As you discover more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across the term blogroll.
WordPress refers to a list of links pointing to other websites or web pages that display on your sidebar menu 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 feature lets you easily add external links to your WordPress sidebar section (e.g. a “Recommended Resources” section) using widgets.
Before WordPress v 3.5 was released, Links were a core feature of the WordPress CMS. From v 3.5 onwards, the Links Manager section was removed …
(Links displayed in the dashboard menu until the release of WP v.3.5)
(Links is no longer included in the WordPress menu after WordPress v3.5)
If you have had an earlier version than v 3.5 installed and updated your installation, then the Links Manager would have been removed, unless you have 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 WordPress dashboard you will need to install a plugin. This step-by-step tutorial will show you how to add and manage blogroll links on your sidebar using plugins.
(Link Manager – WordPress Link Management Plugin)
Plugin Download URL
You can use this plugin to restore the Links menu on your WP dashboard, 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. 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 this plugin, then use the plugin below instead, or contact us for help editing your template code.
(Simple Links – WordPress Link Management Plugin)
Plugin Download URL
This plugin attempts to recreate the concept of the built-in Link Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.
Installing Link Manager
Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.
From the WordPress dashboard menu, select Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins Menu – Add New)
Click on the Install Plugins > Search tab, then type ”link manager” into the search field and hit Enter …
Find the plugin in the search results area and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin after installing it …
After you have activated the plugin, a ‘Links’ section will be displayed in your admin menu area …
(WordPress links menu section)
Setting Up Link Manager
Before you start adding links, it’s a good idea to first set up your link categories. This way, you can assign any new links to the link category you have already created.
To create a link category, choose Links > Link Categories in your WP admin menu …
(WP Links – Link Categories)
This loads the ‘Link Categories’ screen in your web browser.
Enter the following information:
- Name: Enter the category name here.
- Slug: The slug is the web address part of your link category. It must all be in lowercase letters and contain no spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display a link category description. (Optional)
Click the Add New Link Category button to save your new link category …
(Link Categories page)
The link category will be added to the table …
Tip: WordPress calls its default link category Blogroll . Unless you specify the category when creating a new link, WordPress automatically assigns new links to the default category …
(Default link category name is ‘blogroll’)
You may want to change the default link category name to something that will make sense to blog readers. This not only makes it easier for visitors, but any new links that you add to the Links section will automatically be listed under the new category name …
(Change the default ’blogroll’ to something your visitors will relate to)
To change the default category name, hover your mouse over the list item and click on Quick Edit …
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 Update Link Category …
(Editing the link category name)
In our example, we’ve replaced the category name ‘Blogroll’ with a more suitable category name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).
Let’s now add a link category description. To add a link category description, hover over the item name and click Edit …
(Link category description)
Enter your link category description field and click Update …
(Edit Link Category screen)
Repeat the above process to add as many link categories as you need.
After setting up your link categories, you can start adding new links.
How To Add New Links
To create a new link, choose Links > Add New in your WP admin menu …
(Links – Add New)
This brings up the Add New Link’ page in your browser …
(Add New Link page)
You can also access this screen by clicking on the ‘Add New’ button in the main Links screen …
(Links page – Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page has various sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
Enter your link details in this section …
(Name, Web Address, Description area)
Type in information into the following sections:
- Name: Enter the category name here.
- Slug: The slug displays in the web address of the link category name. Use lowercase letters only and do not include spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display your link category description. (Optional)
Categories & Target
Select a Category and Target for the link …
(Add New Link page – Categories & Target fields)
In the Categories section, tick a link category you have already added, or click on ’+ Add New Category’ to create a new category link.
Also, select a target frame radio button for your link in the Target section. This lets you specify where the link should open when clicked on:
- _blank means that when visitors click on your link, a separate browser window will open up to display the content associated with the link. Your visitor can see the link information without leaving your site
- _none means that when a visitor clicks on the 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. 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 page)
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN stands for XML Friends Network – allows you to define your relationship with the linked person. For example, if you work with Jessica O’Malley and you link to her blog, you would probably check co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional. You can ignore this section and all your links will still work. 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 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, enter nofollow into this field. Other ‘rel’ attributes include author, index, help, start, etc.
To learn more about XFN, visit 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 ignore this section, unless there’s a good reason to use it) …
(Advanced link settings – Add New Link screen)
The Advanced link settings section includes the following:
- Image Address: 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 link’s RSS feed will 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 want to sort links by rating (see the ‘Links’ widget section below).
Enter information in the above fields or just leave this section blank, as these are not required.
When you are done adding your new link information, click on the Add Link button to save your new link …
(Click on the Add Link button to update your link settings)
Note: If you select the checkbox next to Keep this link private, your link will not be visible when links are displayed on your site …
(You can make links private by checking the box)
Making a link private lets you toggle its visibility on or off without deleting it (this is useful if you would like the link to display during certain times and hide it after it’s no longer required) …
(Toggle link visibility on and off)
To see a list of all your links, go to your navigation menu and select Links > All Links …
(WordPress Links – All Links)
This loads the ‘Links’ table in your web browser. The Links table displays your links and link information (e.g. link URL, categories, relationship, etc.) …
Tip: To view additional columns in the table of links, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top of the screen …
(Screen Options – Table of links)
Show/hide information on your Links table by ticking/unticking their check boxes …
(Show/hide – Table of links)
How To Edit Your Link Information
To modify links, go to your navigation menu and choose Links > All Links to bring up your table of links …
(Links – All Links)
Select the link you want to edit and click on Edit to bring up the item’s link details …
(Editing your link information)
Edit the link …
(Edit Link page)
After editing your link, you can:
- Click on Update Link to save and update your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to make sure that you have set up the link’s URL correctly (the link will open in a new window),
- Click Delete to delete the link if it’s no longer required …
(Update Link button)
How To Remove Your Links
To delete links, click on Links > All Links in your WP dashboard menu …
(WP Links – All Links)
The ‘Links’ screen will display in your web browser.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links, or perform a bulk delete.
To delete individual links, hover over the link title that you want to remove and click on Delete …
To delete multiple links, either click on the checkboxes next to individual items that you want to delete, or select all links by clicking on the checkbox next to the ‘Name’ column header at the top of the list …
(Deleting multiple links)
Choose Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ menu, and click Apply to delete all selected links …
(Bulk-deletion of links)
All the links you have selected will be deleted …
(Link deletion notice)
Using The Plugin
Now that you know how to configure link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, it’s time to display your links on your site.
The Links Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ page.
To access and configure your Link widgets, select Appearance > Widgets in your dashboard navigation menu …
(Appearance – Widgets)
This takes you to the ‘Widgets’ page.
You will see a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …
Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of your active widget bars in the Widgets page and drop it wherever you want the links section to display …
(Add a links widget to a widgetized menu using drag & drop)
The Links widget provides various settings. For example, you can specify what information you want to display about your links and how many links you would like displayed on your sidebar …
(Link widget settings)
You can also add multiple link widgets to your sidebar and footer. This allows you to add and feature specific link lists on your site …
(You can add a number of link widgets to your widget bars)
You can select a link category from the ‘Select Link Category:’ dropdown menu …
(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 – Sort by options)
When you have finished setting up the Links widget, click the Save button to update your settings. A links will show up immediately on your sidebar, footer or any widget-ready area you add the widget to …
(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 with widgets? Go here if you would like to learn more about adding widgets:
Link Manager – Additional Information
If you have added many links, the Links Manager plugin lets you easily administer these with searching, filtering, and sorting functionality.
Sort Your Links
You can sort links by hovering your mouse cursor over the title of the column you want to sort and clicking on the little triangle displayed next to the column title …
(Sort your links)
Finding Your Links
Type a search term into the search field and click the Search Links button …
(You can find your links with the search function)
Filter Your Links
You can filter links by link category …
(Filter your links by categories)
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 screen)
This brings up a list of all links grouped under a specific link category …
(Links filtered by link category)
Additional Link Options
If you plan to add lots 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 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 WordPress Plugin)
Link Library allows you to publish a list of all your link categories and a complete list of links together with descriptions and notes …
(List of links created with Link library. Image: Link Library plugin site.)
Link Library 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 link collection that lets your site users become aware of additions to your link library.
To learn more this WordPress plugin, go here:
Congratulations! Now you know how to add a featured links section to WordPress.
We have written a detailed article about inserting links into WordPress posts & pages. Go here to learn more about this:
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