As you continue to learn more about the benefits of using WordPress, you may occasionally come across something called a blogroll.
A blogroll is a list of hyperlinks pointing to other sites or pages that display on your sidebar section.
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 Dashboard. These links will then display on your website once you add the Links widget.
Before the release of version 3.5, Links were a core feature of the WordPress CMS. After the release of v.3.5, the Links Manager section was removed …
(The Links Manager feature was part of the WordPress menu until the release of WordPress version 3.5)
(Post v 3.5 – no WordPress Links Manager)
If you have used an earlier version of WordPress than v 3.5 and updated your installation, then the Link Manager would be removed, unless you have previously used it. If you’ve never used Links Manager, however, or if your website is new, then this function will become invisible – it will not be displayed 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 you can’t see a Links item on your main menu when you log into your WordPress dashboard, you can add this feature by installing a plugin. This step-by-step tutorial explains how to add and manage blogroll links on your site’s sidebar using WordPress plugins.
(Link Manager Plugin)
Description Of Plugin
The Link Manager plugin displays the default Link Manager, even if you update WordPress to a later version or remove all of your current links.
Note: This plugin adds a single line of code to restore the hidden feature. When we last checked, the 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 plugin below instead, or contact us for help editing your site’s template code.
This plugin recreates the concept of the built-in WordPress Link Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated functionality.
How To Install The Plugin
To install the Link Manager plugin on your website or blog, follow these instructions:
In your WP administration area, go to Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins – Add New)
Select 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 installing it …
After activating the plugin, a ‘Links’ item will show on your dashboard menu screen …
(Links management menu)
Configuring Link Manager
We recommend setting up link categories first before adding links. This way, you can assign new links to the link category you have already created.
To create a new link category, choose Links > Link Categories in your WP dashboard navigation menu …
(Links Menu – Link Categories)
This loads the ‘Link Categories’ page in your web browser.
Type in information into the following sections:
- Name: Enter the category name.
- 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 a link category description. (Optional)
Click Add New Link Category to save …
(Link Categories area)
The new category will display in the list …
(Link Categories screen)
Tip: WordPress calls its default link category Blogroll . Unless you specify a category when adding a new link, WordPress automatically assigns new links to the default category …
(Default link category)
You may want to change the default WordPress link category name to something that will make sense to readers. 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 assigned to the new category name …
(Change the default link category name to something better suited to your business)
To change the default category name, hover your mouse over the item and click on the Quick Edit link …
Change 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 Update Link Category …
(Update Link Category)
In our example, we’ve replaced the category name ‘Blogroll’ with a more suitable name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).
Let’s add a link category description. To add a link category description, click on the Edit link under the category name …
(Link category description)
Add your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ screen and click Update finished to save your settings …
(Edit Link Category page)
Repeat this process to add as many new link categories as you need.
Once you have set up your link categories, you can add your links.
How To Add Links
To add a new link, go to your WP admin menu and click on Links > Add New …
(Links Menu – Add New)
This brings up the Add New Link’ page in your browser …
(Add New Link page)
You can also reach this page by clicking on the ‘Add New’ button in the main Links page …
(Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page has a number of sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
Enter details about your link in this section …
(Name, Web Address& Description)
Type in the following information:
- Name: Enter the category name here.
- Slug: The slug shows up in the web address of the link category. Use only lowercase letters and do not include spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display your link category description. (Optional)
Categories & Target
After adding your link details, select a Category and Target for the new link …
(Categories & Target section – Add New Link page)
In the Categories section, select a link category you’ve already created, 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 your link should open when clicked on by visitors:
- _blank means that when a visitor clicks on the link, a new window will open up in their web browser to display the content for that link.
- _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. 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 stands for XML Friends Network – lets you define your relationship with the linked person. For example, if you have a professional relationship with Iris Gould and you link to her blog, you would probably tick co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional. You can ignore this section and all 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, type nofollow into this field.
To learn more about XFN, visit the site below:
The last section allows you to enter Advanced features for your links (You can leave the fields in this section empty unless there’s a good reason to use them) …
(Advanced link settings – Add New Link screen)
The Advanced link settings section contains the following:
- 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 RSS feed associated with the link will be displayed next to your link.
- 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 want 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 your new link information, click on the Add Link button to update your link settings …
(Click on Add Link to save your new link)
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 links private by checking the box)
Making links private allows you to toggle link visibility on or off without deleting your links (this is useful if you want links to display during certain times and hide them afterwards) …
(Making links private toggles their visibility on and off)
To see all your links, choose Links > All Links in the navigation menu …
(Links Menu – All Links)
The ‘Links’ screen will display in your web browser. The Links page displays your links and link information (e.g. URL, categories, visibility, etc.) …
Tip: To display additional columns in the table of links, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top of your screen …
(Screen Options – Links page)
Show/hide fields on your table of links by ticking/unticking their check boxes …
Editing Your Links
To edit a link, choose Links > All Links in the WP admin menu to bring up the links table …
(WP Links – All Links)
Select the link to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the link’s details …
(Editing link information)
Make any changes you want to the link …
(Edit Link page)
After editing the link, you can:
- Click the Update Link button to save your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to view your link and check that you have set up its URL correctly (the link will open in a new window),
- Click Delete to remove the link …
(Edit Link: Update Link button)
To remove links, select Links > All Links in the WP dashboard menu …
(Links Menu – All Links)
The ‘Links’ table will load in your web browser.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links, or delete all your links.
To delete links individually, hover your cursor over the link title that you want to remove and click on Delete …
To delete a number of links at once, either click on the check box next to every link that you would like to be removed, or select all links by clicking on the check box next to the ‘Name’ column header …
(Deleting multiple links)
Select Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ drop-down menu, and click the Apply button to remove your selected links …
All the links you have selected will be removed …
(links deleted message)
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.
Using The Links Widget
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 …
(WordPress Appearance Menu – Widgets)
The ‘Widgets’ screen will display in your web browser.
You will notice a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …
Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of your active widget sections in the Widgets screen and drop it wherever you would like your links section to show up …
(Add a links widget to a widgetized area using drag and drop)
The Links widget includes a number of settings. You can specify what information you want to show about your links and how many links you would like to display on your sidebar menu …
(Link widget - configurable options)
You can also add as many link widgets to your sidebar and footer as you want. This lets you create and display link lists on your site …
(Add multiple link widgets to your widget bars)
Display a list of links for a specific category …
(Link widget settings – Select Link Category)
You can sort links by Link title, Link rating, Link ID, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget settings – Sort by options)
After setting up your links widget, click Save to update your settings. A link section will 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 help with widgets? We have written a detailed article about using widgets. Go here to learn more:
Links Manager – Additional Information
If you have many links, the Link Manager plugin lets you easily administer these using search, filter, and sort functionality.
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 little triangle displayed next to the column title …
Search Links Function
Find links using the ‘Search Links’ feature …
(Finding your links)
You can filter links by link category …
(Filter your 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 links in the ‘Links’ column …
(Search and filter links in the Link Categories page)
This displays a list of all links listed for a specific link category …
(Links filtered by link category)
Links – Additional Options
If you plan to use links extensively on your website, 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 look at using a plugin that can help you administer your links.
(Link library – WordPress Links Management Plugin)
Plugin Download URL
The Link Library plugin gives you the ability 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. Image: Link Library plugin website.)
This plugin creates a page on your site containing all the link categories in your Links area, 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 for your links so that your site users can be made 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 and manage links to external websites in your WordPress sidebar menu.
Go here for a detailed article about how to add HTML links into WordPress:
"These tutorials have so much information and are easy to understand. If you use WordPress or plan to in the future these will help you with everything you need to know." - Valisa (Mesa, Arizona)