As you continue to learn more about using WordPress, you may occasionally come across references to the term blogroll.
A blogroll is a list of links pointing to other sites or blogs displayed 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.”
The Links feature lets you easily add a links section to your sidebar menu (e.g. a “Resources” section) using widgets.
Before WordPress v 3.5 was released, 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 …
(WP Links Menu – pre version 3.5)
(The Link Manager – no longer displayed in WordPress after WordPress v3.5)
If you’ve had an earlier version of WordPress than v.3.5 installed and upgraded your installation, the Links Manager would be removed, unless you’ve previously used it. If you’ve never used the Links feature, however, or if your site is new, then this function will remain hidden – it will not display on your 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 WP backend, you can add this feature via a plugin. In this tutorial, you will learn how to add and manage links on your sidebar using WordPress plugins.
The Link Manager plugin restores the Links feature on your WordPress dashboard, even if you upgrade WordPress to a later version or remove all of your existing links.
Note: This plugin adds a single line of code to your installation to restore the hidden feature. The last time we checked, this plugin had not been updated for a while, 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 template code.
(Simple Links WordPress Plugin)
Simple Links recreates the concept of the built-in WordPress Link Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.
Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.
From the WordPress administration menu, select Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins Menu – Add New)
Select the Install Plugins > Search tab, type ”link manager” into the search field and hit Enter …
Locate the plugin in the search results area and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin after it has been installed …
After activating the plugin, a ‘Links’ item is added to the admin menu …
(Links management menu section)
Configuring The Plugin
Before you start adding any new links, it’s a good idea to set up your link categories. This way, you can assign any new links to link categories you have already created.
To create a new link category, go to the admin menu and select Links > Link Categories …
(Links – Link Categories)
This loads the ‘Link Categories’ page in your browser.
Type in information into the following sections:
- Name: Enter the category name here.
- Slug: The slug shows up 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. (Optional)
after entering your information, click the Add New Link Category button …
(Link Categories area)
The category details will now show in the list …
(Link Categories screen)
Tip: The default WordPress link category is called Blogroll . Unless you specify a category when adding a new link, WordPress will assign new links to the default category …
(Default link category name)
You may want to change this to something better suited to your business. This will not only make it easier for visitors, but any new links that you add to your site will automatically be assigned to the new category name …
(we recommend changing the default link category name to something better suited to your business)
To edit the ‘Blogroll’ link title, hover your mouse over the category name and click on the Quick Edit link …
Replace 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), then click on the Update link Category button …
Replace the link category ‘Blogroll’ with a name more suitable to your purposes (e.g. ‘Recommended’, ‘Links’ etc).
Let’s add a link category description. To add a link category description, hover over the item name and click Edit …
(You can add/edit your 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 and add as many different link categories as your site needs.
After configuring your link categories, you can add your links.
To add a new link, click on Links > Add New in your WP dashboard menu …
(Links Menu – Add New)
The ‘Add New Link’ page will display in your browser …
(Add New Link screen)
You can also access this page by clicking on the ‘Add New’ button at the top of the main Links page …
(Links page – Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page is divided into various sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
Enter your link details in this section …
(Name, Web Address& Description – Add New Link)
Enter information into the following sections:
- Name: Whatever you enter in this field is the link category name that will display on your site.
- Slug: The slug is the web address part of the link category name. Use only lowercase letters 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 new link …
(Add New Link page – Categories & Target fields)
In the Categories section, select one of the link categories you have already created, or click on ’+ Add New Category’ to create 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 how your link should open when clicked on:
- _blank means that a new, separate window will open up in their web browser to display the information for that link. Your visitor can see the information without leaving your website
- _none means that when a visitor clicks on the link, they will exit 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. 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 area provides some additional link functionality …
(Add New Link screen – Link Relationship (XFN) section)
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN stands for XML Friends Network – allows you to define your relationship to the linked person. For example, if you work with Madison Smith and you link to her blog, you would probably check co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional. You can ignore this section and all of your links will work just fine. XFN makes the links defined on your site 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 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, enter nofollow into this field. Separate multiple ‘rel’ keywords with spaces.
You can learn more about XFN by visiting the site below:
The last section lets you 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) …
(Advanced section – Add New Link page)
The Advanced section fields include 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 can display next to your links.
- Notes: Add notes about the link in this section 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 in the above fields or just leave this section blank, as these are not essential for links to work.
When you are done adding your new link information, click on the Add Link button to save your new link …
(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 …
(Private link checkbox)
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) …
(Toggle link visibility on and off)
To see a list of all the links you have added to the Link Manager, go to the main dashboard menu and select Links > All Links …
(WP Links Menu – All Links)
This loads the ‘Links’ screen in your browser. The Links page displays a list of your links and link information (e.g. URL, categories, relationship, etc.) …
Tip: To show or hide options in the Links table, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of the screen …
(Screen Options – Links table)
Display/hide information on your table of links by selecting/deselecting their checkboxes …
(Hide or display – Links screen)
Editing Your Link Information
To modify links in the Link Manager, choose Links > All Links in your navigation menu to bring up your links table …
(Links Menu – All Links)
Select the link you want to edit and click on Edit to bring up the link’s information …
(Editing your links)
Edit the link information …
(Edit Link screen)
After you’re done editing the link, you can:
- Click on Update Link to save and update your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to view your link and make sure that you have set up everything correctly (your link will open up in a new window),
- Click Delete to remove the link …
(Update Link button)
To delete links from the Link Manager, go to the dashboard navigation menu and select Links > All Links …
(WordPress Links Menu – All Links)
This takes you to the ‘Links’ table.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links by selecting their check boxes, or delete all of your links.
To delete links individually, hover over the link that you want to remove and click Delete …
(Delete your links)
To delete multiple links, either tick the check boxes next to individual links that you would like removed, or select all links by clicking on the check box next to the ‘Name’ column header at the top of the list …
(Deleting multiple links)
Choose Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ menu, and click the Apply button to delete your selected links …
The links you have selected will be removed …
(Link deletion notification)
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.
The Links Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ page.
To access and configure your Link widgets, go to the main dashboard navigation menu and select Appearance > Widgets …
(WP Appearance Menu – Widgets)
You will be taken to the ‘Widgets’ page.
You will notice a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …
To make the ‘Links’ widget active, drag the widget to one of the widget sections in the Widgets screen and drop it wherever you want the links to display …
(Add a links widget to your WordPress widget bar)
The Links widget provides a number of settings. You can specify what information you want to show about your links and how many links you want displayed on your sidebar menu …
(Link widget - options)
You can also add multiple link widgets to your sidebar. This lets you add and display links sorted by categories on your site …
(Add multiple link widgets to your widget bars)
Select a link category to display specific links …
(Link widget settings – Select Link Category)
You can sort links by Link rating, Link title, Link ID, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget settings – Sorting options)
After setting up your links widget, click the Save button to update your settings. A links will show up immediately on your sidebar …
(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 comprehensive article about adding widgets. To learn more about this go here:
Link Manager – Additional Information
If you have many links, the Link Manager plugin allows you to easily administer these using filtering, sorting, and searching functionality.
Sort Your Links
To sort links, hover your mouse cursor over the title of the column you want to sort and click on the little triangle displayed next to the column title …
(You can easily sort your links)
Search Your Links
Find links using the ‘Search Links’ function …
(You can easily find your links with the search function)
You can filter links by category …
(Filtering 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 category links in the ‘Links’ column …
(Search and filter links in the Link Categories screen)
This brings up a list of all links grouped under 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 links on your sidebar), then you may want to consider using a plugin that can help you administer links.
(Link library – WordPress Link Management Plugin)
Download Plugin URL
Link Library lets you display a list of all your link categories with a complete list of all your links with notes and descriptions …
(Link Library links. Screenshot taken from Link Library plugin site.)
This useful plugin creates a page on your web site that contains all the link categories in your Links area, and 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.
Go here to learn more about using this handy plugin:
Congratulations! Now you know how to add a link section to your WordPress sidebar.
Go here for a detailed article on how to insert HTML hyperlinks into your WordPress posts:
"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)