As you learn more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across references to the term blogroll.
WordPress refers to a list of hyperlinks pointing to other sites or web pages that display on your sidebar menu 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 easily add a links section to a widget-ready theme.
Before the release of v 3.5, Links were a visible feature of the WordPress CMS. From v.3.5 onwards, the Link Manager section was kept hidden by default in new installations …
(Links – included in the admin menu until the release of WP v 3.5)
(Post version 3.5 – no WP Links Manager)
If you’ve used an earlier version than v3.5 and updated 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 site installation is new, then this function will become invisible – it will not display on your 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 item is not visible when you log into your WP dashboard, you can add it by installing a plugin. In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn how to add, edit, delete and manage blogroll links on your sidebar using plugins.
Plugin Download URL
This plugin restores the Links feature on your dashboard, even if you update to a later version of WordPress or remove all of your existing links.
Note: This plugin adds a single line of code to WordPress 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 plugin below instead, or contact us for help editing your site’s template code.
(Simple Links WordPress Plugin)
Simple Links attempts to recreate the same concept as the built-in WP Link Manager while addressing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.
How To Install The Plugin
To install the Link Manager plugin on your website, follow these step-by-step instructions:
From your WP administration menu, go to Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins Menu – Add New)
Click on the Install Plugins > Search tab, type in “link manager” into the search field and hit Enter …
Locate the plugin in the search results screen and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin …
After activation, a ‘Links’ section will be added to the sidebar menu …
(Links management menu)
We recommend setting up your link categories first before you start adding links. This way, when adding a new link, you can assign the link to a link category you have already created.
To create a link category, choose Links > Link Categories in the WP dashboard menu …
(Links – Link Categories)
You will be taken to the ‘Link Categories’ page.
Type in the following information:
- Name: Whatever you enter here is the link category name that will display on your site.
- Slug: The slug shows up in the URL 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.
When done, click Add New Link Category to save …
Your new category will now show in the table …
(Link Categories area)
Tip: WordPress calls its default link category Blogroll . Unless you specify a category when adding a new link, WordPress will automatically assign new links to the default category …
(Default link category)
You may want to change this to something that will make sense to visitors. This not only makes it easier for visitors, but any new links that you add to the Links section will automatically appear under the new category name …
(Consider changing the default ’blogroll’ to something better suited to your business)
To change the default category name, hover your mouse over the list item and click on Quick Edit …
Change both the Name and the Slug with a new category name, then click on Update Link Category …
(Edit the link category)
Replace the category name ‘Blogroll’ with (e.g. ‘Recommended’, ‘Resources’ etc).
Let’s insert a description for this link category. To add a description to an existing link category, click on the Edit link under the category name …
(You can add/edit the category description)
Add your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ page and click Update …
(Edit Link Category area)
Repeat this process to add as many different link categories as you need.
Once you have configured your link categories, you can start adding new links.
To create a new link, select Links > Add New in the main navigation menu …
(WP Links Menu – Add New)
This loads the Add New Link’ screen in your web browser …
(Add New Link page)
You can also reach this screen by clicking on ’Add New’ in the main Links screen …
(Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page is divided into several sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
Enter your link details in this section …
(Add New Link page – Name, Web Addressand Description)
Type in the following information:
- Name: Enter the link category name.
- Slug: The slug displays in the SEO friendly URL of the link category. Use lowercase letters only without spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display a link category description.
Categories & Target
After typing in link details, select a Category and Target for the new link …
(Add New Link – Categories & Target fields)
In the Categories section, select one of the link categories you have already set up, or click on ’+ Add New Category’ to create 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 where you want the link to open when clicked on by visitors:
- _blank means that when a visitor clicks on the link, a new, separate window will open up in their browser to display the information associated with the link. This allows your visitors to see the link information without leaving your site
- _none means that when visitors click on your link, they will exit your site and a new website 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. 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 section provides some additional link functionality …
(Add New Link – 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 have a professional relationship with Alice O’Malley and you link to her 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 work just fine. 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, index, help, start, etc. Separate multiple ‘rel’ keywords with spaces.
You can learn more about XFN by visiting this site:
The last section of the Add New Link’ screen allows you to specify Advanced features for your links (You can ignore this section, unless there’s a good reason to use it) …
(Add New Link – Advanced link settings)
The Advanced section contain the following fields:
- Image Address: Lets you specify an image to be displayed with the link. 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 link’s RSS feed can display next to your 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 into the above fields or just leave this section blank, as these are not required.
When you are done 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 select the checkbox next to Keep this link private, your link will not be visible when links are displayed on your site …
(Make your links private)
Making a link private allows you to add a link and then toggle its visibility on or 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 your admin menu and select Links > All Links …
(Links Menu – All Links)
The ‘Links’ screen will display in your browser. The table of links displays your links and link information (e.g. URL, link categories, relationship, etc.) …
Tip: To display additional fields in the table of links, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of the screen …
(Table of links – Screen Options)
Display/hide information on your Links table by selecting/deselecting their checkboxes …
(Show/hide – List of links)
Editing Your Links
To modify links in the Link Manager, go to the main dashboard menu and click on Links > All Links to bring up the table of links …
(WordPress Links Menu – All Links)
Select the item you want to edit and click on Edit to bring up the item’s link information …
(Editing your link information)
Change the link information …
(Edit Link page)
After you’re done editing your link, you can:
- Click the Update Link button to save your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to check that you have set up your link’s URL correctly (the link will open up in a new window),
- Click Delete to remove the link …
(Update Link button)
How To Delete Your Links
To delete links from the Link Manager, go to your navigation menu and select Links > All Links …
(WP Links – All Links)
This loads the ‘Links’ screen in your web browser.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links, or perform a bulk delete.
To delete links individually, hover your cursor over the link title you want removed and click on Delete …
(Deleting your links)
To delete multiple links, either click on the checkbox next to every item that you want to delete, or select all links by clicking on the main checkbox next to the ‘Name’ column header at the top of the list …
(Deleting multiple links)
Select Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ menu, and click the Apply button to remove your selected links …
(Bulk-deletion of links)
All the links you have selected will be deleted …
(Deleted links message)
Using The Plugin
Now that you know how to configure link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, let’s show you how to display links on your site.
Installing the Links Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ screen.
To access and configure your Link widgets, go to your dashboard menu and select Appearance > Widgets …
(WordPress Appearance – Widgets)
The ‘Widgets’ page will display in your web browser.
You will see a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …
To make the ‘Links’ widget active, drag it to one of your active widget sections and drop it wherever you want your links section to show up …
(Add a links widget to a widgetized area)
The Links widget provides various 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 sidebars and footers. This lets you add and display a number of links on your site …
(You can add multiple link widgets to your widget bars)
Select a link category to display links for a specific category …
(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 options – Sort by options)
After setting up the Links widget, click Save to update your settings. Your link section will show on your site …
(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 using widgets? We have written a comprehensive article on using widgets. To learn more about this go here:
Links Manager – Additional Information
If you have loads of links, the Links Manager plugin allows you to easily administer these using sort, filter, and search functions.
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 …
Searching Links Function
Find links using the ‘Search Links’ feature …
Filtering Your Links
You can filter links by link category …
(Filtering links by link category)
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 category links in the ‘Links’ column …
(searching and filtering links in the Link Categories page)
This displays a list of all links listed under a specific link category …
(Links filtered by link category)
Additional Link Options
If you plan to add lots of links to your website or blog, or if you want 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 consider using a plugin that can help you administer your links.
(Link Library Plugin)
Download Plugin URL
The Link Library plugin lets you publish a list of all your link categories with a complete list of all your links with notes and descriptions …
(List of links created with Link library. Image source: Link Library plugin documentation.)
Link Library creates a page on your site that contains all 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 for your link collection so that your site users can become aware of any additions made to to your link library.
To learn more about Link Library:
Congratulations! Now you know how to how to add a blogroll and manage links to other websites in your WordPress sidebar menu.
We have written a comprehensive article about how to easily create hyperlinks in WordPress. Go here to learn more:
"If you're new to WordPress, this can stand on its own as a training course and will stay with you as you progress from beginner to advanced and even guru status." - Bruce (Columbus, Ohio)