As you learn more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across the term blogroll.
A blogroll is a list of links pointing to other sites or web pages 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 featured links section on your sidebar using the Link Manager plugin.
Before WordPress v.3.5 was released, Links were a visible feature of the WordPress CMS. After the release of WordPress v.3.5, the Links manager and blogroll sections were removed …
(WP Links Feature – pre v.3.5)
(The Link Manager – no longer displayed in WordPress after WP v.3.5)
If you have had an earlier version of WordPress than v 3.5 installed and upgraded your installation, then the Links Manager would have been 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 item is not visible when you log into your WordPress dashboard, you can add this feature via a plugin. In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn how to add, edit, delete and manage links on your sidebar using plugins.
Plugin Download URL
Use this plugin to display the built-in Link Manager, even if you update to a later version of WordPress or remove all of your existing links.
Note: This plugin adds a single line of template code 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 one below instead, or contact us for help editing your site’s template code.
(Simple Links Plugin)
Plugin Download URL
This plugin recreates the same concept as the built-in Link Manager while addressing the shortcomings of the deprecated functionality.
Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.
From your WP admin area, select Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins Menu – Add New)
Select the Install Plugins > Search tab, then type ”link manager” into the search field and hit Enter …
Locate the plugin in the search results area and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin after installing it …
After activating the plugin, WordPress will display a ‘Links’ item in the sidebar menu …
(Links menu section)
Before adding links, it’s a good idea to first set up your link categories. This way, you can assign new links to the link category you have already created.
To create a new link category, go to your WP dashboard navigation menu and select Links > Link Categories …
(Links – Link Categories)
This brings up the ‘Link Categories’ screen in your browser.
Type in information into the following fields:
- Name: Enter the link category name.
- Slug: The slug is the search-engine friendly URL part of your link category. Use only lowercase letters without spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display your link category description.
Click the Add New Link Category button …
Your category details will be added to the table …
(Link Categories screen)
Tip: Blogroll is the default link category name. Unless you specify a category when adding a link, WordPress automatically assigns new links to the default category …
(Default link category name is ‘blogroll’)
You may want to change this default WordPress link category name to something that your visitors can relate to. 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 …
(Consider changing 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 the Quick Edit link …
Change both the Name and the Slug with a new category name, then click on Update Link Category …
(Update Link Category)
In our example, we’ve replaced the category name ‘Blogroll’ with an appropriate links section name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).
Let’s add a description for this link category. To add a link category description, click on the Edit link under the category name …
(Link category description)
Enter your link category description field and click Update …
(Edit Link Category screen)
Repeat the above process and add as many different link categories as you need.
After configuring your link categories, you can add your links.
Adding New Links
To create a new link, click on Links > Add New in your WP dashboard menu …
(Links – Add New)
This loads the Add New Link’ page in your web browser …
(Add New Link screen)
You can also reach this screen by clicking on the ‘Add New’ button in the main Links screen …
(Links – Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page is divided into several sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
The first section is where you enter your link details …
(Name, Web Address, Description – Add New Link)
Enter the following information:
- Name: Enter the link category name here.
- Slug: The slug is the URL bit of your link category. Use only lowercase letters without spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display your link category description. (Optional)
Categories & Target
After adding your link details, select a Category and Target for the link …
(Add New Link screen – Categories & Target)
In the Categories section, tick one of the link categories you have already created, or click on the ‘+ Add New Category’ link to add 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 web browser to display the information associated with the link. This allows your visitors to 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 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. If you don’t use frames, or if you don’t know what frames are, then just ignore this option.
Link Relationship XFN
This section provides some additional link functionality …
(Add New Link screen – Link Relationship (XFN) area)
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 Bessie Jones and you link to her 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. XFN makes your links 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 is used to define 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. Separate multiple ‘rel’ attributes with spaces.
You can learn more about XFN by visiting this site:
The last section lets you specify Advanced features for your links (You can ignore this section, unless there’s a good reason to use it) …
(Add New Link screen – Advanced area)
The Advanced link settings section contains the following:
- Image Address: Specify an image to be displayed with the link. 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 the links.
- Notes: This section lets you add notes 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).
Type in your information into the above fields or just leave this section blank, as these fields are not required.
When you have finished adding your new link information, click on the Add Link button to update your link settings …
(Click on the Add Link button to save your new link)
Note: If you select Keep this link private, your link will not be visible when links are displayed on your site …
(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 add seasonal links) …
(Toggle link visibility on and off)
To view a list of all the links you have added to the Link Manager, choose Links > All Links in the WP dashboard menu …
(WordPress Links Menu – All Links)
This brings up the ‘Links’ page in your web browser. The Links table displays all of your links and link information (e.g. URL, categories, relationship, etc.) …
(List of links)
Tip: To view additional fields in the list of links, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of your screen …
(Screen Options – List of links)
Enable/disable information on your table of links by ticking/unticking their checkboxes …
Editing Your Links
To edit links in the Link Manager, go to the WP admin menu and choose Links > All Links to bring up your links page …
(Links Menu – All Links)
Select the link you want to edit and click on Edit to bring up the link’s information …
(Editing your link information)
Change your link …
(Edit Link screen)
After editing your link, you can:
- Click on Update Link to save your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to view your link and make sure that you have set up the link’s URL correctly (your link will open in a new window),
- Click Delete to remove the link from your link table …
(Edit Link: Update Link button)
Deleting Your Links
To delete a link from the Link Manager, click on Links > All Links in the WP navigation menu …
(Links – All Links)
This loads the ‘Links’ page 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 your mouse cursor over the link you want removed and click on Delete …
To delete links in bulk, either click on the checkboxes next to individual links that you would like to remove, or select all links by clicking on the checkbox next to the ‘Name’ column header …
(Deleting multiple links)
Select Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ menu, and click the Apply button to remove your selected links …
(Bulk-deletion of links)
Your links will be deleted …
(links deleted notification)
Using The Plugin
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 links on your website.
Using The Links Widget
Installing the Link Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ section.
To access and configure your Link widgets, select Appearance > Widgets in the WP navigation menu …
(Appearance Menu – Widgets)
This brings up the ‘Widgets’ page.
You will notice a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …
Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of the widget sections in the Widgets screen and drop it wherever you would like the links to display …
(Adding a links widget to a widgetized area)
The Links widget offers various configurable settings. You can specify what information you want displayed about your links and how many links you would like displayed on your sidebar menu …
(Link widget - options)
You can add multiple link widgets to your sidebar and footer. This allows you to add and feature different link categories on your site …
(You can add multiple link widgets to your widget bars)
Display a list of links for a specific category …
(Link widget options – 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)
After setting up your Links widget, click the Save button to update your settings. A link section will display 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 help with widgets? We have written a detailed article on using widgets here:
Links Manager – Additional Information
If you have many links, the Links Manager plugin allows you to easily administer these using search, sort, and filter functionality.
Sort Your Links
To sort links, hover your mouse over the title of the column you want to sort and click on the black triangle displayed next to the column title …
(Sort your links)
Search Links Function
Search for links using the ‘Search Links’ function …
You can filter links by category …
(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 category links in the ‘Links’ column …
(Search and filter 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)
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 links, like Link Library.
(Link library – WordPress Links Management Plugin)
Plugin Download URL
This plugin gives you the ability to output a list of your link categories with a complete list of links together with notes and descriptions …
(Link Library links. Image sourced from Link Library plugin website.)
Link Library can be used to create a page on your web site containing all the link categories in your Links section, 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 of your links so that your site users can be made aware of additions to your link library.
To learn more this plugin, visit the plugin site:
Congratulations! Now you know how to add a featured links section to WordPress.
Go here if you want to learn more how to easily create HTML links in your WordPress posts and pages:
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