You’ve decided to blog.
You understand the commitment and even have an editorial calendar in place. (Go, you!) You’ve think set up your blog post page to look and feel inviting, function intuitively, and attract your ideal clients. Then you notice an author box at the bottom of your favorite blogger’s last post.
You wonder if an author box is a good idea for your own blog. Do you go back to the drawing board?
In a word, yes. Sure, some of your blog visitors will already know who you are, but what about those who find your blog via a Google search or a link shared by a friend on social media? Inevitably, people will land on your blog post as the first contact they ever have with you. Do you want them to feel like they have entered through the shoddy back entrance of your laundry room door, or do you want them to feel like they have entered your front porch where they’ll find lemonade, a rocking chair, and good conversation?
You Need an Author Box
An author box on every blog page may feel like overkill, but it’s not. Regular readers will glaze over it without a second thought, but new readers will most likely pause to check you out. We connect with information more readily when a real person is behind it. Have you ever noticed that billboards and ads almost always display a human being? It’s because we automatically connect with people first, then ideas. It’s an innate behavior of humans. An author box on your blog page is a way for you to reach out your hand and say, “So nice to meet you. Come on in.” It just feels good.
You Have Options
Don’t want to place your full bio on every blog page? You don’t have to. A simple avatar with your headshot alongside your name, like we use on the Web Designer Beauty School blog, is a great way to wink at your reader as she enters. We include an avatar, name, and date at the bottom of every individual blog post and at the end of every blog post summary on the main blog page. Since Katy and I each write blogs, it’s a nice way to show people right away who they are hearing from.
Our students Stefani Harris and Janet Hoover of The Essential Website have a similar scenario. They both run the business and each post blogs. They post an author blog with an avatar and a paragraph ‘about the author’ at the bottom of every individual blog post. A simple gold line around the box calls attention without distracting.
Sally Tudhope of Sally Tudhope Creative, another WDBS student AND student teacher, displays a similar author box at the bottom of her individual blog posts. Tamara Sztainbok of Puzzlebox Communications does too, with a slightly different take on styling.
My blog on Activate Her Awesome gets right to the point — my author box is at the top of every individual blog post. I want to meet you as you walk through the door instead of after you have already taken a seat in my rocking chair.
All of these options work. It’s a matter of your own taste. Try something out. You can always change it down the road if it doesn’t feel right.
How to Add an Author Box in Thesis
You’re in? Alright. Let’s get to it. Adding an author box is really simple. In the Thesis Skin Editor, you will find the following boxes:
– Post/Page Post Box → Author Avatar
– Post/Page Post Box → Author
– Post/Page Post Box → Author Description
They may be in the template, (for example the author may be inside of the byline box), or inside of the tray if they are not being used.
The avatar box pulls the profile image picture tied to your email address and the corresponding account in Gravatar. The author pulls the name from the user’s first/last name fields in their user profile. And the author description pulls from the user’s biographical info in their user profile. So, with the Thesis theme, you can create any author box layout you like using any or all of these author boxes. Then, add CSS to style the box any way you’d like.
If you don’t use Thesis, you will find similar options for an author box in most every framework. A quick Google search should help you locate the instructions you need to get an author box up and running.
If you don’t yet have an author box, remember that your readers may have wanted to meet you if they hadn’t stepped into your laundry room first. Invite them onto your front porch with a simple gesture that might just convince them to pour a glass of lemonade and sit down for a chat. Who knows where it might lead?