As you discover more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across references to the term blogroll.
WordPress refers to a list of links pointing to other websites or 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 feature lets you easily add hyperlinks to your WordPress sidebar menu (e.g. a “Recommended Resources” section) using a widget.
Before the release of v3.5, 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 WordPress installations …
(WP Links Feature – pre v.3.5)
(Post version 3.5 – no WordPress Links feature)
If your blog had the Link Manager installed, then it will still be available when you upgrade to newer WordPress versions. If you’ve never used the Links feature, however, or if your installation of WordPress is new, then this function will remain hidden – 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 the Link Manager is not visible when you log into your WordPress 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 WordPress plugins.
(Link Manager Plugin)
Description Of Plugin
You can use this plugin to display the default Links 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. When we last checked, the 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 Plugin)
Plugin Download URL
Simple Links recreates the same concept as the built-in WordPress Link Manager while addressing the shortcomings of the deprecated functionality.
To install the Link Manager plugin on your site, do the following:
In the WP dashboard menu, go to Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins – Add New)
Select the Install Plugins > Search tab, then type in “link manager” into the search field and hit Enter …
Find the plugin in the results screen and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin …
After activating the plugin, WordPress adds a ‘Links’ section to the navigation menu …
(WordPress links management menu section)
Configuring Link Manager
We recommend setting up link categories first before you start adding links. This way, when you add a new link, you can assign your link to link categories you have already created.
To create a new link category, select Links > Link Categories in your WP admin menu …
(WP Links Menu – Link Categories)
You will be taken to the ‘Link Categories’ page.
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. Only use lower case letters and do not include spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display your link category description.
Click Add New Link Category to save …
(Link Categories area)
Your new category will display in the list …
Tip: Blogroll is the default link category name. Unless you specify a category when creating a link, WordPress automatically assigns new links to the default category …
(Default link category name)
You may want to change this to something that will make sense to your visitors. 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)
To edit the ‘Blogroll’ link title, hover your mouse over the list item and click on the Quick Edit link …
(Editing the link category name)
Change 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), then click on Update Link Category …
(Update Link Category)
In our example, the category name ‘Blogroll’ has been replaced with an appropriate links section category name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).
Let’s create a description for this link category. To add a description to an existing link category, click on Edit under the category name …
(Link category description)
Add your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ screen and click Update …
(Edit Link Category area)
Repeat this process to add as many different link categories as your site requires.
Once you have set up your link categories, you can add your links.
Adding New Links
To add a new link, go to your dashboard menu and select Links > Add New …
(WordPress Links – Add New)
This brings up the ‘Add New Link’ screen …
(Add New Link page)
You can also reach this page by clicking on ’Add New’ in the main Links screen …
(Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page is divided into a number of sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
Enter your link details in this section …
(Name, Web Addressand Description)
Enter the following information:
- Name: What you enter here will display as the link category name.
- Slug: The slug shows up in the web address 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. (Optional)
Categories & Target
Select a Category and Target for your link …
(Categories & Target)
In the Categories section, select a link category you have already created, or click on ’+ Add New Category’ to add a new category link.
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 clicked on by visitors:
- _blank means that a separate window will open up in their web browser to display the content associated with the link. This lets your visitors see the information without leaving your site
- _none means that when visitors click on the 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 area provides some additional link functionality …
(Add New Link page – Link Relationship (XFN) area)
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 Adam Gould and you link to his blog, you would probably tick co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional. You can ignore this section and 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 is used to define what relationship exists 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) …
(Add New Link – Advanced link settings)
The Advanced link settings section includes the following options:
- Image Address: Specify an image to be displayed with the link. To use this feature, add the URL of where the image is located 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 be displayed next to your links.
- 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 in the above fields or just leave this section ignore this section.
When you are done adding your new link information, click on Add Link to save your new link …
(Click on the Add Link button to update your link settings)
Note: If you tick the checkbox next to Keep this link private, your link will not be visible when links are displayed on your site …
(Private link checkbox)
Making a link private allows you to toggle link visibility on or off without deleting it (this is useful if you would like a link to display during certain periods and hide it after it’s no longer required) …
(Making links private toggles their visibility on and off)
To see all your links, go to your dashboard navigation menu and select Links > All Links …
(WordPress Links – All Links)
The ‘Links’ table will load in your browser. The Links table displays your links and link information (e.g. URL, link categories, relationship, etc.) …
Tip: To view or hide information in the list of links, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of the screen …
(Screen Options – Links screen)
Enable/disable fields on your Links table by selecting/deselecting their check boxes …
(List of links – Show/hide screen options)
How To Edit Your Link Information
To modify links in the Link Manager, click on Links > All Links in the main dashboard menu to bring up your table of links …
(WordPress Links – All Links)
Select the link you want to edit and click on Edit to bring up the link’s details …
(Editing your links)
Make changes to the link fields …
(Edit Link page)
After you’re done editing the link, you can:
- Click the Update Link button to save your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to view your link and check that you have set up its URL correctly (the link will open up in a new window),
- Click Delete to remove the link …
(Edit Link: Update Link button)
How To Delete Your Links
To remove a link, go to your WP admin menu and select Links > All Links …
(Links Menu – All Links)
This takes you to the ‘Links’ screen.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links, or remove all links.
To delete individual links, hover your mouse cursor over the link title that you want to remove from the link table and click Delete …
(Delete your links)
To delete multiple links, either tick the check boxes next to individual links that you want to remove, or select all links by clicking on the main check box next to the ‘Name’ column header …
(Deleting multiple links)
Select Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ menu, and click Apply to remove your selected links …
(Links: bulk-deletion function)
Your selected links will be removed …
(Link deletion notice)
Now that you know how to set up link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, let’s show you how to make links display on your website.
The Link Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ screen.
To access and configure your Link widgets, click on Appearance > Widgets in the main dashboard navigation menu …
(Appearance – Widgets)
The ‘Widgets’ screen will load in your web browser.
You will notice that a ‘Links’ widget has been added to the Available Widgets section …
To make the ‘Links’ widget active, drag the widget to one of the active widget bars in the Widgets screen and drop it wherever you would like your links to display …
(Add a links widget to your sidebar)
The Links widget offers various configurable options. You can specify what information you want displayed about your links and how many links you want to display on your sidebar menu …
(Link widget - options)
You can also add as many link widgets to your sidebars and footers as you want. This lets you create and display specific different link sections throughout your site …
(Add multiple link widgets to your sidebar)
You can select a link category …
(Link widget settings – Select Link Category)
You can sort links by Link title, Link rating, Link ID, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget settings – Sorting options)
When you have finished setting up your links widget, click Save to update your settings. A link section should show up immediately on your sidebar …
(An example of how 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 detailed article on adding widgets. For more details:
Link Manager – Additional Information
If you have many links, the Link Manager plugin lets you easily administer these using sorting, searching, and filtering features.
Sorting Your Links
To sort links, hover your mouse cursor over the title of the column you want to sort and click on the little black triangle displayed next to the column title …
(You can sort links)
You can search for links using the ‘Search Links’ function …
(Find your links)
Filtering Your Links
You can filter links by categories …
(Filter your links by link categories)
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 links in the ‘Links’ column …
(Search and filter links in the Link Categories page)
This brings up a list of all links listed 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 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 your links.
(Link Library Plugin)
This plugin lets you publish a list of all your link categories and a complete list of all your links plus descriptions and notes …
(List of links created with Link library. Image sourced from Link Library plugin website.)
This plugin can be used to create a page on your website 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 for your link collection so that your site users can be made aware of additions to your link library.
To learn more about Link Library:
Congratulations! Now you know how to how to add a blogroll and manage links to other sites in your WordPress sidebar menu.
We have also created a detailed article on adding links into your WordPress posts here:
"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group