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WordPress Tutorial For Beginners: Creating & Managing User Profiles

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Learn what user profiles are useful for, and how to create and manage them.

User profiles in WordPress have two broad purposes:

  1. They can establish the identity of whoever is producing content on a WordPress site.
  2. They allow you to set specific roles and capabilities for contributors.

All WordPress sites must have at least one user, who is invariably the owner of the site. If you are new to WordPress, you will want to take a moment to customize your user profile, as the information within may be seen by your site’s readers.

Customizing Your Profile

Access your profile by choosing the appropriate option on your navigation bar:

Your Profile

You will then be presented with a screen of options. Let’s run through each one in order.

Personal Options

The following fields are essentially preferences for the back end of your site. The changes you make here won’t make a difference to what your site’s readers will see.

  • Visual Editor: check the box and the visual editor will not appear in the post/page screen. The visual editor is a WYSIWYG editor, and comes in pretty darn handy. You almost definitely do not want to disable it.
  • Admin Color Scheme: self-explanatory. Pick whatever color scheme takes your fancy.
  • Keyboard Shortcuts: if you’re into efficiency, you can use keyboard shortcuts to speed up your comment moderation. Learn more about them here.
  • Toolbar: here you can choose whether or not the toolbar displays at the top of your site whilst you are browsing through it. I personally find the toolbar very useful, but it is ultimately down to personal preference. I would keep it enabled for now and see how you get on with it.

Name

This is the first set of fields that may be visible to your site’s readers. Once you have entered your first name, last name, and nickname into the relevant fields, you will have the option to choose what is displayed publicly via the “Display name publicly as” field. Whatever you choose will appear in blog comments and also in your author bio box (if you choose to have one).

Contact Info

As you will see, an email address is required, but it is not necessary to complete the other fields. They can be useful if you run a site with multiple users, as the information can be pulled and displayed publicly.

About Yourself

Take a look at my author bio box at the bottom of the post. That blurb was entered by me in the “Biographical Info” field in my profile settings on the WPMU.org back end:

Biographical Info

If you plan on having a bio box for yourself or any other users, this is where you should write up your bio.

Finally, you can set a new password at the bottom of the page.

Adding New Users

By default, you will have full control over your WordPress site. However, when you add a new user, you will have a couple of new options to consider.

In order to add a new user, click on the “Add New” option as per below:

Add New User

You will find most of the fields familiar, with exception to the two at the bottom. The option to send the user’s password via email is self-explanatory. But what about “Role”?

User Roles

WordPress assumes that you may have multiple site contributors. For instance, at WPMU, we have the head honcho (James), the “senior” writers (Sarah and Siobhan), and then the new kids (myself, Tim and Joe) who get regularly bullied by the three aforementioned people. But that’s rather besides the point, which is that certain contributors are allowed to do certain things to the site.

And that is the beauty of user roles. There are five pre-defined roles, each with their own capabilities. The following is taken from the WordPress codex page, “Roles and Capabilities” – check it out if you want to know more about user roles.

  • Administrator - Somebody who has access to all the administration features
  • Editor - Somebody who can publish and manage posts and pages as well as manage other users’ posts, etc.
  • Author - Somebody who can publish and manage their own posts
  • Contributor - Somebody who can write and manage their posts but not publish them
  • Subscriber - Somebody who can only manage their profile
Even if you are planning on being the sole contributor to your site for the foreseeable future, you will want to bear roles in mind. For instance, you may choose to take on a regular guest post writer in the future. The “Contributor” role would be ideal for such a person.

That’s It!

And there you have a basic introduction to the creation and management of user profiles. Most beginner WordPress users won’t need to go beyond the information within this post.

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How to Simplify WordPress Profiles By Removing Personal Options

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This is a quick visual hack to remove extras options from WordPress profiles.

This is a handy quick hack that will make the profile page within WordPress only display the fields relevant to a user’s profile. The hack removes the personal options at the top of the page, including the ability to disable the visual editor, change the admin color scheme, enable keyboard shortcuts for comment moderation, and show or hide the admin bar when viewing the site and/or when in the dashboard.

Add this code to the functions.php file of your theme. It will “visually” remove the options so that they no longer appear on the profile edit page.

function hide_personal_options(){
echo "\n" . '<script type="text/javascript">jQuery(document).ready(function($) { $(\'form#your-profile > h3:first\').hide(); $(\'form#your-profile > table:first\').hide(); $(\'form#your-profile\').show(); });</script>' . "\n";
}
add_action('admin_head','hide_personal_options');

Here’s what you’ll see after you’ve implemented the hack:

Credit for this little hack goes to our friends at wpsnipp.com, originally posted by Kevin Chard.

Why would you want to remove the personal options?

This hack isn’t necessarily for everyone, but if you’re setting up WordPress with the most minimal dashboard possible, this is one safe and easy thing to remove. If your users are heavily dependent on the visual editor, then you don’t want them tinkering around in there, accidentally turning it off and wondering what happened. Also, if your site relies on the admin bar for navigation and you don’t want anyone turning it off, this hack will prevent users from disabling it.

When you want to keep it simple in the admin dashboard, this is a hack you’ll want to consider. Not every website needs its profiles to have so many options. Sometimes keeping it simple will lend itself a better user experience. And a better user experience makes for a better website.