As you learn more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across something called a blogroll.
A blogroll is a list of hyperlinks pointing to external sites or pages 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 Manager lets you easily add and manage links to a widgetized theme.
Prior to the release of v 3.5, Links were a built-in feature of the WordPress CMS. After the release of version 3.5, the Links Manager section was kept hidden by default in new installations …
(Links was part of the dashboard menu until the release of WordPress v3.5)
(Post v 3.5 – no WordPress Links feature)
If you’ve had an earlier version of WordPress than v 3.5 installed and upgraded your installation, then the Links Manager would have been removed, unless you have previously used it. If you’ve never used the Links Manager feature, however, or if your site installation is new, then this function will become invisible – you won’t see it displayed on the 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 you can’t see the Links feature when you log into your WP admin area you will need to install a plugin. In this tutorial, you will learn how to add, edit, delete and manage links on your sidebar using WordPress plugins.
(Link Manager Plugin)
Description Of Plugin
Use this plugin to display the built-in Link Manager, even if you update WordPress to a later version or remove all of your current links.
Note: All this plugin does is add a single line of code to your installation in order 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.
This plugin attempts to recreate the same concept as the built-in Link Manager while addressing the shortcomings of the deprecated functionality.
Installing The Plugin
Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.
In your WP administration menu, go to 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 …
Find the plugin in the 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 navigation menu area …
(Links management menu section)
Before adding links, we recommend setting up your link categories. This way, you can assign new links to a link category you have already created.
To create a new link category, go to the WP dashboard menu and select Links > Link Categories …
(Links Menu – Link Categories)
The ‘Link Categories’ page will display in your 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 is the search-engine friendly URL bit of your link category. Only use lower case letters without spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display your link category description. (Optional)
Click the Add New Link Category button to save …
(Link Categories page)
The link category will now show in the list …
Tip: Blogroll is the default link category name. Unless you specify the category when adding a new link, WordPress will assign new links to the default category …
(Default link category)
You may want to change this to something better suited to your business. This not only makes it easier for users of your site, but any new links that you add to your site will automatically be assigned to the new category name …
(we recommend changing the default ’blogroll’ to something better suited to your business)
To edit the default category name, hover your mouse over the item and click on Quick Edit …
Change both the Name and the Slug with a new category name, then click on Update Link Category …
In our example, the link category name ‘Blogroll’ has been replaced with an appropriate links section category name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).
Let’s create a description for this link category. To add a link category description, click on Edit under the category name …
(Link category description)
Enter your link category description field and click Update when you’re done …
(Edit Link Category area)
Repeat this process to add as many link categories as you need.
Once you have configured your link categories, you can add new links.
To create a new link, go to the WP navigation menu and choose Links > Add New …
(Links – Add New)
You will be taken to the ‘Add New Link’ page …
(Add New Link page)
You can also access this page by clicking on ’Add New’ at the top of the main Links page …
(Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page includes various sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
The first section is where you enter details about your link …
(Name, Web Addressand Description – Add New Link)
Enter the following information:
- Name: Whatever you type here is the link category name that will display on your site.
- Slug: The slug is the search-engine friendly URL bit of your link category. It must be in lowercase letters and contain no spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display a link category description. (Optional)
Categories & Target
Select a Category and Target for the new link …
(Categories & Target)
In the Categories section, tick a link category you’ve already added, or click on the ‘+ Add New Category’ link to add 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 the link should open when visitors click on it:
- _blank means that a separate window will open up in their browser to display the information for that link.
- _none means that when visitors click on your 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. 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) fields)
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN stands for XML Friends Network – lets you define your relationship to the linked person. For example, if you work with Ben Jenkins and you link to his blog, you would probably check co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional for WordPress links. You can ignore this section and all of your links will still work. 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 lets you specify the ‘rel’ attribute that will be assigned to your link. The rel attribute is used to define the 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. Other ‘rel’ attributes include author, start, help, index, etc. Separate multiple ‘rel’ keywords with spaces.
To learn more about XFN, visit this site:
The last section lets you specify Advanced features for your links (You can ignore this section, unless there’s a good reason to use it) …
(Add New Link page – Advanced fields)
The Advanced link settings section contains the following:
- Image Address: Lets you specify an image to be displayed with the link. To use this feature, add the image URL 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 display next to the links.
- Notes: This section lets you add notes 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).
Enter information in the above fields or just leave this section blank, as these are not required.
When you are done adding your new link information, click on the Add Link button to save your new link …
(Click on Add Link to save your new link)
Note: If you select Keep this link private, the link will not be visible when links are displayed on your site …
(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 a link to display during certain periods and hide it after it’s no longer required) …
(Making links private toggles their visibility on and off)
To see all the links you have added to the Link Manager, go to the main admin menu and choose Links > All Links …
(Links Menu – All Links)
This brings up the ‘Links’ screen. The Links table displays a list of your links and link information (e.g. link URL, link categories, relationship, etc.) …
Tip: To display additional fields in the table of links, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top of the screen …
(Screen Options – Table of links)
Show/hide information on your Links table by ticking/unticking their check boxes …
(Links page – Hide or display screen options)
Editing Your Links
To edit links in the Link Manager, go to the main dashboard navigation menu and choose Links > All Links to bring up the table of links …
(Links – All Links)
Select the link you want to edit and click on Edit to bring up the item’s link details …
(Editing link information)
Make changes to your link …
(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 see your link and make sure that you have set up everything correctly (your link will open in a new window),
- Click Delete to delete the link from your table …
(Edit Link: Update Link button)
To remove links, go to the WP dashboard navigation menu and select Links > All Links …
(Links Menu – All Links)
The ‘Links’ screen will load in your web browser.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links, or perform a bulk delete.
To delete individual links, hover your mouse cursor over the link title you want removed and click on Delete …
(Delete your links)
To delete a number of links at once, either click on the checkbox next to each item that you would like to remove, or select all links by clicking on the check box next to the ‘Name’ column header at the top of the list …
(Delete multiple links)
Choose Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ menu, and click Apply to remove your selected links …
The selected links will be deleted …
(Deleted links message)
Now that you know how to configure link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, let’s show you how to make links display on your site.
The Link Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ page.
To access and configure your Link widgets, go to the WP dashboard menu and click on Appearance > Widgets …
(Appearance – Widgets)
This brings up the ‘Widgets’ page in your browser.
You will notice that a ‘Links’ widget has been added to the Available Widgets section …
Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of the widget bars in the Widgets screen and drop it wherever you would like your links to display …
(Add a links widget to your sidebar using drag and drop)
The Links widget includes a number of configurable options. You can specify what information you would like to display about your links and how many links you want displayed on your sidebar …
(Link widget options)
You can also add multiple link widgets to your sidebars and footers. This lets you add and display a number of different link categories on your site …
(Add a number of link widgets to your sidebar)
Select a link category to display specific links …
(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 options – Sorting options)
When you have finished configuring your Links widget, click Save to update your settings. Your link section should become visible on your site …
(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 more help with widgets? We have written a detailed article about using widgets. Go here to learn more about this:
Links Manager – Additional Information
If you have added many links, the Link Manager plugin lets you easily administer these using searching, filtering, and sorting 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 black triangle displayed next to the column title …
(Sorting your links)
Search Links Function
You can search for links using the ‘Search Links’ function …
(You can search links with the search function)
You can filter links by categories …
(Filter links by category)
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 links in the ‘Links’ column …
(Search and filter links in the Link Categories screen)
This displays a list of all links listed under a specific link category …
(Links filtered by category)
Links – Additional Options
If you plan to use links extensively on your website or blog, or if you want 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, like Link Library.
(Link library – WordPress Link Management Plugin)
Link Library gives you the ability to display a list of your link categories and a complete list of links with descriptions and notes …
(List of links created with Link library. Image source: Link Library plugin documentation.)
Link Library creates a page on your website that contains all the link categories in your Links area, and all links listed in 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 be made aware of additions to your link library.
To learn more about the benefits of using this plugin, visit the plugin website:
Congratulations! Now you know how to add a link section to WordPress.
We have written a comprehensive article on how to add HTML hyperlinks to WordPress. For more info, see this article:
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