As you become more familiar with WordPress, you may occasionally come across references to the term blogroll.
In WordPress terminology, a list of hyperlinks displayed on your sidebar menu is often 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.”
The Links Manager lets you add and manage external links to your sidebar section (e.g. a “Recommended Resources” section) using widgets.
Before WordPress v 3.5 was released, Links were a built-in feature of the WordPress CMS. From v.3.5 onwards, the Links Manager section was kept hidden by default in new installations …
(The Link Manager feature displayed in the admin menu until the release of WordPress v 3.5)
(The Links Manager – no longer displayed in the menu after WP v 3.5)
If you were using the Links feature in previous versions of WordPress, then it will still be available when you upgrade to newer WordPress versions. If you’ve never used Links Manager, however, or if your site installation is new, then this function will remain hidden – it will not appear on the menu.
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 feature is not visible when you log into your WP admin area you will need to install a plugin. This tutorial will show you how to add and manage links on your sidebar using WordPress plugins.
(Link Manager – Plugin For WordPress)
Description Of Plugin
You can use this plugin to restore the Links Manager, even if you update 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 WordPress to restore the hidden feature. When we last 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 Plugin)
Plugin Download URL
Simple Links recreates the same concept as the built-in WP Link Manager while addressing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.
How To Install Link Manager
To install the Link Manager plugin, follow these instructions:
From the WP admin menu, select Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins – Add New)
Click on the Install Plugins > Search tab, type ”link manager” into the search field and hit Enter …
Locate the plugin in the results area and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin …
After activation, the ‘Links’ function is restored to the navigation menu area …
(WordPress links menu section)
Before adding links, we recommend setting up your link categories. This way, you can assign any new links to link categories you have already created.
To create a link category, select Links > Link Categories in the main dashboard menu …
(Links – Link Categories)
The ‘Link Categories’ screen will load in your browser.
Type in the following information:
- Name: What you type in this field is the category name that will display on your site.
- Slug: The slug is the web address bit of the 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. (Optional)
after entering your information, click the Add New Link Category button to save …
(Link Categories area)
Your category details will display in the table …
Tip: Blogroll is the default link category name. Unless you specify a category when adding a new link, WordPress automatically assigns new links to the default category …
(Default link category name)
You may want to change this default WordPress link category name to something that your visitors can relate to. This not only makes it easier for users of your site, but any new links that you add to the Links section will automatically be listed under the new category name …
(Change the default link category name 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, then click on the Update link Category button …
(Editing the link category name)
In our example, we’ve replaced the category ‘Blogroll’ with an appropriate links section name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).
Let’s now add a description for this link category. To add a link category description, hover over the item name and click Edit …
(Link category description)
Add your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ screen and click Update when finished …
(Edit Link Category page)
Repeat the above process and add as many link categories as your site requires.
Once you have set up your link categories, you can add your links.
Adding New Links
To create a new link, click on Links > Add New in your WP admin menu …
(Links – Add New)
You will be taken to the ‘Add New Link’ screen …
(Add New Link page)
You can also access this screen by clicking on the ‘Add New’ button in the main Links screen …
(Links – Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page includes various sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
The first section is where you enter your link details …
(Name, Web Address, Description – Add New Link)
Enter the following information:
- Name: What you type in this field displays as the link category name.
- Slug: The slug is the URL part of the link category. Only use lower case letters without spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display your link category description in the links section, or as a tool tip when visitors hover over the link name with their mouse. (Optional)
Categories & Target
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 the ‘+ Add New Category’ link to add a new category.
Also, select a target frame radio button for your link in the Target section. This lets you specify where you want your link to open when clicked on:
- _blank means that a new web browser window will open up to display the information for that link. Your visitor will be able to access the link information without leaving your website
- _none means that when a visitor clicks on your link, they will exit your site and a new website 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. If you don’t use frames, or if you don’t know what frames are, then just ignore this option.
Link Relationship XFN
This section provides some additional link functionality …
(Link Relationship (XFN) – Add New Link)
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN (XML Friends Network) allows you to define your relationship with the linked person. For example, if you have a professional relationship with Clementine Silva and you link to her blog, you would probably check co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional for WordPress links. You can ignore this section and all of your links will work just fine. Defining relationships with 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 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, help, index, start, etc.
To learn more about XFN, visit this site:
The last section of the Add New Link’ screen allows you to enter Advanced features for your links (You can leave the fields in this section empty unless you have a reason to use them) …
(Advanced link settings)
The Advanced section fields include 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 can display next to the 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 would like to sort links by rating (see the ‘Links’ widget section below).
Enter information into the above fields or just leave this section ignore this section.
When you have finished adding information about your link, click on Add Link to save your new link …
(Click on Add Link to update your link settings)
Note: If you tick the Keep this link private checkbox, your link will not be visible in your Links section …
(Make links private by checking the box)
Making a link private lets you toggle link visibility on or off without deleting it (this is useful if you would like your link to display during certain periods and hide it after it’s no longer required) …
(Making links private toggles their visibility on and off)
To view a list of all the links you have created, choose Links > All Links in the dashboard navigation menu …
(Links – All Links)
This loads the ‘Links’ table in your web browser. The Links screen displays a list of all of your links and link information (e.g. link URL, categories, rating, etc.) …
Tip: To show or hide information in the Links page, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top of the screen …
(Links page – Screen Options)
Enable/disable information on your Links table by selecting/deselecting their checkboxes …
(List of links – Show/hide screen options)
To modify links, go to your dashboard menu and select Links > All Links to bring up your table of links …
(Links Menu – All Links)
Select the link to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the item’s link details …
(Editing your link information)
Edit the link information …
(Edit Link screen)
After editing your link, you can:
- Click the Update Link button to save and update your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to check that you have set up everything correctly (your link will open up in a new window),
- Click Delete to remove the link …
(Update Link button)
Removing Your Links
To delete a link, click on Links > All Links in the main navigation menu …
(WP Links – All Links)
The ‘Links’ table will display in your web browser.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links, or remove all links.
To delete individual links, hover over the link you want removed and click Delete …
(Deleting your links)
To delete a number of links at once, either click on the check boxes next to individual links that you want to delete, or select all links by clicking on the main check box next to the ‘Name’ column header at the top of the list …
(Deleting multiple links)
Choose Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ pull-down menu, and click the Apply button to delete your selected links …
(Links: bulk-delete function)
The selected links will be deleted …
(links deleted 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’ page.
To access and configure your Link widgets, select Appearance > Widgets in the admin menu …
(WP Appearance Menu – Widgets)
This loads the ‘Widgets’ screen in your web browser.
You will see that a ‘Links’ widget has been added to the Available Widgets section …
To make the ‘Links’ widget active, drag it to one of the widget areas in the Widgets screen and drop it wherever you want your links section to display …
(Add a links widget to a widgetized area using drag & drop)
The Links widget includes a number of configurable settings. For example, you can specify what information you want displayed about your links and how many links you would like to display on your sidebar …
(Link widget - settings)
You can also add multiple link widgets to your sidebar and footer. This allows you to add and display specific a number of different link categories on your site …
(Add multiple link widgets to your widget bars)
Select a link category from the ‘Select Link Category:’ pull-down menu …
(Link widget options – Select Link Category)
You can sort links by Link ID, Link title, Link rating, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget settings – Sort by options)
After configuring the links widget, click Save to update your settings. A links should now appear 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 for a detailed article about using widgets:
Link Manager – Additional Information
If you have loads of links, the Link Manager plugin allows you to easily administer these with sort, filter, and search features.
Sorting Your Links
To sort links, hover your mouse cursor over the title of the column you want to sort and click on the black triangle displayed next to the column title …
Searching Your Links
Type a search term into the search field and click the Search Links button to find links …
(Find links function)
Filter Your Links
You can filter links by categories …
(Filter your 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 …
(searching and filtering links in the Link Categories page)
This displays a list of all links listed for a specific link category …
(Links filtered by link category)
Additional Link Options
If you plan to add a lot of links to your site, or if you intend 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 Plugin)
This plugin lets you publish a list of all your link categories and a complete list of all your links plus notes and descriptions …
(List of links created with Link library. Screenshot taken from Link Library plugin website.)
Link Library creates a page on your website containing a list of all of the link categories in your Links area, 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 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 in WordPress.
We have written a comprehensive article on how to easily add HTML links to your WordPress posts and pages. Go here to learn more about this:
"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