As you learn more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across references to the term blogroll.
In WordPress terminology, a list of links displayed on your sidebar section 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.”
The Links feature lets you easily add external links to a widget-ready theme.
Before WordPress v.3.5 was released, Links were a visible feature of the WordPress CMS. From v.3.5 onwards, the Links manager and blogroll sections were removed …
(WordPress Links Manager – pre version 3.5)
(Links – no longer shown in WordPress after WP v.3.5)
If you were using the Links Manager 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 installation of WordPress is new, then this function will become invisible – you won’t see it displayed on the dashboard 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 menu section is not displayed when you log into your WordPress backend, you can add it via a plugin. This tutorial explains how to add, edit, delete and manage blogroll links on your site’s sidebar using WordPress plugins.
(Links Manager WordPress Plugin)
This plugin restores the built-in Link Manager, even if you upgrade 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 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 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)
Simple Links recreates the concept of the built-in WordPress Link Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated functionality.
Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.
In your WP dashboard menu, go to Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins – Add New)
Click on the Install Plugins > Search tab, type ”link manager” into the search field and hit Enter …
Find the plugin in the search results screen and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin …
After activation, WordPress will restore the ‘Links’ functionality to the dashboard menu area …
(WordPress links menu)
We recommend setting up your link categories first before adding links. This way, you can assign any new links to a link category you have already created.
To create a new link category, go to the dashboard menu and choose Links > Link Categories …
(Links Menu – Link Categories)
The ‘Link Categories’ screen will display in your browser.
Enter information into the following sections:
- Name: What you enter in this field is the link category name that will display on your site.
- Slug: The slug shows up in the URL of the link category name. 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)
Click Add New Link Category to save your new link category …
(Link Categories screen)
The new category will be added to the list …
Tip: Blogroll is the default link category name. Unless you specify the category when creating a new link, WordPress will automatically assign new links to the default category …
(Default link category)
You may want to change the default WordPress link category name 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 the Links section will automatically be assigned to the new category name …
(we recommend changing the default ’blogroll’ to something better suited to your business)
To change the ‘Blogroll’ link name, hover your mouse over the list item and click on the Quick Edit link …
Change both the Name and the Slug with a new category name, then click on the Update link Category button …
(Editing the link category)
In our example, the link category name ‘Blogroll’ has been replaced with a more suitable name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).
Let’s add a link category description. To add a description to an existing link category, click on the Edit link under the category name …
(Link category description)
Enter your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ page and click Update finished to save your settings …
(Edit Link Category area)
Repeat this process and add as many different link categories as your site requires.
After you have finished setting up your link categories, you can add your links.
To add a new link, click on Links > Add New in the main dashboard navigation menu …
(WordPress Links – Add New)
This brings up the ‘Add New Link’ screen …
(Add New Link screen)
You can also access this screen 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 various sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
Enter details about your link in this section …
(Add New Link screen – Name, Web Address& Description section)
Type in information into the following sections:
- Name: Whatever you type here is the category name that will display on your site.
- Slug: The slug is the URL bit of your link category. Use only lowercase letters and do not include spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display a link category description. (Optional)
Categories & Target
Select a Category and Target for your link …
(Add New Link screen – Categories & Target)
In the Categories section, select a link category you’ve already added, or click on the ‘+ Add New Category’ link to create a new category.
Also, select a target frame radio button for your link in the Target section. This lets you specify how you want the link to open when a visitor clicks on it:
- _blank means that a new, separate web browser window will open up to display the content associated with the link. Your visitor will be able to access the information without leaving your website
- _none means that when visitors click on the 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. If you don’t use frames, or if you don’t know what frames are, then just ignore this option.
Link Relationship XFN
This area provides some additional link functionality …
(Link Relationship (XFN))
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN stands for XML Friends Network – allows you to define your relationship with the linked person. For example, if you work with Louis Schwartz and you link to his blog, you would probably tick co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional for WordPress links. You can leave everything in this section blank and all of your links will still work. XFN makes your links 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 defines the relationship 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.
To learn more about XFN, visit this site:
The last section allows you to enter Advanced features for your links (some themes will ignore this. You can ignore this section, unless there’s a good reason to use it) …
(Add New Link – Advanced area)
The Advanced section fields are as follows:
- Image Address: Lets you specify an image to be displayed with the link. To use this feature, add an 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 your link.
- 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 in the above fields or just leave this section ignore this section.
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, the link will not be visible in your Links section …
(Make your links private)
Making a link private lets you 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 see all your links, go to the WP admin menu and click on Links > All Links …
(Links – All Links)
The ‘Links’ table will load in your web browser. The table of links displays all your links and link information (e.g. link URL, link categories, rating, etc.) …
Tip: To view additional fields in the list of links, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of the screen …
(Screen Options – List of links)
Display/hide information on your Links table by selecting/deselecting their checkboxes …
Editing Your Link Information
To modify links in the Link Manager, click on Links > All Links in the dashboard navigation menu to bring up the links table …
(Links – All Links)
Locate the item to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the link’s details …
(Editing link information)
Change your link …
(Edit Link page)
After editing your link, you can:
- Click on Update Link to save your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to make sure that you have set up its URL correctly (your link will open in a new window),
- Click Delete to delete the link …
(Update Link button)
To delete links from the Link Manager, choose Links > All Links in your dashboard menu …
(WordPress Links – All Links)
You will be taken to the ‘Links’ table.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links by selecting their check boxes, or perform a bulk delete.
To delete links individually, hover your cursor over the link title that you want to remove from the link table and click on Delete …
(Delete your links)
To delete a number of links at once, either tick the checkbox next to each item that you want 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)
Choose Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ menu, and click the Apply button to remove all selected links …
(Links: bulk-delete function)
Your selected links will be deleted …
(Deleted links notification)
Using The Plugin
Now that you know how to set up link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, it’s time to learn how to display your links on your website or blog.
Using The Links Widget
The Links Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ page.
To access and configure your Link widgets, click on Appearance > Widgets in the admin menu …
(Appearance Menu – Widgets)
This loads the ‘Widgets’ screen in your 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 sections in the Widgets screen and drop it wherever you would like the links to show up …
(Drag and drop the links widget to add it to your WordPress sidebar)
The Links widget provides a number of configurable settings. For example, you can specify what information you would like displayed about your links and how many links you want to display on your sidebar …
(Link widget - configurable options)
You can also add as many link widgets to your sidebar and footer as you want. This allows you to add and display different link lists on your site …
(You can add a number of link widgets to your sidebar)
Select a link category from the ‘Select Link Category:’ dropdown menu …
(Link widget options – Select Link Category)
You can sort links by Link rating, Link ID, Link title, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget options – Sort by options)
After configuring the links widget, click the Save button to update your settings. Your link section should show on your sidebar menu …
(An example of how 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 more help using widgets? We have written a detailed article about adding widgets here:
Link Manager – Additional Information
If you have loads of links, the Link Manager plugin lets you easily administer these with search, filter, and sort functions.
Sort Your Links
You can sort links by hovering your mouse cursor over the title of the column you want to sort and clicking on the black triangle displayed next to the column title …
(You can sort links)
Find Links Function
Type a search term into the search field and click the Search Links button to find links …
(You can easily find links with the search function)
Filter Links Function
You can filter links by link categories …
(Filtering links by 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 …
(searching and filtering links in the Link Categories screen)
This displays a list of all links listed under a specific link category …
(Links filtered by category)
Links – Additional Options
If you plan to use links extensively on your website or blog, or if you intend to add a ‘Links’ page 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, like Link Library.
(Link Library Plugin)
Download Plugin URL
Link Library allows you to publish a list of all your link categories with a complete list of all your links with descriptions and notes …
(List of links created with Link library. Screenshot taken from Link Library plugin website.)
This plugin can be used to create a page on your website that contains a list of all of the link categories in your Links section, 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 be made aware of additions to your link library.
To learn more about using this handy plugin, go here:
Congratulations! Now you know how to add external links to your WordPress site.
We have written a comprehensive article about how to insert hyperlinks into WordPress posts & pages. For more details, go here:
"This is an awesome training series. I have a pretty good understanding of WordPress already, but this is helping me to move somewhere from intermediate to advanced user!" - Kim Lednum