As you become more familiar with WordPress, you may occasionally come across the term blogroll.
A blogroll is a list of links pointing to other sites or blogs 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 link section using the Links menu in your Dashboard. These links will then display on your site once you add the Links widget.
Prior to the release of version 3.5, Links were a core feature of the WordPress CMS. From version 3.5 onwards, the Links Manager section was removed …
(WP Links Menu – pre v 3.5)
(Post version 3.5 – no WP Links Manager)
If you’ve used an earlier version of WordPress than v.3.5 and updated your installation, then the Link Manager would be 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 you can’t see the Links feature when you log into your WP dashboard you will need to install a plugin. In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn how to add and manage blogroll links on your site’s sidebar using plugins.
Use this plugin to display the default Links feature on your WordPress dashboard, 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 in order to restore the hidden feature. When we last checked, this plugin had not been updated for a while, 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 Plugin)
Simple Links 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, do the following:
From your WP administration area, go to Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins – Add New)
Click on the Install Plugins > Search tab, then type in “link manager” into the search field and hit Enter …
Locate the plugin in the results screen and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin after installing it …
After activation, WordPress restores the ‘Links’ feature to your dashboard menu …
(WordPress links management menu)
Before you start adding any new links, we recommend setting up your link categories. This way, when you add a new link, you can assign the link to the link category you have already created.
To create a new link category, go to the main dashboard menu and click on Links > Link Categories …
(WP Links – Link Categories)
This loads the ‘Link Categories’ screen in your web browser.
Type in the following information:
- Name: Whatever you type here will display as the category your links will be assigned to.
- Slug: The slug is the URL bit of the link category name. It must be in lowercase letters and contain no spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display your link category description. (Optional)
When finished, click the Add New Link Category button to save …
(Link Categories screen)
The category details will be added to the table …
Tip: The default WordPress link category is called Blogroll . Unless you specify a 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 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 appear under the new category name …
(Change the default ’blogroll’ to something your visitors will relate to)
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, and click on Update Link Category …
(Update Link Category)
In our example, the link category ‘Blogroll’ has been replaced with an appropriate links section category name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).
Let’s now add a description for this link category. To add a link category description, click on Edit under the category name …
(Link category description)
Add your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ page and click Update …
(Edit Link Category page)
Repeat the above process to add as many different link categories as you need.
Once you have finished setting up your link categories, you can being adding your links.
How To Add New Links
To add a new link, go to the WP dashboard navigation menu and click on Links > Add New …
(WP Links Menu – Add New)
This loads the Add New Link’ page in your web browser …
(Add New Link page)
You can also reach this page by clicking on the ‘Add New’ button in the main Links page …
(Links – Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page is divided into a number of sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
This section lets you enter details about your link …
(Name, Web Address& Description section – Add New Link screen)
Enter information into the following sections:
- Name: What you type here will display as the category your links will be assigned to.
- Slug: The slug is the URL part of the link category. Only use lower case letters without spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display a link category description. (Optional)
Categories & Target
After typing in link details, select a Category and Target for your new link …
(Add New Link – Categories & Target)
In the Categories section, select one of the link categories you have already added, or click on the ‘+ Add New Category’ link 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 separate window will open up in their browser to display the information associated with the link. This allows your visitors to see the link information without leaving your website
- _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 web browser window instead.
- _top opens links at the top level of the frame system if you’re using frames. Don’t worry about 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) – Add New Link)
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN (XML Friends Network) is a way to define your relationship with the linked person. For example, if you work with Prisha Silva and you link to her 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 work just fine. XFN makes your links 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 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.
To learn more about XFN, visit this site:
The last section 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 page – Advanced section)
The Advanced link settings section contains the following:
- Image Address: 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 your link.
- 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 in the above fields or just leave this section blank, as these are not essential for links to work.
When you have finished adding information about your link, click on Add Link to save your new link …
(Click on the Add Link button to save your new link)
Note: If you select Keep this link private, the link will not be visible in your Blogroll section …
(Private link checkbox)
Making links private allows you to add links and then toggle their visibility on and off without deleting your links (this is useful if you want to use seasonal links) …
(Toggle link visibility on and off)
To view a list of all the links you have created, go to your WP dashboard navigation menu and select Links > All Links …
(WordPress Links – All Links)
This brings up the ‘Links’ table in your browser. The table of links displays all your links and link information (e.g. URL, link categories, rating, etc.) …
Tip: To display or hide columns in the table of links, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top of the screen …
(Screen Options – Links screen)
Enable/disable information on your table of links by selecting/deselecting their check boxes …
(Hide or show – Table of links)
Editing Link Information
To modify links, go to the dashboard navigation menu and click on Links > All Links to bring up the list of links …
(WP Links Menu – All Links)
Select the link to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the item’s link details …
(Editing link information)
Make any changes you want to your link …
(Edit Link page)
After editing the link, you can:
- Click on Update Link to save your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to make sure that you have set up its URL correctly (your link will open up in a new window),
- Click Delete to remove the link if it’s no longer required …
(Update Link button)
Removing Your Links
To remove a link from the Link Manager, go to the admin menu and select Links > All Links …
(WordPress Links Menu – 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 remove all of your links.
To delete links individually, hover over the link that you want to remove and click on Delete …
To delete a number of links at once, either tick the checkbox next to each item that you would like to remove, or select all links by clicking on the main checkbox next to the ‘Name’ column header …
(Delete multiple links)
Select Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ menu, and click Apply to remove all selected links …
All the links you have selected will be removed …
(Link deletion message)
Using The Plugin
Now that you know how to configure link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, it’s time to make links display on your site.
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 navigation menu and choose Appearance > Widgets …
(Appearance – Widgets)
This brings up the ‘Widgets’ page in your web browser.
You will see 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 would like the links to display …
(Drag & drop your links widget to add it to a widgetized menu)
The Links widget includes various settings. For example, you can specify what information you would like to display about your links and how many links you want to display on your sidebar menu …
(Link widget - configurable settings)
You can add as many link widgets to your sidebar and footer as you want. This lets you create and display specific link categories on your site …
(Add multiple link widgets to your sidebar)
Select a link category to display links for a specific category …
(Link widget options – Select Link Category)
You can sort links by Link rating, Link title, Link ID, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget settings – Sorting options)
After configuring your Links widget, click the Save button to update your settings. A link section will show on your 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 help with widgets? To learn more about widgets, refer to this article:
Link Manager – Additional Information
If you have many links, the Link Manager plugin allows you to easily administer these with searching, sorting, and filtering functionality.
Sorting Your Links
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 …
Searching Your Links
Type a search term into the search field and click the Search Links button …
You can filter links by category …
(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 link category)
Links – Additional Options
If you plan to add a lot of links to your website, 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 links.
(Link Library WordPress Plugin)
Plugin Download URL
This plugin lets you display a list of your link categories and a complete list of all your links with notes and descriptions …
(Link Library links. Image: Link Library plugin website.)
This plugin creates a page on your web site containing all the link categories in your Links area, plus 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 for your link collection that lets your site users be made aware of additions to your link library.
For more information about the benefits of using this handy plugin, go here:
Congratulations! Now you know how to add a link section to WordPress.
We have also written a comprehensive article on inserting hyperlinks into your WordPress content here:
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