Contributor (Role)

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A Contributor is a type of user role that has very limited access to a WordPress site. They can only create new posts, but cannot publish them. Posts will be saved as “Pending” and submitted for review. The Contributor role is an excellent choice for outside writers whom you want to contribute to your blog.

Once an Editor or Administrator publishes the post, the Contributor can no longer edit it.

WordPress Contributor user role

What is a WordPress Contributor?

A WordPress Contributor is a user role with a very limited set of editing capabilities. They are typically writers from outside your organization who can submit new blog posts for review.

Unlike Authors, who can actually publish content on your blog, Contributors can only submit content as “Pending.” All posts must then be approved by either an Editor or Administrator.

Once a Contributor’s post is published, they can no longer edit it, and cannot delete it. They can only create a new post and submit it for another review.

Keep in mind Contributors cannot upload files, which means they can’t add images to their posts. They will need to be provided to an Editor or Administrator separately, and that person will have to add them to the Contributor’s post on their behalf.

Who should be a WordPress Contributor?

Simply put, a Contributor is someone whom can write content for your blog, but that content needs to be approved before getting published.

The Contributor role works well for:

  • writers outside of your organization
  • entry-level writers whose work often needs proofread or edited

WordPress Contributor vs. Author

The Contributor and Author roles are somewhat similar, but there are a few major differences that are important to point out:

  • Images & Media: Contributors cannot upload any files. Authors can upload files.
  • Publishing Content:¬†Contributors can only create content. They cannot publish it. It needs to be published by an Editor or Administrator. Authors can publish content (but only their own).
  • Deleting Content:¬†Once published, Contributors cannot delete their posts. Authors, at any time, can delete their own posts (but only theirs; no one else’s).

A Contributor’s Post Approval Process

Since a Contributor cannot publish posts, here’s a quick overview of what the approval process looks like.

Upon completion of a new post, the Contributor will click the “Submit for Review” button.

WordPress "submit for review" button

They should then alert the person in charge of approving content that a new post is ready for their review.

An Editor or Administrator will then login to WordPress, and pull up the Posts screen. They’ll locate the post pending approval.

A WordPress post pending approval

They should click through to review the post, or better yet, preview it in their browser. They’ll make any necessary edits, including insert any images that are needed, and then click the “Publish” button.

WordPress, how to publish a post pending review

Reminder: Once the post is published, the Contributor can no longer edit it. Editing can only be done by an Editor or Administrator.

WordPress Contributor’s Capabilities

WordPress Contributor nav menu example
Example nav menu when a Contributor is logged into WordPress

Here is a list of capabilities that a WordPress Contributor has.

Posts

  • Create new posts, but not Publish them

Comments

  • View a list of Comments

Profile

  • Can only edit their own profile

Here’s an example of what the Contributor role CANNOT do:

  • no access to any site wide Settings
  • no access to Themes or Plugins
  • no access to the Pages screen
  • no access to the Users screen
  • no access to the Media screen (cannot upload files)
  • cannot modify anyone’s Posts, aside from their own
  • cannot delete Posts, including their own, once they are published
  • cannot edit, delete or manage Comments
  • cannot import or export content