As you become more familiar with 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 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 links to a widget-ready theme.
Prior to the release of WordPress version 3.5, Links were a built-in feature of the WordPress CMS. After the release of WordPress v.3.5, the Links manager and blogroll sections were hidden by default in new installations …
(WP Links Manager – pre v3.5)
(Post v.3.5 – no WordPress Links Manager)
If you have had an earlier version than v 3.5 installed and updated your installation, then the Link Manager would have been removed, unless you have 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 a Links section on the main menu when you log into your WP admin area, you can add this feature by installing a plugin. In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn how to add, edit, delete and manage blogroll links on your sidebar using WordPress plugins.
(Link Manager – Plugin For WordPress)
Description Of Plugin
Use this plugin to display 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 template 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 the Link Manager plugin, then use the one below instead, or contact us for help editing your site’s template code.
(Simple Links – WordPress Link Management Plugin)
Plugin Download URL
Description Of Plugin
This plugin attempts to recreate the concept of the built-in WP Links Manager while addressing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.
To install the Link Manager plugin, follow these step-by-step instructions:
From your WP admin area, go to Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins Menu – 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 activation, the ‘Links’ function is restored to your WP navigation menu area …
(WordPress links management menu)
Before you start adding any new links, we recommend setting up your link categories. This way, when adding a new link, you can assign your link to the link category you have already created.
To create a new link category, click on Links > Link Categories in your WP navigation menu …
(Links – Link Categories)
The ‘Link Categories’ screen will display in your web browser.
Enter information into the following sections:
- Name: Enter the category name.
- Slug: The slug displays in the web address of the link category name. Use lowercase letters only without spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display your link category description.
When done, click Add New Link Category to save …
(Link Categories area)
The link category will display in the list …
Tip: The default WordPress link category is called Blogroll . Unless you specify the category when creating a new link, WordPress automatically assigns new links to the default category …
(Default link category name)
You may want to change the default link category name to something better suited to your business. This will not only make it easier for visitors, but any new links that you add to the Links section will automatically be assigned to the new category name …
(Change the default link category name to something better suited to your business)
To change the default category name, hover your mouse over the category name and click on the Quick Edit link …
Change both the Name and the Slug with a new category name, and click on Update Link Category …
(Editing the default link category name)
Replace the category ‘Blogroll’ with an appropriate links section category name (e.g. ‘Recommended’, ‘Special Deals’ etc).
Let’s add a description for this link category. To add a description to an existing link category, click on Edit under the category name …
(You can add/edit the category description)
Enter your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ screen and click Update done to save your settings …
(Edit Link Category area)
Repeat this process to add as many different link categories as your site requires.
After setting up your link categories, you can start adding your links.
Adding New Links
To add a new link, click on Links > Add New in the navigation menu …
(WordPress Links Menu – Add New)
This loads the Add New Link’ screen in your web browser …
(Add New Link screen)
You can also reach this screen by clicking on the ‘Add New’ button at the top of the main Links screen …
(Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page is divided into the following sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
Enter details about your link in this section …
(Name, Web Addressand Description)
Type in the following information:
- Name: Enter the category name here.
- Slug: The slug is the web address bit of your link category. Use only lowercase letters and do not include 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 with their mouse. (Optional)
Categories & Target
Select a Category and Target for your link …
(Add New Link screen – Categories & Target fields)
In the Categories section, tick one of the link categories you’ve already added, 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 you want the link to open when visitors click on it:
- _blank means that when visitors click on the link, a new window will open up in their browser to display the information for that link.
- _none means that when visitors click on your 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. Ignore 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 …
(Add New Link – Link Relationship (XFN))
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN (XML Friends Network) is a way to define your relationship to the linked person. For example, if you have a professional relationship with Anika Gould and you link to her blog, you would probably tick co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional. You can ignore this section and your links will work just fine. 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 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, enter nofollow into this field. Other ‘rel’ attributes include author, start, help, index, etc.
You can learn more about XFN by visiting this site:
The last section of the Add New Link’ page allows you to specify Advanced features for your links (some themes will ignore this. You can leave these fields blank unless you have a reason to use them) …
(Add New Link page – Advanced link settings)
The Advanced link settings section contains the following options:
- Image Address: Lets you specify an image to be displayed with the link. 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 RSS feed associated with the link can be displayed next to your 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 want to sort links by rating (see the ‘Links’ widget section below).
Enter information into the above fields or just leave this section blank.
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 save your new link)
Note: If you tick Keep this link private, your link will not be visible in your Blogroll section …
(Make links private by selecting the checkbox)
Making links private allows you to add links and then toggle their visibility on or off without deleting these (this is useful if you would like links to display during certain times and hide them afterwards) …
(Making links private toggles their visibility on and off)
To view a list of all the links you have added to the Link Manager, go to the WP dashboard navigation menu and choose Links > All Links …
(Links Menu – All Links)
The ‘Links’ table will display in your browser. The Links page displays your links and link information (e.g. link URL, categories, rating, etc.) …
(Table of links)
Tip: To display additional information in the Links page, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top of your screen …
(Links screen – Screen Options)
Enable/disable fields on your table of links by ticking/unticking their checkboxes …
Editing Your Links
To modify links in the Link Manager, choose Links > All Links in the admin menu to bring up the list of links …
(WP Links Menu – All Links)
Locate the link to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the item’s link details …
(Editing link information)
Make any changes you want to the link details …
(Edit Link page)
After you’re done editing the link, you can:
- Click the Update Link button to save and update your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to make sure that you have set up its URL correctly (the link will open in a new window),
- Click Delete to delete the link if it’s no longer required …
(Edit Link: Update Link button)
How To Remove Links
To remove links, go to your WP navigation menu and click on Links > All Links …
(Links Menu – All Links)
You will be taken to the ‘Links’ screen.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links, or perform a bulk delete.
To delete individual links, hover over the link that you want to remove from the link table and click on Delete …
(Deleting your links)
To delete multiple links, either click on the checkbox next to every item that you want to delete, or select all links by clicking on the main check box next to the ‘Name’ column header …
(Deleting multiple links)
Choose Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ menu, and click the Apply button to delete all selected links …
The links you have selected will be deleted …
(links deleted message)
Using The Plugin
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 links on your website or blog.
Using The Links Widget
Installing the Link Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ page.
To access and configure your Link widgets, go to your WP navigation menu and select Appearance > Widgets …
(Appearance – Widgets)
This brings up the ‘Widgets’ page.
You will notice a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …
Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of the widget sections in the Widgets page 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 provides various configurable settings. You can specify what information you would like to display about your links and how many links you would like displayed on your sidebar …
(Link widget - configurable options)
You can also add multiple link widgets to your sidebars and footers. This lets you add and display specific several link lists on your site …
(Add multiple link widgets to your sidebar)
Display a list of items for a specific category …
(Link widget settings – Select Link Category)
You can sort links by Link ID, Link title, Link rating, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget options – Sorting options)
When you have finished configuring your Links widget, click the Save button to update your settings. Your link section will become visible on your site’s sidebar …
(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 more help using widgets? We have written a detailed article about configuring widgets. To learn more, go here:
Links Manager – Additional Information
If you have many links, the Link Manager plugin lets you easily administer these using search, filter, and sort functionality.
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 …
(Sort your links)
Find Your Links
You can find links using the ‘Search Links’ feature …
(You can easily search links using the search function)
Filtering Links Function
You can filter links by link category …
(Filter links by 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 under a specific link category …
(Links filtered by link category)
Links – Additional Options
If you plan to add a lot of links to your site, or if you intend 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 look at using a plugin that can help you administer links, like Link Library.
The Link Library plugin gives you the ability to display a list of your link categories and a complete list of all your links with descriptions and notes …
(Link Library links. Screenshot taken from Link Library plugin site.)
Link Library creates a page on your site that contains a list of all of the link categories in your Links section, and 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 links so that your site users can become aware of any additions made to to your link library.
To learn more about the Link Library plugin:
Congratulations! Now you know how to how to add and manage links to other sites in WordPress.
We have written a comprehensive article on adding HTML links into WordPress posts and pages. Go here to learn more:
"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now