As you learn more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across the term blogroll.
A blogroll is a list of hyperlinks pointing to other sites or 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 display links on your site using the Link Manager plugin for WordPress.
Before the release of WordPress version 3.5, Links were a built-in feature of the WordPress CMS. After v3.5, the Links manager and blogroll sections were removed …
(The Links Manager – included in the admin menu until the release of WordPress v3.5)
(Post version 3.5 – no WP Links Manager)
If you’ve used an earlier version of WordPress than v3.5 and upgraded your installation, the Link Manager would be 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 the Links Manager section when you log into your WordPress admin area you will need to install a plugin. In this tutorial, you will learn how to add and manage links on your sidebar using plugins.
(Link Manager WordPress Plugin)
Use this plugin to display the Link Manager, even if you update WordPress to a later version or remove all of your existing links.
Note: All this plugin does is add 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 site’s template code.
This plugin recreates the concept of the built-in Link Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.
Installing Link Manager
To install the Link Manager plugin on your site, do the following:
In your WordPress administration 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 …
Locate the plugin in the search results screen and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin after installation …
After activating the plugin, a ‘Links’ item will be added to the WP sidebar menu …
(Links management menu)
We recommend setting up your link categories first before you start adding new links. This way, you can assign new links to a link category you have already created.
To create a link category, select Links > Link Categories in the main dashboard navigation menu …
(Links – Link Categories)
The ‘Link Categories’ page will display in your web browser.
Type in information into the following fields:
- Name: What you type in this field is the link category name that will display on your site.
- Slug: The slug appears in the 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 Add New Link Category …
(Link Categories page)
Your 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 for a new link, WordPress automatically assigns new links to the default category …
(Default link category)
You may want to change this to something that will make sense to your blog readers. This not only makes it easier for visitors, but any new links that you add to your site will automatically display under the new category name …
(Change the default ’blogroll’ to something better suited to your business)
To edit the ‘Blogroll’ link title, hover your mouse over the category name and click on Quick Edit …
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), and click on the Update link Category button …
In our example, we’ve replaced the link category ‘Blogroll’ with an appropriate links section name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).
Let’s add a link category description. To add a description to an existing link category, hover over the link category name and click Edit …
(You can add/edit your category description)
Add your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ page 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.
After setting up your link categories, you can being adding your links.
How To Add Links
To create a new link, choose Links > Add New in your WP dashboard navigation menu …
(Links – Add New)
This loads the Add New Link’ page in your browser …
(Add New Link page)
You can also access this page by clicking on the ‘Add New’ button at the top of the main Links page …
(Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page has a number of sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
The first section is where you enter details about your link …
(Name, Web Address, Description – Add New Link)
Type in information into the following sections:
- Name: Whatever you type here is the category name that will display on your site.
- Slug: The slug appears in the URL of the link category name. 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.
Categories & Target
Select a Category and Target for your link …
(Categories & Target fields)
In the Categories section, tick one of the link categories you have already set up, or click on ’+ Add New Category’ to create a new category.
Next, 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:
- _blank means that a new, separate window will open up in their browser to display the information for that link.
- _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. If you don’t use frames, or if you don’t know what frames are, then just ignore this option.
Link Relationship XFN
This area provides some additional link functionality …
(Link Relationship (XFN) section – Add New Link)
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 Tennyson Silva and you link to his blog, you would probably check co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional. You can leave everything in this section blank and your links will work just fine. Defining relationships with 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 defines a relationship 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 using spaces.
To learn more about XFN, visit the site below:
The last section 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 screen – Advanced area)
The Advanced link settings section includes the following:
- 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 link’s RSS feed can be displayed 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.
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 save your new link)
Note: If you select Keep this link private, your link will not be visible in your Links section …
(You can make links private by selecting the checkbox)
Making links private allows you to toggle their visibility on and off without deleting these (this is useful if you want to have seasonal links) …
(Making links private toggles their visibility on and off)
To view all the links you have added to the Link Manager, click on Links > All Links in the WP admin menu …
(Links Menu – All Links)
The ‘Links’ table will load in your browser. The Links table displays a list of all your links and link information (e.g. URL, categories, rating, etc.) …
Tip: To view or hide options in the Links page, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of your screen …
(Screen Options – List of links)
Enable/disable information on your table of links by selecting/deselecting their check boxes …
(Hide or display – Table of links)
Editing Your Links
To edit a link, go to your admin menu and click on Links > All Links to bring up your links screen …
(WordPress Links Menu – All Links)
Select the link you want to edit and click on Edit to bring up the link’s details …
Change your link …
(Edit Link screen)
After you’re done editing the link, you can:
- Click the Update Link button to save and update 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 if it’s no longer required …
(Edit Link: Update Link button)
Deleting Your Links
To remove a link, go to the WP admin menu and click on Links > All Links …
(Links Menu – All Links)
The ‘Links’ page will display in your browser.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links by selecting their check boxes, or delete all links.
To delete individual links, hover your cursor over the link title that you want to remove from the link table and click Delete …
To delete multiple links, either tick the checkbox next to each item that you want removed, or select all links by clicking on the main checkbox next to the ‘Name’ column header at the top of the list …
(Delete multiple links)
Choose Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ pull-down menu, and click the Apply button to remove your selected links …
(Links: bulk-deletion function)
The links you have selected will be deleted …
(Deleted links notification)
Using The Link Manager 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 your links on your site.
Using The Links Widget
Installing the Link Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ page.
To access and configure your Link widgets, go to the WP admin menu and select Appearance > Widgets …
(Appearance – Widgets)
You will be taken to the ‘Widgets’ screen.
You will notice that a ‘Links’ widget has been added to the Available Widgets section …
Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of the widget sections and drop it wherever you want your links to display …
(Drag and drop the links widget to add it to your WordPress widget bar)
The Links widget offers a number of configurable settings. For example, you can specify what information you would like displayed about your links and how many links you want to display on your sidebar …
(Link widget settings)
You can also add multiple link widgets to your sidebar and footer. This lets you add and display specific links sorted by categories on your site …
(You can add a number of 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 options – Sort by options)
Once you are done configuring the links widget, click Save to update your settings. Your link section will show on your sidebar …
(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? We have written a comprehensive article on widgets. Go here to learn more about this:
Links Manager – Additional Information
If you have many links, the Link Manager plugin lets you easily administer these using searching, filtering, and sorting functionality.
Sorting Links Function
You can sort links by hovering your mouse cursor over the title of the column you want to sort and clicking on the black triangle displayed next to the column title …
(Sorting your links)
Type a search term into the search field and click the Search Links button to find links …
You can filter links by link categories …
(Filter your links by category)
You can also search and filter links in the Link Categories page. Use the ‘Search Link Categories’ button to search for link categories, or click on the links in the ‘Links’ column …
(Search and filter links in the Link Categories page)
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 site, or if you intend to add a ‘Links’ page 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 links.
Download Plugin URL
Link Library lets you display a list of your link categories and a complete list of links together with notes and descriptions …
(List of links created with Link library. Image sourced from Link Library plugin site.)
Link Library creates a page on your website containing all the link categories in your Links section, 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 for your links so that your site users can be made aware of any additions made to to your link library.
Go here to learn more about this handy plugin:
Congratulations! Now you know how to how to add a blogroll and manage links to external websites and pages in your WordPress sidebar menu.
We have also written a comprehensive article on inserting links into WordPress posts here:
"This is an awesome training series. I have a pretty good understanding of WordPress already, but this is helping me to move somewhere from intermediate to advanced user!" - Kim Lednum