As you discover more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across references to the term blogroll.
A blogroll is a list of links pointing to other sites or pages displayed on your sidebar.
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 display a links section on your sidebar using the Link Manager plugin.
Prior to the release of WordPress version 3.5, Links were a visible feature of the WordPress CMS. After v 3.5, the Link Manager section was removed …
(WP Links Manager – pre version 3.5)
(Post v 3.5 – no WordPress Links Manager feature)
If you’ve used an earlier version of WordPress than v.3.5 and updated your installation, then the Link Manager would have been removed, unless you’ve previously used it.
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 Link Manager section when you log into your WP dashboard you will need to install a plugin. This step-by-step tutorial explains how to add and manage links on your site’s sidebar using WordPress plugins.
(Link Manager Plugin)
Description Of Plugin
This plugin displays the default Link Manager, even if you upgrade WordPress to a later version or remove all of your current links.
Note: This plugin adds a single line of template code to your installation to restore the hidden feature. The last time we checked, this plugin had not been updated for some time, 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)
This plugin attempts to recreate the same concept as the built-in Link Manager while addressing the shortcomings of the deprecated functionality.
Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.
In the WordPress admin area, select Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins – Add New)
Click on the Install Plugins > Search tab, type ”link manager” into the search field and hit Enter …
Locate the plugin in the search results area and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin after it has been installed …
After the plugin has been activated, WordPress displays a ‘Links’ item in your navigation menu …
(WordPress links menu section)
We recommend setting up your link categories first before adding links. This way, when you create a new link, you can assign the link to the link category you have already created.
To create a link category, go to the main 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: Whatever you enter in this field displays as the link category name.
- Slug: The slug appears in the search-engine friendly URL 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. (Optional)
When done, click the Add New Link Category button to save your new link category …
(Link Categories page)
The new category will display in the list …
(Link Categories area)
Tip: The default WordPress link category is called Blogroll . Unless you specify the category when adding a new link, WordPress will automatically assign new links to the default category …
(Default link category)
You may want to change this to something that your visitors can relate to. This will not only make 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 …
(Change the default ’blogroll’ 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)
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), and click on the Update link Category button …
(Editing the link category)
In our example, we’ve replaced the link category ‘Blogroll’ with an appropriate links section name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).
Let’s now 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 done …
(Edit Link Category screen)
Repeat the above process to add as many different link categories as your site requires.
After you have finished configuring your link categories, you can add new links.
Adding New Links
To create a new link, choose Links > Add New in the WP navigation menu …
(Links Menu – Add New)
This loads the Add New Link’ screen in your browser …
(Add New Link screen)
You can also reach this page by clicking on ’Add New’ at the top of the main Links screen …
(Links screen – Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page is divided into a number of sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
The first section lets you enter your link details …
(Name, Web Addressand Description area)
Type in information into the following fields:
- Name: Enter the category name here.
- Slug: The slug appears in the web address of the link category. Only use lower case letters without 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. (Optional)
Categories & Target
After adding link details, select a Category and Target for your link …
(Categories & Target fields – Add New Link)
In the Categories section, select one of the link categories you’ve already created, or click on ’+ Add New Category’ to add a new category link.
Also, select a target frame radio button for your link in the Target section. This lets you specify where you want the link to open when clicked on by visitors:
- _blank means that when visitors click on the link, a separate window will open up in their browser to display the information associated with the link.
- _none means that when a visitor clicks on the link, they will leave your site and a new website or page will load in your browser window instead.
- _top opens links 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 …
(Link Relationship (XFN) area – Add New Link)
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN (XML Friends Network) lets you define your relationship with the linked person. For example, if you work with Iris Schwartz 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 all your links will work just fine. 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 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.
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 these fields blank unless there’s a good reason to use them) …
(Advanced link settings – Add New Link screen)
The Advanced section contain the following fields:
- Image Address: Specify an image to be displayed with the link. To use this feature, 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 link’s RSS feed will be displayed next to your link.
- 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 blank, as these are not essential.
When you have finished adding information about your link, click on the Add Link button to save your new link …
(Click on Add Link 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 a link private allows you to add a link and then toggle its visibility on or off without deleting it (this is useful if you want your link to display during certain times and hide it after it’s no longer required) …
(Toggle link visibility on and off)
To view all your links, choose Links > All Links in your WP dashboard menu …
(WP Links – All Links)
The ‘Links’ page will display in your web browser. The table of links displays your links and link information (e.g. link URL, link categories, visibility, etc.) …
(Table of links)
Tip: To show or hide columns in the table of links, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top of your screen …
(Screen Options – Links screen)
Display/hide information on your Links table by selecting/deselecting their check boxes …
(List of links – Hide or display screen options)
How To Edit Link Information
To modify links, select Links > All Links in your WP dashboard menu to bring up your links page …
(Links – All Links)
Select the item you want to edit and click on Edit to bring up the item’s link details …
(Editing link information)
Change the link details …
(Edit Link screen)
After editing the link, you can:
- Click the Update Link button to save your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to see your link and check that you have set up everything correctly (your link will open in a new window),
- Click Delete to delete the link from your table …
(Edit Link: Update Link button)
To remove a link, select Links > All Links in the admin menu …
(Links – All Links)
The ‘Links’ page will display in your browser.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links by selecting their check boxes, or perform a bulk delete.
To delete individual links, hover your mouse cursor over the link title that you want to remove from the link table and click Delete …
(Deleting your links)
To delete a number of links at once, either tick the checkbox next to every item that you want deleted, or select all links by clicking on the main checkbox next to the ‘Name’ column header at the top of the list …
(Delete multiple links)
Choose Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ menu, and click the Apply button to delete your selected links …
(Bulk-deletion of links)
The selected links will be deleted …
(links deleted 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 Link Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ section.
To access and configure your Link widgets, select Appearance > Widgets in the WP navigation menu …
(Appearance Menu – Widgets)
The ‘Widgets’ screen will load in your web browser.
You will see that a ‘Links’ widget has been added to the Available Widgets section …
Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of your widget bars in the Widgets screen and drop it wherever you would like the links section to show up …
(Drag & drop the links widget to add it to a widgetized menu)
The Links widget provides various configurable options. For example, you can specify what information you would like to display about your links and how many links you would like to display on your sidebar …
(Link widget - options)
You can add multiple link widgets to your sidebar and footer. This allows you to add and feature various lists of links throughout your site …
(You can add a number of link widgets to your sidebar)
You can select a link category from the ‘Select Link Category:’ dropdown menu …
(Link widget options – Select Link Category)
You can sort links by Link ID, Link rating, Link title, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget options – Sort by options)
After configuring your Links widget, click Save to update your settings. Your link section should now display on your website …
(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 more help using widgets? To learn more about widgets, see this article:
Links Manager – Additional Information
If you have loads of links, the Link Manager plugin allows you to easily administer these using filtering, sorting, and searching features.
Sorting Links Function
You can sort links by hovering your mouse over the title of the column you want to sort and clicking on the little triangle displayed next to the column title …
Find links using the ‘Search Links’ button …
(Searching your links)
You can filter links by link category …
(Filtering your links by link 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 …
(searching and filtering links in the Link Categories page)
This displays a list of all links grouped under a specific link category …
(Links filtered by category)
Additional Link Options
If you plan to add a lot of links to your site, or if you would like 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.
(Link library – Plugin For WordPress)
Plugin Download URL
The Link Library plugin gives you the ability to display a list of all your link categories with a complete list of links with descriptions and notes …
(List of links created with Link library. Image sourced from Link Library plugin documentation.)
This useful plugin can be used to create 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 be made aware of additions to your link library.
Visit this website to learn more about this plugin:
Congratulations! Now you know how to how to add a blogroll and manage links in WordPress.
We have also written a detailed article about how to easily insert HTML hyperlinks into your WordPress content here:
"This is an awesome training series. I have a pretty good understanding of WordPress already, but this is helping me to move somewhere from intermediate to advanced user!" - Kim Lednum