Editorial Workflows for Multi-Author WordPress Websites
WordPress due to its unique and admired features has become the most popular CMS currently in use on the internet. WordPress is an open source blogging tool and is dynamic CMS based on PHP and MySQL. It has endless list of features, including plugin architecture and a template system. WordPress is used by nearly 15 percent of Alexa Internet’s “top one million” websites.
I have myself been using WordPress for over many years now and must admit that I just love its flexibility. As a blogger I could not even wish for a better platform than WordPress. It’s like a wish come true for all those like me, who not only want to express them self but also want to promulgate their knowledge and interest in content. But as my team started to grow, I had to make use of other available options and tools to manage what passes for an editorial workflow but in reality it is widely inefficient.
I personally believe that greater the inefficiency, greater would be the probability of meeting failure. I have always looked for various solutions that can help me refine these inefficiencies. Sharing a few, below are some of the plugins that have actually helped me smothering most troubled editorial workflow inefficiencies on WordPress?
Arguably the most user-friendly contributor management platform ContentCloud is on my top list for best WordPress solutions that have come out lately. An offering from Betaout, ContentCloud is SaaS (Software as a Service) offering that seamlessly gets plugged in with your multiple WordPress Sites and gives you a single interface to manage multiple WordPress sites with multiple contributor’s efficiently. Every team members is assigned desks, and assignments are routed via desks. You can create custom workflows to ensure that each and every assignment passes through various desks and contributors in a desired order.
The idea of routing assignments through desks and not team members is to give you flexibility in either assigning the task to a specific team member of keep it open for any team member on that desk. Every desk also has a user role so that you don’t accidentally put two team members with different user roles on a same desk.
Activity feed gives Editors a bird eye view of entire newsroom so that he can take pre-emptive measure to avoid bottlenecks and missed deadlines. Performance history is stored for each contributor with all feedback received by him or her.
ContentCloud has a separate app for all contributors other than Managing Editors called Workbench App. Workbench App is kept minimalists so that contributors can focus on work and its interface is designed keeping in mind that it should have a low learning curve. Some other features are story pitches, editorial calendar, multiple site provisioning, revision history, assets management etc.
2. News Flow
This plugin has been renamed from Hypernews to Newsflow and is being maintained by a company named Flowcom AB. This plugin performs the function of selecting and publishing RSS streams to your WordPress site through a very fast user interface and editorial support. Link management, a sub-menu under the main menu, performs the function of adding links.
The user interface fetches for your feeds and then lists them. You can also select items which have been read and mark them as favorites or hide them according to your preference. In case you want to edit them, then you can save them as drafts, by clicking on the post type links at each item row, and continue with them later. The primary language of this plugin is Swedish.
Newsflow plugin is a widely used plugin that specializes not only in in fetching and publishing RSS feeds but allows for fetching of multiple feeds at the same time and offers complete editorial support which makes it a very interactive plugin for websites with multiple authors. The plugin allows the feeds to be posted as a draft on any specific page or any custom post. Newsflow plugin has been tested for network installations and no major issue has been reported.
3. Article List Manager (arlima)
Article List Manager plugin had been originally created by a Swedish newspaper organization for the purpose of customizing the cover pages of their online magazine. This plugin has certain requirements for activation- a WordPress version greater than 3.0, a PHP version greater than 5.3 and the latest version of web browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer etc. After this plugin has been installed successfully, it will create a page named ‘home’. This home page shall have a template named ‘article list page’.
In case, WordPress is unable to write the directory of your theme, copy the text ‘page-arlima-example.php’ from the Arlima plugin directory and paste it to the theme directory. Then go to manage lists menu from article lists tab located on the menu bar of WP-admin. Through this procedure, you can edit articles attached to the home page created by the plugin. In case, you wish to use this page as the front page, you can do that by going to settings, then select reading in WP-admin and then select the page named Home as the static front page.
4. Simple History
Simple History plugin helps me to see all the recent modifications, which I make in my WP blog or site directly over the dashboard or the individual page. The Simple History plugin simply works as log/history/audit log version history for most of the major events which are seen in my WordPress site/blog. This means, I can see the pages/posts, which have been created, changed or deleted. I can also see the uploaded, deleted or modified attachments. The list also includes the number of plugins activated or deactivated within the WordPress and lastly, I can search in the history/log simply to find out the change/post/article which I am keen to find out.
This means that Simple history is a WordPress plugin which is basically associated with history of your WordPress website. It performs multifarious functions which include showing history of changes made in the vicinity of WordPress. This plugin is equipped with a search option for looking through history to find the data you want. RSS feed of changes is also available which enables tracking of changes made through your phone, iPad or PC. This plugin is ideal for websites in which several people serve the purpose of editing articles.
5. Assignment Desk
The Assignment Desk plugin bestows upon the users in your website the power to engage them in the journalism being done at your webpage and also guide them throughout the process. This plugin has been especially designed for news organizations which make use of WordPress as their primary management system.
This plugin aims at making the process of community engagement and news production very efficient and obstacle-free. This plugin is mainly used by news organizations as editorial tools, which rely on WordPress for the management of their content.
The main aim of this plugin is to work for the efficient synchronization between the news productions processes with the community engagement. It enables members to submit story ideas along with feedback while preserving editorial oversight. If any story idea is approved, this plugin allows involvement of members in the construction of a story. Through this process, the editor may assign specific roles to community members, which may further help in the increase in editorial workflow.
6. Edit Flow
Edit Flow one of the core advantages is that it doesn’t take you and your team out of WordPress but centers the conversations and editing of your articles where it needs to be: on WordPress. Having a centralized editorial flow can boost productivity and increase communication to and from your team. Edit flow comes with a strong feature called Custom Statuses which lets you define the stages of your entire workflow. Other features of Edit Flow are editorial comments and notifications. Editorial comments allows for threaded commenting in the WordPress Editors and Admins for private discussion between content contributors. Notifications allow your team to receive timely updates on the content they have been working on.
If anyone is of the opinion that “Content is King,” then one could rightly claim that the Content Management System (CMS) is the very castle in itself and WordPress being the highest citadel enriched with quality content. These six plugins according to me contribute on their part for WordPress to maintain its position. Do let me know about your favorite plugin.