As you learn more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across something called a blogroll.
WordPress refers to a list of hyperlinks pointing to other websites or 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 feature lets you add links to a widget-ready theme.
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 removed …
(WordPress Links Manager – pre version 3.5)
(Links is no longer included in WordPress after WordPress version 3.5)
If you’ve had an earlier version than v3.5 installed and upgraded your installation, then the Links 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 remain hidden – it will not appear 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 feature is not visible when you log into your WP admin area you will need to install a plugin. In this tutorial, you will learn how to add, edit, delete and manage links on your sidebar using WordPress plugins.
(Links Manager WordPress Plugin)
This plugin displays the built-in Links menu on your WordPress dashboard, even if you upgrade to a later version of WordPress or remove all of your existing links.
Note: This plugin adds a single line of template code to your installation to restore the hidden feature. When we last checked, the plugin had not been updated for some time, 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 template code.
(Simple Links – Link Manager Plugin For WordPress)
Plugin Download URL
Simple Links attempts to recreate the concept of the built-in WordPress Links Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated functionality.
Installing The Plugin
To install the Link Manager plugin on your site, do the following:
In the WordPress admin menu, select Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins Menu – Add New)
Select the Install Plugins > Search tab, then type in “link manager” into the search field and hit Enter …
Find the plugin in the results area and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin …
After activating the plugin, WordPress will display a ‘Links’ section in your WP sidebar menu area …
(WordPress links management menu section)
Setting Up Link Manager
We recommend setting up link categories first before adding any new links. This way, when adding a new link, you can assign your link to link categories you have already created.
To create a new link category, select Links > Link Categories in the dashboard navigation menu …
(Links – Link Categories)
This loads the ‘Link Categories’ page in your web browser.
Enter the following information:
- Name: Enter the category name.
- Slug: The slug appears in the search-engine friendly URL of the link category. Only use lower case letters and do not include spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display your link category description. (Optional)
Click the Add New Link Category button …
The category details will display in the table …
(Link Categories screen)
Tip: Blogroll is the default link category name. Unless you specify the category when creating a new link, WordPress will assign new links to the default category …
(Default link category name is ‘blogroll’)
You may want to change this to something that your visitors can understand. 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 …
(Consider changing the default link category name to something better suited to your business)
To edit the ‘Blogroll’ link title, hover your mouse over the list item and click on Quick Edit …
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 …
In our example, the link category ‘Blogroll’ has been replaced with an appropriate links section name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).
Let’s insert a link category description. To add a description to an existing link category, hover over the item name and click Edit …
(You can add/edit the category description)
Add your link category description field and click Update …
(Edit Link Category screen)
Repeat the above process to add as many different link categories as you need.
Once you have finished setting up your link categories, you can add your links.
To add a new link, go to the main dashboard menu and choose Links > Add New …
(Links – Add New)
The ‘Add New Link’ page will display in your browser …
(Add New Link screen)
You can also reach this page by clicking on ’Add New’ at the top of the main Links screen …
(Links – 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 – Name, Web Address& Description)
Enter the following information:
- 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. Use only lowercase letters and do not include 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.
Categories & Target
After typing in your link details, select a Category and Target for your link …
(Categories & Target fields – Add New Link page)
In the Categories section, tick a link category you have already created, or click on the ‘+ Add New Category’ link to add a new category.
Next, 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 a visitor clicks on it:
- _blank means that when visitors click on the link, a separate window will open up in their web browser to display the content associated with the link. This allows your visitors to access the information without leaving your page
- _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 ignore this option.
Link Relationship XFN
This area provides some additional link functionality …
(Link Relationship (XFN) fields – Add New Link page)
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN (XML Friends Network) is a way to define your relationship with the linked person. For example, if you work with Blake Smith and you link to his 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 still work. XFN makes your links more understandable to some websites and search engines that use this information.
rel – This field lets you specify the ‘rel’ attribute that will be assigned to your link. The rel attribute defines 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.
You can learn more about XFN by visiting this site:
The last section of the Add New Link’ page lets you enter Advanced features for your links (some themes will ignore this. You can leave these fields empty unless there’s a good reason to use them) …
The Advanced link settings section contains the following options:
- 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 want 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 fields are not essential.
When you have finished adding your new link information, click on the Add Link button to save your new link …
(Click on Add Link to update your link settings)
Note: If you select the Keep this link private checkbox, the link will not be visible in your Links section …
(Make your links private)
Making a link private lets you add a link and then toggle its visibility on or off without deleting it (this is useful if you want to add seasonal links) …
(Toggle link visibility on and off)
To see all your links, choose Links > All Links in the dashboard menu …
(Links – All Links)
This brings up the ‘Links’ table in your browser. The Links table displays your links and link information (e.g. URL, categories, relationship, etc.) …
(List of links)
Tip: To view additional information in the Links page, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top of the screen …
(List of links – Screen Options)
Enable/disable information on your table of links by ticking/unticking their checkboxes …
Editing Your Links
To edit a link in the Link Manager, choose Links > All Links in the main admin menu to bring up your list of links …
(WP Links Menu – All Links)
Locate the link you want to edit and click on Edit to bring up the item’s link details …
Change your link …
(Edit Link page)
After you’re done editing your link, you can:
- Click on Update Link to save and update your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to see your link and check that you have set up the link’s URL correctly (your link will open 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)
How To Remove Your Links
To delete a link from the Link Manager, go to your dashboard menu and click on Links > All Links …
(WordPress Links Menu – All Links)
You will be taken to the ‘Links’ screen.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links, or perform a bulk delete.
To delete links individually, hover over the link title that you want removed and click on Delete …
(Deleting your links)
To delete links in bulk, either tick the check box next to every link that you want to delete, or select all links by clicking on the checkbox next to the ‘Name’ column header …
(Deleting multiple links)
Choose Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ drop-down menu, and click the Apply button to delete your selected links …
Your selected links will be removed …
(Deleted links notification)
Using The 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 website or blog.
The Links Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ page.
To access and configure your Link widgets, go to the main admin menu and choose Appearance > Widgets …
(Appearance Menu – Widgets)
This brings up the ‘Widgets’ page in your web browser.
You will notice that a ‘Links’ widget has been added to the Available Widgets section …
Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of your widget sections and drop it wherever you want the links section to display …
(Add a links widget to your WordPress sidebar using drag and drop)
The Links widget includes various options. You can specify what information you want to display about your links and how many links you would like displayed on your sidebar …
(Link widget - configurable options)
You can add as many link widgets to your sidebars and footers as you want. This lets you create and display link lists throughout your site …
(You can add multiple link widgets to your sidebar)
Select a link category from the ‘Select Link Category:’ pull-down menu …
(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 – Sort by options)
Once you are done setting up your links widget, click Save to update your settings. A links should show up immediately on your sidebar …
(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 help with widgets? To learn more about widgets, refer to this article:
Link Manager – Additional Information
If you have added many links, the Link Manager plugin allows you to easily administer these using filter, search, and sort features.
You can sort links by hovering your mouse cursor over the title of the column you want to sort and clicking on the little black triangle displayed next to the column title …
You can find links using the ‘Search Links’ function …
Filtering Links Function
You can filter links by link categories …
(Filter links by categories)
You can also search and filter links in the Link Categories screen. 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 page)
This displays a list of all links listed for a specific link category …
(Links filtered by category)
Links – Additional Options
If you plan to add lots of links to your site, or if you would like 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 links, like Link Library.
Download Plugin URL
Link Library lets you output a list of all your link categories and a complete list of links with notes and descriptions …
(Link Library links. Screenshot taken from Link Library plugin documentation.)
Link Library can be used to create a page on your site that contains a list of all of the link categories in your Links section, 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 links so that your site users can become aware of any additions made to to your link library.
To learn more about the benefits of using this handy plugin, visit this site:
Congratulations! Now you know how to how to add a blogroll and manage links to other sites in WordPress.
We have written a comprehensive article about inserting links into WordPress posts. To learn more about this go here:
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