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 learn more about using WordPress, you may occasionally come across references to the term blogroll.

In WordPress terminology, a list of links displayed on your sidebar section is sometimes referred to as a blogroll.

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 a links section to a widgetized theme.

Info

Prior to the release of v3.5, Links were a core feature of the WordPress CMS. After v 3.5, the Link Manager section was hidden by default in new WordPress installations …

Before …

The Links Manager feature  - part of the WordPress menu until the release of WP v3.5

(The Links Manager feature appeared in the menu until the release of WP v 3.5)

After …

Links  - no longer shown in WordPress after WP v.3.5

(Links is no longer included in WordPress after WordPress v3.5)

If you were using the Link Manager in previous versions of WordPress, then it will still be available when your WP installation upgrades to a newer version. If you’ve never used Link Manager, however, or if your WordPress site installation is new, then this function will remain hidden – you will not see it on your menu.

 

How To Add A Link Section To WordPress

Practical Tip

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 item on the main menu when you log into your WP backend, you can add it by installing a plugin. In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn how to add and manage links on your site’s sidebar using plugins.

Link Manager

Link Manager

(Link Manager Plugin)

Plugin URL

http://wordpress.org/plugins/link-manager

Description

The Link Manager plugin restores the Links Manager, even if you upgrade to a later version of WordPress or remove all of your existing links.

Note: This plugin adds a single line of template 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 the Link Manager plugin, then use the plugin below instead, or contact us for help editing your site’s template code.

Simple Links

Simple Links Plugin

(Simple Links WordPress Plugin)

Plugin URL

https://wordpress.org/plugins/simple-links/

Description Of Plugin

This plugin attempts to recreate the same concept as the built-in WordPress Link Manager while addressing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.

Plugin Installation

Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.

From the WordPress dashboard area, go to Plugins > Add New

Plugins - Add New

(Plugins – Add New)

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

Installing The Plugin

Locate the plugin in the results area and click Install Now

Plugin Installation

Activate the plugin …

How To Install Link Manager

After activating the plugin, WordPress displays a ‘Links’ section in the WP dashboard menu …

WordPress links management menu

(WordPress links management menu)

Configuring Link Manager

We recommend setting up link categories first before adding new links. This way, when you add a new link, you can assign your link to a link category you have already created.

Link Categories

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

Links - Link Categories

(Links Menu – Link Categories)

The ‘Link Categories’ page will load in your web browser.

Enter information into the following sections:

  • Name: Enter the link category name.
  • Slug: The slug is the URL bit of your link category. 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. (Optional)

Click Add New Link Category

Link Categories page

(Link Categories)

Your link category will display in the list …

Link Categories page

(Link Categories screen)

Info

Tip: The default WordPress link category is called Blogroll . Unless you specify the category when creating a new link, WordPress will assign new links to the default category …

Default link category name is 'blogroll'

(Default link category name)

You may want to change this to something better suited to your business. This will not only make it easier for visitors, 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 your visitors will understand

(Consider changing the default link category name 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

(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), then click on the Update link Category button …

Quick Edit

(Quick Edit)

Replace the link category ‘Blogroll’ with a more suitable name (e.g. ‘Recommended’, ‘Related Items’ etc).

Let’s create a link category description. To add a link category description, click on the Edit link under the category name …

You can add/edit the category description

(Link category description)

Add your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ page and click Update when you’re done …

Edit Link Category page

(Edit Link Category area)

Repeat this process and add as many link categories as your site requires.

After setting up your link categories, you can start adding new links.

How To Add New Links

To add a new link, go to your WP dashboard menu and click on Links > Add New

WP Links Menu - Add New

(Links – Add New)

This loads the Add New Link’ screen in your web browser …

Add New Link screen

(Add New Link screen)

You can also access this page by clicking on ’Add New’ at the top of the main Links page …

Add New Link button

(Add New Link button)

The ‘Add New Links’ page has various sections:

Name, Web Address & Description

Enter your link details in this section …

Add New Link page - Name, Web Addressand Description

(Name, Web Address& Description section)

Enter information into the following sections:

  • Name: Enter the link category name.
  • Slug: The slug displays in the search-engine friendly URL of the link category name. Use only lowercase letters and do not include 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 link …

Add New Link - Categories & Target area

(Categories & Target fields)

In the Categories section, select one of the link categories you’ve already created, 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 how you want your link to open when clicked on by visitors:

  • _blank means that when visitors click on the link, a new window will open up in their web browser to display the information associated with the link.
  • _none means that when visitors click on the link, they will exit your site and a new site 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 screen

(Link Relationship (XFN))

Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN (XML Friends Network) allows you to define your relationship with the linked person. For example, if you work with Suzanne Schwartz and you link to her blog, you would probably check co-worker or colleague.

XFN relationships are optional for WordPress links. You can leave everything in this section blank and all of your links will work just fine. 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 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. Other ‘rel’ attributes include author, index, help, start, etc. Separate multiple ‘rel’ keywords with spaces.

You can learn more about XFN by visiting this site:

Advanced

The last section allows you to specify Advanced features for your links (You can leave the fields in this section blank unless you have a reason to use them) …

Add New Link screen - Advanced link settings

(Advanced link settings)

The Advanced section fields are as follows:

  • Image Address: Specify an image to be displayed with the link. 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 will display next to the 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 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.

When you are done adding information about your link, click on Add Link to save your new link …

click on the Add Link button to update your link settings

(Click on Add Link to update your link settings)

Important Info

Note: If you tick Keep this link private, your link will not be visible when links are displayed on your site …

Private link checkbox

(Private link checkbox)

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

Toggle link visibility on and off

(Making links private toggles their visibility on and off)

To see all your links, select Links > All Links in the main navigation menu …

Links - All Links

(Links – All Links)

You will be taken to the ‘Links’ page. The Links screen displays a list of all of your links and link information (e.g. link URL, link categories, rating, etc.) …

Links table

(Links screen)

Practical Tip

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

Screen Options - List of Links

(Table of links – Screen Options)

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

Show/hide links

(Show/hide links)

Editing Your Link Information

To edit links in the Link Manager, go to the navigation menu and choose Links > All Links to bring up your links screen …

Links Menu - All Links

(Links – All Links)

Locate the item to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the link’s details …

Editing links

(Editing link information)

Change the link details …

Edit Link page

(Edit Link page)

After editing your link, you can:

  • Click on Update Link to save and update your link details,
  • Click on Visit Link to view your link and check that you have set up your link’s URL correctly (the link will open up in a new window),
  • Click Delete to remove the link from your table of links …

Edit Link: Update Link button

(Update Link button)

Removing Links

To delete links from the Link Manager, choose Links > All Links in the main navigation menu …

Links - All Links

(WP Links Menu – All Links)

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

You can delete links individually, delete multiple links by selecting their check boxes, or delete all your links.

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

Delete links

(Delete links)

To delete links in bulk, either click on the check boxes next to individual links that you would like removed, or select all links by clicking on the check box next to the ‘Name’ column header at the top of the list …

Deleting multiple links

(Deleting multiple links)

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

Links: bulk-deletion function

(Bulk-delete links)

All the links you have selected will be removed …

Deleted links notification

(Deleted links message)

Plugin Usage

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 website or blog.

Using The Links Widget

The Links Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ page.

To access and configure your Link widgets, go to the main dashboard navigation menu and choose Appearance > Widgets

WordPress Appearance Menu - Widgets

(Appearance Menu – Widgets)

This brings up the ‘Widgets’ page in your web browser.

You will notice that a ‘Links’ widget has been added to the Available Widgets section …

Links widget

(Links widget)

To make the ‘Links’ widget active, drag the widget to one of your active widget sections in the Widgets screen and drop it wherever you would like your links section to show up …

Add a links widget to a widgetized menu using drag & drop

(Adding a links widget to a widgetized menu)

The Links widget includes various options. You can specify what information you would like to show about your links and how many links you want to display on your sidebar …

Link widget - configurable settings

(Link widget options)

You can also add as many link widgets as you want. This lets you add and feature a number of link sections throughout your site …

You can add multiple link widgets to your widget bars

(Add multiple link widgets to your sidebar)

You can add and display a list of items for a specific category …

Link widget options - Select Link Category

(Link widget settings – Select Link Category)

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

Link widget options - Sorting options

(Link widget options – Sorting options)

When you have finished configuring your Links widget, click the Save button to update your settings. Your links should now be visible on your website …

An example of how links can be displayed on a sidebar

(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.

Practical Tip

Need help using widgets? We have written a detailed article about configuring widgets here:

Links Manager – Additional Information

If you have many links, the Link Manager plugin allows you to easily administer these using sorting, filtering, and searching functionality.

Sort Links

To sort links, hover your mouse cursor over the title of the column you want to sort and click on the black triangle displayed next to the column title …

You can sort links

(Sorting links)

Find Your Links

You can find links using the ‘Search Links’ feature …

Search links

(Finding links)

Filter Links

You can filter links by categories …

Filter links by category

(Filter links by link 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 category links in the ‘Links’ column …

searching and filtering links in the Link Categories screen

(Search and filter links in the Link Categories screen)

This brings up a list of all links listed for a specific link category …

Links filtered by link category

(Links filtered by category)

Links – Additional Options

If you plan to use links extensively on 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 look at using a plugin that can help you administer links.

Link Library

Link Library Plugin

(Link Library Plugin)

Plugin Download URL

http://wordpress.org/plugins/link-library/

Plugin Description

Link Library allows you to display a list of your link categories with a complete list of links plus descriptions and notes …

List of links created with Link library

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

Link Library can be used to create a page on your website containing a list of all of the link categories in your Links section, and 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 of your link collection that lets your site users become aware of any additions made to to your link library.

To learn more this WordPress plugin, visit the plugin website:

Adding WordPress Sidebar Links

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

Tip

Go here if you would like to learn more about inserting links into WordPress:

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"These tutorials have so much information and are easy to understand. If you use WordPress or plan to in the future these will help you with everything you need to know." - Valisa (Mesa, Arizona)