As you continue to learn more about the benefits of using WordPress, you may occasionally come across references to the term blogroll.
A blogroll is a list of hyperlinks pointing to external sites or blogs 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.”
You can display a links section on your blog using the WordPress Link Manager plugin.
Before WordPress v3.5 was released, Links were a built-in feature of the WordPress CMS. After the release of version 3.5, the Links manager and blogroll sections were removed …
(The Links Manager feature appeared in the WordPress dashboard menu until the release of WordPress version 3.5)
(Post v 3.5 – no WordPress Links feature)
If you’ve used an earlier version than v 3.5 and upgraded your installation, the Link Manager would be removed, unless you’ve previously used it. If you’ve never used the Links Manager feature, however, or if your installation of WordPress is new, then this function will remain hidden – you won’t see it on the dashboard 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 a Links section on your main menu when you log into your WP admin area, you can add this feature by installing a plugin. This tutorial will show you how to add, edit, delete and manage blogroll links on your sidebar using plugins.
(Link Manager – Plugin For WordPress)
Plugin Download URL
Description Of Plugin
Use this plugin to restore the built-in Link 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 code 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 this plugin, then use the plugin below instead, or contact us for help editing your template code.
(Simple Links WordPress Plugin)
Plugin Download URL
Simple Links attempts to recreate the same concept as the built-in WP Link Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.
Installing Link Manager
Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.
From your WP admin area, go to Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins Menu – Add New)
Click on the Install Plugins > Search tab, type ”link manager” into the search field and hit Enter …
Find the plugin in the search results screen and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin …
After activation, WordPress will add a ‘Links’ section to your dashboard menu area …
(WordPress links menu section)
Before you start adding links, we recommend setting up your link categories. This way, you can assign any new links to a link category you have already created.
To create a link category, select Links > Link Categories in the dashboard navigation menu …
(Links – Link Categories)
This takes you to the ‘Link Categories’ screen.
Type in information into the following sections:
- Name: Whatever you type in this field is the link category name that will display on your site.
- Slug: The slug displays in the search-engine friendly URL of the link category name. It must all be in lowercase letters and contain no spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display your link category description.
When finished, click the Add New Link Category button to save your new link category name …
Your category details will display in the table …
Tip: WordPress calls its default link category Blogroll . Unless you specify the category when adding a link, WordPress automatically assigns new links to the default category …
(Default link category)
You may want to change the default link category name to something that will make sense to site visitors. This will not only make it easier for visitors, but any new links that you add to your site will automatically appear under the new category name …
(Consider changing the default link category name to something better suited to your business)
To change the ‘Blogroll’ link name, 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 (remember to keep the slug in lowercase letters and replace all spaces with a hyphen), then click on the Update link Category button …
In our example, we’ve replaced the link category name ‘Blogroll’ with an appropriate links section category name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).
Let’s insert a link category description. To add a link category description, click on Edit under the category name …
(You can add/edit the category description)
Enter your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ screen and click Update …
(Edit Link Category page)
Repeat the above process to add as many new link categories as your site needs.
After setting up your link categories, you can add your links.
How To Add Links
To create a new link, choose Links > Add New in the dashboard menu …
(Links Menu – Add New)
This brings up the ‘Add New Link’ page …
(Add New Link screen)
You can also access this screen by clicking on the ‘Add New’ button at the top of the main Links page …
(Links – Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page includes the following sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
Enter your link details in this section …
(Name, Web Address, Description fields)
Enter information into the following sections:
- Name: What you type here displays as the category your links will be assigned to.
- Slug: The slug shows up in the search-engine friendly URL of the link category name. 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. (Optional)
Categories & Target
Select a Category and Target for your new link …
(Categories & Target – Add New Link screen)
In the Categories section, select a link category you’ve already set up, or click on the ‘+ Add New Category’ link to create a new category.
Also, select a target frame radio button for your link in the Target section. This lets you specify where you want your link to open when a visitor clicks on it:
- _blank means that when a visitor clicks on your link, a new, separate browser window will open up to display the information associated with the link. This lets your visitors access the information without leaving your page
- _none means that when visitors click on the link, they will exit 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. If you don’t use frames, or if you don’t know what frames are, then ignore this option.
Link Relationship XFN
This section provides some additional link functionality …
(Add New Link screen – Link Relationship (XFN))
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN stands for XML Friends Network – is a way to define your relationship to the linked person. For example, if you work with Kiara Fields and you link to her blog, you would probably check co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional. You can leave everything in this section blank and all of your links will work just fine. 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 a relationship between the current document and the linked document. For example, if you don’t want search engines to follow your link, type nofollow into this field.
To learn more about XFN, visit the site below:
The last section of the Add New Link’ screen lets you enter Advanced features for your links (some themes will ignore this. You can ignore this section, unless there’s a good reason to use it) …
The Advanced section fields are as follows:
- Image Address: 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 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 want to sort links by rating (see the ‘Links’ widget section below).
Enter information into the above fields or just leave this section blank, as these are not essential.
When you are done adding information about your link, click on Add Link to save your new link …
(Click on Add Link to save your new link)
Note: If you tick the Keep this link private checkbox, the link will not be visible when links are displayed on your site …
(You can make links private by checking the box)
Making a link private allows you to toggle link visibility on and off without deleting it (this is useful if you want to use seasonal links) …
(Making links private toggles their visibility on and off)
To see a list of all your links, go to the WP admin menu and choose Links > All Links …
(Links Menu – All Links)
This loads the ‘Links’ screen in your browser. The Links page displays a list of all of your links and link information (e.g. URL, categories, visibility, etc.) …
Tip: To display or hide columns in the table of links, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top of your screen …
(Table of links – Screen Options)
Show/hide fields on your Links table by ticking/unticking their check boxes …
To modify a link in the Link Manager, click on Links > All Links in your WP admin menu to bring up your links screen …
(Links Menu – All Links)
Locate the link to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the item’s link details …
Make the changes you want to the link details …
(Edit Link page)
After editing your link, you can:
- Click the Update Link button to save your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to make sure that you have set up everything correctly (your link will open in a new window),
- Click Delete to delete the link …
(Update Link button)
To remove links, go to your dashboard navigation menu and choose Links > All Links …
(Links – All Links)
The ‘Links’ page will load in your browser.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links, or remove all of your links.
To delete individual links, hover your cursor over the link title that you want to remove and click Delete …
(Delete your links)
To delete a number of links at once, either tick the check boxes next to individual items that you want deleted, or select all links by clicking on the main check box next to the ‘Name’ column header …
(Deleting multiple links)
Choose Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ drop-down menu, and click the Apply button to delete your selected links …
All the links you have selected will be deleted …
(Link deletion notification)
Using The Plugin
Now that you know how to configure link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, it’s time to learn how to make links display on your website.
Installing the Link Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ page.
To access and configure your Link widgets, go to the WP dashboard navigation menu and choose Appearance > Widgets …
(Appearance – Widgets)
The ‘Widgets’ screen will load in your web browser.
You will notice 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 widget bars in the Widgets screen and drop it wherever you would like the links section to display …
(Adding a links widget to your WordPress sidebar)
The Links widget offers a number of options. You can specify what information you would like to display about your links and how many links you want to display on your sidebar …
(Link widget - options)
You can also add as many link widgets as you want. This allows you to create and feature specific various lists of links throughout your site …
(Add multiple link widgets to your sidebar)
Select a link category from the ‘Select Link Category:’ dropdown menu …
(Link widget settings – Select Link Category)
You can sort links by Link rating, Link ID, Link title, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget options – Sort by options)
After setting up the links widget, click the Save button to update your settings. Your links should become visible on your sidebar menu …
(Links can be displayed on a 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 using widgets. For more details, go here:
Link Manager – Additional Information
If you have added many links, the Link Manager plugin allows you to easily administer these with sorting, filtering, and searching functions.
Sorting 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 links)
Type a search term into the search field and click the Search Links button …
(You can search links with the search function)
Filtering Your Links
You can filter links by link category …
(Filtering your links by link categories)
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 category links in the ‘Links’ column …
(searching and filtering links in the Link Categories page)
This brings up a list of all links listed for 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 blog, 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 consider using a plugin that can help you administer links.
(Link library – WordPress Links Management Plugin)
The Link Library plugin lets you publish a list of your link categories and a complete list of links with notes and descriptions …
(List of links created with Link library. Image: Link Library plugin website.)
This useful plugin creates a page on your site that contains all the link categories in your Links section, 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 of your link collection that lets your site users be made aware of additions to your link library.
Go here to learn more about this plugin:
Congratulations! Now you know how to how to add and manage links in WordPress.
Go here to learn more about how to add links into WordPress posts & pages:
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