As you discover more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across the term blogroll.
A blogroll is a list of links pointing to external sites or blogs that display on your sidebar.
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 hyperlinks to your WordPress sidebar (e.g. a “Recommended Resources” section) using a widget.
Before WordPress version 3.5 was released, Links were a core feature of the WordPress CMS. From v.3.5 onwards, the Link Manager section was kept hidden by default in new installations …
(WP Links Feature – pre v.3.5)
(Post v.3.5 – no WordPress Links Manager)
If you’ve had an earlier version than v.3.5 installed and upgraded your installation, then the Links Manager would be 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 the Links feature is not visible when you log into your WP dashboard you will need to install a plugin. This tutorial explains how to add, edit, delete and manage blogroll links on your site’s sidebar using WordPress plugins.
The Link Manager plugin restores the default Links menu on your dashboard, 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 your installation in order to restore the hidden feature. When we last checked, this plugin had not been updated for some time, but it should still work fine. If you don’t want to use the Link Manager plugin, then use the one below instead, or contact us for help editing your template code.
(Simple Links WordPress Plugin)
Simple Links attempts to recreate the same concept as the built-in WordPress Links Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated functionality.
Installing The Plugin
To install the Link Manager plugin on your website, do the following:
From the WordPress dashboard area, go to Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins – Add New)
Select the Install Plugins > Search tab, type in “link manager” into the search field and hit Enter …
Locate the plugin in the search results screen and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin …
After activation, a ‘Links’ section will be displayed in your WP dashboard menu area …
(Links management menu section)
We recommend setting up your link categories first before you start adding new links. This way, when you create a new link, you can assign the link to the link category you have already created.
To create a link category, go to the WP navigation menu and choose Links > Link Categories …
(WordPress Links – Link Categories)
This brings up the ‘Link Categories’ page in your browser.
Enter the following information:
- Name: Enter the category name.
- Slug: The slug shows up in the URL of the link category. Only use lower case letters and do not include spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display your link category description.
When done, click the Add New Link Category button to save your new link category …
The link category will now show in the list …
(Link Categories area)
Tip: Blogroll is the default link category name. Unless you specify a category for a new link, WordPress will automatically assign new links to the default category …
(Default link category name)
You may want to change this default link category name to something that your visitors can relate to. 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 …
(Change the default ’blogroll’ to something better suited to your business)
To change the ‘Blogroll’ link name, hover your mouse over the list item and click on Quick Edit …
(Editing the link category name)
Replace both the Name and the Slug with a new category name, and click on Update Link Category …
(Update Link Category)
Replace the link category ‘Blogroll’ with (e.g. ‘Recommended’, ‘Related Items’ etc).
Let’s add a link category description. To add a description to an existing link category, hover over the item name and click Edit …
(Link category description)
Add your link category description field and click Update …
(Edit Link Category area)
Repeat this process and add as many link categories as your site needs.
Once you have configured your link categories, you can being adding new links.
How To Add Links
To add a new link, choose Links > Add New in your dashboard navigation menu …
(Links – Add New)
This brings up the Add New Link’ page in your web browser …
(Add New Link screen)
You can also access this screen by clicking on the ‘Add New’ button in the main Links screen …
(Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page includes several sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
Enter details about your link in this section …
(Name, Web Address, Description fields – Add New Link page)
Enter the following information:
- Name: Whatever you type here is the link category name that will display on your site.
- Slug: The slug is the web address bit of the link category name. Only use lower case letters without spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display a link category description in the links section, or as a tool tip when visitors hover over the link name.
Categories & Target
Select a Category and Target for your new link …
(Categories & Target – Add New Link)
In the Categories section, tick one of the link categories you’ve already created, or click on the ‘+ Add New Category’ link to create a new category link.
Next, select a target frame radio button for your link in the Target section. This lets you specify how the link should open when clicked on by visitors:
- _blank means that a new window will open up in their browser to display the content associated with the link.
- _none means that when a visitor clicks on the link, they will exit your site and a new website 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. Don’t worry about this option if you don’t use frames, or if you don’t know what frames are.
Link Relationship XFN
This section 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 to the linked person. For example, if you have a professional relationship with Milo Fields and you link to his blog, you would probably check co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional. You can leave everything in this section blank and all your links will still work. 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 is used to define 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, start, index, help, etc. Separate multiple ‘rel’ keywords with spaces.
You can learn more about XFN by visiting the site below:
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) …
(Add New Link page – Advanced link settings)
The Advanced section fields include 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 be displayed next to the link.
- 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).
Type in your information in the above fields or just leave this section blank, as these fields are not essential for links to work.
When you have finished 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 Keep this link private checkbox, your link will not be visible in your Links section …
(Private link checkbox)
Making links private lets you toggle link visibility on and off without deleting your links (this is useful if you want links to display during certain periods and hide them when they are no longer required) …
(Making links private toggles their visibility on and off)
To see a list of all your links, click on Links > All Links in your WP dashboard navigation menu …
(WP Links – All Links)
You will be taken to the ‘Links’ table. The Links screen displays a list of your links and link information (e.g. link URL, categories, visibility, etc.) …
Tip: To display or hide options in the Links table, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top of your screen …
(Links page – Screen Options)
Enable/disable fields on your Links table by selecting/deselecting their check boxes …
(Show/hide – Table of links)
Editing Link Information
To modify a link, click on Links > All Links in the WP dashboard menu to bring up the list of links …
(WordPress Links – All Links)
Select the item to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the link’s details …
(Editing link information)
Edit the link information …
(Edit Link screen)
After you’re done editing your link, you can:
- Click the Update Link button to save your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to see your link and check that you have set up the link’s URL correctly (your link will open in a new window),
- Click Delete to delete the link …
(Edit Link: Update Link button)
To remove a link, click on Links > All Links in the main navigation menu …
(Links Menu – All Links)
You will be taken to the ‘Links’ page.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links by selecting their check boxes, or remove all your links.
To delete individual links, hover your cursor over the link title you want removed and click on Delete …
To delete links in bulk, either click on the checkbox next to every item that you would like to be removed, or select all links by clicking on the checkbox next to the ‘Name’ column header …
(Deleting multiple links)
Select Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ menu, and click the Apply button to delete your selected links …
(Links: bulk-deletion function)
Your links will be deleted …
(Link deletion notice)
Now that you know how to set up link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, it’s time to learn how to display your links on your site.
The Link Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ section.
To access and configure your Link widgets, go to the WP navigation menu and choose Appearance > Widgets …
(Appearance Menu – Widgets)
You will be taken to the ‘Widgets’ screen.
You will see a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …
Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of your widget areas in the Widgets page and drop it wherever you want the links section to show up …
(Adding a links widget to your widget bar)
The Links widget provides various configurable settings. You can specify what information you would like displayed about your links and how many links you would like to display on your sidebar menu …
(Link widget options)
You can also add as many link widgets as you want. This lets you add and feature specific lists of links sorted by categories on your site …
(Add multiple link widgets to your widget bars)
You can add and display a list of items 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)
When you have finished setting up your links widget, click the Save button to update your settings. A link section will show up immediately on your sidebar, footer or wherever you have placed the links widget in …
(An example of how 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 more help using widgets? We have written a comprehensive article about adding widgets. Go here to learn more:
Links Manager – Additional Information
If you have many links, the Links Manager plugin lets you easily administer these using filtering, sorting, and searching features.
You can sort links by hovering your mouse cursor over the title of the column you want to sort and clicking on the 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 …
(Finding your links)
Filter Your Links
You can filter links by link category …
(Filter your links by category)
You can also search and filter links in the Link Categories page. Use the ‘Search Link Categories’ button to find link categories, or click on the category links in the ‘Links’ column …
(Search and filter links in the Link Categories page)
This displays 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 blog, or if you intend to add a ‘Links’ page to your site (i.e. not just add a links section to your sidebar), then you may want to look at using a plugin that can help you administer links.
Link Library gives you the ability to publish a list of your link categories and a complete list of links plus notes and descriptions …
(Link Library links. Image source: Link Library plugin website.)
This useful plugin creates a page on your web site containing all the link categories in your Links area, and 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 of your links so that your site users can become aware of any additions made to to your link library.
Visit the plugin site for more information about the benefits of using this useful plugin:
Congratulations! Now you know how to add a featured links section to your WordPress site.
We have written a comprehensive article on creating links in your WordPress content. If you would like to learn more here:
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