As you continue to discover more about using WordPress, you may occasionally come across something called a blogroll.
WordPress refers to a list of links pointing to other sites or web pages that display on your sidebar menu 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 Manager lets you add external hyperlinks to a widget-ready theme.
Before the release of WordPress v 3.5, Links were a visible feature of the WordPress CMS. From v.3.5 onwards, the Links manager and blogroll sections were removed …
(WP Links Manager Feature – pre v.3.5)
(Post v 3.5 – no WP Links feature)
If your site previously displayed this feature, then it will still be available when your WP installation updates to a newer version. If you’ve never used the Links feature, however, or if your website is new, then this function will become invisible – it will not appear on the dashboard 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 WP admin area you will need to install a plugin. This tutorial will show you how to add, edit, delete and manage blogroll links on your site’s sidebar using plugins.
(Link Manager Plugin)
You can use this plugin to display the Links Manager, even if you upgrade WordPress to a later version or remove all of your existing 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 one below instead, or contact us for help editing your site’s template code.
(Simple Links – WordPress Link Management Plugin)
Description Of Plugin
Simple Links attempts to recreate the same concept as the built-in WordPress Links Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.
Installing The Plugin
Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.
From your WP dashboard area, go to Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins Menu – Add New)
Select the Install Plugins > Search tab, then type ”link manager” into the search field and hit Enter …
Find the plugin in the search results screen and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin …
After activating the plugin, a ‘Links’ section will be displayed in the sidebar menu …
(Links management menu)
We recommend setting up your link categories first before you start adding any new links. This way, you can assign any new links to the link category you have already created.
To create a new link category, go to the dashboard navigation menu and choose Links > Link Categories …
(Links – Link Categories)
This brings up the ‘Link Categories’ screen in your browser.
Type in information into the following fields:
- Name: What 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 and do not include spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display a link category description. (Optional)
Click the Add New Link Category button …
Your link category will be added to the table …
(Link Categories area)
Tip: The default WordPress link category is called Blogroll . Unless you specify the category when creating a new link, WordPress will assign new links to the default category …
(Default link category)
You may want to change this default WordPress link category name to something that will make sense to your site visitors. This not only makes it easier for users of your site, but any new links that you add to your site will automatically be listed under the new category name …
(we recommend changing the default link category name to something your visitors will relate to)
To edit the ‘Blogroll’ link title, hover your mouse over the item and click on Quick Edit …
Replace both the Name and the Slug with a new category name, and click on the Update link Category button …
(Edit the default link category)
Replace the category name ‘Blogroll’ with (e.g. ‘Recommended’, ‘Related Products’ etc).
Let’s insert a link category description. To add a link category description, click on the Edit link under the category name …
(You can add/edit your category description)
Add your link category description field and click Update you’re done to save your settings …
(Edit Link Category screen)
Repeat this process and add as many new link categories as your site requires.
Once you have finished configuring your link categories, you can add new links.
How To Add Links
To create a new link, go to the WP admin menu and select Links > Add New …
(Links – Add New)
You will be taken to the ‘Add New Link’ screen …
(Add New Link screen)
You can also access this page by clicking on ’Add New’ at the top of the main Links screen …
(Links – Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page includes various sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
The first section lets you enter your link details …
(Name, Web Addressand Description)
Enter the following information:
- Name: Enter the link category name.
- Slug: The slug shows up in the search-engine 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.
Categories & Target
After adding link details, select a Category and Target for your link …
(Categories & Target)
In the Categories section, tick one of the link categories you have already created, or click on the ‘+ Add New Category’ link to create a new category.
Next, select a target frame for your link in the Target section by choosing one of the radio buttons. This lets you specify how your link should open when clicked on by visitors:
- _blank means that a separate window will open up in their web browser to display the content for that link. This allows your visitors to see the information without leaving your website
- _none means that when a visitor clicks on your link, they will exit your site and a new site 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 section provides some additional link functionality …
(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 Anna Gould and you link to her blog, you would probably tick co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional. You can leave everything in this section blank and all of your links will still work. 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. Separate multiple ‘rel’ attributes with spaces.
You can learn more about XFN by visiting the site below:
The last section lets you enter Advanced features for your links (You can leave the fields in this section blank unless there’s a good reason to use them) …
(Advanced link settings)
The Advanced section contain the following fields:
- Image Address: Specify an image to be displayed with the link. Add the image URL and make sure that your image is small (around 16×16 like a favicon).
- RSS Address: If your theme allows it, the RSS feed associated with the link can display next to your links.
- Notes: Add notes about the link in this section for your own internal reference.
- Rating: 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.
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 Keep this link private checkbox, the link will not be visible in your Links section …
(Private link checkbox)
Making links private lets you toggle their visibility on or off without deleting your links (this is useful if you want to add seasonal links) …
(Toggle link visibility on and off)
To view all the links you have created, go to the WP dashboard menu and select Links > All Links …
(WordPress Links – All Links)
This brings up the ‘Links’ screen in your web browser. The table of links displays all of your links and link information (e.g. link URL, link categories, rating, etc.) …
Tip: To display or hide options in the Links page, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top of the screen …
(List of links – Screen Options)
Enable/disable fields on your Links table by ticking/unticking their checkboxes …
(Table of links – Show/hide screen options)
Editing Your Link Information
To edit a link in the Link Manager, go to your WP navigation menu and choose Links > All Links to bring up the list of links …
(Links Menu – All Links)
Locate the link you want to edit and click on Edit to bring up the link’s details …
(Editing your links)
Change the link …
(Edit Link page)
After editing the link, you can:
- Click on Update Link to save your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to check that you have set up everything correctly (the link will open in a new window),
- Click Delete to delete the link from your link table …
(Edit Link: Update Link button)
How To Delete Your Links
To remove a link from the Link Manager, go to your navigation menu and choose Links > All Links …
(Links Menu – All Links)
You will be taken to the ‘Links’ page.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links, or delete all your links at once.
To delete individual links, hover your mouse cursor over the link that you want to remove from the link table and click Delete …
To delete a number of links at once, either click on the check box next to every item that you want removed, or select all links by clicking on the check box next to the ‘Name’ column header …
(Delete multiple links)
Select Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ drop menu, and click the Apply button to delete your selected links …
(Links: bulk-delete function)
All the links you have selected will be removed …
(Deleted links message)
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 links on your website.
Installing the Links Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ screen.
To access and configure your Link widgets, click on Appearance > Widgets in your navigation menu …
(WordPress Appearance Menu – Widgets)
This takes you to the ‘Widgets’ screen.
You will notice a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …
Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of the widget bars in the Widgets screen and drop it wherever you want your links to show up …
(Adding a links widget to a widgetized menu)
The Links widget provides a number of settings. You can specify what information you would like to display 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 and footer. This allows you to create and feature link sections throughout your site …
(Add multiple link widgets to your widget bars)
Select a link category from the ‘Select Link Category:’ pulldown menu …
(Link widget settings – Select Link Category)
You can sort links by Link rating, Link title, Link ID, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget options – Sort by options)
When you have finished setting up your links widget, click Save to update your settings. A links will display on your site …
(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 adding widgets here:
Link Manager – Additional Information
If you have added many links, the Links Manager plugin allows you to easily administer these using sorting, searching, and filtering functionality.
Sorting Your Links
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 …
Type a search term into the search field and click the Search Links button …
(You can easily find your links with the search 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 links in the ‘Links’ column …
(searching and filtering links in the Link Categories page)
This brings up a list of all links grouped under a specific link category …
(Links filtered by link category)
Links – Additional Options
If you plan to add a lot of links to your website, or if you want 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.
Plugin Download URL
Link Library gives you the ability to output a list of your link categories and a complete list of links with notes and descriptions …
(List of links created with Link library. Image source: Link Library plugin documentation.)
This plugin can be used to create a page on your web site that contains 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 links that lets your site users be made aware of additions to your link library.
To learn more about the Link Library plugin:
Congratulations! Now you know how to how to add and manage links in your WordPress sidebar menu.
We have also written a detailed article on inserting links into WordPress posts & pages here:
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