Can you update your website? WordPress User Roles

Many WordPress website owners are unaware that the settings for WordPress User Roles can dramatically affect the access they have to update the content on their website.  I’ve seen the Dashboards of quite a few WordPress websites recently, either to help a client out when they were stuck or to train them how to get the best use out of their website and have been quite shocked at the restricted access some web designers have given their clients. One client didn’t even have access to post a blog!

Make sure you have access to the functions you need on your WordPress website! Click To Tweet

The main advantages of a WordPress website are the flexibility and ease of use of its content management system. Another advantage is the simplicity of making basic changes and adding or amending content on your site.  Gone are the days when you should need to go back to your web designer for every small tweak and change! Unless, of course, you want to but you should have the choice.

Unfortunately, there still seem to be many designers around who want to lock their clients into their services and make them dependent on them for any changes. While I do completely understand why, in some cases, it is advisable not to give a completely free rein to some users. Particularly those who freely admit that they have rather ‘sticky fingers’, it isn’t true of all users.

What type of user are you?

I generally come across the following types of website owners:

  • The arms-length owner – “I want to have nothing to do with my site”
  • The risk-averse owner – “I’m happy to update pages and posts to keep my content fresh but don’t want to go near the coding”
  • The adventurous owner – “I love to play and will have a go at anything” (but might “break” their site from time to time!).

WordPress User Roles

Fortunately, the WordPress user roles option covers all of these! There are five main user roles on a site, you’ll find them in the Add New User section of your site:

WordPress User Roles

  • Administrator – somebody who has access to all the administration features within a single site.
  • Editor – somebody who can publish and manage posts including the posts of other users.
  • Author – somebody who can publish and manage their own posts.
  • Contributor – somebody who can write and manage their own posts but cannot publish them.
  • Subscriber – somebody who can only manage their profile.

There is one further role which is Super Admin! The Super Admin role allows a user to perform all possible capabilities within a network of websites rather than just an individual site. Each of the other roles has a decreasing number of allowed capabilities. For instance, the Subscriber role has just the “read” capability. One particular role should not be considered to be senior to another role. Rather, consider that roles define the user’s responsibilities within the site.

How to get it right for you

My advice would be to sit down and agree upfront on exactly how much you want to be involved. This is for both the design and ongoing maintenance of your site.  You should cover both a technical viewpoint and content creation for either pages or posts.  This will make certain that you have the relevant access. You will need to get the right level of training to cover the aspects that you want to handle yourself. You’ll also be aware that you will need to budget for keeping your site up to date unless you are prepared to learn yourself.

Remember: A website is for life not just for Christmas! It needs fresh content. Click To Tweet

Have you had problems with your website set up? I’ve certainly heard a few horror stories but I’ve also heard some very positive experiences. Let me know your story in the comments box below.


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