As you continue to learn more about the benefits of using WordPress, you may occasionally come across something called a blogroll.
WordPress refers to a list of hyperlinks pointing to other websites or pages that display on your sidebar menu as a blogroll.
According to official WordPress documentation …
“The term ‘blogroll’ was originally used because it was a list of links to other blogs, but you can include links to any sites.”
The Links feature lets you easily add and manage links to a widget-ready theme.
Before the release of WordPress v 3.5, Links were a built-in feature of the WordPress CMS. After the release of WordPress v3.5, the Links manager and blogroll sections were hidden by default in new installations …
(WP Links Manager – pre v 3.5)
(Post v 3.5 – no WordPress Links Manager)
If you have had an earlier version than v3.5 installed and upgraded your installation, then the Link Manager would have been removed, unless you’ve previously used it.
How To Add A Link Section To WordPress
You can add a link section to your sidebar menu by creating a custom menu, or use a plugin like the one shown in the tutorial below.
If you can’t see the Links feature when you log into your WP admin area you will need to install a plugin. In this tutorial, you will learn how to add, edit, delete and manage links on your site’s sidebar using WordPress plugins.
(Link Manager WordPress Plugin)
Use this plugin to display the default Links menu on your dashboard, even if you upgrade WordPress to a later version or remove all of your existing links.
Note: This plugin adds a single line of code to your installation to restore the hidden feature. The last time we checked, this plugin had not been updated for a while, but it should still work fine. If you don’t want to use this plugin, then use the plugin below instead, or contact us for help editing your site’s template code.
(Simple Links Plugin)
Description Of Plugin
Simple Links recreates the concept of the built-in WordPress Links Manager while addressing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.
Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.
In your WP dashboard area, go to Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins – Add New)
Click on the Install Plugins > Search tab, type ”link manager” into the search field and hit Enter …
Find the plugin in the results area and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin …
After activating the plugin, a ‘Links’ item will get added to your admin menu area …
We recommend setting up link categories first before you start adding any new links. This way, when adding a new link, you can assign your link to link categories you have already created.
To create a link category, click on Links > Link Categories in the main dashboard navigation menu …
(WP Links Menu – Link Categories)
The ‘Link Categories’ page will load in your web browser.
Enter the following information:
- Name: What you type in this field will display as the link category name.
- Slug: The slug displays in the URL of the link category name. Only use lower case letters without spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display your link category description.
Click Add New Link Category to save …
(Link Categories screen)
Your link category will now show in the table …
(Link Categories area)
Tip: The default WordPress link category is called Blogroll . Unless you specify the category when creating a link, WordPress will assign new links to the default category …
(Default link category name is ‘blogroll’)
You may want to change the default link category name to something that your visitors can relate to. This not only makes it easier for users of your site, but any new links that you add to your site will automatically be assigned to the new category name …
(Change the default ’blogroll’ to something better suited to your business)
To edit the default category name, hover your mouse over the list item and click on Quick Edit …
Replace both the Name and the Slug with a new category name (remember to keep the slug in lowercase letters and replace all spaces with a hyphen), then click on Update Link Category …
(Edit the link category)
Replace the category name ‘Blogroll’ with an appropriate links section category name (e.g. ‘Recommended’, ‘Related Items’ etc).
Let’s create a description for this link category. To add a link category description, hover over the item name and click Edit …
(Link category description)
Enter your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ screen and click Update finished to save your settings …
(Edit Link Category page)
Repeat this process to add as many different link categories as your site needs.
Once you have finished configuring your link categories, you can add your links.
How To Add New Links
To create a new link, go to the dashboard menu and choose Links > Add New …
(WordPress Links Menu – Add New)
This brings up the Add New Link’ page in your browser …
(Add New Link screen)
You can also access this screen by clicking on the ‘Add New’ button at the top of the main Links screen …
(Links page – Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page is divided into a number of sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
The first section is where you enter your link details …
(Name, Web Address& Description)
Enter the following information:
- Name: Enter the link category name here.
- Slug: The slug appears in the search-engine friendly URL of the link category name. Use lowercase letters only and do not include spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display your link category description in the links section, or as a tool tip when visitors hover over the link name with their mouse.
Categories & Target
After typing in your link details, select a Category and Target for your link …
(Categories & Target – Add New Link page)
In the Categories section, select one of the link categories you have already created, or click on the ‘+ Add New Category’ link to create a new category link.
Also, select a target frame radio button for your link in the Target section. This lets you specify how your link should open when visitors click on it:
- _blank means that when a visitor clicks on your link, a new, separate window will open up in their web browser to display the information associated with the link.
- _none means that when a visitor clicks on the link, they will exit your site and a new site or page will load in your web browser window instead.
- _top opens the link at the top level of the frame system if you’re using frames. Ignore this option if you don’t use frames, or if you don’t know what frames are.
Link Relationship XFN
This area provides some additional link functionality …
(Link Relationship (XFN) – Add New Link)
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN stands for XML Friends Network – is a way to define your relationship with the linked person. For example, if you work with Anaya Smith and you link to her blog, you would probably check co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional for WordPress links. You can ignore this section and your links will work just fine. Defining relationships with XFN makes your links more understandable to some websites and search engines that use this information.
rel – This field specifies the ‘rel’ attribute that will be assigned to your link. The rel attribute defines a relationship between the current document and the linked document. For example, if you don’t want search engines to follow your link, type nofollow into this field. Other ‘rel’ attributes include author, index, start, help, etc.
To learn more about XFN, visit the site below:
The last section lets you enter Advanced features for your links (some themes will ignore this. You can leave these fields empty unless you have a reason to use them) …
(Add New Link – Advanced link settings)
The Advanced link settings section includes the following:
- Image Address: Specify an image to be displayed with the link. To use this feature, add the image URL and make sure that the image is small (around 16×16 like a favicon).
- RSS Address: If your theme allows it, the link’s RSS feed will display next to the link.
- Notes: Add notes about the link in this section for your own internal reference.
- Rating: You can add a rating score to the link if you want to sort links by rating (see the ‘Links’ widget section below).
Enter information into the above fields or just leave this section blank, as these are not required.
When you are done adding your new link information, click on Add Link to update your link settings …
(Click on Add Link to save your new link)
Note: If you tick the Keep this link private checkbox, your link will not be visible in your Links section …
(Make links private by checking the box)
Making links private lets you toggle their visibility on or off without deleting these (this is useful if you want to have seasonal links) …
(Toggle link visibility on and off)
To view all the links you have added, go to the admin menu and choose Links > All Links …
(WP Links – All Links)
The ‘Links’ screen will load in your web browser. The list of links displays all your links and link information (e.g. link URL, categories, relationship, etc.) …
Tip: To view additional columns in the Links page, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top of the screen …
(Links page – Screen Options)
Enable/disable information on your table of links by ticking/unticking their checkboxes …
(Links table – Hide or display screen options)
How To Edit Link Information
To modify links in the Link Manager, go to the navigation menu and click on Links > All Links to bring up the links page …
(Links Menu – All Links)
Locate the link to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the link’s information …
(Editing your links)
Edit the link …
(Edit Link page)
After you’re done editing your link, you can:
- Click on Update Link to save and update your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to see your link and make sure that you have set up its URL correctly (your link will open in a new window),
- Click Delete to remove the link if you no longer require it …
(Edit Link: Update Link button)
How To Remove Your Links
To delete links from the Link Manager, go to your navigation menu and choose Links > All Links …
(Links – All Links)
This loads the ‘Links’ table in your browser.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links, or perform a bulk delete.
To delete individual links, hover your cursor over the link that you want to remove and click on Delete …
To delete a number of links at once, either click on the checkbox next to every item that you would like removed, or select all links by clicking on the main checkbox next to the ‘Name’ column header …
(Delete multiple links)
Choose Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ drop menu, and click the Apply button to remove your selected links …
(Links: bulk-delete function)
The links will be deleted …
(Link deletion notification)
Now that you know how to configure link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, it’s time to learn how to make links display on your site.
Using The Links Widget
Installing the Link Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ screen.
To access and configure your Link widgets, click on Appearance > Widgets in the dashboard menu …
(WordPress Appearance Menu – Widgets)
This brings up the ‘Widgets’ screen in your browser.
You will notice a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …
Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of your widget bars and drop it wherever you would like your links section to show up …
(Drag and drop your links widget to add it to a widgetized menu)
The Links widget offers a number of configurable settings. You can specify what information you would like displayed about your links and how many links you want displayed on your sidebar …
(Link widget - configurable settings)
You can add multiple link widgets to your sidebar and footer. This allows you to add and feature specific link sections sorted by categories on your site …
(You can add a number of link widgets to your widget bars)
Select a link category to display specific links …
(Link widget options – Select Link Category)
You can sort links by Link ID, Link rating, Link title, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget settings – Sort by options)
Once you are done setting up your links widget, click Save to update your settings. Your link section should show up immediately on your site …
(Links can be displayed on a sidebar)
As the above example shows, you can display specific links to your site visitors (e.g. a list for a specific link category only), and add multiple lists of links to your sidebar menu.
Need help with widgets? We have written a detailed article about using widgets. Go here to learn more about this:
Link Manager – Additional Information
If you have many links, the Link Manager plugin lets you easily administer these with searching, sorting, and filtering functions.
Sort Your Links
To sort links, hover your mouse over the title of the column you want to sort and click on the little triangle displayed next to the column title …
(Sort your links)
Type a search term into the search field and click the Search Links button …
(You can easily find links using the search function)
Filter Your Links
You can filter links by link categories …
(Filtering your links by link category)
You can also search and filter links in the Link Categories screen. Use the ‘Search Link Categories’ button to search for link categories, or click on the category links in the ‘Links’ column …
(searching and filtering links in the Link Categories page)
This brings up a list of all links listed for a specific link category …
(Links filtered by category)
Links – Additional Options
If you plan to add a lot of links to your website, or if you would like to add a page containing a list of links to your site (i.e. not just add links on your sidebar), then you may want to consider using a plugin that can help you administer your links.
Plugin Download URL
Link Library gives you the ability to display a list of all your link categories with a complete list of links with descriptions and notes …
(Link Library links. Screenshot taken from Link Library plugin site.)
This plugin can be used to create a page on your site that contains a list of all of the link categories in your Links section, and all links listed in these categories. You can select a sub-set of categories to display or not display, show only one category at a time, display a search box and find results based on visitor queries, display a form to accept user submissions that can be moderated by a site administrator, and even generate an RSS feed for your link collection that lets your site users be made aware of any additions made to to your link library.
To learn more about the Link Library plugin:
Congratulations! Now you know how to add a link section to your WordPress site.
If you want to learn more about inserting links into WordPress posts & pages, refer to this article:
"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group