As you continue to discover more about the benefits of using WordPress, you may occasionally come across something called a blogroll.
A blogroll is a list of links pointing to external websites or web pages that display on your sidebar menu.
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 easily add hyperlinks to a widgetized theme.
Before the release of version 3.5, Links were a core feature of the WordPress CMS. From v 3.5 onwards, the Links manager and blogroll sections were kept hidden by default in new WordPress installations …
(The Links Manager – included in the WordPress menu until the release of WordPress version 3.5)
(The Link Manager – excluded from the WordPress admin menu after WordPress version 3.5)
If you have had an earlier version than v 3.5 installed and updated your installation, the Links Manager would have been removed, unless you’ve 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 feature is not visible when you log into your WP dashboard 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.
(Links Manager WordPress Plugin)
The Link Manager plugin displays the default Link Manager, even if you update to a later version of WordPress or remove all of your current links.
Note: This plugin adds a single line of code 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 plugin below instead, or contact us for help editing your template code.
(Simple Links Plugin)
Simple Links recreates the same concept as the built-in WP Link Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated functionality.
Installing Link Manager
Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.
In your WP admin area, go to Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins – 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 search results screen and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin …
After you have activated the plugin, WordPress will display a ‘Links’ item on the dashboard menu …
(Links management menu)
Before you start adding links, we recommend setting up your link categories. This way, when adding a new link, you can assign your link to the link category you have already created.
To create a link category, click on Links > Link Categories in the WP navigation menu …
(Links – Link Categories)
You will be taken to the ‘Link Categories’ page.
Enter information into the following sections:
- Name: Enter the category name.
- Slug: The slug is the URL part of your link category name. Use lowercase letters only and do not include spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display your link category description. (Optional)
Click Add New Link Category to save …
(Link Categories page)
Your new category will display in the list …
Tip: Blogroll is the default link category name. Unless you specify a category when creating a link, WordPress automatically assigns new links to the default category …
(Default link category name is ‘blogroll’)
You may want to change this to something that will make sense to blog readers. This will not only make 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 ’blogroll’ to something better suited to your business)
To change the default category name, hover your mouse over the list item and click on Quick Edit …
(Editing the link category)
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 …
(Update Link Category)
In our example, we’ve replaced the category ‘Blogroll’ with an appropriate links section name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).
Let’s now add a description for this link category. To add a link category description, hover over the link category name and click Edit …
(Link category description)
Enter your link category description field and click Update when you’re done …
(Edit Link Category screen)
Repeat the above process to add as many different link categories as your site needs.
Once you have finished setting up your link categories, you can add new links.
To create a new link, select Links > Add New in the WP dashboard navigation menu …
(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 …
(Links page – Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page has several sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
Enter details about your link in this section …
(Name, Web Address& Description fields – Add New Link)
Type in information into the following fields:
- Name: What you type here displays as the link category name.
- Slug: The slug is the SEO friendly URL part of the link category. Use lowercase letters only and do not include spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display a link category description. (Optional)
Categories & Target
After adding your link details, select a Category and Target for your new link …
(Categories & Target – Add New Link page)
In the Categories section, select one of the link categories you’ve already set up, 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 where the link should open when clicked on by visitors:
- _blank means that a new window will open up in their browser to display the content for that link. This allows your visitors to access the link information without leaving your site
- _none means that when visitors click on the link, they will exit your site and a new site 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) – Add New Link)
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN stands for XML Friends Network – allows you to define your relationship with the linked person. For example, if you have a professional relationship with Peter Anderson and you link to his blog, you would probably check co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional. You can ignore this section and all of your links will still work. Defining relationships with XFN makes your links 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 specifies 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. Other ‘rel’ attributes include author, help, index, start, etc.
To learn more about XFN, visit the site below:
The last section of the Add New Link’ page lets you specify Advanced features for your links (some themes will ignore this. You can leave the fields in this section blank unless there’s a good reason to use them) …
The Advanced section contain the following fields:
- Image Address: Lets you specify an image to be displayed with the link. To use this feature, add an 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 will display next to your links.
- Notes: Add notes about the link in this section 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, as these are not essential.
When you have finished adding your new link information, click on Add Link to update your link settings …
(Click on the Add Link button to update your link settings)
Note: If you select Keep this link private, your link will not be visible when links are displayed on your site …
(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 have seasonal links) …
(Making links private toggles their visibility on and off)
To see all your links, go to the main admin menu and select Links > All Links …
(Links Menu – All Links)
The ‘Links’ page will load in your browser. The Links screen displays a list of all of your links and link information (e.g. link URL, categories, rating, etc.) …
(Table of links)
Tip: To view additional fields in the table of links, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of your screen …
(Screen Options – List of links)
Enable/disable fields on your Links table by selecting/deselecting their checkboxes …
How To Edit Your Links
To edit links, go to the main dashboard menu and click on Links > All Links to bring up the links page …
(Links – All Links)
Select the item to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the link’s details …
(Editing link information)
Edit the link …
(Edit Link page)
After you’re done editing your link, you can:
- Click on Update Link to save and update your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to see your link and check that you have set up your link’s URL correctly (your link will open in a new window),
- Click Delete to delete the link from your list …
(Update Link button)
Deleting Your Links
To remove links, go to the WP dashboard navigation menu and click on Links > All Links …
(Links – All Links)
This brings up the ‘Links’ screen.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links, or remove all of your links at once.
To delete individual links, hover your cursor over the link title that you want to remove and click on Delete …
(Deleting your links)
To delete links in bulk, either click on the checkboxes next to individual links that you want to remove, or select all links by clicking on the checkbox next to the ‘Name’ column header at the top of the list …
(Deleting multiple links)
Select Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ menu, and click Apply to remove your selected links …
(Bulk-deletion of links)
The links you have selected will be removed …
(Deleted links notice)
Now that you know how to configure link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, it’s time to learn how to display your links on your website.
Using The Links Widget
The Links Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ section.
To access and configure your Link widgets, click on Appearance > Widgets in the dashboard menu …
(Appearance Menu – Widgets)
You will be taken to the ‘Widgets’ page.
You will see a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …
To make the ‘Links’ widget active, drag it to one of the widget sections and drop it wherever you would like the links section to display …
(Add a links widget to a widgetized menu using drag & drop)
The Links widget provides various configurable options. For example, you can specify what information you would like to show about your links and how many links you want to display on your sidebar menu …
(Link widget options)
You can also add as many link widgets as you want. This allows you to create and display specific different links throughout your site …
(Add multiple link widgets to your sidebar)
Display a list of links for a specific category …
(Link widget options – Select Link Category)
You can sort links by Link title, Link rating, Link ID, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget options – Sort by options)
When you have finished configuring your links widget, click Save to update your settings. A links will show on your website’s sidebar menu …
(An example of how 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 more help with widgets? We have written a comprehensive article on using widgets here:
Links Manager – Additional Information
If you have many links, the Link Manager plugin allows you to easily administer these using search, filter, and sort functions.
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 …
Finding Links Function
Type a search term into the search field and click the Search Links button …
(You can search your links using the search function)
Filtering Links Function
You can filter links by categories …
(Filtering your 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 links in the ‘Links’ column …
(Search and filter 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)
Additional Link Options
If you plan to add lots of links to your site, or if you intend 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 WordPress Plugin)
The Link Library plugin lets you display a list of your link categories with a complete list of all your links together with notes and descriptions …
(List of links created with Link library. Screenshot taken from Link Library plugin site.)
Link Library creates a page on your site that contains all the link categories in your Links area, plus all links listed in 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 be made aware of any additions made to to your link library.
To learn more about using this WordPress plugin, go here:
Congratulations! Now you know how to add a blogroll to WordPress.
If you want to learn more about how to add links into your WordPress posts & pages, refer to this article:
"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now