As you discover more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across something called a blogroll.
WordPress refers to a list of hyperlinks pointing to other websites or pages that display on your sidebar 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.”
You can manage a set of links using the Links menu in your Dashboard. These links will display on your sidebar if you have added the Links widget.
Prior to the release of WP version 3.5, Links were a visible feature of the WordPress CMS. From v 3.5 onwards, the Links manager and blogroll sections were hidden by default in new installations …
(Links displayed in the admin menu until the release of WordPress version 3.5)
(The Link Manager feature – excluded from the admin menu after WordPress v.3.5)
If you’ve had an earlier version of WordPress than v 3.5 installed and upgraded your installation, the Link Manager would be 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 a Links section on the main menu when you log into your WP backend, you can add this feature via a plugin. In this tutorial, you will learn how to add and manage blogroll links on your site’s sidebar using WordPress plugins.
(Link Manager Plugin)
This plugin restores the default Link Manager, even if you upgrade WordPress to a later version or remove all of your existing links.
Note: All this plugin does is add a single line of code to WordPress 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 one 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 functionality.
How To Install Link Manager
To install the Link Manager plugin on your site, follow these instructions:
From your WP administration menu, go to Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins Menu – Add New)
Click on the Install Plugins > Search tab, then type in “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 activating the plugin, the ‘Links’ functionality will be restored to your WP admin menu …
(WordPress links management menu section)
Configuring Link Manager
Before you start adding links, we recommend setting up your link categories. This way, when you create a new link, you can assign your link to link categories you have already created.
To create a link category, go to the dashboard menu and select Links > Link Categories …
(WP Links Menu – Link Categories)
The ‘Link Categories’ page will load in your web browser.
Type in information into the following sections:
- Name: What you enter here is the category name that will display on your site.
- Slug: The slug is the web address part of your 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)
after entering your information, click the Add New Link Category button to save …
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 new link, WordPress automatically assigns new links to the default category …
(Default link category)
You may want to change this to something better suited to your business. 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 …
(Consider changing the default link category name to something your visitors will understand)
To edit the ‘Blogroll’ link name, hover your mouse over the list item and click on Quick Edit …
(Edit the link category)
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 the Update link Category button …
In our example, the category ‘Blogroll’ has been replaced with a more suitable name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).
Let’s now add a link category description. To add a link category description, hover over the link category name and click Edit …
(Link category description)
Add your link category description field and click Update …
(Edit Link Category page)
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.
Adding New Links
To create a new link, click on Links > Add New in the admin menu …
(Links Menu – Add New)
This brings up the Add New Link’ page in your browser …
(Add New Link page)
You can also access this page by clicking on the ‘Add New’ button at the top of the main Links page …
(Links screen – Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page is divided into the following sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
Enter details about your link in this section …
(Name, Web Addressand Description fields – Add New Link)
Type in the following information:
- Name: Enter the link category name here.
- Slug: The slug is the URL bit of your link category. It must be in lowercase letters and contain no 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
Select a Category and Target for your link …
(Categories & Target – Add New Link screen)
In the Categories section, tick a link category you have already set up, or click on ’+ Add New Category’ 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 a visitor clicks on it:
- _blank means that a separate browser window will open up to display the content associated with the link. This lets your visitors access the information without leaving your website
- _none means that when a visitor clicks on the 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 ignore this option.
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 with the linked person. For example, if you work with Mia Silva and you link to her blog, you would probably tick co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional. You can ignore this section and your links will still work. XFN makes the links defined on your site more understandable to some sites 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 a relationship 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, index, help, start, etc.
To learn more about XFN, visit the site below:
The last section allows you to specify Advanced features for your links (You can leave these fields empty unless there’s a good reason to use them) …
(Add New Link – Advanced fields)
The Advanced link settings section contains the following options:
- 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 RSS feed associated with the link will display next to the links.
- Notes: This section lets you add notes for your own internal reference.
- Rating: You can 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 ignore this section.
When you are done adding your new link information, click on the Add Link button to update your link settings …
(Click on Add Link to update your link settings)
Note: If you tick the checkbox next to Keep this link private, the link will not be visible when links are displayed on your site …
(Private link checkbox)
Making links private lets you toggle their visibility on or off without deleting these (this is useful if you want to have seasonal links) …
(Making links private toggles their visibility on and off)
To view a list of all your links, select Links > All Links in the navigation menu …
(Links Menu – All Links)
This brings up the ‘Links’ screen. The list of links displays your links and link information (e.g. link URL, categories, rating, etc.) …
(List of links)
Tip: To display or hide information in the table of links, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of your screen …
(Screen Options – Links screen)
Display/hide information on your Links table by ticking/unticking their checkboxes …
(List of links – Show/hide screen options)
Editing Your Link Information
To edit a link in the Link Manager, go to the WP navigation menu and choose Links > All Links to bring up your list of links …
(Links Menu – All Links)
Select the item you want to edit and click on Edit to bring up the item’s link information …
Make changes to the link details …
(Edit Link page)
After editing the 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 your link’s URL correctly (your link will open up in a new window),
- Click Delete to delete the link …
(Update Link button)
How To Remove Your Links
To delete links from the Link Manager, go to the WP admin menu and select Links > All Links …
(Links – All Links)
The ‘Links’ screen will display in your browser.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links by selecting their check boxes, or delete all of your links.
To delete individual links, hover over the link title that you want to remove from the link table and click on Delete …
(Deleting your links)
To delete a number of links at once, either tick the check box next to every link that you want to remove, or select all links by clicking on the check box next to the ‘Name’ column header at the top of the list …
(Deleting multiple links)
Select Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ dropdown menu, and click Apply to delete your selected links …
(Bulk-deletion of links)
All the links you have selected will be deleted …
(Deleted links notification)
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 links on your website.
Installing the Links Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ screen.
To access and configure your Link widgets, go to your dashboard navigation menu and select Appearance > Widgets …
(WordPress Appearance – Widgets)
The ‘Widgets’ page will load in your web browser.
You will notice a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …
To make the ‘Links’ widget active, drag it to one of your active widget areas in the Widgets page and drop it wherever you would like your links section to display …
(Adding a links widget to your widget bar using drag and drop)
The Links widget includes various options. You can specify what information you want to display about your links and how many links you want to display on your sidebar …
(Link widget - configurable options)
You can add as many link widgets to your sidebar and footer as you want. This lets you add and display specific link categories throughout your site …
(Add a number of link widgets to your widget bars)
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 rating, Link title, Link ID, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget options – Sort by options)
Once you are done setting up the links widget, click Save to update your settings. Your links will become visible on your site’s 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 on configuring widgets. Go here to learn more:
Link Manager – Additional Information
If you have many links, the Link Manager plugin lets you easily administer these with searching, sorting, and filtering functions.
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 …
(You can sort your links)
Search Links Function
You can find links using the ‘Search Links’ button …
Filter Your Links
You can filter links by link category …
(Filter links by 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)
This brings up a list of all links grouped under a specific link category …
(Links filtered by link category)
Links – Additional Options
If you plan to add a lot of links to your website or blog, or if you intend 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.
Plugin Download URL
This plugin allows you to publish a list of your link categories with a complete list of links with notes and descriptions …
(List of links created with Link library. Image sourced from Link Library plugin documentation.)
This plugin can be used to create a page on your site that contains a list of all of the link categories in your Links area, plus 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 of your link collection so that your site users can become aware of additions to your link library.
To learn more about the Link Library plugin:
Congratulations! Now you know how to how to add and manage links to other websites and pages in your WordPress sidebar menu.
We have also created a comprehensive article on inserting HTML links into your WordPress content 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