As you become more familiar with WordPress, you may occasionally come across something called a blogroll.
In WordPress terminology, a list of hyperlinks displayed on your sidebar menu is sometimes referred to 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 add external hyperlinks to your WordPress sidebar menu (e.g. a “Top 10 Resources” section) using a widget.
Before WordPress version 3.5 was released, Links were a visible feature of the WordPress CMS. From version 3.5 onwards, the Links Manager section was kept hidden by default in new WordPress installations …
(WP Links Feature – pre v.3.5)
(The Link Manager – excluded from WordPress after WordPress v.3.5)
If you have used an earlier version than v.3.5 and updated your installation, then the Link Manager would have been removed, unless you’ve previously used it. If you’ve never used the Link Manager feature, however, or if your WordPress site installation is new, then this function will remain hidden – it will not be displayed on your menu.
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 WordPress dashboard you will need to install a plugin. In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn how to add and manage blogroll links on your site’s sidebar using plugins.
(Link Manager Plugin)
Description Of Plugin
The Link Manager plugin restores the built-in Links feature on your dashboard, even if you upgrade WordPress to a later version or remove all of your current links.
Note: All this plugin does is add a single line of template code to WordPress to restore the hidden feature. The last time we checked, this plugin had not been updated for some time, but it should still work fine. If you don’t want to use this plugin, then use the one below instead, or contact us for help editing your template code.
(Simple Links Plugin)
Simple Links recreates the concept of the built-in WP Link Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated functionality.
To install the Link Manager plugin on your website or blog, do the following:
From your WordPress admin area, go to Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins – Add New)
Click on the Install Plugins > Search tab, type in “link manager” into the search field and hit Enter …
Locate the plugin in the results area and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin after installing it …
After activation, WordPress restores the ‘Links’ function to your admin menu …
(Links menu section)
Before adding any new links, it’s a good idea to first set up your link categories. This way, when you create a new link, you can assign the link to link categories you have already created.
To create a link category, go to your dashboard menu and choose Links > Link Categories …
(Links – Link Categories)
This loads the ‘Link Categories’ screen in your browser.
Enter the following information:
- Name: Whatever you enter in this field is the category name that will display on your site.
- Slug: The slug appears in the SEO friendly URL of the link category name. It must all be in lowercase letters and contain no spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display your link category description. (Optional)
When finished, click Add New Link Category …
Your link category will now show in the table …
(Link Categories area)
Tip: Blogroll is the default link category name. Unless you specify a category for a link, WordPress will automatically assign new links to the default category …
(Default link category)
You may want to change this to something that will make sense to your blog readers. This will not only make it easier for visitors, but any new links that you add to your site will automatically be assigned to the new category name …
(we recommend changing the default ’blogroll’ to something your visitors will relate to)
To edit the default category name, hover your mouse over the category name and click on Quick Edit …
(Edit the default link category name)
Change 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), and click on Update Link Category …
(Update Link Category)
In our example, the category name ‘Blogroll’ has been replaced with a more suitable name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).
Let’s insert a description for this link category. To add a link category description, hover over the item name and click Edit …
(You can add/edit your category description)
Enter your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ screen and click Update when done …
(Edit Link Category page)
Repeat this process to add as many different link categories as your site requires.
After configuring your link categories, you can being adding your links.
To add a new link, select Links > Add New in the WP admin menu …
(WP Links Menu – Add New)
This loads 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 in the main Links page …
(Links – Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page is divided into a number of sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
Enter your link details in this section …
(Name, Web Addressand Description area – Add New Link screen)
Type in the following information:
- Name: Enter the category name.
- Slug: The slug is the URL part of your link category name. Use lowercase letters only and do not include spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display a link category description.
Categories & Target
After adding link details, select a Category and Target for the link …
(Categories & Target area – Add New Link page)
In the Categories section, select a link category you have already added, or click on the ‘+ Add New Category’ link to create a new category.
Also, select a target frame for your link in the Target section by choosing one of the radio buttons. This lets you specify how the link should open when clicked on:
- _blank means that when visitors click on your link, a separate browser window will open up to display the information associated with the link.
- _none means that when a visitor clicks on the link, they will leave your site and a new website or page will load in your browser window instead.
- _top opens links at the top level of the frame system if you’re using frames. If you don’t use frames, or if you don’t know what frames are, then ignore this option.
Link Relationship XFN
This section provides some additional link functionality …
(Link Relationship (XFN) fields)
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN stands for XML Friends Network – allows you to define your relationship to the linked person. For example, if you work with Aaron Schwartz and you link to his blog, you would probably tick co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional for WordPress links. You can ignore this section and your links will still work. Defining relationships with XFN makes the links defined on your site more understandable to some websites and search engines that use this information.
rel – This field lets you specify the ‘rel’ attribute that will be assigned to your link. The rel attribute specifies the 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, help, index, start, etc.
To learn more about XFN, visit this site:
The last section allows you to specify Advanced features for your links (You can ignore this section, unless there’s a good reason to use it) …
(Advanced link settings)
The Advanced link settings section contains the following:
- Image Address: Lets you specify an image to be displayed with the link. To use this feature, add the URL of where the image is stored 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 can be displayed next to the links.
- Notes: This section lets you add notes for your own internal reference.
- Rating: You can add a rating score to the link if you would like to sort links by rating (see the ‘Links’ widget section below).
Enter information in the above fields or just leave this section blank, as these are not essential for links to work.
When you are done adding information about your link, click on the Add Link button to save your new link …
(Click on the Add Link button to update your link settings)
Note: If you tick the checkbox next to Keep this link private, the link will not be visible when links are displayed on your site …
(Make your links private)
Making a link private allows you to toggle its visibility on and off without deleting it (this is useful if you want to use seasonal links) …
(Making links private toggles their visibility on and off)
To view a list of all your links, select Links > All Links in your admin menu …
(WP Links – All Links)
You will be taken to the ‘Links’ table. The Links table displays all of your links and link information (e.g. URL, categories, visibility, etc.) …
(Table of links)
Tip: To display additional information in the Links table, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of the screen …
(Screen Options – Links page)
Display/hide fields on your Links table by selecting/deselecting their checkboxes …
(Hide or show – Links table)
Editing Your Links
To modify links in the Link Manager, go to your WP navigation menu and click on Links > All Links to bring up your table of links …
(WordPress Links Menu – All Links)
Select the link to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the link’s information …
(Editing your links)
Make any changes you want to the link details …
(Edit Link screen)
After editing your link, you can:
- Click on Update Link to save and update your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to make sure that you have set up your link’s URL correctly (the link will open up in a new window),
- Click Delete to remove the link from your table of links …
(Edit Link: Update Link button)
How To Delete Your Links
To delete links from the Link Manager, choose Links > All Links in the WP admin menu …
(Links Menu – All Links)
The ‘Links’ table will load in your web browser.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links by selecting their check boxes, or perform a bulk delete.
To delete individual links, hover your cursor over the link that you want to remove and click Delete …
(Deleting your links)
To delete a number of links at once, either tick the checkboxes next to individual links that you want to remove, 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’ menu, and click Apply to remove all selected links …
Your selected links will be removed …
(links deleted notification)
Now that you know how to set up link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, let’s show you how to display your links on your site.
Installing the Link Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ screen.
To access and configure your Link widgets, go to the WP dashboard navigation menu and choose Appearance > Widgets …
(Appearance – Widgets)
You will be taken to the ‘Widgets’ screen.
You will notice that a ‘Links’ widget has been added to the Available Widgets section …
To make the ‘Links’ widget active, drag it to one of your widget areas and drop it wherever you want the links section to show up …
(Add a links widget to a widgetized menu using drag & drop)
The Links widget includes various configurable options. You can specify what information you would like to show about your links and how many links you would like displayed on your sidebar …
(Link widget - options)
You can add as many link widgets to your sidebars and footers as you want. This allows you to create and display different lists of links throughout your site …
(You can add a number of link widgets to your widget bars)
Display a list of links for a specific category …
(Link widget options – Select Link Category)
You can sort links by Link rating, Link ID, Link title, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget settings – Sort by options)
After configuring your Links widget, click the Save button to update your settings. Your link section should display on your website or blog’s sidebar menu …
(Links can be displayed on your site’s 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? If you want to learn more about widgets, refer to this article:
Link Manager – Additional Information
If you have many links, the Links Manager plugin allows you to easily administer these with filtering, sorting, and searching functions.
Sorting Your Links
To sort links, hover your cursor over the title of the column you want to sort and click on the little black triangle displayed next to the column title …
(Sorting your links)
Find Your Links
Type a search term into the search field and click the Search Links button …
Filter Links Function
You can filter links by category …
(Filtering your links by link categories)
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 links in the ‘Links’ column …
(Search and filter links in the Link Categories screen)
This brings up a list of all links grouped under a specific link category …
(Links filtered by category)
Additional Link Options
If you plan to add a lot of links to your website, or if you want 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 look at using a plugin that can help you administer your links.
(Link library – Plugin For WordPress)
Plugin Download URL
This plugin gives you the ability to display a list of all your link categories with a complete list of links with descriptions and notes …
(List of links created with Link library. Image: Link Library plugin site.)
This plugin creates a page on your web site containing all the link categories in your Links area, plus all links defined for these categories. Additionally, 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 links so that your site users can be made aware of additions to your link library.
Go here to learn more this plugin:
Congratulations! Now you know how to add a featured links section to WordPress.
We have written a comprehensive article on how to add links to your WordPress posts & pages. Go here to learn more about this:
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