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 …

Adding WordPress Sidebar LinksAs you continue to discover more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across references to the term blogroll.

A blogroll is a list of links 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.”

The Links feature lets you add external hyperlinks to a widget-ready theme.


Prior to the release of WordPress version 3.5, Links were a core feature of the WordPress CMS. After the release of v3.5, the Links Manager section was removed …

Before …

WP Links Manager Feature - pre v 3.5

(WordPress Links Manager Feature – pre version 3.5)

After …

Post v 3.5 - no WP Links Manager

(Post version 3.5 – no WordPress Links feature)

If you have had an earlier version of WordPress than v.3.5 installed and updated your installation, the Links 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 the Links menu section is not visible when you log into your WP admin area, you can add it by installing 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 For WordPress)

Plugin Download URL

Description Of Plugin

You can use this plugin to display the Links Manager, even if you upgrade to a later version of WordPress or remove all of your existing links.

Note: All this plugin does is add a single line of code to WordPress 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 plugin below instead, or contact us for help editing your template code.

Simple Links

Simple Links

(Simple Links Plugin)

Download URL

Plugin Description

This plugin recreates the concept of the built-in Link Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated functionality.

Installing The Plugin

Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.

From your WP dashboard menu, select Plugins > Add New

Plugins - Add New

(Plugins – Add New)

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

Plugin Installation

Locate the plugin in the results area and click Install Now

Plugin Installation

Activate the plugin …

Plugin Installation

After activation, WordPress will display a ‘Links’ item on your sidebar menu …

Links management menu

(WordPress links menu section)

Setting Up The Plugin

We recommend setting up link categories first before you start adding links. This way, you can assign new links to the link category you have already created.

Link Categories

To create a link category, choose Links > Link Categories in the main admin menu …

Links Menu - Link Categories

(Links Menu – Link Categories)

This loads the ‘Link Categories’ page in your web browser.

Enter the following information:

  • Name: Enter the link category name.
  • Slug: The slug is the search-engine friendly URL bit of your link category name. Only use lower case letters without spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
  • Description: Some themes may display your link category description. (Optional)

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

Link Categories

(Link Categories area)

Your category details will now show in the list …

Link Categories screen

(Link Categories area)


Tip: The default WordPress link category is called Blogroll . 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 is ‘blogroll’)

You may want to change this default link category name 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 …

Change the default link category name to something better suited to your business

(Change the default link category name to something your visitors will understand)

To change the ‘Blogroll’ link name, hover your mouse over the item and click on Quick Edit

Editing the link category name

(Quick Edit)

Change 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 Update Link Category

Edit the default link category name

(Edit the default link category)

In our example, the category name ‘Blogroll’ has been replaced with an appropriate links section category name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).

Let’s insert a description for this link category. To add a link category description, hover over the item name and click Edit

Link category description

(You can add/edit the category description)

Enter your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ screen and click Update when finished …

Edit Link Category area

(Edit Link Category page)

Repeat the above process to add as many link categories as you need.

After configuring your link categories, you can add your links.

Adding Links

To create a new link, go to the WP dashboard navigation menu and select Links > Add New

WordPress Links - Add New

(Links Menu – Add New)

You will be taken to the ‘Add New Link’ screen …

Add New Link screen

(Add New Link screen)

You can also reach this screen by clicking on the ‘Add New’ button at the top of the main Links screen …

Add New Link button

(Links – Add New Link button)

The ‘Add New Links’ page is divided into various sections:

Name, Web Address & Description

Enter your link details in this section …

Add New Link - Name, Web Address, Description area

(Name, Web Address& Description area – Add New Link screen)

Enter the following information:

  • Name: Enter the category name here.
  • Slug: The slug appears in the web address 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 a link category description.
Categories & Target

After typing in your link details, select a Category and Target for the link …

Categories & Target - Add New Link screen

(Add New Link – Categories & Target)

In the Categories section, tick a link category you have already created, or click on the ‘+ Add New Category’ link to create a new category link.

Also, 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 by visitors:

  • _blank means that a new, separate browser window will open up to display the content associated with the link. This lets your visitors access the link information without leaving your page
  • _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. 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 section provides some additional link functionality …

Add New Link - Link Relationship (XFN)

(Link Relationship (XFN) section – Add New Link)

Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN stands for XML Friends Network – allows you to define your relationship to the linked person. For example, if you have a professional relationship with Aalia O’Malley and you link to her blog, you would probably tick co-worker or colleague.

XFN relationships are optional. You can ignore this section and all 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 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.

You can learn more about XFN by visiting the site below:


The last section allows you to enter Advanced features for your links (You can leave these fields empty unless you have a reason to use them) …

Advanced area

(Advanced section – Add New Link screen)

The Advanced link settings section includes the following options:

  • Image Address: Lets you specify an image to be displayed with the link. To use this feature, add the URL of your image 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 will display next to your links.
  • 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 update your link settings …

click on Add Link to update your link settings

(Click on the Add Link button to save your new link)

Useful Information

Note: If you select the checkbox next to Keep this link private, your link will not be visible when links are displayed on your site …

You can make links private by checking the box

(Private link checkbox)

Making a link private lets you add a link and then toggle its visibility on and off without deleting it (this is useful if you want to have seasonal links) …

Making links private toggles their visibility on and off

(Toggle link visibility on and off)

To see all your links, choose Links > All Links in the WP dashboard navigation menu …

Links - All Links

(Links – All Links)

This loads the ‘Links’ table in your web browser. The list of links displays all of your links and link information (e.g. link URL, categories, visibility, etc.) …

List of Links

(Links table)


Tip: To view additional fields in the Links table, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of the screen …

Table of Links - Screen Options

(Screen Options – Links screen)

Enable/disable fields on your Links table by selecting/deselecting their check boxes …

Show/hide links

(Links screen – Hide or show screen options)

Editing Links

To modify links in the Link Manager, go to your WP admin menu and select Links > All Links to bring up the list of links …

Links - All Links

(Links – All Links)

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

Editing link information

(Editing link information)

Change the link …

Edit Link screen

(Edit Link page)

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 its URL correctly (the link will open up in a new window),
  • Click Delete to delete the link from your table of links if it’s no longer required …

Update Link button

(Update Link button)

Deleting Your Links

To delete a link, click on Links > All Links in the admin menu …

Links - All Links

(WordPress Links – All Links)

This loads the ‘Links’ page in your web browser.

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

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

Delete your links

(Deleting your links)

To delete multiple links, either tick the check boxes next to individual links that you would like to be removed, or select all links by clicking on the check box next to the ‘Name’ column header …

Delete multiple links

(Deleting multiple links)

Select Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ menu, and click the Apply button to delete all selected links …

Links: bulk-deletion function

(Bulk-delete links)

All the links you have selected will be deleted …

Deleted links notification

(Link deletion notification)

Plugin Usage

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 your links on your website or blog.

Using The Links Widget

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

To access and configure your Link widgets, select Appearance > Widgets in the navigation menu …

WordPress Appearance Menu - Widgets

(Appearance – Widgets)

You will be taken to the ‘Widgets’ page.

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

Links widget

(Links widget)

To make the ‘Links’ widget active, drag it to one of the widget areas in the Widgets page and drop it wherever you want your links section to display …

Add a links widget to a widgetized area

(Adding a links widget to your widget bar using drag & drop)

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

Link widget - configurable settings

(Link widget - settings)

You can also add as many link widgets to your sidebar and footer as you want. This allows you to create and feature specific a number of different lists of links on your site …

Add multiple link widgets to your sidebar

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

Select a link category to display a specific list of items …

Link widget settings - Select Link Category

(Link widget settings – Select Link Category)

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

Link widget settings - Sorting options

(Link widget options – Sorting options)

After setting up the links widget, click the Save button to update your settings. Your link section will show on your website …

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.

Useful Tip

Need more help using widgets? We have written a detailed article on using widgets. Go here to learn more about this:

Link Manager – Additional Information

If you have added many links, the Links Manager plugin lets you easily administer these using searching, sorting, and filtering functions.

Sort Your Links

You can sort links by hovering your cursor over the title of the column you want to sort and clicking on the black triangle displayed next to the column title …

You can easily sort your links

(Sorting links)

Finding Links

Type a search term into the search field and click the Search Links button to find links …

Search links

(Searching links)

Filter Links Function

You can filter links by link categories …

Filter links by link categories

(Filtering links by 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

(Search and filter links in the Link Categories screen)

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 use links extensively on your website, or if you would like to add a ‘Links’ page to your site (i.e. not just add links on your sidebar), then you may want to consider using a plugin that can help you administer your links.

Link Library

Link Library Plugin

(Link Library)

Plugin URL

Plugin Description

This plugin allows you to display a list of all your link categories and a complete list of links with descriptions and notes …

Link Library links

(List of links created with Link library. Image source: Link Library plugin documentation.)

This plugin creates a page on your web site containing all the link categories in your Links area, and 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 for your links so that your site users can become aware of additions to your link library.

To learn more about the benefits of using this plugin, visit this website:

Adding A WordPress Featured Links Section

Congratulations! Now you know how to how to add a blogroll and manage links in your WordPress sidebar menu.

Practical Tip

We have also written a detailed article about inserting HTML hyperlinks into your WordPress content here:


"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group