As you continue to discover more about using WordPress, you may occasionally come across references to the term blogroll.
WordPress refers to a list of hyperlinks pointing to other websites or pages that display on your sidebar area 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.”
You can display a links section on your blog using the WordPress Link Manager plugin.
Before WordPress version 3.5 was released, Links were a visible feature of the WordPress CMS. From v.3.5 onwards, the Link Manager section was kept hidden by default in new WordPress installations …
(The Links Manager – included in the menu until the release of WordPress v.3.5)
(The Link Manager – no longer displayed in WordPress after WordPress version 3.5)
If you’ve had an earlier version of WordPress than 3.5 installed and updated 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 you can’t see the Link Manager section 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)
Use this plugin to restore the default Links 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 WordPress to restore the hidden feature. The last time we checked, this plugin had not been updated for a while, 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 WordPress Plugin)
This plugin attempts to recreate the same concept as the built-in WP Links Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.
To install the Link Manager plugin on your website, do the following:
In your WordPress dashboard menu, go to Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins Menu – Add New)
Select the Install Plugins > Search tab, type in “link manager” into the search field and hit Enter …
Locate the plugin in the results area and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin after installation …
After activation, a ‘Links’ section will show up on your admin menu …
(Links menu section)
We recommend setting up link categories first before adding new links. This way, you can assign any new links to a link category you have already created.
To create a new link category, go to the main dashboard menu and select Links > Link Categories …
(Links Menu – Link Categories)
The ‘Link Categories’ page will display in your web browser.
Enter information into the following sections:
- Name: What you type here displays as the link category name.
- Slug: The slug displays in the SEO friendly URL of the link category name. 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 the Add New Link Category button to save your new link category name …
(Link Categories page)
Your category details will be added to the list …
Tip: WordPress calls its default link category Blogroll . Unless you specify a category when creating a new link, WordPress automatically assigns new links to the default category …
(Default link category)
You may want to change the default link category name to something that your visitors can understand. This not only makes 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 edit the ‘Blogroll’ link name, hover your mouse over the category name and click on Quick Edit …
Change both the Name and the Slug with a new category name, and click on the Update link Category button …
(Update Link Category)
In our example, the category name ‘Blogroll’ has been replaced with an appropriate links section name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).
Let’s create a link category description. To add a link category description, hover over the link category name and click Edit …
(You can add/edit the category description)
Add your link category description field and click Update when done …
(Edit Link Category page)
Repeat the above process and add as many new link categories as you need.
Once you have configured your link categories, you can add your links.
Adding New Links
To add a new link, go to your WP navigation menu and click on Links > Add New …
(Links – Add New)
This brings up the Add New Link’ page in your browser …
(Add New Link screen)
You can also reach this screen by clicking on ’Add New’ at the top of the main Links screen …
(Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page has a number of sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
Enter your link details in this section …
(Name, Web Address, Description)
Enter the following information:
- Name: Enter the category name here.
- Slug: The slug appears in the URL of the link category name. It must be in lowercase letters and contain no spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display your link category description. (Optional)
Categories & Target
Select a Category and Target for your new link …
(Add New Link page – Categories & Target section)
In the Categories section, tick one of the link categories you have already set up, or click on the ‘+ Add New Category’ link to create a new category.
Also, select a target frame for your link in the Target section by choosing one of the radio buttons. This lets you specify where your link should open when clicked on:
- _blank means that a new browser window will open up to display the information for that link.
- _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 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 section provides some additional link functionality …
(Link Relationship (XFN) section)
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN stands for XML Friends Network – is a way to define your relationship to the linked person. For example, if you have a professional relationship with Zoe 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. Defining relationships with XFN makes the links defined on your site 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 specifies 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, start, help, etc. Separate multiple ‘rel’ keywords with spaces.
You can learn more about XFN by visiting this site:
The last section of the Add New Link’ page allows you to enter Advanced features for your links (You can ignore this section, unless there’s a good reason to use it) …
(Advanced fields – 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 the URL of where the image is stored and make sure that your image is small (around 16×16 like a favicon).
- RSS Address: If your theme allows it, the link’s RSS feed can display next to your 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 would like to sort links by rating (see the ‘Links’ widget section below).
Enter information in the above fields or just leave this section ignore this section.
When you have finished adding information about your link, click on Add Link to update your link settings …
(Click on Add Link to save your new link)
Note: If you select the checkbox next to Keep this link private, the link will not be visible in your Blogroll section …
(Private link checkbox)
Making a link private lets you add a link and then toggle its visibility on or off without deleting it (this is useful if you would like a link to display during certain periods and hide it afterwards) …
(Toggle link visibility on and off)
To view a list of all the links you have added, choose Links > All Links in the WP navigation menu …
(WordPress Links – All Links)
You will be taken to the ‘Links’ screen. The list of links displays all of your links and link information (e.g. URL, link categories, relationship, etc.) …
Tip: To show or hide columns in the list of links, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top of your screen …
(Screen Options – Links page)
Enable/disable fields on your table of links by ticking/unticking their check boxes …
(Hide or display – Table of links)
Editing Your Link Information
To modify links in the Link Manager, click on Links > All Links in your dashboard menu to bring up your 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)
Make changes to your link information …
(Edit Link screen)
After you’re done editing your link, you can:
- Click on Update Link to save your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to check 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 list if you no longer require it …
(Edit Link: Update Link button)
How To Remove Links
To remove links from the Link Manager, click on Links > All Links in the WP dashboard navigation menu …
(Links Menu – All Links)
This loads the ‘Links’ screen in your web browser.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links, or remove all your links.
To delete links individually, hover your mouse cursor over the link title that you want to remove from the link table and click on Delete …
To delete links in bulk, either tick the checkboxes next to individual items that you want to remove, or select all links by clicking on the check box next to the ‘Name’ column header at the top of the list …
(Delete multiple links)
Select Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ menu, and click Apply to remove your selected links …
(Bulk-deletion of links)
Your links will be deleted …
(Deleted links message)
Using The Link Manager Plugin
Now that you know how to configure link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, it’s time to learn how to make links display on your site.
Using The Links Widget
Installing the Link Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ page.
To access and configure your Link widgets, go to the dashboard navigation menu and select Appearance > Widgets …
(WP Appearance – Widgets)
The ‘Widgets’ page will display in your web browser.
You will notice a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …
To make the ‘Links’ widget active, drag the widget to one of your active widget areas and drop it wherever you would like the links section to display …
(Adding a links widget to your widget bar)
The Links widget offers various settings. For example, 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 - options)
You can also add multiple link widgets to your sidebars and footers. This allows you to create and feature specific link sections sorted by categories on your site …
(Add multiple link widgets to your sidebar)
You can select a link 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 – Sort by options)
After setting up your links widget, click Save to update your settings. Your link section will show up immediately on your website …
(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 using widgets? We have written a comprehensive article about adding widgets. Go here to learn more about this:
Links Manager – Additional Information
If you have added many links, the Link Manager plugin lets you easily administer these with sort, filter, and search functionality.
Sorting Your Links
To sort links, hover your cursor over the title of the column you want to sort and click on the little black triangle displayed next to the column title …
(Sorting your links)
Type a search term into the search field and click the Search Links button …
(Searching your links)
Filtering Your Links
You can filter links by categories …
(Filter links by categories)
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 displays 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 want 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.
Plugin Download URL
The Link Library plugin lets you display a list of your link categories with a complete list of links plus descriptions and notes …
(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 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 be made aware of additions to your link library.
Go here to learn more this plugin:
Congratulations! Now you know how to add a featured links section to WordPress.
We have written a detailed article about how to easily add HTML links in WordPress. Go here to learn more about this:
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