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 …

Get Thrive Leads for WordPress

Adding A WordPress Blogroll SectionAs you continue to discover more about the benefits of using WordPress, you may occasionally come across something called a blogroll.

In WordPress terminology, a list of links displayed on your sidebar area 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 add and manage links to a widget-ready theme.


Prior to the release of version 3.5, Links were a visible feature of the WordPress CMS. From v3.5 onwards, the Links manager and blogroll sections were removed …

Before …

Links appeared in the dashboard menu until the release of WP version 3.5

(WP Links Menu – pre v 3.5)

After …

Post v3.5 - no WP Links Manager

(Post v.3.5 – no WordPress Links Manager feature)

If you have had an earlier version than v 3.5 installed and upgraded your installation, then the Links Manager would have been 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 you can’t see the Links feature when you log into your WordPress dashboard you will need to install a plugin. In this tutorial, you will learn how to add and manage blogroll links on your sidebar using plugins.

Link Manager

Link Manager - WordPress Link Management Plugin

(Link Manager WordPress Plugin)

Download URL


This plugin displays the default Links 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 WordPress to restore the hidden feature. When we last checked, this plugin had not been updated for a while, 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 site’s template code.

Simple Links

Simple Links - WordPress Link Management Plugin

(Simple Links Plugin)

Download URL

Plugin Description

This plugin recreates the concept of the built-in Link Manager while addressing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.

How To Install Link Manager

To install the Link Manager plugin, follow these instructions:

From the WP admin menu, go to Plugins > Add New

Plugins - Add New

(Plugins – Add New)

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

How To Install Link Manager

Find the plugin in the results screen and click Install Now

How To Install Link Manager

Activate the plugin …

Installing Link Manager

After activating the plugin, WordPress will add a ‘Links’ item to the dashboard menu area …

WordPress links menu

(WordPress links menu section)

Setting Up The Plugin

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

Link Categories

To create a new link category, go to your WP dashboard navigation menu and click on Links > Link Categories

Links - Link Categories

(Links Menu – Link Categories)

The ‘Link Categories’ screen will display in your web browser.

Enter information into the following fields:

  • Name: Enter the category name here.
  • Slug: The slug is the web address part 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 a link category description. (Optional)

after entering your information, click the Add New Link Category button to save …

Link Categories page

(Link Categories)

The category details will display in the table …

Link Categories

(Link Categories)

Important Info

Tip: WordPress calls its default link category Blogroll . Unless you specify a category for a link, WordPress automatically assigns new links to the default category …

Default link category name is 'blogroll'

(Default link category name)

You may want to change this to something that your visitors can relate to. 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 assigned to the new category name …

we recommend changing the default link category name to something better suited to your business

(we recommend changing the default ’blogroll’ to something your visitors will relate to)

To change the ‘Blogroll’ link name, hover your mouse over the category name and click on Quick Edit

Editing the link category

(Quick Edit)

Change both the Name and the Slug with a new category name, and click on the Update link Category button …

Quick Edit

(Quick Edit)

In our example, we’ve replaced the category ‘Blogroll’ with a more suitable name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).

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

You can add/edit your category description

(Link category description)

Add your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ screen and click Update

Edit Link Category area

(Edit Link Category screen)

Repeat the above process and add as many different link categories as your site needs.

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

How To Add New Links

To create a new link, go to the dashboard navigation menu and choose Links > Add New

Links - Add New

(WordPress Links Menu – Add New)

This brings up the ‘Add New Link’ screen …

Add New Link screen

(Add New Link page)

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 the following sections:

Name, Web Address & Description

This section lets you enter details about your link …

Add New Link - Name, Web Addressand Description section

(Name, Web Addressand Description area)

Type in information into the following fields:

  • Name: Enter the category name here.
  • Slug: The slug appears in the web address 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.
Categories & Target

After adding your link details, select a Category and Target for the new link …

Categories & Target section

(Categories & Target)

In the Categories section, select one of the link categories you have already created, or click on ’+ Add New Category’ to add a new category.

Next, select a target frame radio button for your link in the Target section. This lets you specify how your link should open when visitors click on it:

  • _blank means that when a visitor clicks on the link, a new, separate browser window will open up to display the content for that link. This allows your visitors to access the information without leaving your site
  • _none means that when visitors click on your link, they will exit your site and a new website 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)

(Link Relationship (XFN))

Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN (XML Friends Network) is a way to define your relationship to the linked person. For example, if you have a professional relationship with Andrew Gould and you link to his blog, you would probably tick co-worker or colleague.

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

To learn more about XFN, visit the site below:


The last section lets you specify Advanced features for your links (some themes will ignore this. You can ignore this section, unless there’s a good reason to use it) …

Add New Link - Advanced fields

(Advanced section – Add New Link page)

The Advanced section fields are as follows:

  • Image Address: Specify an image to be displayed with the link. To use this feature, add the URL of your image 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 be displayed 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 into 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 Add Link to update your link settings

(Click on Add Link to update your link settings)

Important Info

Note: If you tick Keep this link private, the link will not be visible in your Links section …

Private link checkbox

(Private link checkbox)

Making links private lets you toggle link visibility on or off without deleting these (this is useful if you want links to display during certain times and hide them afterwards) …

Making links private toggles their visibility on and off

(Making links private toggles their visibility on and off)

To view all the links you have added, choose Links > All Links in the WP admin menu …

Links - All Links

(WP Links Menu – All Links)

This brings up the ‘Links’ table in your web browser. The list of links displays all your links and link information (e.g. link URL, categories, rating, etc.) …

List of Links

(List of links)


Tip: To view or hide options in the Links table, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of your screen …

Screen Options - Links screen

(Links table – Screen Options)

Enable/disable fields on your Links table by ticking/unticking their checkboxes …

Show/hide links

(Table of links – Hide or display screen options)

Editing Your Link Information

To modify a link, go to the dashboard navigation menu and click on Links > All Links to bring up your table of links …

WP Links - All Links

(WP Links – All Links)

Select the link to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the item’s link information …

Editing links

(Editing link information)

Make the changes you want to your link …

Edit Link page

(Edit Link screen)

After editing the link, you can:

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

Edit Link: Update Link button

(Edit Link: Update Link button)

How To Delete Links

To remove links, go to your dashboard menu and select Links > All Links

Links - All Links

(Links – All Links)

This brings up the ‘Links’ page.

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

To delete individual links, hover over the link title that you want to remove and click Delete

Deleting your links

(Deleting links)

To delete links in bulk, either tick the checkboxes next to individual links that you want to delete, or select all links by clicking on the checkbox next to the ‘Name’ column header …

Deleting multiple links

(Deleting multiple links)

Select Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ menu, and click Apply to delete your selected links …

Links: bulk-deletion function

(Links: bulk-delete function)

Your selected links will be deleted …

Deleted links notice

(Link deletion message)

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 make links display on your site.

Using The Links Widget

Installing the Links Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ section.

To access and configure your Link widgets, click on Appearance > Widgets in the main dashboard navigation menu …

Appearance Menu - Widgets

(Appearance Menu – Widgets)

This takes you to the ‘Widgets’ screen.

You will notice a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …

Links widget

(Links widget)

Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of the active widget bars and drop it wherever you would like your links to display …

Drag & drop the links widget to add it to a widgetized area

(Adding a links widget to your sidebar)

The Links widget includes various configurable settings. For example, you can specify what information you would like displayed about your links and how many links you want displayed on your sidebar menu …

Link widget - configurable options

(Link widget options)

You can add multiple link widgets to your sidebar and footer. This allows you to create and display links throughout your site …

Add a number of link widgets to your widget bars

(Add a number of link widgets to your sidebar)

Select a link category to display specific links …

Link widget settings - Select 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 settings - Sort by options

(Link widget settings – Sort by options)

Once you are done setting up your Links widget, click Save to update your settings. A link section will show on your site …

Links can be displayed on your site's sidebar

(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 more help with widgets? We have written a detailed article on adding widgets. Go here to learn more about this:

Links Manager – Additional Information

If you have loads of links, the Links Manager plugin lets you easily administer these with search, sort, and filter functions.

Sort Links Function

You can sort links by hovering your cursor over the title of the column you want to sort and clicking on the little black triangle displayed next to the column title …

Sorting links function

(Sorting links)

Finding Links Function

Type a search term into the search field and click the Search Links button …

You can easily search links using the search function

(Searching links)

Filtering Your Links

You can filter links by categories …

Filtering links by category

(Filter 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 …

searching and filtering links in the Link Categories screen

(searching and filtering links in the Link Categories screen)

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

Links filtered by category

(Links filtered by category)

Links – Additional Options

If you plan to add lots of links to your website, or if you want to add a page containing a list of links to your site (i.e. not just add a links section to your sidebar), then you may want to consider using a plugin that can help you administer links, like Link Library.

Link Library

Link library - WordPress Links Management Plugin

(Link Library)

Plugin URL

Plugin Description

The Link Library plugin lets you output a list of your link categories with a complete list of all your links with descriptions and notes …

List of links created with Link library

(Link Library links. Image sourced from Link Library plugin site.)

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

Go here to learn more this useful plugin:

How Do I Add A Blogroll To My WordPress Sidebar Menu?

Congratulations! Now you know how to add a link section to your WordPress sidebar.

Practical Tip

We have written a comprehensive article on how to add HTML hyperlinks to WordPress posts. For more details, go here:


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Originally published as How To Add A Link Section To WordPress.