How to Create a Niche Multi-User Website on Wordpress

Why write alone, when you can write as part of a supportive team of like-minded writers?

Writing your own blog is a lonely business. That's why revenue-sharing sites like HubPages attract writers - they offer the chance to write as part of a supportive writers' community.

A few years ago, writing sites (like HubPages, Wizzley or Infobarrel) had great earnings potential - but the internet has changed, and that's no longer true. To be successful today, a website MUST specialise in one subject area. HubPages itself is now splitting apart into specialist (niche) sites for that very reason - and the success of those new sites proves that "niche" is the way to go!

But your Hubs may not be selected for the new sites and there aren't many other writers' sites that specialise - so what can you do?

Start Your Own Multi-Author Site

You could, of course, start your own blog - but as already noted, that can be a lonely business. And it can take a long time for one lone writer to create enough content and build a following. So why not consider a collaborative blog, where you and a group of friends write together? I'll go into the practicalities of it in a moment, but first let's look at the advantages.

More Expertise = More Authority

You may know a lot about your chosen subject, but no one knows everything! By inviting knowledgeable friends to join you, you enlarge the pool of knowledge and enhance your site's reputation.

More Writers = More Writing = A Bigger Site Faster

It's obvious that the more writers contributing, the faster your site will grow. Google favours sites with a lot of content.

More Writers = More Connections

We all understand the importance of social networking and promotion to attract readers to a website. When you have several writers on a blog, each one brings his or her social network to the table. More connections means a ready-made web of personal connections on social media, giving your site a head start in gaining readership.

Quality

One oft-quoted negative is the work involved in maintaining quality - but that's only if you have an old-style rev-sharing site where you accept anyone as a writer. If you make your site invitation-only, and invite only a small group of writers whose work you know and respect, quality will look after itself.

The Right Platform

Creating your own multi-user site may sound daunting, but it needn't be. It's just a matter of choosing the right platform

Several website builders allow multiple users, but check carefully what that allows you to do. In most cases (e.g. Weebly), what it means is that any user can edit and change anyone's post - that's not what you want! You want a system where each user can write, edit and change their own work, but can't tamper with anyone else's.

So your best bet is to sign up with a hosting company and use Wordpress software to create your site. Don't get confused - there is a version of Wordpress called "multi-site" but you don't need that. You just need plain ordinary Wordpress. Once installed, you'll find that you can add Users easily.

Site Administration

Once you've got the site up and running, you'll need to manage your team of writers. While you may want to be totally democratic, do remember that old joke about things created by a committee - like it or not, you need a leader who can make a decision in a stalemate, arbitrate disputes and make tough choices when needed. So I would advise that you pay the setup costs and retain the title of CEO - the buck will stop with you!

You'll also need to run the site. Luckily Wordpress has several plugins which can make this less painful.

Useful Plugins

Google and you'll find plenty of recommendations for plugins to use for a multi-author site - but all of them assume you need to control your authors, monitor and edit their work, etc. If you restrict your site to a small group of trusted authors, that should rarely be necessary.

Here are a few plugins which I would recommend:

Author Avatars List - this plugin allows you to show a list of your authors in the sidebar, or on an "Authors" page, with their avatars (you can ask all your authors to sign up with Gravatar to create their avatar).

Require Featured Image - this plugin ensures that authors don't forget to choose a featured image to go with their post.

Pixabay Images - this plugin adds a button you can click when writing a post, so you can choose a suitable image from Pixabay.

Comment Moderation Email Only to Author - when someone leaves a comment, the default Wordpress behaviour is to notify the site administrator. This plugin changes that so the notification goes to the author of the post.


If you are interested in setting up your own site, by all means contact me, I'm always happy to offer my fellow writers some free pointers.

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Comments 3 comments

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 5 months ago from Sydney Author

As I said in the article, I don't know of any other platform that allows multiple writers to contribute to a single site without allowing every writer to edit or delete everyone else's posts, which is not what you want. You're very welcome to do your own research to see what alternatives you can come up with.


alikhan3 profile image

alikhan3 5 months ago from Karachi, Pakistan

Why don't you explain the process in more detail. Maybe a couple of more options other then WordPress.

I was just about thinking to set up a niche site of my own, particularly after seeing the success of HP niche sites.


sallybea profile image

sallybea 5 months ago from Norfolk

Very useful Marisa, thank you. I will be bookmarking this one so that I can come back to study your suggestions in detail. I guess my only problem with this idea is that I don't know enough people myself who do wet felting, except for those in a private group I belong to but certainly there is an excellent Russian site I follow which I think may be doing just this, or it may be similar to Hubpages.

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