with the PublishPress plugins, and I'll explain how in this post.

Step #1. Install the plugins #

For this tutorial, we're going to use two plugins:

Install both those plugins for your WordPress site. I also recommend having the User Switching plugin on your site as it makes it very easy to test different user accounts. Or if you have PublishPress Capabilities installed, you will be able to use the test user feature.

Step #2. Create the users #

I recommend using the “Contributor” role for these users. Here's an overview of what Contributors can do in WordPress.

  • Go to the “Users” link in your WordPress admin menu.
  • Click the “Add New” button.
  • Create a new user account. 
  • Choose the “Contributor” role.
  • Click “Add New User”.

You can now click “Switch To” on the main Users screen:

Create a new Contributor user in WordPress

You will now be seeing WordPress through the eyes of a Contributor. This next image shows what they will see. There will be a very limited set of options in the left-hand menu, and no posts on the main “Posts” screen.

A Contributor user looking at the Posts screen in WordPress
  • Click “Add New”.
  • You will be able to create a new post. However, as a Contributor, you do not see the normal “Update” button. Instead, there will be a blue “Submit for Review” button.

So your author setup is now complete. You can create WordPress accounts for your vendors and put them into the “Contributor” role. Your vendors will have their own “Blog” area with these features:

  • Your vendors will be able to create posts, but not publish them without approval.
  • Your vendors will not be able to see posts from anyone else.
  • Your vendors will be able to click the “Profile” menu link and update their author information.

One alternative approach is to use the “Authors” role instead of “Contributors”. The whole process will be almost the same, except that your vendors will be able to publish their own content. Here's an overview of what Authors can do in WordPress.

Step #3. Get notifications for new content #

This next step is not essential, but it could be useful. I'm going to show you how to get notified whenever a new post is submitted for review.

The PublishPress plugin is the key to this step.

  • Go to Planner > Notifications.
  • Click “Add New”.
  • Title: “Submit for Review notifications”.
  • Check the box for “When the content is moved to a new status”.
  • Previous status: “New, Auto-draft”.
  • New status: “Pending Review”.
  • Post type: “Post”.
  • Check the box for “Site Administrator”.
  • In the main body, enter “Here is the link for the new post: [psppno_post edit_link]”
  • Click “Publish”.
Create a Submit for Review notification in WordPress

This notification will now email you automatically whenever your vendors submit a new post for your review.