As you continue to learn more about using WordPress, you may occasionally come across something called a blogroll.
A blogroll is a list of links pointing to external sites or pages displayed 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 add hyperlinks to your WordPress sidebar (e.g. a “Resources” section) using widgets.
Before WordPress v 3.5 was released, Links were a core feature of the WordPress CMS. From version 3.5 onwards, the Link Manager section was kept hidden by default in new installations …
(WP Links Manager Feature – pre version 3.5)
(Links – excluded from the admin menu after WordPress v 3.5)
If you’ve had an earlier version of WordPress than v.3.5 installed and updated your installation, the Link 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 you can’t see a Links item on your main menu when you log into your WP dashboard, you can add this feature by installing a plugin. In this tutorial, you will learn how to add and manage links on your site’s sidebar using WordPress plugins.
This plugin displays the built-in Links 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 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 this plugin, then use the one below instead, or contact us for help editing your template code.
(Simple Links WordPress Plugin)
Simple Links recreates the concept of the built-in Link Manager while addressing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.
How To Install The Plugin
Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.
From the WordPress admin menu, go to Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins – Add New)
Select the Install Plugins > Search tab, type ”link manager” into the search field and hit Enter …
Locate the plugin in the results area and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin …
After you’ve activated the plugin, a ‘Links’ section will show up on your dashboard menu …
Before you start adding new links, we recommend setting up your link categories. This way, you can assign any new links to the link category you have already created.
To create a link category, go to the WP dashboard menu and select Links > Link Categories …
(Links – Link Categories)
This loads the ‘Link Categories’ page in your web browser.
Type in information into the following fields:
- Name: Whatever you type here displays as the category your links will be assigned to.
- Slug: The slug is the web address bit of the link category. 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 the Add New Link Category button …
(Link Categories screen)
Your new category will display in the table …
(Link Categories page)
Tip: WordPress calls its default link category Blogroll . Unless you specify the 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 the 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 the Links section will automatically be listed under the new category name …
(Change the default link category name to something your visitors will relate to)
To change the ‘Blogroll’ link title, 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 (remember to keep the slug in lowercase letters and replace all spaces with a hyphen), and click on Update Link Category …
(Editing the link category)
Replace the category ‘Blogroll’ with an appropriate links section category name (e.g. ‘Recommended’, ‘Special Deals’ etc).
Let’s now add a description for this link category. To add a description to an existing link category, hover over the link category name and click Edit …
(You can add/edit the category description)
Add your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ screen and click Update when done …
(Edit Link Category screen)
Repeat this process and add as many new link categories as your site requires.
Once you have configured your link categories, you can add new links.
Adding New Links
To add a new link, go to the dashboard navigation menu and click on Links > Add New …
(Links – Add New)
The ‘Add New Link’ screen will display in your browser …
(Add New Link page)
You can also reach this screen by clicking on ’Add New’ at the top of the main Links page …
(Links – Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page includes several sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
Enter your link details in this section …
(Name, Web Address, Description – Add New Link)
Enter the following information:
- Name: Whatever you enter in this field is the link category name that will display on your site.
- Slug: The slug is the search-engine friendly URL part of the link category. It must 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 the link …
(Add New Link page – Categories & Target)
In the Categories section, select a link category you have already added, or click on the ‘+ Add New Category’ link to add a new category link.
Also, select a target frame for your link in the Target section by choosing one of the radio buttons. This lets you specify where the link should open when clicked on by visitors:
- _blank means that a new, separate web browser window will open up to display the information for that link. This lets your visitors see the link information without leaving your page
- _none means that when a visitor clicks on the link, they will leave your site and a new site or page will load in your browser window instead.
- _top opens the link 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) fields – Add New Link page)
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN (XML Friends Network) allows you to define your relationship with the linked person. For example, if you work with Maisie Fields and you link to her blog, you would probably tick co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional for WordPress links. You can ignore this section and all of your links will work just fine. 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 is used to define the relationship 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, help, index, start, etc. Separate multiple ‘rel’ keywords with spaces.
To learn more about XFN, visit the site below:
The last section of the Add New Link’ page lets you enter Advanced features for your links (You can ignore this section, unless there’s a good reason to use it) …
(Advanced section – Add New Link page)
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 RSS feed associated with the link can display next to the 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).
Enter information into the above fields or just leave this section blank, as these are not essential for links to work.
When you are done 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 tick the checkbox next to Keep this link private, the link will not be visible in your Blogroll section …
(Make links private by checking the box)
Making a link private lets you toggle link 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 all the links you have created, go to the dashboard menu and select Links > All Links …
(Links – All Links)
This takes you to the ‘Links’ table. The Links table displays a list of all your links and link information (e.g. URL, categories, rating, etc.) …
Tip: To display additional columns in the Links page, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top of the screen …
(Screen Options – Links page)
Enable/disable fields on your Links table by ticking/unticking their check boxes …
(Links page – Show/hide screen options)
How To Edit Links
To modify links in the Link Manager, go to your admin menu and choose Links > All Links to bring up your list of links …
(WordPress Links – All Links)
Select the item you want to edit and click on Edit to bring up the item’s link details …
(Editing your links)
Edit your link fields …
(Edit Link screen)
After you’re done editing your link, you can:
- Click the Update Link button to save your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to check that you have set up everything correctly (the link will open in a new window),
- Click Delete to remove the link from your table if it’s no longer required …
(Update Link button)
How To Remove Links
To delete a link, go to your navigation menu and select Links > All Links …
(Links Menu – All Links)
This brings up the ‘Links’ table in your web browser.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links by selecting their check boxes, or remove all links.
To delete links individually, hover your mouse cursor over the link title you want removed and click on Delete …
To delete multiple links, either click on the checkboxes next to individual links that you want removed, or select all links by clicking on the main checkbox next to the ‘Name’ column header at the top of the list …
(Delete multiple links)
Choose Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ drop menu, and click Apply to remove all selected links …
(Bulk-deletion of links)
The selected links will be deleted …
(Deleted links notification)
Now that you know how to configure link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, let’s show you how to make links display on your site.
The Links Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ page.
To access and configure your Link widgets, select Appearance > Widgets in the admin menu …
(Appearance Menu – Widgets)
This loads the ‘Widgets’ screen in your web browser.
You will see a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …
To make the ‘Links’ widget active, drag the widget to one of the active widget sections and drop it wherever you want your links to display …
(Adding a links widget to a widgetized menu using drag & drop)
The Links widget includes various configurable options. You can specify what information you would like to show about your links and how many links you would like to display on your sidebar menu …
(Link widget options)
You can also add as many link widgets to your sidebars and footers as you want. This allows you to add and display multiple lists of links sorted by categories throughout your site …
(Add a number of link widgets to your widget bars)
Select a link category to display a specific list of items …
(Link widget options – Select Link Category)
You can sort links by Link rating, Link title, Link ID, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget settings – Sort by options)
When you have finished configuring your links widget, click the Save button to update your settings. Your links will become visible on your 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.
Need help with widgets? We have written a detailed article on adding widgets. To learn more about this go here:
Links Manager – Additional Information
If you have added many links, the Link Manager plugin allows you to easily administer these using searching, sorting, and filtering functionality.
Sort Your Links
You can sort links by hovering your mouse cursor over the title of the column you want to sort and clicking on the little black triangle displayed next to the column title …
(Sort your links)
Search Links Function
Type a search term into the search field and click the Search Links button …
(You can easily find links using the search function)
You can filter links by link category …
(Filtering links by 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 …
(Search and filter links in the Link Categories page)
This brings up a list of all links listed under a specific link category …
(Links filtered by link category)
Additional Link Options
If you plan to add lots of links to your website or blog, 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 look at using a plugin that can help you administer your links, like Link Library.
(Link Library WordPress Plugin)
Plugin Download URL
Link Library gives you the ability to output a list of your link categories and a complete list of all your links plus notes and descriptions …
(List of links created with Link library. Screenshot taken from Link Library plugin site.)
This useful plugin creates a page on your web site containing a list of all of the link categories in your Links section, plus 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 links so that your site users can become aware of any additions made to to your link library.
To learn more this WordPress plugin, visit this site:
Congratulations! Now you know how to how to add and manage links in your WordPress sidebar menu.
We have written a comprehensive article on inserting hyperlinks into your WordPress posts and pages. You can learn more about this here:
"Your training is the best in the world! It is simple, yet detailed, direct, understandable, memorable, and complete." Andrea Adams, FinancialJourney.org