As you learn more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across the term blogroll.
A blogroll is a list of links pointing to external sites or blogs displayed on your sidebar area.
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 Dashboard. These links will display on your sidebar or footer once you add the Links widget.
Before WordPress v3.5 was released, Links were a visible feature of the WordPress CMS. After the release of WordPress v 3.5, the Link Manager section was kept hidden by default in new installations …
(The Links Manager – part of the WordPress menu until the release of WP v 3.5)
(The Links Manager feature is no longer part of the WordPress dashboard menu after WP version 3.5)
If your site previously used this feature, then it will still be available when you upgrade to newer WordPress versions. If you’ve never used Link Manager, however, or if your site installation is new, then this function will become invisible – 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 admin area you will need to install a plugin. This step-by-step tutorial will show you how to add and manage links on your sidebar using WordPress plugins.
(Link Manager WordPress Plugin)
You can use this plugin to display the Links Manager, even if you upgrade to a later version of WordPress or remove all of your existing 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 some time, but it should still work fine. If you don’t want to use the Link Manager plugin, then use the plugin below instead, or contact us for help editing your template code.
(Simple Links – Link Manager Plugin For WordPress)
Plugin Download URL
Description Of Plugin
This plugin recreates the same concept as the built-in Link Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated functionality.
How To Install The Plugin
To install the Link Manager plugin, follow the step-by-step instructions below:
From your WP admin area, select Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins Menu – Add New)
Select the Install Plugins > Search tab, then type ”link manager” into the search field and hit Enter …
Locate the plugin in the results screen and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin after installation …
After activation, WordPress will restore the ‘Links’ function to the WP dashboard menu …
(WordPress links menu section)
Configuring The Plugin
Before adding new links, we recommend setting up your link categories. This way, you can assign new links to the link category you have already created.
To create a new link category, select Links > Link Categories in the main navigation menu …
(Links Menu – Link Categories)
This brings up the ‘Link Categories’ screen in your web browser.
Type in information into the following fields:
- Name: Enter the category name.
- Slug: The slug is the URL part of the link category. It must be in lowercase letters and contain no spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display a link category description. (Optional)
Click the Add New Link Category button to save …
The category details will be added to the table …
Tip: The default WordPress link category is called Blogroll . Unless you specify the category when adding a new link, WordPress automatically assigns new links to the default category …
(Default link category name)
You may want to change this to something better suited to your business. 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 …
(Consider changing the default ’blogroll’ to something your visitors will relate to)
To change the default category name, hover your mouse over the item and click on the Quick Edit link …
(Editing the link category)
Change both the Name and the Slug with a new category name, and click on the Update link Category button …
(Edit the default link category name)
Replace the link category ‘Blogroll’ with a name more suitable to your purposes (e.g. ‘Recommended’, ‘Our Sponsors’ etc).
Let’s insert a description for this link category. To add a link category description, hover over the link category name and click Edit …
(You can add/edit the category description)
Enter your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ screen and click Update …
(Edit Link Category screen)
Repeat this process and add as many link categories as your site needs.
Once you have finished configuring your link categories, you can start adding new links.
To add a new link, select Links > Add New in the admin menu …
(Links Menu – Add New)
This loads the Add New Link’ screen in your web browser …
(Add New Link page)
You can also access this page by clicking on the ‘Add New’ button in the main Links page …
(Links page – Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page includes the following sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
This section is where you enter details about your link …
(Add New Link page – Name, Web Address& Description area)
Type in information into the following fields:
- 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. It must all be in lowercase letters and contain no 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.
Categories & Target
Select a Category and Target for your link …
(Add New Link screen – Categories & Target fields)
In the Categories section, select one of the link categories you’ve already added, or click on ’+ Add New Category’ to add a new category link.
Next, select a target frame for your link in the Target section by choosing one of the radio buttons. This lets you specify how you want the link to open when clicked on:
- _blank means that when a visitor clicks on your link, a new window will open up in their web browser to display the content associated with the link.
- _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 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) fields – Add New Link)
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN (XML Friends Network) lets you define your relationship to the linked person. For example, if you have a professional relationship with Lilly Smith and you link to her blog, you would probably check co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional. You can leave everything in this section blank and your links will work just fine. 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 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, help, index, start, etc.
You can learn more about XFN by visiting this site:
The last section of the Add New Link’ screen lets you specify Advanced features for your links (some themes will ignore this. You can ignore this section, unless there’s a good reason to use it) …
(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 be displayed next to your link.
- Notes: This section lets you add notes 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).
Enter information into the above fields or just leave this section ignore this section.
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 the Keep this link private checkbox, the link will not be visible when links are displayed on your site …
(Private link checkbox)
Making a link private lets you add a link and then toggle its visibility on or off without deleting it (this is useful if you want to have seasonal links) …
(Toggle link visibility on and off)
To see all your links, go to your admin menu and select Links > All Links …
(WordPress Links – All Links)
This loads the ‘Links’ screen in your web browser. The table of links displays your links and link information (e.g. URL, link categories, relationship, etc.) …
(Table of links)
Tip: To display or hide fields in the Links page, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top of the screen …
(Screen Options – Links page)
Enable/disable information on your table of links by ticking/unticking their check boxes …
(Links table – Hide or show screen options)
How To Edit Your Links
To edit links in the Link Manager, click on Links > All Links in the admin menu to bring up your links table …
(Links – All Links)
Locate the link you want to edit and click on Edit to bring up the item’s link details …
(Editing link information)
Make changes to your link fields …
(Edit Link screen)
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 see your link and check that you have set up everything correctly (the link will open in a new window),
- Click Delete to delete the link if you no longer require it …
(Edit Link: Update Link button)
To delete links from the Link Manager, choose Links > All Links in your WP dashboard menu …
(WP Links – All Links)
This loads the ‘Links’ page 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 title that you want to remove and click on Delete …
To delete a number of links at once, either tick the check box 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 at the top of the list …
(Deleting multiple links)
Select Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ menu, and click Apply to delete your selected links …
(Links: bulk-delete function)
All the links you have selected will be deleted …
(Link deletion message)
Now that you know how to configure link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, let’s show you how to display links on your website.
Installing the Link Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ page.
To access and configure your Link widgets, go to the WP dashboard menu and select Appearance > Widgets …
(WordPress Appearance Menu – Widgets)
This brings up the ‘Widgets’ screen.
You will see a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …
To make the ‘Links’ widget active, drag the widget to one of your active widget sections and drop it wherever you want your links to display …
(Add a links widget to a widgetized area)
The Links widget provides a number of configurable settings. You can specify what information you want to show about your links and how many links you want displayed on your sidebar menu …
(Link widget - settings)
You can also add multiple link widgets to your sidebar. This allows you to add and display multiple links sorted by categories throughout your site …
(Add a number of link widgets to your widget bars)
You can add and display links for a specific category …
(Link widget options – Select Link Category)
You can sort links by Link rating, Link title, Link ID, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget options – Sorting options)
Once you are done configuring your Links widget, click Save to update your settings. A link section should show on your website …
(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 using widgets? We have written a comprehensive article on adding widgets. For more info, see this article:
Link Manager – Additional Information
If you have added many links, the Links Manager plugin lets you easily administer these with filtering, sorting, and searching functionality.
Sort Your Links
You can sort links by hovering your mouse 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)
Search for links using the ‘Search Links’ function …
You can filter links by 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 search for link categories, or click on the links in the ‘Links’ column …
(Search and filter links in the Link Categories page)
This displays a list of all links listed under a specific link category …
(Links filtered by link category)
Additional Link Options
If you plan to use links extensively on your website, or if you intend to add a ‘Links’ page 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 links, like Link Library.
(Link Library Plugin)
Download Plugin URL
This plugin gives you the ability to output a list of your link categories and a complete list of all your links plus descriptions and notes …
(Link Library links. Image: Link Library plugin site.)
This useful plugin creates a page on your site that contains a list of all of the link categories in your Links area, plus all links listed in 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 link collection so that your site users can become aware of additions to your link library.
To learn more about the benefits of using this WordPress plugin, go here:
Congratulations! Now you know how to how to add and manage links to other websites and pages in your WordPress sidebar menu.
To learn more about how to easily add links to WordPress posts, refer to this article:
"These tutorials have so much information and are easy to understand. If you use WordPress or plan to in the future these will help you with everything you need to know." - Valisa (Mesa, Arizona)