As you continue to learn more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across references to the term blogroll.
A blogroll is a list of links pointing to external sites or web 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 and manage external links to a widgetized theme.
Prior to the release of v3.5, Links were a visible feature of the WordPress CMS. After the release of v.3.5, the Links Manager section was removed …
(WP Links Manager – pre v.3.5)
(The Link Manager – excluded from the menu after WP version 3.5)
If you have used an earlier version than v.3.5 and updated your installation, the Links 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 Links feature when you log into your WordPress admin area you will need to install 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)
You can use this plugin to display the built-in Links Manager, even if you upgrade to a later version of WordPress or remove all of your existing 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 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 site’s template code.
(Simple Links – WordPress Link Management Plugin)
Description Of Plugin
Simple Links attempts to recreate the same concept as the built-in Link Manager while addressing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.
To install the Link Manager plugin on your website or blog, do the following:
From the WordPress administration menu, go to Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins Menu – Add New)
Select the Install Plugins > Search tab, type ”link manager” into the search field and hit Enter …
Find the plugin in the results screen and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin …
After activation, a ‘Links’ section is added to the admin menu …
(WordPress links management menu)
Before adding links, we recommend setting up your link categories. This way, when adding a new link, you can assign the link to link categories you have already created.
To create a link category, go to your WP admin menu and select Links > Link Categories …
(Links Menu – Link Categories)
The ‘Link Categories’ screen will display in your browser.
Enter information into the following sections:
- Name: Enter the link category name.
- Slug: The slug is the web address part of the link category name. Use only lowercase letters and do not include spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display your link category description. (Optional)
after entering your information, click Add New Link Category to save your new link category …
The category details will display in the table …
(Link Categories area)
Tip: The default WordPress link category is called Blogroll . Unless you specify the category when creating a link, WordPress will assign new links to the default category …
(Default link category name is ‘blogroll’)
You may want to change this to something better suited to your business. This not only makes it easier for visitors, but any new links that you add to your site will automatically be listed under the new category name …
(we recommend changing the default ’blogroll’ to something better suited to your business)
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), then click on Update Link Category …
In our example, the link category ‘Blogroll’ has been replaced with an appropriate links section name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).
Let’s insert a link category description. To add a description to an existing link category, click on Edit under the category name …
(You can add/edit the category description)
Enter your link category description field and click Update you’re done to save your settings …
(Edit Link Category screen)
Repeat this process and add as many different link categories as your site needs.
After you have finished setting up your link categories, you can start adding your links.
How To Add New Links
To create a new link, select Links > Add New in your WP admin menu …
(Links – Add New)
The ‘Add New Link’ screen will display in your web browser …
(Add New Link screen)
You can also access this screen by clicking on the ‘Add New’ button in the main Links page …
(Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page has a number of sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
The first section lets you enter details about your link …
(Add New Link screen – Name, Web Address, Description area)
Enter information into the following sections:
- Name: Whatever you enter here displays as the category your links will be assigned to.
- Slug: The slug shows up in the web address of the link category. Use only lowercase 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 with their mouse.
Categories & Target
After adding link details, select a Category and Target for your link …
(Categories & Target)
In the Categories section, tick one of the link categories you have already set up, or click on ’+ Add New Category’ to create a new category.
Next, 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 a new, separate window will open up in their browser to display the content 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 web browser window instead.
- _top opens links at the top level of the frame system if you’re using frames. Don’t worry about this option if you don’t use frames, or if you don’t know what frames are.
Link Relationship XFN
This section provides some additional link functionality …
(Link Relationship (XFN) section – Add New Link page)
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 Ali O’Malley and you link to his 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 still work. Defining relationships with XFN makes the links defined on your site more understandable to some websites and search engines that use this information.
rel – This field specifies the ‘rel’ attribute that will be assigned to your link. The rel attribute specifies 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, start, index, help, etc.
You can learn more about XFN by visiting the site below:
The last section lets you specify Advanced features for your links (You can ignore this section, unless there’s a good reason to use it) …
(Add New Link – Advanced section)
The Advanced link settings section contains the following:
- Image Address: Lets you specify an image to be displayed with the link. Add the 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 can display next to the 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 would like to sort links by rating (see the ‘Links’ widget section below).
Enter information into the above fields or just leave this section blank.
When you are done adding your new link information, click on Add Link to save your new link …
(Click on Add Link to save your new link)
Note: If you tick Keep this link private, your link will not be visible when links are displayed on your site …
(Private link checkbox)
Making a link private lets you toggle its visibility on or off without deleting it (this is useful if you want to have seasonal links) …
(Toggle link visibility on and off)
To view all the links you have added to the Link Manager, click on Links > All Links in the WP dashboard menu …
(Links – All Links)
This loads the ‘Links’ page in your browser. The Links screen displays your links and link information (e.g. URL, categories, visibility, etc.) …
(List of links)
Tip: To view additional fields in the Links table, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of your screen …
(Links table – Screen Options)
Display/hide fields on your table of links by ticking/unticking their checkboxes …
How To Edit Your Link Information
To modify links in the Link Manager, select Links > All Links in the WP dashboard navigation menu to bring up the list of links …
(Links – All Links)
Locate the link you want to edit and click on Edit to bring up the link’s information …
(Editing link information)
Change your link …
(Edit Link page)
After editing your link, you can:
- Click the Update Link button to save your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to make sure that you have set up its URL correctly (the link will open in a new window),
- Click Delete to delete the link if it’s no longer required …
(Edit Link: Update Link button)
How To Remove Your Links
To delete a link from the Link Manager, go to the dashboard menu and choose Links > All Links …
(Links Menu – All Links)
You will be taken to the ‘Links’ page.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links by selecting their check boxes, or perform a bulk delete.
To delete links individually, hover over the link title that you want to remove from the link table and click on Delete …
To delete links in bulk, either tick the checkbox next to each link that you would like to be removed, 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)
Select Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ drop-down menu, and click the Apply button to remove all selected links …
(Bulk-deletion of links)
Your links will be removed …
(Deleted links notification)
Using The Link Manager Plugin
Now that you know how to configure link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, it’s time to make links display on your site.
The Link Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ screen.
To access and configure your Link widgets, go to the main dashboard navigation menu and select Appearance > Widgets …
(Appearance Menu – Widgets)
You will be taken to the ‘Widgets’ page.
You will notice a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …
To make the ‘Links’ widget active, drag it to one of the active widget areas and drop it wherever you want the links to display …
(Drag and drop the links widget to add it to a widgetized menu)
The Links widget includes a number of settings. You can specify what information you want to display about your links and how many links you would like to display on your sidebar menu …
(Link widget - options)
You can also add multiple link widgets to your sidebars and footers. This lets you add and feature link categories throughout your site …
(Add a number of link widgets to your sidebar)
You can create and display a list of links for a specific 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 – Sort by options)
After setting up your Links widget, click the Save button to update your settings. A link section will show on your 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? If you want to learn more about adding widgets, see this article:
Link Manager – Additional Information
If you have added many links, the Links Manager plugin lets you easily administer these with sort, search, and filter functions.
Sort Your Links
To sort links, hover your 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)
Searching Links Function
Find links using the ‘Search Links’ feature …
(Find links function)
You can filter links by link category …
(Filter 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 links in the ‘Links’ column …
(Search and filter links in the Link Categories page)
This brings up 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 website, or if you would like to add a page containing a list of links 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 links.
Link Library allows you to publish a list of all your link categories with a complete list of all your links together with notes and descriptions …
(List of links created with Link library. Image source: Link Library plugin website.)
Link Library can be used to create a page on your website containing all the link categories in your Links area, plus 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 links that lets your site users be made aware of additions to your link library.
Visit the plugin website to learn more about using this handy plugin:
Congratulations! Now you know how to how to add a blogroll and manage links to other sites in WordPress.
We have written a detailed article about adding HTML hyperlinks in WordPress posts and pages. For more info, see this article:
"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now