How To Add A Link Section To WordPress

Before the release of WordPress v3.5, Links were a core feature of WordPress. This tutorial shows you how to restore this feature to your site …

How To Add A WordPress Featured Links SectionAs you continue to discover more about the benefits of using WordPress, you may occasionally come across the term blogroll.

A blogroll is a list of links pointing to external websites or pages displayed on your sidebar section.

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.”

You can add a blogroll using the Links menu in your WP Dashboard. These links will then display on your site if you have added the Links widget.

Important

Before WordPress v3.5 was released, Links were a visible feature of the WordPress CMS. After v.3.5, the Links manager and blogroll sections were hidden by default in new installations …

Before …

WP Links Menu - pre v.3.5

(WordPress Links Manager – pre v.3.5)

After …

The Link Manager feature  - excluded from the dashboard menu after WP version 3.5

(Post version 3.5 – no WordPress Links feature)

If you’ve used an earlier version of WordPress than v3.5 and upgraded your installation, the Link Manager would be removed, unless you have previously used it.

 

How To Add A Link Section To WordPress

Practical Tip

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 the Link Manager is not visible when you log into your WP admin area you will need to install a plugin. This step-by-step tutorial explains how to add, edit, delete and manage blogroll links on your sidebar using plugins.

Link Manager

Link Manager

(Link Manager – WordPress Link Management Plugin)

Plugin Download URL

http://wordpress.org/plugins/link-manager

Description

This plugin displays the default Link Manager, even if you update to a later version of WordPress or remove all of your current links.

Note: All this plugin does is add a single line of code to WordPress 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 template code.

Simple Links

Simple Links - WordPress Link Management Plugin

(Simple Links Plugin)

Plugin URL

https://wordpress.org/plugins/simple-links/

Plugin Description

This plugin attempts to recreate the same concept as the built-in Link Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.

Installing The Plugin

Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.

From the WordPress administration area, go to Plugins > Add New

Plugins Menu - Add New

(Plugins Menu – Add New)

Click on the Install Plugins > Search tab, then type in “link manager” into the search field and hit Enter

How To Install Link Manager

Locate the plugin in the results screen and click Install Now

Plugin Installation

Activate the plugin after installing it …

Installing The Plugin

Once you have activated the plugin, WordPress restores the ‘Links’ function to the navigation menu area …

WordPress links management menu section

(Links management menu)

Setting Up The Plugin

We recommend setting up link categories first before adding links. This way, when you add a new link, you can assign your link to link categories you have already created.

Link Categories

To create a link category, go to your admin menu and choose Links > Link Categories

Links Menu - Link Categories

(WP Links – Link Categories)

This loads the ‘Link Categories’ screen in your browser.

Enter information into the following sections:

  • Name: Enter the link category name.
  • Slug: The slug displays in the SEO friendly URL of the link category name. Use only lowercase letters without spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
  • Description: Some themes may display a link category description. (Optional)

When done, click Add New Link Category to save your new link category …

Link Categories page

(Link Categories area)

Your new category will display in the list …

Link Categories area

(Link Categories)

Important

Tip: The default WordPress link category is called Blogroll . Unless you specify a category when adding a new link, WordPress automatically assigns new links to the default category …

Default link category name

(Default link category name)

You may want to change the default WordPress link category name to something that your visitors can understand. This not only makes it easier for visitors, but any new links that you add to the Links section will automatically be assigned to the new category name …

we recommend changing the default link category name to something better suited to your business

(we recommend changing the default link category name to something better suited to your business)

To change the default category name, hover your mouse over the item and click on the Quick Edit link …

Quick Edit

(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), and click on the Update link Category button …

Update Link Category

(Quick Edit)

Replace the link category ‘Blogroll’ with (e.g. ‘Recommended’, ‘Special Deals’ etc).

Let’s add a description for this link category. To add a description to an existing link category, hover over the link category name and click Edit

Link category description

(You can add/edit your category description)

Add your link category description field and click Update

Edit Link Category page

(Edit Link Category area)

Repeat the above process and add as many link categories as you need.

Once you have set up your link categories, you can add your links.

How To Add Links

To add a new link, go to your dashboard menu and choose Links > Add New

WP Links - Add New

(Links – Add New)

This takes you to the ‘Add New Link’ page …

Add New Link page

(Add New Link page)

You can also reach this page by clicking on ’Add New’ at the top of the main Links page …

Add New Link button

(Add New Link button)

The ‘Add New Links’ page includes various sections:

Name, Web Address & Description

This section lets you enter your link details …

Name, Web Address& Description section - Add New Link page

(Name, Web Address& Description)

Enter the following information:

  • Name: Whatever you type in this field displays as the link category name.
  • Slug: The slug displays in the URL of the link category name. It must be in lowercase letters and contain no spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
  • Description: Some themes may display your link category description. (Optional)
Categories & Target

Select a Category and Target for the new link …

Categories & Target area - Add New Link

(Categories & Target area – Add New Link screen)

In the Categories section, tick a link category you’ve already set up, or click on ’+ Add New Category’ to create a new category.

Next, select a target frame radio button for your link in the Target section. This lets you specify where you want your link to open when a visitor clicks on it:

  • _blank means that when a visitor clicks on the link, a new, separate web browser window will open up to display the content associated with the link. Your visitor will be able to access the link information without leaving your page
  • _none means that when a visitor clicks on your link, they will exit your site and a new website or page will load in your web 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 just ignore this option.
Link Relationship XFN

This area provides some additional link functionality …

Add New Link - Link Relationship (XFN) area

(Link Relationship (XFN))

Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN (XML Friends Network) is a way to define your relationship with the linked person. For example, if you work with Orlando O’Malley and you link to his blog, you would probably tick co-worker or colleague.

XFN relationships are optional. You can ignore this section and all of your links will still work. Defining relationships with XFN makes your links 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.

To learn more about XFN, visit this site:

Advanced

The last section of the Add New Link’ page lets you enter Advanced features for your links (You can ignore this section, unless there’s a good reason to use it) …

Advanced link settings - Add New Link page

(Advanced area – Add New Link screen)

The Advanced section fields are as follows:

  • Image Address: Lets you specify an image to be displayed with the link. To use this feature, add the URL of your image and make sure that your image is small (around 16×16 like a favicon).
  • RSS Address: If your theme allows it, the link’s RSS feed will be displayed next to the link.
  • Notes: Add notes about the link in this section for your own internal reference.
  • Rating: Add a rating score to the link if you want to sort links by rating (see the ‘Links’ widget section below).

Type in your information in the above fields or just leave this section blank, as these fields are not essential.

When you have finished adding your new link information, click on Add Link to update your link settings …

click on Add Link to save your new link

(Click on Add Link to save your new link)

Important Info

Note: If you tick Keep this link private, the link will not be visible in your Blogroll section …

Make your links private

(Make your links private)

Making links private allows you to toggle link visibility on and off without deleting these (this is useful if you want to add seasonal links) …

Toggle link visibility on and off

(Toggle link visibility on and off)

To view a list of all your links, go to your WP navigation menu and choose Links > All Links

WP Links - All Links

(Links Menu – All Links)

The ‘Links’ table will display in your browser. The Links screen displays a list of your links and link information (e.g. URL, link categories, relationship, etc.) …

Links screen

(List of links)

Tip

Tip: To display additional information in the Links page, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of the screen …

Screen Options - List of Links

(Table of links – Screen Options)

Enable/disable information on your table of links by ticking/unticking their checkboxes …

Table of links - Hide or show screen options

(Show/hide links)

How To Edit Link Information

To edit a link, click on Links > All Links in the main dashboard menu to bring up the table of links …

Links Menu - All Links

(Links Menu – All Links)

Select the link you want to edit and click on Edit to bring up the link’s information …

Editing your links

(Editing links)

Edit your link details …

Edit Link page

(Edit Link page)

After you’re done editing your link, you can:

  • Click on Update Link to save your link details,
  • Click on Visit Link to check that you have set up the link’s URL correctly (the link will open in a new window),
  • Click Delete to remove the link if you no longer require it …

Edit Link: Update Link button

(Edit Link: Update Link button)

Deleting Your Links

To remove links, go to your WP dashboard navigation menu and choose Links > All Links

Links - All Links

(Links Menu – All Links)

This brings up the ‘Links’ table in your 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 from the link table and click Delete

Delete your links

(Delete your links)

To delete multiple links, either tick the check box next to every item that you would like deleted, or select all links by clicking on the checkbox next to the ‘Name’ column header …

Delete multiple links

(Deleting multiple links)

Select Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ menu, and click Apply to remove your selected links …

Bulk-delete links

(Bulk-delete links)

The links will be removed …

Link deletion notice

(Link deletion notice)

Using The Link Manager Plugin

Now that you know how to configure link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, let’s show you how to make links display on your site.

Using The Links Widget

The Links Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ section.

To access and configure your Link widgets, click on Appearance > Widgets in the main dashboard menu …

WordPress Appearance - Widgets

(WP Appearance Menu – Widgets)

You will be taken to the ‘Widgets’ page.

You will notice a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …

Links widget

(Links widget)

Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of the widget areas and drop it wherever you would like your links to display …

Add a links widget to a widgetized area using drag and drop

(Add a links widget to a widgetized area)

The Links widget includes various configurable settings. For example, you can specify what information you would like displayed about your links and how many links you would like to display on your sidebar …

Link widget - configurable settings

(Link widget options)

You can also add multiple link widgets to your sidebar and footer. This lets you create and feature lists of links throughout your site …

You can add multiple link widgets to your widget bars

(Add multiple link widgets to your sidebar)

Select a link category from the ‘Select Link Category:’ drop-down menu …

Link widget options - Select Link Category

(Link widget options – Select Link Category)

You can sort links by Link title, Link ID, Link rating, or display links in Random order …

Link widget options - Sorting options

(Link widget settings – Sort by options)

When you have finished setting up your links widget, click Save to update your settings. A link section will appear on your sidebar, footer or wherever you have added the links widget to …

Links can be displayed on a sidebar

(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.

Useful Tip

Need help using widgets? If you want to learn more about configuring widgets, refer to this article:

Links Manager – Additional Information

If you have many links, the Link Manager plugin lets you easily administer these using sort, filter, and search functionality.

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 …

Sorting your links

(Sort your links)

Searching Links Function

Type a search term into the search field and click the Search Links button to search for links …

You can easily search links using the search function

(Search your links)

Filter Links Function

You can filter links by link categories …

Filtering your links by link categories

(Filtering links by link categories)

You can also search and filter links in the Link Categories screen. Use the ‘Search Link Categories’ button to find link categories, or click on the links in the ‘Links’ column …

Search and filter links in the Link Categories page

(searching and filtering links in the Link Categories page)

This brings up a list of all links listed under a specific link category …

Links filtered by link category

(Links filtered by link 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 a links section to your sidebar), then you may want to consider using a plugin that can help you administer links.

Link Library

Link Library Plugin

(Link Library)

Plugin Download URL

http://wordpress.org/plugins/link-library/

Plugin Description

Link Library lets you output a list of your link categories with a complete list of all your links with notes and descriptions …

Link Library links

(Link Library links. Image: Link Library plugin website.)

This plugin creates a page on your site containing all the link categories in your Links area, plus all links defined for 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 of your link collection so that your site users can become aware of any additions made to to your link library.

To learn more this plugin, visit the plugin website:

Adding A WordPress Blogroll Section

Congratulations! Now you know how to add a blogroll to your WordPress sidebar.

Useful Tip

We have written a comprehensive article on how to create links in WordPress posts & pages. Go here to learn more:

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