How To Add A Link Section To WordPress

Before the release of WordPress v3.5, Links were a core feature of WordPress. This tutorial shows you how to restore this feature to your site …

Adding Featured Links To The WordPress SidebarAs you continue to discover more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across the term blogroll.

In WordPress terminology, a list of hyperlinks displayed on your sidebar area is often referred to 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 links to a widget-ready theme.

Important Info

Before WordPress v3.5 was released, Links were a core feature of the WordPress CMS. After the release of WordPress version 3.5, the Links manager and blogroll sections were hidden by default in new WordPress installations …

Before …

Links displayed in the WordPress menu until the release of WP v 3.5

(WP Links Feature – pre v.3.5)

After …

Links is no longer part of WordPress after WordPress v.3.5

(Post version 3.5 – no WP Links feature)

If you’ve used an earlier version of WordPress than 3.5 and upgraded your installation, then the Link Manager would have been removed, unless you have previously used it.

 

How To Add A Link Section To WordPress

Tip

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 Links feature is not visible when you log into your WP admin area, you can add this feature by installing a plugin. In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn how to add and manage blogroll links on your sidebar using WordPress plugins.

Link Manager

Link Manager

(Link Manager Plugin)

Plugin URL

http://wordpress.org/plugins/link-manager

Description Of Plugin

This plugin displays the default Link Manager, even if you update 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 in order 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 site’s template code.

Simple Links

Simple Links

(Simple Links Plugin)

Plugin Download URL

https://wordpress.org/plugins/simple-links/

Description

This plugin recreates the concept of the built-in WP Links Manager while addressing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.

How To Install Link Manager

Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.

From the WP dashboard menu, go to Plugins > Add New

Plugins Menu - Add New

(Plugins – Add New)

Select the Install Plugins > Search tab, type ”link manager” into the search field and hit Enter

Installing Link Manager

Locate the plugin in the search results screen and click Install Now

How To Install The Plugin

Activate the plugin after installation …

Installing The Plugin

After activation, the ‘Links’ functionality will be restored to the admin menu area …

Links menu section

(Links management menu section)

Configuring Link Manager

We recommend setting up link categories first before adding links. This way, you can assign any new links to link categories you have already created.

Link Categories

To create a new link category, click on Links > Link Categories in your dashboard menu …

Links - Link Categories

(Links Menu – Link Categories)

This brings up the ‘Link Categories’ page in your web browser.

Type in information into the following sections:

  • Name: What you enter here is the category name that will display on your site.
  • Slug: The slug shows up in the search-engine friendly URL of the link category name. Use only lowercase letters without spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
  • Description: Some themes may display your link category description. (Optional)

after entering your information, click the Add New Link Category button to save …

Link Categories area

(Link Categories screen)

Your new category will now show in the table …

Link Categories

(Link Categories area)

Important

Tip: Blogroll is the default link category name. Unless you specify the category for a new link, WordPress will assign new links to the default category …

Default link category name

(Default link category name)

You may want to change this to something that your visitors can understand. This will not only make it easier for users of your site, but any new links that you add to your site will automatically display under the new category name …

Change the default link category name to something your visitors will relate to

(we recommend changing the default ’blogroll’ to something your visitors will relate to)

To edit the default category name, hover your mouse over the item and click on the Quick Edit link …

Quick Edit

(Edit the default 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

Editing the link category

(Edit the default link category name)

In our example, the link category ‘Blogroll’ has been replaced with an appropriate links section name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).

Let’s create a description for this link category. To add a link category description, hover over the item name and click Edit

Link category description

(You can add/edit your category description)

Enter your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ page and click Update when finished …

Edit Link Category area

(Edit Link Category page)

Repeat this process to add as many link categories as you need.

Once you have configured your link categories, you can start adding new links.

Adding Links

To add a new link, choose Links > Add New in your dashboard menu …

Links Menu - Add New

(WP Links – Add New)

This takes you to the ‘Add New Link’ page …

Add New Link page

(Add New Link screen)

You can also access this page by clicking on ’Add New’ at the top of the main Links page …

Add New Link button

(Add New Link button)

The ‘Add New Links’ page includes various sections:

Name, Web Address & Description

This section is where you enter details about your link …

Name, Web Address& Description

(Name, Web Address, Description)

Enter the following information:

  • Name: Enter the category name.
  • Slug: The slug appears in the web address of the link category. Use lowercase letters only and do not include spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
  • Description: Some themes may display a link category description.
Categories & Target

Select a Category and Target for your link …

Categories & Target fields - Add New Link page

(Add New Link page – Categories & Target)

In the Categories section, tick a link category you’ve already created, or click on the ‘+ Add New Category’ link to add 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 where you want your link to open when clicked on:

  • _blank means that a new, separate window will open up in their browser to display the content associated with the link.
  • _none means that when visitors click on your link, they will exit your site and a new website 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. If you don’t use frames, or if you don’t know what frames are, then ignore this option.
Link Relationship XFN

This area provides some additional link functionality …

Add New Link - Link Relationship (XFN) section

(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 Amanda Anderson 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 the links defined on your site 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 a 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 with spaces.

To learn more about XFN, visit this site:

Advanced

The last section of the Add New Link’ page allows you to enter Advanced features for your links (You can leave the fields in this section blank unless you have a reason to use them) …

Add New Link - Advanced link settings

(Add New Link – Advanced link settings)

The Advanced link settings section contains 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 link’s RSS feed can display next to your links.
  • Notes: Add notes about the link in this section for your own internal reference.
  • Rating: You can add a rating score to the link if you would like 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 have finished adding your new link information, click on the Add Link button to save your new link …

click on the Add Link button to save your new link

(Click on Add Link to save your new link)

Important

Note: If you tick Keep this link private, the link will not be visible in your Links section …

You can make links private by checking the box

(Make your links private)

Making links private allows you to add links and then toggle their visibility on and off without deleting these (this is useful if you want to have seasonal links) …

Toggle link visibility on and off

(Toggle link visibility on and off)

To see a list of all the links you have added, go to the main navigation menu and choose Links > All Links

Links Menu - All Links

(Links Menu – All Links)

This brings up the ‘Links’ screen in your browser. The Links page displays a list of your links and link information (e.g. URL, categories, relationship, etc.) …

Links table

(Links table)

Tip

Tip: To display or hide information in the list of links, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top of your screen …

Screen Options - List of Links

(Screen Options – Links table)

Enable/disable fields on your table of links by selecting/deselecting their checkboxes …

Show/hide - Table of links

(Show/hide links)

How To Edit Link Information

To modify a link in the Link Manager, go to the navigation menu and click on Links > All Links to bring up your table of links …

WP Links Menu - All Links

(Links – All Links)

Locate the item you want to edit and click on Edit to bring up the link’s information …

Editing your link information

(Editing links)

Edit the link …

Edit Link screen

(Edit Link page)

After editing your link, you can:

  • Click the Update Link button to save and update your link details,
  • Click on Visit Link to make sure that you have set up your link’s URL correctly (the link will open in a new window),
  • Click Delete to remove the link from your list if you no longer require it …

Update Link button

(Update Link button)

Removing Your Links

To remove links, go to your WP dashboard navigation menu and choose Links > All Links

WP Links - All Links

(Links Menu – All Links)

This brings up the ‘Links’ screen.

You can delete links individually, delete multiple links by selecting their check boxes, or perform a bulk delete.

To delete individual links, hover over the link title that you want to remove from the link table and click on Delete

Deleting links

(Deleting links)

To delete a number of links at once, either click on the check boxes next to individual items that you want deleted, or select all links by clicking on the main checkbox next to the ‘Name’ column header …

Delete multiple links

(Deleting multiple links)

Select Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ drop menu, and click Apply to remove all selected links …

Links: bulk-deletion function

(Bulk-delete links)

The links you have selected will be deleted …

Link deletion notice

(Deleted links notice)

Using The Link Manager Plugin

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.

Using The Links Widget

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 dashboard navigation menu …

Appearance Menu - Widgets

(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 …

Links widget

(Links widget)

Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of the active widget sections and drop it wherever you would like your links section to display …

Adding a links widget to a widgetized menu

(Add a links widget to your WordPress sidebar using drag & drop)

The Links widget provides various configurable options. For example, you can specify what information you want to show about your links and how many links you want to display on your sidebar menu …

Link widget - configurable options

(Link widget - options)

You can also add multiple link widgets to your sidebar. This allows you to create and feature a number of different lists of links throughout your site …

Add multiple link widgets to your widget bars

(Add a number of link widgets to your widget bars)

Select a link category from the ‘Select Link Category:’ pulldown menu …

Link widget settings - Select Link Category

(Link widget settings – Select Link Category)

You can sort links by Link ID, Link title, Link rating, or display links in Random order …

Link widget settings - Sorting options

(Link widget settings – Sort by options)

When you have finished configuring your links widget, click Save to update your settings. A link section should now be visible on your site …

Links can be displayed on your site's sidebar

(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.

Tip

Need more help with widgets? If you want to learn more about widgets, refer to this article:

Links Manager – Additional Information

If you have loads of links, the Link Manager plugin allows you to easily administer these using sort, filter, and search functionality.

Sorting Links Function

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 …

Sorting your links

(Sort your links)

Search Links Function

Type a search term into the search field and click the Search Links button to find links …

You can search your links with the search function

(Find links)

Filtering Links Function

You can filter links by link categories …

Filtering links by link category

(Filtering 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

(searching and filtering links in the Link Categories screen)

This displays a list of all links grouped under a specific link category …

Links filtered by category

(Links filtered by category)

Links – Additional Options

If you plan to use links extensively on your website, 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, like Link Library.

Link Library

Link Library WordPress Plugin

(Link library – Plugin For WordPress)

Download Plugin URL

http://wordpress.org/plugins/link-library/

Plugin Description

This plugin lets you display a list of all your link categories with a complete list of links with notes and descriptions …

List of links created with Link library

(Link Library links. Screenshot taken from Link Library plugin website.)

Link Library can be used to create a page on your website that contains a list of all of the link categories in your Links section, and all links listed in 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 link collection that lets your site users become aware of any additions made to to your link library.

To learn more about the benefits of using this powerful plugin, visit this site:

Adding A WordPress Featured Links Section

Congratulations! Now you know how to add a link section to WordPress.

Useful Tip

We have written a detailed article about creating hyperlinks in WordPress posts & pages. Go here to learn more about this:

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"If you're new to WordPress, this can stand on its own as a training course and will stay with you as you progress from beginner to advanced and even guru status." - Bruce (Columbus, Ohio)

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