How To Add A Link Section To WordPress

Before the release of WordPress v3.5, Links were a core feature of WordPress. This tutorial shows you how to restore this feature to your site …

How Do I Add A Featured Links Section To The WordPress Sidebar Menu?As you continue to discover more about the benefits of using WordPress, you may occasionally come across something called a blogroll.

In WordPress terminology, a list of hyperlinks displayed on your sidebar 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 add a link section using the Links menu in your WordPress Dashboard. These links will then display on your website if you have added the Links widget.

Useful Info

Prior to the release of WordPress v.3.5, Links were a visible feature of the WordPress CMS. After version 3.5, the Links Manager section was removed …

Before …

WordPress Links Menu - pre v.3.5

(WP Links Menu – pre v3.5)

After …

The Link Manager is no longer part of the dashboard menu after WP version 3.5

(Post v3.5 – no WP Links Manager feature)

If you’ve used an earlier version of WordPress than v3.5 and upgraded your installation, then the Link Manager would have been removed, unless you’ve previously used it. If you’ve never used the Links feature, however, or if your WordPress site installation is new, then this function will remain hidden – you won’t see it 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 this feature via a plugin. In this tutorial, you will learn how to add, edit, delete and manage blogroll links on your site’s sidebar using plugins.

Link Manager

Link Manager - WordPress Links Management Plugin

(Link Manager)

Plugin Download URL

Plugin Description

You can use this plugin to restore the Link Manager, even if you update to a later version of WordPress or remove all of your current links.

Note: All this plugin does is add a single line of code to your installation 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 this plugin, then use the one below instead, or contact us for help editing your site’s template code.

Simple Links

Simple Links Plugin

(Simple Links WordPress Plugin)

Plugin Download URL

Plugin Description

Simple Links recreates the concept of the built-in WordPress Links Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.

How To Install Link Manager

Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.

From your WordPress dashboard menu, select Plugins > Add New

Plugins - Add New

(Plugins – Add New)

Click on the Install Plugins > Search tab, type ”link manager” into the search field and hit Enter

Plugin Installation

Locate the plugin in the results area and click Install Now

Plugin Installation

Activate the plugin …

How To Install The Plugin

After activation, WordPress restores the ‘Links’ functionality to your WP sidebar menu area …

Links management menu section

(Links management menu section)

Plugin Configuration

We recommend setting up your link categories first before adding links. This way, you can assign new links to the link category you have already created.

Link Categories

To create a new link category, select Links > Link Categories in the WP navigation menu …

Links Menu - Link Categories

(Links Menu – Link Categories)

The ‘Link Categories’ page will display in your web browser.

Type in the following information:

  • Name: Whatever you enter here is the category name that will display on your site.
  • Slug: The slug is the web address bit 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 a link category description. (Optional)

Click Add New Link Category to save your new link category …

Link Categories area

(Link Categories)

The new category will display in the list …

Link Categories

(Link Categories page)

Useful Information

Tip: Blogroll is the default link category name. Unless you specify a category for a new link, WordPress automatically assigns new links to the default category …

Default link category name

(Default link category)

You may want to change this default link category name to something that your visitors can understand. 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 appear under the new category name …

Consider changing the default link category name to something better suited to your business

(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 Quick Edit

Quick Edit

(Editing the link category name)

Replace both the Name and the Slug with a new category name, and click on Update Link Category

Update Link Category

(Update Link Category)

Replace the link category name ‘Blogroll’ with an appropriate links section category name (e.g. ‘Recommended’, ‘Links’ etc).

Let’s insert a description for this link category. To add a link category description, hover over the item name and click Edit

You can add/edit your category description

(Link category description)

Enter your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ page and click Update you’re done to save your settings …

Edit Link Category screen

(Edit Link Category screen)

Repeat this process and add as many new link categories as you need.

After setting up your link categories, you can add your links.

How To Add Links

To create a new link, click on Links > Add New in the main dashboard navigation menu …

WordPress Links Menu - Add New

(Links – Add New)

The ‘Add New Link’ screen will display in your web browser …

Add New Link page

(Add New Link screen)

You can also reach this screen by clicking on ’Add New’ at the top of the main Links page …

Add New Link button

(Add New Link button)

The ‘Add New Links’ page has a number of sections:

Name, Web Address & Description

The first section lets you enter your link details …

Name, Web Address& Description

(Name, Web Address& Description area – Add New Link)

Enter the following information:

  • Name: Enter the link category name.
  • Slug: The slug appears in the URL of the link category. Use lowercase letters only without spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
  • Description: Some themes may display your link category description. (Optional)
Categories & Target

Select a Category and Target for your link …

Add New Link page - Categories & Target fields

(Categories & Target section)

In the Categories section, select a link category you have already set up, or click on ’+ Add New Category’ to add a new category link.

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 clicked on by visitors:

  • _blank means that a separate window will open up in their browser to display the content for that link. This allows your visitors to access the link information without leaving your website
  • _none means that when a visitor clicks on the link, they will leave your site and a new site or page will load in your web 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 ignore this option.
Link Relationship XFN

This section provides some additional link functionality …

Add New Link - Link Relationship (XFN) section

(Link Relationship (XFN) fields – Add New Link)

Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN (XML Friends Network) allows you to define your relationship to the linked person. For example, if you have a professional relationship with Kevin Jenkins and you link to his blog, you would probably check co-worker or colleague.

XFN relationships are optional. You can ignore this section and 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 is used to define what relationship exists 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, help, index, start, etc.

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 leave these fields empty unless there’s a good reason to use them) …

Advanced link settings - Add New Link

(Advanced link settings)

The Advanced section contain the following fields:

  • Image Address: 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 can 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 blank.

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 update your link settings

(Click on the Add Link button 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 …

Make your links private

(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 use seasonal links) …

Making links private toggles their visibility on and off

(Toggle link visibility on and off)

To view all the links you have created, go to the WP dashboard navigation menu and click on Links > All Links

Links - All Links

(Links – All Links)

This loads the ‘Links’ page in your web browser. The Links screen displays a list of all your links and link information (e.g. link URL, categories, rating, etc.) …

Links page

(Table of links)

Useful Tip

Tip: To display or hide options in the Links table, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of your screen …

Links page - Screen Options

(Screen Options – Table of links)

Show/hide fields on your Links table by ticking/unticking their check boxes …

Show/hide - List of links

(Links screen – Hide or display screen options)

Editing Link Information

To modify links, go to the WP admin menu and click on Links > All Links to bring up your links screen …

Links - All Links

(Links Menu – All Links)

Select the link to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the link’s details …

Editing your links

(Editing your links)

Change the link …

Edit Link page

(Edit Link page)

After you’re done editing your link, you can:

  • Click the Update Link button to save and update your link details,
  • Click on Visit Link to view your link and make sure that you have set up its URL correctly (the link will open up in a new window),
  • Click Delete to remove the link from your link table if it’s no longer required …

Edit Link: Update Link button

(Edit Link: Update Link button)

Deleting Your Links

To remove links from the Link Manager, go to your WP dashboard navigation menu and choose Links > All Links

Links Menu - All Links

(WP Links – All Links)

The ‘Links’ page will load in your web browser.

You can delete links individually, delete multiple links by selecting their check boxes, or perform a bulk delete.

To delete individual links, hover your mouse cursor over the link that you want removed and click on Delete

Deleting your links

(Deleting your links)

To delete a number of links at once, either tick the checkboxes next to individual items that you would like removed, or select all links by clicking on the checkbox next to the ‘Name’ column header …

Deleting multiple links

(Delete multiple links)

Select Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ drop-down menu, and click the Apply button to remove your selected links …

Bulk-delete links

(Bulk-deletion of links)

Your links will be removed …

Deleted links notice

(Deleted links notice)

Using The Plugin

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 your links on your website.

Links Widget

Installing 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 …

Appearance - Widgets

(Appearance – Widgets)

This loads the ‘Widgets’ page in your browser.

You will see that a ‘Links’ widget has been added to the Available Widgets section …

Links widget

(Links widget)

Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of your widget areas and drop it wherever you want the links section to show up …

Drag & drop your links widget to add it to your WordPress widget bar

(Drag and drop your links widget to add it to your sidebar)

The Links widget includes various configurable settings. For example, you can specify what information you would like to show about your links and how many links you would like to display on your sidebar menu …

Link widget - settings

(Link widget settings)

You can add as many link widgets as you want. This lets you add and display different lists of links sorted by categories throughout your site …

Add multiple link widgets to your sidebar

(You can add multiple link widgets to your sidebar)

Display a list of items for a specific category …

Link widget settings - Select Link Category

(Link widget settings – Select Link Category)

You can sort links by Link title, Link ID, Link rating, or display links in Random order …

Link widget settings - Sorting options

(Link widget settings – Sort by options)

After configuring your links widget, click the Save button to update your settings. Your links will appear on your website …

Links can be displayed on a sidebar

(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.

Practical Tip

Need more help using widgets? Go here to learn more about using widgets:

Links Manager – Additional Information

If you have many links, the Links Manager plugin lets you easily administer these using filtering, searching, and sorting features.

Sort Your Links

You can sort links by hovering your cursor over the title of the column you want to sort and clicking on the black triangle displayed next to the column title …

Sort links

(Sort links)

Finding Your Links

Find links using the ‘Search Links’ feature …

Find your links

(Searching links)

Filter Your Links

You can filter links by link category …

Filter links by link categories

(Filtering your links by link categories)

You can also search and filter links in the Link Categories screen. 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 screen

(searching and filtering links in the Link Categories page)

This brings up a list of all links listed for a specific link category …

Links filtered by link category

(Links filtered by category)

Additional Link Options

If you plan to use links extensively on your website, or if you would like 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, like Link Library.

Link Library

Link Library Plugin

(Link Library Plugin)

Plugin URL

Plugin Description

This plugin lets you output a list of your link categories with a complete list of links plus descriptions and notes …

Link Library links

(List of links created with Link library. Image sourced from Link Library plugin website.)

This plugin creates a page on your web site containing a list of all of the link categories in your Links area, and 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 for your link collection that lets your site users be made aware of additions to your link library.

Go here to learn more about this great plugin:

How To Add A Links Section To Sidebar Menu

Congratulations! Now you know how to add a featured links section to your WordPress sidebar.

Practical Tip

We have also written a detailed article about inserting HTML links into your WordPress posts here:


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