As you discover more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across references to the term blogroll.
WordPress refers to a list of hyperlinks pointing to other sites or web pages that display on your sidebar area 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 external links to your sidebar area (e.g. a “Resources” section) using a widget.
Before WordPress v3.5 was released, Links were a visible feature of the WordPress CMS. After the release of WordPress v.3.5, the Link Manager section was hidden by default in new WordPress installations …
(WP Links Feature – pre v.3.5)
(Links – no longer displayed in WordPress after WP v 3.5)
If you have had an earlier version than v.3.5 installed and upgraded your installation, then the Links Manager would have been removed, unless you have 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 the Links menu section is not displayed when you log into your WordPress admin area, you can add this feature via a plugin. In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn how to add, edit, delete and manage blogroll links on your sidebar using WordPress plugins.
(Link Manager WordPress Plugin)
Description Of Plugin
The Link Manager plugin restores the Links Manager, even if you update to a later version of WordPress 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. The last time we checked, this 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 one below instead, or contact us for help editing your template code.
Simple Links recreates the same concept as the built-in Link Manager while addressing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.
Installing Link Manager
Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.
From the WordPress administration menu, select Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins Menu – Add New)
Click on the Install Plugins > Search tab, type in “link manager” into the search field and hit Enter …
Locate the plugin in the results area and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin after it has been installed …
After activation, a ‘Links’ item will be added to the dashboard menu …
(Links menu section)
Before adding links, we recommend setting up your link categories. This way, when adding a new link, you can assign your link to link categories you have already created.
To create a link category, select Links > Link Categories in your navigation menu …
(Links – Link Categories)
The ‘Link Categories’ screen will display in your browser.
Type in the following information:
- Name: Enter the link category name.
- Slug: The slug displays in the URL of the link category name. Use lowercase letters only and do not include 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 to save your new link category …
Your new category will now show in the list …
(Link Categories screen)
Tip: Blogroll is the default link category name. 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 your visitors can understand. This not only makes it easier for visitors, but any new links that you add to the Links section will automatically be assigned to the new category name …
(Change the default ’blogroll’ to something your visitors will understand)
To change 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, and click on the Update link Category button …
(Update Link Category)
Replace the category ‘Blogroll’ with a name more suitable to your purposes (e.g. ‘Recommended’, ‘Our Sponsors’ etc).
Let’s create a link category description. To add a description to an existing link category, click on the Edit link under the category name …
(Link category description)
Enter your link category description field and click Update when finished …
(Edit Link Category screen)
Repeat this process to add as many new link categories as your site requires.
Once you have set up your link categories, you can add your links.
To create a new link, choose Links > Add New in the WP dashboard navigation menu …
(WP Links – Add New)
The ‘Add New Link’ page will load in your browser …
(Add New Link screen)
You can also access this screen by clicking on the ‘Add New’ button in the main Links page …
(Links – Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page has the following sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
Enter your link details in this section …
(Name, Web Addressand Description)
Enter information into the following sections:
- Name: Enter the link category name here.
- Slug: The slug displays in the search-engine friendly URL of the link category. Use lowercase letters only and do not include spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display a link category description. (Optional)
Categories & Target
After typing in your link details, select a Category and Target for the new link …
(Categories & Target area)
In the Categories section, tick one of the link categories you’ve 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 how your link should open when clicked on:
- _blank means that a new, separate window will open up in their browser to display the information associated with the link.
- _none means that when visitors click on your link, they will leave your site and a new site or page will load in your 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 section provides some additional link functionality …
(Link Relationship (XFN))
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN (XML Friends Network) lets you define your relationship with the linked person. For example, if you work with Theo O’Malley and you link to his blog, you would probably check co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional. You can ignore this section and your links will still work. Defining relationships with XFN makes your links 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 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. 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’ page allows you to specify 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) …
(Advanced section – Add New Link)
The Advanced section fields include the following:
- Image Address: Specify an image to be displayed with the link. To use this feature, add the URL of your image 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 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 into the above fields or just leave this section ignore this section.
When you have finished adding information about your link, 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 tick the checkbox next to Keep this link private, the link will not be visible in your Blogroll section …
(Make your links private)
Making a link private allows you to toggle its visibility on and off without deleting it (this is useful if you want to add seasonal links) …
(Making links private toggles their visibility on and off)
To see all the links you have added, choose Links > All Links in your WP admin menu …
(Links Menu – All Links)
This loads the ‘Links’ page in your web browser. The Links page displays a list of your links and link information (e.g. link URL, link categories, rating, etc.) …
Tip: To show or hide fields in the table of links, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top of the screen …
(Table of links – Screen Options)
Display/hide information on your Links table by ticking/unticking their check boxes …
(List of links – Show/hide screen options)
Editing Your Links
To modify a link in the Link Manager, go to your navigation menu and select Links > All Links to bring up the links page …
(Links Menu – All Links)
Select the item to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the item’s link details …
(Editing your links)
Edit the link …
(Edit Link page)
After editing your link, you can:
- Click on Update Link to save your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to view your link and make sure that you have set up its URL correctly (the 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)
How To Remove Your Links
To delete a link, click on Links > All Links in the WP navigation menu …
(WordPress Links Menu – All Links)
The ‘Links’ page will display in your browser.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links, or perform a bulk delete.
To delete links individually, hover your mouse cursor over the link title that you want removed and click Delete …
(Delete your links)
To delete a number of links at once, either click on the check boxes next to individual items that you would like to be removed, or select all links by clicking on the checkbox next to the ‘Name’ column header …
(Deleting multiple links)
Choose Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ dropdown menu, and click the Apply button to remove your selected links …
(Links: bulk-deletion function)
The links you have selected will be removed …
(Link deletion notice)
Now that you know how to set up link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, let’s show you how 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, click on Appearance > Widgets in the WP admin menu …
(Appearance Menu – Widgets)
The ‘Widgets’ page will display in your browser.
You will see a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …
To make the ‘Links’ widget active, drag the widget to one of the active widget sections and drop it wherever you want the links 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 displayed about your links and how many links you want to display on your sidebar …
(Link widget options)
You can add as many link widgets as you want. This allows you to add and feature specific a number of link lists on your site …
(You can add multiple link widgets to your widget bars)
Display 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 – Sorting options)
Once you are done configuring the Links widget, click Save to update your settings. Your links should become visible on your website or blog’s sidebar menu …
(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 detailed article about configuring widgets. Go here to learn more:
Link Manager – Additional Information
If you have many links, the Links Manager plugin allows you to easily administer these with searching, filtering, and sorting functions.
Sort Your Links
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 …
(You can easily sort links)
Searching Your Links
Search for links using the ‘Search Links’ function …
(Search links function)
Filter Links Function
You can filter links by link categories …
(Filter links by link category)
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 brings up a list of all links listed under a specific link category …
(Links filtered by link category)
Additional Link Options
If you plan to use links extensively on your site, or if you would like 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 Plugin)
Link Library lets you publish a list of your link categories and a complete list of links with descriptions and notes …
(List of links created with Link library. Image sourced from Link Library plugin site.)
This 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 of your link collection that lets your site users become aware of additions to your link library.
Go here to learn more about this plugin:
Congratulations! Now you know how to how to add a blogroll and manage links in your WordPress sidebar menu.
We have written a detailed article about adding HTML links into WordPress posts. If you are interested in learning more here:
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