As you continue to learn more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across something called a blogroll.
A blogroll is a list of links pointing to external sites or web pages that display on your sidebar.
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 manage a set of links using the Links menu in your WP Dashboard. These links will then display on your site once you add the Links widget.
Before WordPress v3.5 was released, Links were a core feature of the WordPress CMS. From version 3.5 onwards, the Links manager and blogroll sections were removed …
(The Links Manager feature displayed in the WordPress menu until the release of WP v3.5)
(The Links Manager – no longer included in WordPress after WP v.3.5)
If you have had an earlier version than v3.5 installed and upgraded your installation, then the Link Manager would have been removed, unless you’ve previously used it.
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 the main menu when you log into your WordPress dashboard, you can add this feature by installing a plugin. In this tutorial, you will learn how to add and manage links on your site’s sidebar using plugins.
(Link Manager Plugin)
The Link Manager plugin displays the Links Manager, 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 WordPress 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 Plugin)
This plugin recreates the concept of the built-in WP Link Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.
Installing The Plugin
To install the Link Manager plugin, follow these step-by-step instructions:
In the WP admin menu, go to Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins – Add New)
Click on the Install Plugins > Search tab, then type ”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 you have activated the plugin, the ‘Links’ function will be restored to the navigation menu area …
(Links management menu section)
Before you start adding any new links, we recommend setting up your link categories. This way, you can assign new links to link categories you have already created.
To create a link category, choose Links > Link Categories in your WP admin menu …
(WordPress Links Menu – Link Categories)
This takes you to the ‘Link Categories’ page.
Enter the following information:
- Name: Whatever you enter here will display as the link category name.
- Slug: The slug is the SEO friendly URL part of the link category. It must be in lowercase letters and contain no spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display your link category description.
When done, click Add New Link Category to save …
(Link Categories screen)
The new category will display in the table …
Tip: WordPress calls its default link category Blogroll . Unless you specify the category when adding a link, WordPress will automatically assign new links to the default category …
(Default link category)
You may want to change this to something that your visitors can understand. This not only makes it easier for visitors, but any new links that you add to your site will automatically be assigned to the new category name …
(Change the default link category name to something your visitors will relate to)
To edit the ‘Blogroll’ link name, hover your mouse over the category name and click on the Quick Edit link …
(Edit the link category)
Replace both the Name and the Slug with a new category name, then click on Update Link Category …
(Update Link Category)
Replace the link category name ‘Blogroll’ with an appropriate links section name (e.g. ‘Recommended’, ‘Special Deals’ 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)
Enter your link category description field and click Update done to save your settings …
(Edit Link Category screen)
Repeat the above process to add as many new link categories as your site requires.
After configuring your link categories, you can add new links.
To add a new link, choose Links > Add New in the main dashboard menu …
(WordPress Links – Add New)
The ‘Add New Link’ page will display in your browser …
(Add New Link screen)
You can also reach this screen by clicking on the ‘Add New’ button in the main Links screen …
(Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page has several sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
This section is where you enter your link details …
(Name, Web Addressand Description – Add New Link screen)
Enter the following information:
- Name: Enter the link category name here.
- Slug: The slug appears in the search-engine friendly URL of the link category. It must be in lowercase letters and contain no spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display your link category description.
Categories & Target
After adding link details, select a Category and Target for the new link …
(Categories & Target area – Add New Link)
In the Categories section, select one of the link categories you have 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 how you want the link to open when visitors click on it:
- _blank means that when a visitor clicks on your link, a new web browser window will open up to display the content associated with the link.
- _none means that when a visitor clicks on the link, they will leave your site and a new website 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. Ignore 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 – Link Relationship (XFN) section)
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN stands for XML Friends Network – lets you define your relationship to the linked person. For example, if you work with Anna O’Malley and you link to her blog, you would probably tick co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional. You can leave everything in this section blank and all of your links will still work. 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 defines a relationship 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, start, help, index, etc.
You can learn more about XFN by visiting the site below:
The last section of the Add New Link’ screen lets you enter Advanced features for your links (You can ignore this section, unless there’s a good reason to use it) …
(Advanced link settings)
The Advanced link settings section includes the following:
- Image Address: Lets you specify an image to be displayed with the link. Add the URL of where the image is stored and make sure that the 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 the 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).
Enter information into the above fields or just leave this section blank, as these are not essential for links to work.
When you have finished adding your new link information, click on Add Link to save your new link …
(Click on Add Link to save your new link)
Note: If you tick Keep this link private, the link will not be visible in your Links section …
(Make links private by selecting the checkbox)
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 would like your link to display during certain periods and hide it after it’s no longer required) …
(Toggle link visibility on and off)
To see all your links, go to the main navigation menu and choose Links > All Links …
(Links – All Links)
This brings up the ‘Links’ screen in your browser. The list of links displays all your links and link information (e.g. URL, link categories, relationship, etc.) …
(Table of links)
Tip: To view additional options in the Links table, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of the screen …
(Links page – Screen Options)
Display/hide fields on your table of links by ticking/unticking their checkboxes …
(Hide or display – List of links)
To modify a link, go to your admin menu and select Links > All Links to bring up your list of links …
(WP Links – All Links)
Locate the item to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the item’s link information …
Change your link …
(Edit Link screen)
After you’re done editing your link, you can:
- Click the Update Link button to save your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to make sure that you have set up the link’s URL correctly (your 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)
How To Delete Your Links
To remove a link from the Link Manager, go to the WP admin menu and select Links > All Links …
(Links – All Links)
This brings up the ‘Links’ screen in your browser.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links by selecting their check boxes, or delete all your links at once.
To delete individual links, hover your mouse cursor over the link title that you want to remove and click on Delete …
(Delete your links)
To delete links in bulk, either click on the checkboxes next to individual items that you would like to remove, or select all links by clicking on the check box next to the ‘Name’ column header …
(Delete multiple links)
Select Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ drop menu, and click the Apply button to remove your selected links …
(Links: bulk-deletion function)
All the links you have selected will be deleted …
(Link deletion message)
Using The Link Manager Plugin
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 links on your website or blog.
Using The Links Widget
The Link Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ page.
To access and configure your Link widgets, go to your dashboard menu and choose Appearance > Widgets …
(Appearance – Widgets)
This loads the ‘Widgets’ page in your web browser.
You will notice that a ‘Links’ widget has been added to the Available Widgets section …
To make the ‘Links’ widget active, drag the widget to one of your active widget sections in the Widgets page and drop it wherever you want your links section to show up …
(Drag & drop your links widget to add it to a widgetized menu)
The Links widget offers various configurable options. For example, you can specify what information you want to show about your links and how many links you would like displayed on your sidebar …
(Link widget settings)
You can add as many link widgets as you want. This allows you to add and display specific link categories throughout your site …
(You can add multiple link widgets to your sidebar)
Display links for a specific category …
(Link widget options – Select Link Category)
You can sort links by Link title, Link ID, Link rating, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget options – Sort by options)
After configuring the links widget, click Save to update your settings. Your link section will show up immediately on your website …
(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 about adding widgets. For more details, go here:
Link Manager – Additional Information
If you have many links, the Link Manager plugin lets you easily administer these with filter, sort, and search features.
Sorting Links Function
You can sort links by hovering your mouse over the title of the column you want to sort and clicking on the little triangle displayed next to the column title …
Find links using the ‘Search Links’ function …
(You can easily search links with the search function)
Filtering Links Function
You can filter links by link categories …
(Filter your links by link category)
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 …
(searching and filtering links in the Link Categories page)
This brings up a list of all links grouped under a specific link category …
(Links filtered by category)
Additional Link Options
If you plan to add lots of links to your website, or if you intend 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 look at using a plugin that can help you administer your links, like Link Library.
(Link Library WordPress Plugin)
Plugin Download URL
Link Library allows you to output a list of your link categories with a complete list of links plus notes and descriptions …
(Link Library links. Image sourced from Link Library plugin website.)
This useful plugin can be used to create a page on your website that contains a list of all of the link categories in your Links area, plus all links defined for 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 additions to your link library.
To learn more about the Link Library plugin:
Congratulations! Now you know how to how to add and manage links in WordPress.
We have written a comprehensive article about how to easily insert links into WordPress posts & pages. For more details:
"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group