As you learn more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across something called a blogroll.
WordPress refers to a list of links pointing to other sites or pages that display on your sidebar section 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.”
You can add a set of links using the Links menu in your WordPress Dashboard. These links will then display on your sidebar or footer once you add the Links widget.
Prior to the release of WP version 3.5, Links were a built-in feature of the WordPress CMS. From v.3.5 onwards, the Link Manager section was kept hidden by default in new installations …
(WordPress Links Feature – pre v3.5)
(Links is no longer included in WordPress after WP v 3.5)
If you’ve had an earlier version of WordPress than v 3.5 installed and updated your installation, the Link Manager would be removed, unless you’ve previously used it. If you’ve never used Links Manager, however, or if your website is new, then this function will remain hidden – it will not be displayed on the 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 Manager section when you log into your WordPress dashboard you will need to install a plugin. This step-by-step tutorial will show you how to add, edit, delete and manage blogroll links on your site’s sidebar using plugins.
(Link Manager – WordPress Links Management Plugin)
Use this plugin to restore the Link Manager, even if you upgrade 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 in order to restore the hidden feature. When we last 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 plugin below instead, or contact us for help editing your template code.
(Simple Links WordPress Plugin)
Description Of Plugin
This plugin attempts to recreate the concept of the built-in WordPress Link Manager while addressing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.
Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.
In your WordPress admin menu, 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 …
Locate the plugin in the results area and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin …
After activation, the ‘Links’ functionality is restored to the admin menu …
(WordPress links menu section)
We recommend setting up link categories first before adding new links. This way, when adding a new link, you can assign the link to link categories you have already created.
To create a link category, go to your dashboard navigation menu and choose Links > Link Categories …
(Links – Link Categories)
The ‘Link Categories’ screen will load in your web browser.
Enter the following information:
- Name: Enter the category name.
- Slug: The slug is the web address bit of the link category name. It must be in lowercase letters and contain no spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display your link category description.
after entering your information, click the Add New Link Category button to save …
Your category details will now show in the list …
(Link Categories screen)
Tip: Blogroll is the default link category name. Unless you specify a category when adding a new link, WordPress will automatically assign new links to the default category …
(Default link category name is ‘blogroll’)
You may want to change this to something that your visitors can understand. This not only makes it easier for users of your site, but any new links that you add to your site will automatically appear under the new category name …
(Change the default ’blogroll’ to something your visitors will relate to)
To edit the ‘Blogroll’ link title, hover your mouse over the list item and click on the Quick Edit link …
Replace 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), and click on the Update link Category button …
In our example, the link category name ‘Blogroll’ has been replaced with a more suitable name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).
Let’s add a link category description. To add a description to an existing link category, hover over the item name and click Edit …
(You can add/edit your category description)
Enter your link category description field and click Update when finished …
(Edit Link Category screen)
Repeat this process to add as many different link categories as your site needs.
After configuring your link categories, you can add new links.
How To Add Links
To create a new link, go to your WP navigation menu and select Links > Add New …
(Links – Add New)
This loads the Add New Link’ page in your browser …
(Add New Link page)
You can also reach this screen by clicking on ’Add New’ in the main Links page …
(Links – Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page has several sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
The first section is where you enter details about your link …
(Name, Web Address, Description – Add New Link page)
Type in information into the following fields:
- Name: What you type in this field is the category name that will display on your site.
- Slug: The slug appears in the web address of the link category. It must be in lowercase letters and contain no spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display your 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 the link …
(Categories & Target area)
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 link.
Also, select a target frame for your link in the Target section by choosing one of the radio buttons. This lets you specify where the link should open when a visitor clicks on it:
- _blank means that when visitors click on your link, a new, separate web browser window will open up to display the information associated with the link.
- _none means that when visitors click on your link, they will exit your site and a new site 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 …
(Add New Link – Link Relationship (XFN) fields)
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN stands for XML Friends Network – is a way to define your relationship with the linked person. For example, if you work with Andrew Smith and you link to his 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 work just fine. Defining relationships with XFN makes your links more understandable to some sites and search engines that use this information.
rel – This field specifies the ‘rel’ attribute that will be assigned to your link. The rel attribute defines what relationship exists 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. Separate multiple ‘rel’ attributes using spaces.
You can learn more about XFN by visiting this site:
The last section of the Add New Link’ page allows you to enter Advanced features for your links (some themes will ignore this. You can leave these fields empty unless you have a reason to use them) …
(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 an 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 can display next to the 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 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 update your link settings …
(Click on the Add Link button to save your new link)
Note: If you tick the Keep this link private checkbox, your link will not be visible in your Links section …
(Private link checkbox)
Making a link private allows you to toggle its visibility on and off without deleting it (this is useful if you would like the 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 a list of all the links you have added, go to the WP dashboard menu and select Links > All Links …
(Links – All Links)
The ‘Links’ page will load in your web browser. The Links screen displays all of your links and link information (e.g. URL, categories, relationship, etc.) …
Tip: To display or hide columns in the table of links, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top of your screen …
(Screen Options – Links table)
Show/hide fields on your table of links by ticking/unticking their check boxes …
How To Edit Links
To edit links in the Link Manager, choose Links > All Links in the navigation menu to bring up the list of links …
(Links – All Links)
Locate the link to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the item’s link details …
(Editing your link information)
Make changes to your link …
(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 view 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 from your table …
(Update Link button)
Removing Your Links
To delete links, go to the dashboard 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 remove all links at once.
To delete individual links, hover over the link that you want to remove and click on Delete …
To delete a number of links at once, either tick the checkboxes next to individual items that you would like to delete, or select all links by clicking on the main checkbox next to the ‘Name’ column header at the top of the list …
(Deleting multiple links)
Select Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ drop-down menu, and click the Apply button to delete your selected links …
The selected links will be removed …
(Link deletion notification)
Using The Plugin
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.
Using The Links Widget
The Link Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ screen.
To access and configure your Link widgets, select Appearance > Widgets in your WP admin menu …
(WP Appearance – Widgets)
This takes you to the ‘Widgets’ screen.
You will notice that a ‘Links’ widget has been added to the Available Widgets section …
Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of the widget sections in the Widgets screen and drop it wherever you would like the links to show up …
(Adding a links widget to your WordPress sidebar using drag & drop)
The Links widget offers various options. For example, you can specify what information you would like to show about your links and how many links you want to display on your sidebar menu …
(Link widget - configurable options)
You can add multiple link widgets to your sidebars and footers. This lets you add and feature link sections on your site …
(You can add multiple link widgets to your sidebar)
Select a link category to display specific links …
(Link widget settings – Select Link Category)
You can sort links by Link ID, Link rating, Link title, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget settings – Sorting options)
Once you are done setting up the links widget, click Save to update your settings. A links should display on your sidebar menu …
(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 on using widgets here:
Link Manager – Additional Information
If you have many links, the Link Manager plugin lets you easily administer these using sorting, filtering, and searching features.
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 …
(You can sort your links)
Search Links Function
Find links using the ‘Search Links’ feature …
Filter Links Function
You can filter links by categories …
(Filtering 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 …
(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 site, or if you would like to add a page containing a list of links to your site (i.e. not just add links on your sidebar), then you may want to look at using a plugin that can help you administer links.
(Link Library Plugin)
Link Library allows you to output a list of your link categories with a complete list of all your links plus notes and descriptions …
(List of links created with Link library. Image source: Link Library plugin site.)
Link Library can be used to create a page on your website containing all the link categories in your Links section, 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 so that your site users can become aware of any additions made to to your link library.
For more information about the benefits of using this useful plugin, visit the plugin site:
Congratulations! Now you know how to how to add a blogroll and manage links in WordPress.
To learn more about how to insert HTML hyperlinks into your WordPress posts & pages, refer to this article:
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