How To Add A Link Section To WordPress

Before the release of WordPress v3.5, Links were a core feature of WordPress. This tutorial shows you how to restore this feature to your site …

How Do I Add Featured Links To The WordPress Sidebar?As you continue to learn more about using WordPress, you may occasionally come across the term blogroll.

WordPress refers to a list of links pointing to other websites or web pages that display on your sidebar 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.”

You can display links on your website using the Link Manager plugin.

Useful Information

Prior to the release of WordPress version 3.5, Links were a built-in feature of the WordPress CMS. After the release of v 3.5, the Links manager and blogroll sections were hidden by default in new WordPress installations …

Before …

The Links Manager  - included in the dashboard menu until the release of WP v3.5

(WordPress Links Menu – pre version 3.5)

After …

Post version 3.5 - no WordPress Links feature

(The Links Manager feature – no longer displayed in the WordPress menu after WP v3.5)

If you’ve used an earlier version than v3.5 and upgraded your installation, then the Link Manager would be removed, unless you have previously used it.


How To Add A Link Section To WordPress

Practical Tip

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 section on your main menu when you log into your WordPress admin area, you can add this feature via a plugin. This tutorial explains how to add, edit, delete and manage links on your site’s sidebar using WordPress plugins.

Link Manager

Link Manager

(Link Manager)

Plugin Download URL

Description Of Plugin

Use this plugin to restore the built-in Links menu on your WordPress dashboard, even if you update to a later version of WordPress or remove all of your existing links.

Note: This plugin adds a single line of template code 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 the Link Manager plugin, then use the plugin below instead, or contact us for help editing your site’s template code.

Simple Links

Simple Links WordPress Plugin

(Simple Links)

Plugin Download URL

Description Of Plugin

Simple Links attempts to recreate the concept of the built-in Link Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.

How To Install The Plugin

To install the Link Manager plugin, follow these instructions:

In the WordPress administration area, go to Plugins > Add New

Plugins Menu - Add New

(Plugins – Add New)

Click on the Install Plugins > Search tab, type ”link manager” into the search field and hit Enter

How To Install The Plugin

Locate the plugin in the search results area and click Install Now

Installing The Plugin

Activate the plugin after it has been installed …

Installing The Plugin

After activation, WordPress will restore the ‘Links’ functionality to the WP admin menu area …

Links management menu section

(WordPress links management menu section)

Plugin Configuration

We recommend setting up your link categories first before you start adding any new links. This way, when you create a new link, you can assign your link to link categories you have already created.

Link Categories

To create a link category, select Links > Link Categories in your WP dashboard menu …

Links - Link Categories

(Links – Link Categories)

The ‘Link Categories’ page will display in your browser.

Type in information into the following sections:

  • Name: Enter the category name.
  • Slug: The slug is the URL bit of the link category. 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.

after entering your information, click Add New Link Category to save your new link category name …

Link Categories screen

(Link Categories page)

The link category will now show in the list …

Link Categories screen

(Link Categories)


Tip: Blogroll is the default link category name. Unless you specify a category for a link, WordPress automatically assigns new links to the default category …

Default link category name is 'blogroll'

(Default link category name)

You may want to change this to something that will make sense to site visitors. 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 …

we recommend changing the default 'blogroll' to something better suited to your business

(Consider changing the default ’blogroll’ to something your visitors will understand)

To edit the ‘Blogroll’ link name, hover your mouse over the category name and click on the Quick Edit link …

Quick Edit

(Quick Edit)

Replace both the Name and the Slug with a new category name, then click on the Update link Category button …

Editing the default link category

(Edit the link category)

Replace the category ‘Blogroll’ with (e.g. ‘Recommended’, ‘XYZ Sites’ etc).

Let’s now add a description for this link category. To add a link category description, click on Edit under the category name …

You can add/edit the category description

(Link category description)

Add your link category description field and click Update

Edit Link Category page

(Edit Link Category area)

Repeat this process and add as many link categories as you need.

After setting up your link categories, you can add new links.

How To Add Links

To add a new link, go to your navigation menu and choose Links > Add New

Links - Add New

(WP Links Menu – Add New)

The ‘Add New Link’ screen will load in your browser …

Add New Link page

(Add New Link screen)

You can also access this screen by clicking on the ‘Add New’ button in the main Links screen …

Add New Link button

(Links – Add New Link button)

The ‘Add New Links’ page has various sections:

Name, Web Address & Description

Enter details about your link in this section …

Name, Web Address, Description

(Name, Web Address, Description section – Add New Link)

Type in information into the following fields:

  • Name: Enter the link category name here.
  • Slug: The slug is the URL bit 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 in the links section, or as a tool tip when visitors hover over the link name.
Categories & Target

Select a Category and Target for the new link …

Categories & Target area - Add New Link

(Categories & Target area)

In the Categories section, tick a link category you have already added, 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 you want your link to open when a visitor clicks on it:

  • _blank means that a new window will open up in their web browser to display the content associated with the link.
  • _none means that when a visitor clicks on your link, they will leave 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. 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 …

Link Relationship (XFN) fields - Add New Link screen

(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 Tallulah Smith and you link to her blog, you would probably tick co-worker or colleague.

XFN relationships are optional for WordPress links. You can ignore this section and your links will work just fine. XFN makes the links defined on your site more understandable to some sites 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 specifies 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 with spaces.

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 ignore this section, unless there’s a good reason to use it) …

Add New Link - Advanced section

(Advanced link settings – Add New Link page)

The Advanced section fields include the following:

  • Image Address: Lets you specify an image to be displayed with the link. To use this feature, 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 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 want to sort links by rating (see the ‘Links’ widget section below).

Enter information into the above fields or just leave this section blank.

When you are done adding your new link information, click on Add Link to save your new link …

click on Add Link to update your link settings

(Click on Add Link to save your new link)

Important Info

Note: If you select Keep this link private, your link will not be visible in your Links section …

Make your links private

(You can make links private by selecting the checkbox)

Making links private allows you to toggle link visibility on or off without deleting your links (this is useful if you want to add seasonal links) …

Toggle link visibility on and off

(Toggle link visibility on and off)

To see all the links you have created, select Links > All Links in the WP dashboard menu …

Links Menu - All Links

(Links – All Links)

This brings up the ‘Links’ page in your web browser. The Links table displays all your links and link information (e.g. URL, link categories, rating, etc.) …

Links page

(Links table)


Tip: To view additional information in the Links page, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top of the screen …

Screen Options - Links table

(Screen Options – Links table)

Display/hide information on your table of links by selecting/deselecting their checkboxes …

Show/hide - List of links

(Hide or display – Links screen)

How To Edit Your Links

To modify a link, go to the dashboard menu and click on Links > All Links to bring up the table of links …

WordPress Links Menu - All Links

(WP Links – All Links)

Select the item you want to edit and click on Edit to bring up the link’s information …

Editing links

(Editing your link information)

Change your link …

Edit Link screen

(Edit Link screen)

After editing your link, you can:

  • Click on Update Link to save and update your link details,
  • Click on Visit Link to make sure that you have set up its URL correctly (the link will open up in a new window),
  • Click Delete to delete the link from your table of links …

Update Link button

(Update Link button)

How To Delete Links

To remove links, go to the WP dashboard menu and choose Links > All Links

Links - All Links

(WP Links Menu – All Links)

The ‘Links’ screen will load in your browser.

You can delete links individually, delete multiple links, or perform a bulk delete.

To delete individual links, hover your cursor over the link that you want to remove from the link table and click Delete

Deleting your links

(Deleting links)

To delete a number of links at once, either click on the check box next to each item that you want to be removed, or select all links by clicking on the main check box next to the ‘Name’ column header at the top of the list …

Deleting multiple links

(Deleting multiple links)

Choose Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ menu, and click the Apply button to remove your selected links …

Links: bulk-delete function

(Links: bulk-deletion function)

The links you have selected will be removed …

Deleted links notice

(Link deletion message)

Using The Plugin

Now that you know how to set up link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, let’s show you how to display links on your site.

Links Widget

Installing the Links Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ screen.

To access and configure your Link widgets, choose Appearance > Widgets in the dashboard menu …

WordPress Appearance - Widgets

(Appearance – Widgets)

This takes you to the ‘Widgets’ page.

You will notice a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …

Links widget

(Links widget)

Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of the widget sections and drop it wherever you want the links section to show up …

Drag and drop the links widget to add it to your widget bar

(Drag & drop your links widget to add it to a widgetized menu)

The Links widget provides a number of settings. For example, you can specify what information you want to display about your links and how many links you want to display on your sidebar …

Link widget - configurable options

(Link widget - options)

You can add multiple link widgets to your sidebars and footers. This allows you to add and display specific links on your site …

You can add a number of link widgets to your widget bars

(You can add a number of link widgets to your sidebar)

Display a list of links for a specific category …

Link widget options - Select Link Category

(Link widget settings – Select Link Category)

You can sort links by Link ID, Link rating, Link title, or display links in Random order …

Link widget settings - Sort by options

(Link widget settings – Sorting options)

After setting up the links widget, click Save to update your settings. Your links will show on your sidebar, footer or wherever you have added the widget to …

An example of how links can be displayed on your site's 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 using widgets? We have written a detailed article about widgets. To learn more about this go here:

Links Manager – Additional Information

If you have loads of links, the Links Manager plugin lets you easily administer these using filter, search, and sort functions.

Sort Links Function

To sort links, hover your cursor over the title of the column you want to sort and click on the black triangle displayed next to the column title …

You can sort links

(Sort links function)

Find Links

You can search for links using the ‘Search Links’ feature …

Finding your links

(You can easily find links with the search function)

Filter Links

You can filter links by link category …

Filtering your links by category

(Filter links by link categories)

You can also search and filter links in the Link Categories page. Use the ‘Search Link Categories’ button to find link categories, or click on the category links in the ‘Links’ column …

searching and filtering links in the Link Categories page

(Search and filter links in the Link Categories page)

This displays a list of all links listed for a specific link category …

Links filtered by link category

(Links filtered by link category)

Additional Link Options

If you plan to add a lot 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 consider using a plugin that can help you administer your links.

Link Library

Link library - WordPress Link Management Plugin

(Link Library WordPress Plugin)

Download Plugin URL

Plugin Description

Link Library lets you output a list of all your link categories and a complete list of links together with notes and descriptions …

Link Library links

(List of links created with Link library. Image sourced from Link Library plugin site.)

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 section, plus all links defined for 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 that lets your site users be made aware of additions to your link library.

To learn more about the Link Library plugin:

Adding WordPress Sidebar Links

Congratulations! Now you know how to add a link section to your WordPress site.

Useful Tip

We have written a comprehensive article about adding HTML hyperlinks into your WordPress content. Learn more here:


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