This post is superseded by Blog 2014: Free WordPress themes that display bylines.
(You can skip to my findings if you like.)
To get the best search results for your blog, you will want to verify authorship with Google. Google requires web pages to have bylines such as “By Daniel Greene” or “Posted by Daniel Greene” to verify authorship. If you want to verify authorship of your whole blog, you need to have your byline on the front page. When I went to sign up for authorship, Google showed me that some of my blogs did not show my byline. I soon realized it was due to the themes on each blog. I found that by changing the theme to one that showed my byline, I was able to get Google to verify my authorship. That’s when I started trying out various themes to see which ones showed bylines.
After some random trials, I decided to search for existing knowledge. One blog post titled WordPress.com Changes Bylines for Authors said of WordPress.com, “bylines will only display now if there are at least two authors who both have at least one published post in the blog” (timethief, 2012). The author cited a WordPress.com News post titled More Custom Headers, Color Schemes, & Theme Improvements (Steward, 2011). I read it and I saw nothing in that post about displaying bylines. Another blog post titled Author and profile displayed or not (Panos, 2009, 2011) had a detailed list of themes up to December 2011. Since timethief’s findings did not match my own, and since Panos’ list did not include any themes from 2012 — a prolific year for the WordPress.com theme team! — I compiled a list of my own.
The way I found out which themes showed bylines and which did not was to preview themes on my main blog, danielgreene.com. Starting on the front page, I looked for a byline at the top of the first post on the front page and at the bottom of the post where some of the themes put the byline. When I found no byline at either the top or bottom of the first post on the front page, I clicked on the title of the second post to see if the byline showed on the post page. In most cases, themes that didn’t show bylines on the front page did show bylines on the post page, but a few themes showed bylines nowhere. Here is where the (free, not Premium) WordPress.com themes of 2012 (up to September) display and don’t display bylines:
- Ideation & Intent
- San Kloud
Post page only
- Ever After
- The Columnist
Neither front page nor post page
- Triton Lite
- Twenty Twelve
- Vintage Camera
Please comment if this was helpful or if you got different results than I did.