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 WordPress Sidebar Featured LinksAs you discover more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across the term blogroll.

A blogroll is a list of hyperlinks pointing to external websites or pages displayed on your sidebar area.

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 a links section to a widget-ready theme.


Before WordPress version 3.5 was released, Links were a built-in feature of the WordPress CMS. After v.3.5, the Links manager and blogroll sections were kept hidden by default in new WordPress installations …

Before …

WordPress Links Feature - pre version 3.5

(The Links Manager appeared in the dashboard menu until the release of WordPress v3.5)

After …

Post v 3.5 - no WP Links Manager

(The Links Manager feature – no longer shown in WordPress after WP v3.5)

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


How To Add A Link Section To WordPress

Practical 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 WordPress dashboard you will need to install a plugin. This step-by-step tutorial explains how to add and manage blogroll links on your sidebar using WordPress plugins.

Link Manager

Link Manager

(Link Manager – WordPress Link Management Plugin)

Plugin URL


You can use this plugin to restore the default 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 code to your installation in order 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 this plugin, then use the plugin below instead, or contact us for help editing your template code.

Simple Links

Simple Links

(Simple Links – WordPress Link Management Plugin)

Plugin Download URL

Plugin Description

This plugin recreates the same concept as the built-in WordPress Links Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated functionality.

How To Install Link Manager

Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.

From the WordPress dashboard menu, select Plugins > Add New

Plugins Menu - Add New

(Plugins Menu – Add New)

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

Plugin Installation

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

Plugin Installation

Activate the plugin …

Plugin Installation

After the plugin has been activated, a ‘Links’ section is added to the WP dashboard menu area …

WordPress links management menu

(Links management menu section)

Setting Up The Plugin

Before you start adding new links, we recommend setting up your link categories. This way, you can assign new links to link categories you have already created.

Link Categories

To create a link category, go to your WP admin menu and choose Links > Link Categories

Links - Link Categories

(WP Links Menu – Link Categories)

You will be taken to the ‘Link Categories’ screen.

Type in information into the following sections:

  • Name: Whatever you enter here is the category name that will display on your site.
  • Slug: The slug is the URL part of the link category name. It must all be in lowercase letters and contain no 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 your new link category name …

Link Categories

(Link Categories)

The link category will display in the table …

Link Categories page

(Link Categories page)

Useful Info

Tip: The default WordPress link category is called Blogroll . Unless you specify a category when adding a new link, WordPress will assign new links to the default category …

Default link category name is 'blogroll'

(Default link category name)

You may want to change the default WordPress link category name to something that your visitors can relate to. 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 'blogroll' to something better suited to your business

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

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

Edit the link category name

(Quick Edit)

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 Update Link Category

Quick Edit

(Update Link Category)

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

Let’s add a link category description. To add a link category description, click on Edit under the category name …

Link category description

(You can add/edit the category description)

Enter your link category description field and click Update finished to save your settings …

Edit Link Category screen

(Edit Link Category screen)

Repeat this process and add as many different link categories as you need.

After configuring your link categories, you can start adding new links.

Adding New Links

To create a new link, go to your dashboard navigation menu and select Links > Add New

Links Menu - Add New

(Links Menu – Add New)

This brings up the Add New Link’ page in your browser …

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

(Links – Add New Link button)

The ‘Add New Links’ page has the following sections:

Name, Web Address & Description

Enter your link details in this section …

Add New Link - Name, Web Addressand Description area

(Add New Link – Name, Web Address& Description)

Type in information into the following fields:

  • Name: Enter the link category name here.
  • Slug: The slug is the web address part of the link category name. 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 …

Add New Link - Categories & Target fields

(Categories & Target area – Add New Link)

In the Categories section, tick a link category you have already set up, or click on the ‘+ Add New Category’ link to add a new category link.

Next, select a target frame radio button for your link in the Target section. This lets you specify how your link should open when clicked on by visitors:

  • _blank means that when a visitor clicks on the link, a new browser window will open up to display the information for that link.
  • _none means that when a visitor clicks on your link, they will exit your site and a new site 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. 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 …

Link Relationship (XFN) - Add New Link screen

(Link Relationship (XFN))

Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN stands for XML Friends Network – is a way to define your relationship to the linked person. For example, if you work with Scarlet Anderson 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 your links will work just fine. 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 specifies 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. Separate multiple ‘rel’ keywords with spaces.

To learn more about XFN, visit this site:


The last section allows you to specify Advanced features for your links (You can ignore this section, unless there’s a good reason to use it) …

Advanced link settings

(Advanced section)

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 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 will be displayed next to your link.
  • Notes: This section lets you add notes for your own internal reference.
  • Rating: Add a rating score to the link if you would like to sort links by rating (see the ‘Links’ widget section below).

Type in your information into the above fields or just leave this section blank.

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 update your link settings

(Click on the Add Link button to update your link settings)

Useful Info

Note: If you select the checkbox next to Keep this link private, the link will not be visible when links are displayed on your site …

Private link checkbox

(Private link checkbox)

Making links private allows you to toggle link visibility on or 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 all the links you have added, click on Links > All Links in the WP dashboard menu …

Links Menu - All Links

(WP Links Menu – All Links)

The ‘Links’ page will display in your web browser. The Links page displays all of your links and link information (e.g. URL, categories, visibility, etc.) …

Table of Links

(Links screen)

Useful Tip

Tip: To view or hide columns in the table of links, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of the screen …

List of Links - Screen Options

(Screen Options – Links page)

Enable/disable information on your table of links by ticking/unticking their check boxes …

Show/hide - Table of links

(Show/hide links)

Editing Links

To modify a link, choose Links > All Links in the WP dashboard menu to bring up the table of links …

Links - All Links

(Links Menu – All Links)

Locate the link to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the link’s details …

Editing link information

(Editing your link information)

Make the changes you want to your link …

Edit Link screen

(Edit Link screen)

After you’re done editing the link, you can:

  • Click the Update Link button to save your link details,
  • Click on Visit Link to check that you have set up its URL correctly (your link will open up in a new window),
  • Click Delete to delete the link if you no longer require it …

Update Link button

(Edit Link: Update Link button)

Removing Links

To remove a link from the Link Manager, click on Links > All Links in your navigation menu …

Links - All Links

(Links – All Links)

This loads the ‘Links’ screen in your browser.

You can delete links individually, delete multiple links by selecting their check boxes, or remove all your links at once.

To delete individual links, hover over the link title that you want removed and click Delete

Delete your links

(Deleting links)

To delete links in bulk, either click on the checkbox next to every item that you want to delete, or select all links by clicking on the checkbox next to the ‘Name’ column header …

Deleting multiple links

(Delete multiple links)

Choose Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ menu, and click Apply to remove your selected links …

Links: bulk-delete function

(Links: bulk-deletion function)

Your links will be deleted …

Deleted links notice

(links deleted notification)

Plugin Usage

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 or blog.

Using The Links Widget

The Link Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ page.

To access and configure your Link widgets, click on Appearance > Widgets in your navigation menu …

WordPress Appearance - Widgets

(Appearance – Widgets)

The ‘Widgets’ screen will display in your web browser.

You will notice a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …

Links widget

(Links widget)

To make the ‘Links’ widget active, drag the widget to one of the active widget areas in the Widgets screen and drop it wherever you want the links section to display …

Adding a links widget to a widgetized menu

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

The Links widget offers various configurable settings. You can specify what information you would like to display about your links and how many links you would like displayed on your sidebar menu …

Link widget - options

(Link widget - configurable settings)

You can also add multiple link widgets to your sidebars and footers. This lets you create and feature specific various link sections on your site …

You can add multiple link widgets to your widget bars

(You can add multiple link widgets to your sidebar)

You can select a link category from the ‘Select Link Category:’ drop-down menu …

Link widget options - Select 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 options - Sorting options

(Link widget settings – Sort by options)

After configuring your links widget, click Save to update your settings. Your links should display on your sidebar …

Links can be displayed on a sidebar

(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 about configuring widgets here:

Links Manager – Additional Information

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

Sorting Links

To sort links, hover your mouse cursor over the title of the column you want to sort and click on the little triangle displayed next to the column title …

Sort links function

(You can sort links)

Finding Links Function

You can find links using the ‘Search Links’ function …

You can search links using the search function

(Search your links)

Filter Your Links

You can filter links by categories …

Filter links by link 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 search for link categories, or click on the category links in the ‘Links’ column …

Search and filter links in the Link Categories screen

(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 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 want to add a ‘Links’ page 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 - Plugin For WordPress

(Link Library WordPress Plugin)

Plugin Download URL

Plugin Description

Link Library allows you to publish a list of your link categories and a complete list of links plus notes and descriptions …

Link Library links

(Link Library links. Image: Link Library plugin site.)

Link Library creates a page on your web site that contains all the link categories in your Links area, 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 so that your site users can be made aware of additions to your link library.

Visit this website to learn more this plugin:

Adding WordPress Sidebar Links

Congratulations! Now you know how to add external links to your WordPress site.

Useful Tip

We have written a detailed article about inserting HTML links into WordPress posts and pages. If you would like to know more here:

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