As you learn more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across something called a blogroll.
A blogroll is a list of links pointing to external sites or blogs that display 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 manage a set of links using the Links menu in your WP Dashboard. These links will then display on your sidebar once you add the Links widget.
Before the release of WordPress v 3.5, Links were a visible feature of the WordPress CMS. From v 3.5 onwards, the Links manager and blogroll sections were hidden by default in new WordPress installations …
(WordPress Links Manager – pre v 3.5)
(Post v.3.5 – no WordPress Links Manager)
If you have used an earlier version than v3.5 and upgraded your installation, then the Link Manager would be 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 Manager is not visible when you log into your WP dashboard you will need to install a plugin. This step-by-step tutorial explains how to add, edit, delete and manage links on your site’s sidebar using plugins.
The Link Manager plugin restores the Link Manager, even if you upgrade WordPress to a later version or remove all of your existing 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 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)
Simple Links recreates the same concept as the built-in Link Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.
To install the Link Manager plugin on your website, follow these step-by-step instructions:
In your WordPress administration menu, select Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins Menu – Add New)
Select the Install Plugins > Search tab, 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 activation, WordPress will display a ‘Links’ section in the WP sidebar menu …
(Links menu section)
Setting Up Link Manager
We recommend setting up your link categories first before adding any new links. This way, when you create a new link, you can assign your link to link categories you have already created.
To create a link category, go to the dashboard navigation menu and choose Links > Link Categories …
(Links Menu – Link Categories)
This brings up the ‘Link Categories’ screen.
Type in the following information:
- Name: Enter the category name.
- Slug: The slug shows up in the web address of the link category. 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)
Click the Add New Link Category button to save your new link category name …
(Link Categories screen)
Your link category will display in the table …
(Link Categories screen)
Tip: Blogroll is the default link category name. Unless you specify a category for a new 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 your readers. This will not only make it easier for visitors, but any new links that you add to the Links section will automatically be assigned to the new category name …
(Consider changing the default link category name to something your visitors will relate to)
To edit the default category name, hover your mouse over the list item and click on Quick Edit …
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 …
(Edit the link category)
Replace the link category ‘Blogroll’ with a more suitable name (e.g. ‘Recommended’, ‘Our Sponsors’ etc).
Let’s now add a link category description. To add a description to an existing link category, click on the Edit link under the category name …
(Link category description)
Add your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ screen and click Update …
(Edit Link Category page)
Repeat the above process to add as many link categories as you need.
Once you have set up your link categories, you can start adding new links.
How To Add Links
To add a new link, go to the main dashboard navigation menu and select Links > Add New …
(Links – Add New)
The ‘Add New Link’ page will display in your browser …
(Add New Link page)
You can also reach this screen by clicking on ’Add New’ in the main Links page …
(Links screen – Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page is divided into a number of sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
Enter details about your link in this section …
(Name, Web Address& Description – Add New Link)
Enter the following information:
- Name: Enter the category name.
- Slug: The slug is the SEO friendly URL part 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 a link category description in the links section, or as a tool tip when visitors hover over the link name with their mouse. (Optional)
Categories & Target
Select a Category and Target for your link …
(Categories & Target area – Add New Link screen)
In the Categories section, tick a link category you have already added, or click on ’+ Add New Category’ to create 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 how you want the link to open when visitors click on it:
- _blank means that when visitors click on the link, a new, separate browser window will open up to display the information for that link.
- _none means that when a visitor clicks on your link, they will exit your site and a new site or page will load in your web browser window instead.
- _top opens the link 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 …
(Link Relationship (XFN) – Add New Link)
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN stands for XML Friends Network – is a way to define your relationship with the linked person. For example, if you have a professional relationship with Ishaan Gould and you link to his blog, you would probably tick 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 still work. Defining relationships with XFN makes your links more understandable to some sites 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 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. Separate multiple ‘rel’ attributes with spaces.
You can learn more about XFN by visiting this site:
The last section of the Add New Link’ screen allows you to enter Advanced features for your links (You can leave these fields empty unless there’s a good reason to use them) …
(Advanced link settings – Add New Link)
The Advanced link settings section contains the following:
- Image Address: Lets you specify an image to be displayed with the link. Add an image URL and make sure that your 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 link.
- 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).
Type in your information in the above fields or just leave this section blank.
When you are done adding your new link information, click on Add Link 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 in your Links section …
(Private link checkbox)
Making a link private lets you 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 all the links you have added, select Links > All Links in the WP admin menu …
(WordPress Links Menu – All Links)
This loads the ‘Links’ screen in your browser. The Links table displays a list of all your links and link information (e.g. link URL, categories, rating, etc.) …
Tip: To display additional information in the Links page, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of your screen …
(List of links – Screen Options)
Show/hide information on your table of links by selecting/deselecting their checkboxes …
(Table of links – Show/hide screen options)
How To Edit Your Link Information
To edit a link, go to the admin menu and choose Links > All Links to bring up your links screen …
(Links – All Links)
Select the link to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the link’s information …
(Editing your link information)
Make any changes you want to the link details …
(Edit Link screen)
After editing your link, you can:
- Click the Update Link button to save your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to see your link and make sure that you have set up everything correctly (your link will open in a new window),
- Click Delete to remove the link from your list if it’s no longer required …
(Update Link button)
To delete a link, go to your dashboard navigation menu and select Links > All Links …
(Links Menu – All Links)
This loads the ‘Links’ page in your browser.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links by selecting their check boxes, or delete all of your links.
To delete individual links, hover over the link title you want removed and click Delete …
To delete links in bulk, either click on the check boxes next to individual items that you would like removed, or select all links by clicking on the check box next to the ‘Name’ column header …
(Deleting multiple links)
Choose Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ menu, and click Apply to delete your selected links …
All the links you have selected will be removed …
(links deleted message)
Now that you know how to configure link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, let’s show you how to display your links on your site.
Using The Links Widget
Installing the Link Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ section.
To access and configure your Link widgets, go to your navigation menu and select Appearance > Widgets …
(Appearance Menu – Widgets)
The ‘Widgets’ screen will display in your browser.
You will notice that a ‘Links’ widget has been added to the Available Widgets section …
Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of the widget bars in the Widgets page and drop it wherever you would like your links to show up …
(Drag and drop the links widget to add it to your sidebar)
The Links widget includes various configurable settings. You can specify what information you would like to display about your links and how many links you would like to display on your sidebar menu …
(Link widget settings)
You can add as many link widgets as you want. This lets you add and display various link sections on your site …
(You can add a number of link widgets to your sidebar)
Display a list of links for a specific category …
(Link widget settings – Select Link Category)
You can sort links by Link title, Link rating, Link ID, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget options – Sorting options)
After setting up the links widget, click the Save button to update your settings. A links should show on your website’s 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 more help using widgets? We have written a detailed article about using widgets here:
Link Manager – Additional Information
If you have loads of links, the Links Manager plugin allows you to easily administer these using sorting, searching, and filtering features.
Sort Your Links
To sort links, hover your cursor 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)
Type a search term into the search field and click the Search Links button to search for links …
(Search your links)
Filtering Links Function
You can filter links by categories …
(Filtering links by category)
You can also search and filter links in the Link Categories page. Use the ‘Search Link Categories’ button to search for 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 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 blog, or if you intend 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 links, like Link Library.
(Link Library Plugin)
Plugin Download URL
The Link Library plugin allows you to publish a list of your link categories with a complete list of links with descriptions and notes …
(List of links created with Link library. Image sourced from Link Library plugin site.)
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 defined for 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 for your links so that your site users can become aware of any additions made to to your link library.
To learn more about using this powerful plugin, visit the plugin site:
Congratulations! Now you know how to how to add a blogroll and manage links in your WordPress sidebar menu.
We have written a comprehensive article about how to easily create HTML hyperlinks in WordPress posts. Go here to learn more:
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