As you become more familiar with WordPress, you may occasionally come across references to the term blogroll.
In WordPress terminology, a list of links displayed on your sidebar menu is sometimes referred to 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 blogroll using the Links menu in your Dashboard. These links will display on your site if you have added the Links widget.
Prior to the release of v 3.5, Links were a visible feature of the WordPress CMS. From version 3.5 onwards, the Link Manager section was hidden by default in new installations …
(The Links Manager was part of the WordPress menu until the release of WordPress version 3.5)
(Links – excluded from the menu after WP v3.5)
If you have used an earlier version of WordPress than v.3.5 and upgraded your installation, then 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 the Links item is not visible when you log into your WP admin area, you can add it via a plugin. This step-by-step tutorial explains how to add, edit, delete and manage links on your site’s sidebar using plugins.
(Link Manager Plugin)
Plugin Download URL
Use this plugin to restore the built-in Link Manager, even if you update 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 WordPress to restore the hidden feature. When we last checked, this plugin had not been updated for a while, 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 – WordPress Link Management Plugin)
Description Of Plugin
This plugin attempts to recreate the concept of the built-in Link Manager while addressing the shortcomings of the deprecated functionality.
Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.
In your WordPress admin menu, select Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins Menu – Add New)
Select the Install Plugins > Search tab, then type ”link manager” into the search field and hit Enter …
Locate the plugin in the results screen and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin …
Once you have activated the plugin, a ‘Links’ item will show on the sidebar menu …
(WordPress links management menu section)
We recommend setting up your link categories first before adding links. This way, when you add a new link, you can assign the link to a link category you have already created.
To create a link category, go to your WP dashboard menu and click on Links > Link Categories …
(Links Menu – Link Categories)
The ‘Link Categories’ screen will display in your web browser.
Type in information into the following fields:
- Name: Whatever you enter in this field is the link category name that will display on your site.
- Slug: The slug displays in the web address of the link category. 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.
after entering your information, click the Add New Link Category button to save …
(Link Categories page)
Your link category will now show in the list …
Tip: WordPress calls its default link category Blogroll . Unless you specify the category when creating a link, WordPress will assign new links to the default category …
(Default link category)
You may want to change this to something that your visitors can relate to. 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 …
(Change the default ’blogroll’ to something your visitors will relate to)
To edit the default category name, hover your mouse over the category name and click on the Quick Edit link …
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 …
(Update Link Category)
In our example, the link category name ‘Blogroll’ has been replaced with an appropriate links section category name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).
Let’s now add a description for this link category. To add a description to an existing link category, click on the Edit link under the category name …
(Link category description)
Add your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ page and click Update …
(Edit Link Category area)
Repeat the above process and add as many link categories as your site requires.
Once you have finished configuring your link categories, you can being adding new links.
To create a new link, go to your dashboard menu and click on Links > Add New …
(WP Links Menu – Add New)
You will be taken to the ‘Add New Link’ screen …
(Add New Link page)
You can also access this page by clicking on the ‘Add New’ button at the top of the main Links screen …
(Links – Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page includes a number of sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
Enter details about your link in this section …
(Name, Web Address& Description area)
Enter information into the following fields:
- Name: Enter the category name.
- Slug: The slug shows up in the SEO friendly URL of the link category. 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 with their mouse.
Categories & Target
Select a Category and Target for your link …
(Categories & Target – Add New Link)
In the Categories section, select a link category you have already added, or click on the ‘+ Add New Category’ link to add a new category link.
Also, select a target frame for your link in the Target section by choosing one of the radio buttons. This lets you specify how you want the link to open when clicked on:
- _blank means that when visitors click on your link, a separate web browser window will open up to display the information for that link.
- _none means that when visitors click on your link, they will leave 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. 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 area provides some additional link functionality …
(Add New Link page – Link Relationship (XFN))
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN stands for XML Friends Network – allows you to define your relationship to the linked person. For example, if you work with Jason Larsson and you link to his blog, you would probably tick co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional. 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 sites 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.
You can learn more about XFN by visiting this site:
The last section of the Add New Link’ screen lets you specify Advanced features for your links (You can ignore this section, unless there’s a good reason to use it) …
The Advanced link settings section contains the following:
- Image Address: Lets you 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 RSS feed associated with the link can be displayed next to the 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 in the above fields or just leave this section ignore this section.
When you have finished adding information about your link, click on the Add Link button to update your link settings …
(Click on the Add Link button to save your new link)
Note: If you tick the checkbox next to Keep this link private, your link will not be visible when links are displayed on your site …
(Private link checkbox)
Making a link private allows you to toggle its visibility on and off without deleting it (this is useful if you want to add seasonal links) …
(Making links private toggles their visibility on and off)
To view all the links you have added to the Link Manager, go to the WP navigation menu and select Links > All Links …
(Links Menu – All Links)
The ‘Links’ page will display in your browser. The Links table displays a list of all your links and link information (e.g. URL, categories, relationship, etc.) …
Tip: To display additional options in the Links table, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top of your screen …
(Screen Options – Links table)
Enable/disable fields on your table of links by selecting/deselecting their checkboxes …
(Links page – Hide or display screen options)
Editing Your Links
To modify a link, select Links > All Links in the main navigation menu to bring up your links page …
(Links Menu – All Links)
Locate the link to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the link’s details …
(Editing link information)
Edit the link information …
(Edit Link page)
After you’re done editing the link, you can:
- Click the Update Link button to save and update your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to see your link and make sure that you have set up everything correctly (the link will open up in a new window),
- Click Delete to remove the link from your table of links if you no longer require it …
(Edit Link: Update Link button)
To remove a link, go to the main admin menu and click on Links > All Links …
(Links Menu – All Links)
The ‘Links’ table will display in your browser.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links, or perform a bulk delete.
To delete individual links, hover over the link that you want removed and click Delete …
(Delete your links)
To delete a number of links at once, either tick the checkbox next to every link that you want 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’ menu, and click Apply to delete your selected links …
(Links: bulk-deletion function)
Your selected links will be deleted …
(Deleted links notice)
Now that you know how to set up link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, let’s show you how to display links on your website or blog.
Using The Links Widget
Installing the Links Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ screen.
To access and configure your Link widgets, choose Appearance > Widgets in the dashboard navigation menu …
(WP Appearance – Widgets)
This brings up the ‘Widgets’ screen.
You will see a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …
Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of the active widget sections and drop it wherever you would like your links to display …
(Add a links widget to your WordPress widget bar using drag and drop)
The Links widget includes various configurable settings. For example, you can specify what information you would like to display about your links and how many links you want to display on your sidebar menu …
(Link widget - settings)
You can add multiple link widgets to your sidebar and footer. This lets you create and feature links on your site …
(You can add a number of link widgets to your sidebar)
Select a link category to display a specific list of items …
(Link widget options – 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)
Once you are done configuring your Links widget, click the Save button to update your settings. Your links should show on your sidebar menu …
(An example of how 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? We have written a detailed article on using widgets. Go here to learn more about this:
Link Manager – Additional Information
If you have loads of links, the Links Manager plugin allows you to easily administer these using searching, sorting, and filtering functionality.
Sort Links Function
To sort links, hover your cursor over the title of the column you want to sort and click on the little triangle displayed next to the column title …
(Sorting your links)
Searching Your Links
You can find links using the ‘Search Links’ button …
(Finding links function)
Filtering Your Links
You can filter links by link categories …
(Filtering links by link categories)
You can also search and filter links in the Link Categories page. Use the ‘Search Link Categories’ button to find 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 listed for a specific link category …
(Links filtered by category)
Additional Link Options
If you plan to add lots of links to 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.
(Link Library Plugin)
Link Library gives you the ability to output a list of your link categories and a complete list of all your links together with notes and descriptions …
(List of links created with Link library. Screenshot taken from Link Library plugin documentation.)
This plugin creates a page on your web site that contains 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 of your link collection that lets your site users be made aware of additions to your link library.
To learn more this plugin, visit this site:
Congratulations! Now you know how to how to add and manage links in your WordPress sidebar menu.
We have written a detailed article on how to add hyperlinks to your WordPress posts and pages. Go here to learn more:
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