As you discover more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across something called a blogroll.
A blogroll is a list of links pointing to other sites or web pages displayed on your sidebar menu.
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 area (e.g. a “Recommended Resources” section) using a widget.
Before the release of v.3.5, Links were a built-in feature of the WordPress CMS. After the release of v3.5, the Links manager and blogroll sections were removed …
(WP Links Manager – pre version 3.5)
(The Links Manager is no longer included in the menu after WP v 3.5)
If you were using the Links Manager in previous versions of WordPress, then it will still be available when you upgrade to newer WordPress versions. If you’ve never used Links Manager, however, or if your WordPress site installation is new, then this function will become invisible – you will not see it on your 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 a Links section on your main menu when you log into your WP dashboard, you can add this feature by installing a plugin. This tutorial will show you how to add and manage blogroll links on your site’s sidebar using plugins.
(Links Manager WordPress Plugin)
Description Of Plugin
You can use this plugin to restore the built-in Link Manager, even if you upgrade WordPress to a later version or remove all of your current links.
Note: All this plugin does is add a single line of template code 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 Plugin)
Plugin Download URL
This plugin recreates the concept of the built-in Link Manager while addressing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.
How To Install The Plugin
Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.
In the WordPress administration area, select Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins – Add New)
Click on the Install Plugins > Search tab, type in “link manager” into the search field and hit Enter …
Locate the plugin in the results screen and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin …
After activation, the ‘Links’ functionality will be restored to the navigation menu …
(WordPress links menu)
Configuring Link Manager
Before adding any new links, it’s a good idea to first set up your link categories. This way, when you create a new link, you can assign your link to a link category you have already created.
To create a link category, go to the main dashboard menu and select Links > Link Categories …
(WP Links Menu – Link Categories)
This takes you to the ‘Link Categories’ page.
Enter the following information:
- Name: Whatever you enter in this field will display as the category your links will be assigned to.
- Slug: The slug is the SEO friendly URL bit of the link category. Only use lower case letters and do not include spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display a link category description.
Click Add New Link Category to save …
The new category will be added to the list …
(Link Categories area)
Tip: WordPress calls its default link category Blogroll . Unless you specify the category when creating a 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 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 …
(Consider changing the default ’blogroll’ to something your visitors will relate to)
To edit the default category name, hover your mouse over the category name and click on the Quick Edit link …
(Edit the link category name)
Change both the Name and the Slug with a new category name, then click on the Update link Category button …
(Update Link Category)
In our example, the link category name ‘Blogroll’ has been replaced with a more suitable category 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 the category description)
Enter your link category description field and click Update …
(Edit Link Category screen)
Repeat the above process and add as many link categories as you need.
After you have finished configuring your link categories, you can add your links.
How To Add New Links
To add a new link, go to the main admin menu and click on Links > Add New …
(Links – Add New)
This brings up the ‘Add New Link’ screen …
(Add New Link page)
You can also reach this page by clicking on the ‘Add New’ button at the top of the main Links page …
(Links screen – Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page includes a number of sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
Enter details about your link in this section …
(Name, Web Addressand Description fields)
Enter information into the following sections:
- Name: Enter the category name.
- 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 a link category description.
Categories & Target
Select a Category and Target for the new link …
(Categories & Target area – Add New Link)
In the Categories section, tick one of the link categories you have already added, or click on the ‘+ Add New Category’ link to add a new category.
Also, select a target frame radio button for your link in the Target section. This lets you specify how you want your link to open when visitors click on it:
- _blank means that 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 leave your site and a new site or page will load in your web browser window instead.
- _top opens the link at the top level of the frame system if you’re using frames. Don’t worry about 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))
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN (XML Friends Network) is a way to define your relationship with the linked person. For example, if you work with Lilly O’Malley and you link to her blog, you would probably check co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional for WordPress links. You can leave everything in this section blank and all of your links will still work. Defining relationships with XFN makes the links defined on your site 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 the relationship 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’ keywords using spaces.
You can learn more about XFN by visiting this site:
The last section lets you enter Advanced features for your links (You can ignore this section, unless there’s a good reason to use it) …
The Advanced link settings section includes the following:
- Image Address: Lets you specify an image to be displayed with the link. Add the URL of your image 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 the 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 in the above fields or just leave this section ignore this section.
When you are done adding information about your link, click on Add Link to update your link settings …
(Click on the Add Link button to update your link settings)
Note: If you tick the checkbox next to Keep this link private, the link will not be visible in your Links section …
(You can make links private by selecting the checkbox)
Making a link private allows you to toggle its visibility on or off without deleting it (this is useful if you would like the link to display during certain periods and hide it afterwards) …
(Toggle link visibility on and off)
To view all your links, go to the main dashboard menu and click on Links > All Links …
(Links Menu – All Links)
The ‘Links’ table will display in your web browser. The list of links displays your links and link information (e.g. URL, categories, visibility, etc.) …
Tip: To show or hide fields in the Links page, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of your screen …
(List of links – Screen Options)
Display/hide fields on your table of links by ticking/unticking their check boxes …
(Show/hide – Links screen)
How To Edit Your Links
To modify a link in the Link Manager, go to the WP admin menu and select Links > All Links to bring up the table of links …
(Links Menu – All Links)
Locate the item you want to edit and click on Edit to bring up the item’s link information …
(Editing your links)
Edit your link information …
(Edit Link page)
After editing your link, you can:
- Click the Update Link button to save your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to view your link and make sure that you have set up everything correctly (the link will open in a new window),
- Click Delete to remove the link from your list …
(Update Link button)
How To Remove Your Links
To delete a link, go to the main dashboard menu and select Links > All Links …
(WP Links – All Links)
The ‘Links’ table will load in your browser.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links by selecting their check boxes, or remove all of your links at once.
To delete individual links, hover your cursor over the link title that you want to remove from the link table and click on Delete …
(Deleting your links)
To delete multiple links, either tick the check boxes next to individual links that you would like deleted, or select all links by clicking on the check box next to the ‘Name’ column header at the top of the list …
(Delete multiple links)
Select Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ pulldown menu, and click Apply to remove all selected links …
Your links will be deleted …
(links deleted notification)
Using The Link Manager Plugin
Now that you know how to set up link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, it’s time to make links display on your website or blog.
Installing the Link Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ screen.
To access and configure your Link widgets, choose Appearance > Widgets in the WP dashboard navigation menu …
(Appearance – Widgets)
You will be taken to the ‘Widgets’ screen.
You will see that a ‘Links’ widget has been added to the Available Widgets section …
To make the ‘Links’ widget active, drag it to one of your widget sections in the Widgets screen and drop it wherever you want the links section to display …
(Drag and drop the links widget to add it to your widget bar)
The Links widget offers various configurable options. 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 - options)
You can add multiple link widgets to your sidebar and footer. This allows you to add and feature specific different lists of links on your site …
(Add a number of link widgets to your widget bars)
You can select a link category …
(Link widget options – Select Link Category)
You can sort links by Link rating, Link ID, Link title, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget options – Sort by options)
Once you are done configuring the Links widget, click Save to update your settings. A links should display on your site …
(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 help using widgets? We have written a comprehensive article about using widgets. Go here to learn more about this:
Links Manager – Additional Information
If you have many links, the Links Manager plugin allows you to easily administer these using search, filter, and sort functions.
You can sort links by hovering your mouse over the title of the column you want to sort and clicking on the little black triangle displayed next to the column title …
(Sort links function)
Searching Links Function
Type a search term into the search field and click the Search Links button to search for links …
Filter Your Links
You can filter links by link category …
(Filtering links by category)
You can also search and filter links in the Link Categories screen. 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 displays a list of all links listed under a specific link category …
(Links filtered by category)
Links – Additional Options
If you plan to use links extensively on 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 look at using a plugin that can help you administer links.
Plugin Download URL
This plugin gives you the ability to publish a list of all your link categories with a complete list of all your links with notes and descriptions …
(Link Library links. Screenshot taken from Link Library plugin site.)
Link Library creates a page on your web site containing a list of all of the link categories in your Links section, plus all links defined for 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 links that lets your site users 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 websites in WordPress.
We have written a detailed article about creating HTML links in WordPress. For more info, see this article:
"This is AMAZING! I had learnt about how to use WordPress previously, but this covers absolutely everything and more!! Incredible value! Thank you!" - Monique, Warrior Forum