As you continue to discover more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across references to the term blogroll.
WordPress refers to a list of hyperlinks pointing to other sites or pages that display on your sidebar section 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 and manage a links section to your sidebar menu (e.g. a “Resources” section) using widgets.
Before the release of version 3.5, Links were a built-in feature of the WordPress CMS. From v3.5 onwards, the Links Manager section was removed …
(The Link Manager feature displayed in the WordPress menu until the release of WP v.3.5)
(Post version 3.5 – no WordPress Links feature)
If you have had an earlier version than v 3.5 installed and updated your installation, 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 a Links item on the main menu when you log into your WordPress admin area, you can add this feature via a plugin. In this tutorial, you will learn how to add and manage links on your site’s sidebar using WordPress plugins.
(Link Manager – Plugin For WordPress)
Plugin Download URL
Use this plugin to display the Links feature on your WP dashboard, even if you update 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 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 the Link Manager plugin, then use the one below instead, or contact us for help editing your site’s template code.
(Simple Links – Link Manager Plugin For WordPress)
Plugin Download URL
This plugin recreates the same concept as the built-in WP Link Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.
Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.
From the WordPress admin menu, go to Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins – Add New)
Click on the Install Plugins > Search tab, then type in “link manager” into the search field and hit Enter …
Find the plugin in the results screen and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin after installation …
After activation, a ‘Links’ item will get added to the WP sidebar menu …
(Links management menu)
We recommend setting up your link categories first before adding any new links. This way, you can assign new links to a link category you have already created.
To create a link category, go to your admin menu and click on Links > Link Categories …
(Links – Link Categories)
This brings up the ‘Link Categories’ page.
Enter the following information:
- Name: Enter the link category name.
- Slug: The slug shows up in the URL 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 a link category description.
after entering your information, click the Add New Link Category button to save …
(Link Categories screen)
Your new category will now show in the list …
Tip: Blogroll is the default link category name. Unless you specify the category when creating a link, WordPress will automatically assign new links to the default category …
(Default link category name is ‘blogroll’)
You may want to change this default link category name to something that will make sense to visitors. This will not only make it easier for visitors, but any new links that you add to your site will automatically be assigned to the new category name …
(Consider changing the default link category name to something your visitors will understand)
To edit the ‘Blogroll’ link name, hover your mouse over the category name and click on the Quick Edit link …
(Editing the default link category name)
Change both the Name and the Slug with a new category name, then click on the Update link Category button …
(Editing the default link category)
In our example, the category ‘Blogroll’ has been replaced with an appropriate links section name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).
Let’s insert a description for this link category. To add a description to an existing link category, click on Edit under the category name …
(You can add/edit your category description)
Enter your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ screen and click Update …
(Edit Link Category area)
Repeat the above process to add as many new link categories as your site needs.
Once you have set up your link categories, you can add your links.
How To Add New Links
To create a new link, go to the main dashboard menu and select Links > Add New …
(WP Links Menu – Add New)
This takes you to the ‘Add New Link’ page …
(Add New Link screen)
You can also access this screen by clicking on ’Add New’ at the top of the main Links screen …
(Links page – Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page has several sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
Enter your link details in this section …
(Name, Web Address& Description fields – Add New Link)
Type in information into the following sections:
- Name: Enter the category name.
- Slug: The slug is the URL bit of your link category name. Only use lower case letters without spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display a link category description in the links section, or as a tool tip when visitors hover over the link name.
Categories & Target
After typing in your link details, select a Category and Target for the link …
(Categories & Target area – Add New Link)
In the Categories section, tick a link category you’ve already created, or click on the ‘+ Add New Category’ link to create 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 the link to open when clicked on:
- _blank means that a separate window will open up in their web browser to display the content associated with the link. Your visitor can access the link information without leaving your page
- _none means that when visitors click on your link, they will exit your site and a new site or page will load in your browser window instead.
- _top opens the link 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) – Add New Link)
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN stands for XML Friends Network – lets you define your relationship to the linked person. For example, if you have a professional relationship with Sarah Jones and you link to her blog, you would probably tick co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional. You can leave everything in this section blank and all of 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 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, type nofollow into this field. Other ‘rel’ attributes include author, help, start, index, etc.
To learn more about XFN, visit the site below:
The last section of the Add New Link’ screen lets you specify Advanced features for your links (some themes will ignore this. You can leave the fields in this section 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. 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 RSS feed associated with the link can be displayed next to the link.
- 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).
Type in your information into the above fields or just leave this section blank.
When you have finished adding your new link information, click on the Add Link button to save your new link …
(Click on Add Link to save your new link)
Note: If you select the Keep this link private checkbox, your link will not be visible in your Links section …
(Make your links private)
Making a link private lets you add a link and then toggle its visibility on or off without deleting it (this is useful if you want to use seasonal links) …
(Toggle link visibility on and off)
To see all your links, go to your navigation menu and choose Links > All Links …
(Links – All Links)
The ‘Links’ table will load in your browser. The Links table displays a list of all of your links and link information (e.g. URL, link categories, visibility, etc.) …
(Table of links)
Tip: To display additional fields in the list of links, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of your screen …
(Screen Options – List of links)
Enable/disable information on your table of links by ticking/unticking their checkboxes …
To modify links in the Link Manager, go to the main admin menu and select Links > All Links to bring up your table of links …
(WordPress Links Menu – All Links)
Locate the link to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the item’s link details …
(Editing your links)
Edit your link information …
(Edit Link screen)
After you’re done editing your link, you can:
- Click on Update Link to save and update your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to check that you have set up your link’s URL correctly (the link will open up in a new window),
- Click Delete to remove the link if it’s no longer required …
(Edit Link: Update Link button)
How To Remove Links
To delete a link, go to the dashboard menu and click on Links > All Links …
(Links – All Links)
This takes you to the ‘Links’ table.
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 over the link title you want removed and click Delete …
(Delete your links)
To delete links in bulk, either tick the checkbox next to each item that you would like deleted, or select all links by clicking on the check box next to the ‘Name’ column header …
(Deleting multiple links)
Choose Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ menu, and click the Apply button to delete your selected links …
All the links you have selected will be removed …
(links deleted message)
Now that you know how to configure link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, let’s show you how to display links on your website or blog.
The Link Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ page.
To access and configure your Link widgets, select Appearance > Widgets in the WP dashboard navigation menu …
(Appearance – Widgets)
You will be taken to the ‘Widgets’ screen.
You will notice a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …
To make the ‘Links’ widget active, drag the widget to one of the widget sections in the Widgets screen and drop it wherever you would like the links section to display …
(Adding a links widget to a widgetized menu)
The Links widget offers various configurable settings. You can specify what information you would like displayed about your links and how many links you want displayed on your sidebar menu …
(Link widget options)
You can also add as many link widgets to your sidebar and footer as you want. This allows you to add and feature links sorted by categories 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:’ drop-down menu …
(Link widget settings – Select Link Category)
You can sort links by Link title, Link ID, Link rating, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget settings – Sorting options)
When you have finished setting up your links widget, click Save to update your settings. Your link section will become visible on your website …
(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? Go here if you want to learn more widgets:
Links Manager – Additional Information
If you have added many links, the Links Manager plugin lets you easily administer these with search, sort, and filter features.
Sort 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 black triangle displayed next to the column title …
Find links using the ‘Search Links’ feature …
(You can easily find links using the search function)
Filter Links Function
You can filter links by category …
(Filter 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 listed for a specific link 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 ‘Links’ page to your site (i.e. not just add links on your sidebar), then you may want to consider using a plugin that can help you administer your links, like Link Library.
Plugin Download URL
Link Library gives you the ability to output 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 website.)
Link Library creates a page on your website that contains all the link categories in your Links section, and all links listed in 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 so that your site users can become aware of any additions made to to your link library.
Go here to learn more this plugin:
Congratulations! Now you know how to how to add and manage links to external websites in your WordPress sidebar menu.
We have written a detailed article on adding hyperlinks to your WordPress content. To learn more about this go here:
"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group