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 …

Adding Featured Links To The WordPress SidebarAs you continue to learn more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across the term blogroll.

A blogroll is a list of hyperlinks 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.”

The Links feature lets you add external hyperlinks to a widget-ready theme.

Info

Before the release of v 3.5, Links were a core feature of the WordPress CMS. From v.3.5 onwards, the Links manager and blogroll sections were removed …

Before …

The Links Manager displayed in the dashboard menu until the release of WordPress v 3.5

(The Link Manager feature – included in the WordPress dashboard menu until the release of WordPress v3.5)

After …

The Link Manager  - no longer shown in WordPress after WP v3.5

(The Link Manager is no longer part of WordPress after WordPress v 3.5)

If your website this feature was previously active on your site, then it will still be available when you upgrade to newer WordPress versions. If you’ve never used the Links Manager feature, however, or if your installation of WordPress is new, then this function will become invisible – it will not be displayed on the menu.

 

How To Add A Link Section To WordPress

Practical Tip

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 WordPress dashboard you will need to install a plugin. This tutorial will show you how to add and manage links on your sidebar using WordPress plugins.

Link Manager

Link Manager WordPress Plugin

(Link Manager – Plugin For WordPress)

Plugin Download URL

http://wordpress.org/plugins/link-manager

Description

Use this plugin to restore the Link Manager, even if you upgrade WordPress to a later version or remove all of your existing links.

Note: All this plugin does is add 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 this plugin, then use the one below instead, or contact us for help editing your template code.

Simple Links

Simple Links Plugin

(Simple Links)

Download URL

https://wordpress.org/plugins/simple-links/

Description Of Plugin

Simple Links recreates the same concept as the built-in Link Manager while addressing the shortcomings of the deprecated functionality.

Installing The Plugin

Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.

In the WordPress admin area, select Plugins > Add New

Plugins Menu - Add New

(Plugins – Add New)

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

How To Install Link Manager

Locate the plugin in the search results screen and click Install Now

Installing Link Manager

Activate the plugin after installation …

Installing Link Manager

After activation, a ‘Links’ section will show up on your sidebar menu screen …

Links management menu

(Links management menu)

Setting Up Link Manager

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

Link Categories

To create a link category, go to the WP admin menu and click on Links > Link Categories

Links Menu - Link Categories

(Links – Link Categories)

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

Enter information into the following fields:

  • Name: Enter the category name.
  • Slug: The slug shows up in the URL of the link category. 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)

after entering your information, click Add New Link Category to save your new link category name …

Link Categories page

(Link Categories)

The category details will display in the list …

Link Categories

(Link Categories screen)

Tip

Tip: WordPress calls its default link category Blogroll . Unless you specify the category when creating a new link, WordPress will automatically assign new links to the default category …

Default link category

(Default link category name)

You may want to change the default WordPress link category name to something that will make sense to site visitors. This not only makes it easier for visitors, but any new links that you add to your site will automatically be listed under the new category name …

Consider changing the default 'blogroll' to something your visitors will relate to

(Consider changing the default link category name to something your visitors will understand)

To edit the ‘Blogroll’ link title, hover your mouse over the item and click on Quick Edit

Quick Edit

(Edit the link category name)

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), then click on the Update link Category button …

Update Link Category

(Edit the link category)

In our example, we’ve replaced the link category name ‘Blogroll’ with an appropriate links section name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).

Let’s add a link category description. To add a description to an existing link category, hover over the link category name and click Edit

You can add/edit your category description

(Link category description)

Enter your link category description field and click Update

Edit Link Category area

(Edit Link Category area)

Repeat the above process and add as many new link categories as you need.

Once you have set up your link categories, you can being adding new links.

Adding New Links

To add a new link, click on Links > Add New in the main navigation menu …

Links Menu - Add New

(WP Links Menu – Add New)

The ‘Add New Link’ page will display in your browser …

Add New Link screen

(Add New Link screen)

You can also access this screen by clicking on the ‘Add New’ button at the top of the main Links screen …

Links page - Add New Link button

(Add New Link button)

The ‘Add New Links’ page is divided into several sections:

Name, Web Address & Description

Enter your link details in this section …

Name, Web Addressand Description - Add New Link

(Name, Web Address, Description area – Add New Link screen)

Type in information into the following fields:

  • Name: What you type here displays as the link category name.
  • Slug: The slug is the search-engine friendly URL part of your link category name. 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. (Optional)
Categories & Target

Select a Category and Target for your link …

Categories & Target

(Categories & Target)

In the Categories section, tick one of the link categories you’ve already set up, or click on ’+ Add New Category’ to add a new category.

Next, select a target frame for your link in the Target section by choosing one of the radio buttons. This lets you specify where you want the link to open when clicked on by visitors:

  • _blank means that when a visitor clicks on the link, a new web browser window will open up to display the information for that link. Your visitor can access the link information without leaving your page
  • _none means that when a visitor clicks on the link, they will exit 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 …

Add New Link - Link Relationship (XFN) area

(Link Relationship (XFN))

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

XFN relationships are optional. You can ignore this section and all of your links will still work. 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 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.

You can learn more about XFN by visiting this site:

Advanced

The last section of the Add New Link’ page allows you to enter Advanced features for your links (You can leave the fields in this section empty unless there’s a good reason to use them) …

Advanced link settings

(Advanced link settings)

The Advanced section fields include the following:

  • 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 be displayed next to your 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 would like to sort links by rating (see the ‘Links’ widget section below).

Type in your information in the above fields or just leave this section ignore this section.

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 the Add Link button to update your link settings)

Info

Note: If you tick the checkbox next to Keep this link private, your link will not be visible when links are displayed on your site …

Make links private by selecting the checkbox

(Private link checkbox)

Making links private allows you to toggle their visibility on or off without deleting your links (this is useful if you would like links to display during certain periods and hide them when not required) …

Making links private toggles their visibility on and off

(Toggle link visibility on and off)

To see a list of all your links, choose Links > All Links in your WP dashboard navigation menu …

WordPress Links Menu - All Links

(WordPress Links Menu – All Links)

The ‘Links’ table will load in your web browser. The Links screen displays your links and link information (e.g. link URL, link categories, relationship, etc.) …

Table of Links

(List of links)

Tip

Tip: To view additional options in the Links page, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top of your screen …

Table of Links - Screen Options

(Screen Options – Links table)

Show/hide information on your table of links by ticking/unticking their check boxes …

Show/hide - Table of links

(Show/hide links)

How To Edit Your Links

To modify a link in the Link Manager, go to the admin menu and choose Links > All Links to bring up your table of links …

Links - All Links

(Links Menu – All Links)

Locate the link you want to edit and click on Edit to bring up the link’s information …

Editing link information

(Editing your links)

Edit the link fields …

Edit Link page

(Edit Link page)

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 its URL correctly (the link will open in a new window),
  • Click Delete to remove the link if it’s no longer required …

Update Link button

(Edit Link: Update Link button)

Removing Links

To delete a link from the Link Manager, go to the WP navigation menu and select Links > All Links

WP Links - All Links

(WP Links – All Links)

This brings up the ‘Links’ table in your browser.

You can delete links individually, delete multiple links by selecting their check boxes, or perform a bulk delete.

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

Delete links

(Deleting links)

To delete links in bulk, either click on the check box next to every link that you want removed, or select all links by clicking on the main check box next to the ‘Name’ column header at the top of the list …

Deleting multiple links

(Delete multiple links)

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

Links: bulk-deletion function

(Bulk-deletion of links)

Your links will be deleted …

Deleted links notification

(links deleted notification)

Plugin Usage

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.

Links Widget

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

To access and configure your Link widgets, choose Appearance > Widgets in your WP dashboard navigation menu …

WordPress Appearance - Widgets

(Appearance – Widgets)

This brings up the ‘Widgets’ page in your browser.

You will notice that a ‘Links’ widget has been added to the Available Widgets section …

Links widget

(Links widget)

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

Add a links widget to your WordPress widget bar

(Add a links widget to your WordPress sidebar using drag and drop)

The Links widget offers various configurable settings. You can specify what information you would like to show about your links and how many links you want to display on your sidebar menu …

Link widget settings

(Link widget settings)

You can also add as many link widgets as you want. This allows you to create and display specific multiple link lists throughout your site …

You can add multiple link widgets to your widget bars

(You can add multiple link widgets to your widget bars)

Select a link category to display a specific list of items …

Link widget options - Select Link Category

(Link widget settings – 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

(Link widget settings – Sort by options)

After configuring the links widget, click the Save button to update your settings. A link section will now appear on your site …

Links can be displayed on a sidebar

(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.

Tip

Need more help using widgets? We have written a comprehensive article on configuring widgets. Go here to learn more about this:

Link Manager – Additional Information

If you have loads of links, the Link Manager plugin lets you easily administer these using searching, filtering, and sorting features.

Sorting Your Links

To sort links, hover your mouse over the title of the column you want to sort and click on the little black triangle displayed next to the column title …

You can easily sort your links

(Sort your links)

Finding Links Function

Search for links using the ‘Search Links’ button …

Search links

(You can search links using the search function)

Filtering Links Function

You can filter links by categories …

Filter links by category

(Filtering 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

(searching and filtering links in the Link Categories page)

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

Links filtered by link category

(Links filtered by 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 consider using a plugin that can help you administer links.

Link Library

Link Library

(Link Library)

Plugin URL

http://wordpress.org/plugins/link-library/

Plugin Description

This plugin allows you to display a list of your link categories with a complete list of all your links together with descriptions and notes …

Link Library links

(Link Library links. Screenshot taken from Link Library plugin documentation.)

This useful plugin creates a page on your site that contains all 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 links that lets your site users be made aware of additions to your link library.

To learn more this useful plugin, go here:

How To Add A WordPress Featured Links Section

Congratulations! Now you know how to how to add and manage links in WordPress.

Tip

We have written a detailed article on creating HTML hyperlinks in your WordPress posts. Go here to learn more:

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"These tutorials have so much information and are easy to understand. If you use WordPress or plan to in the future these will help you with everything you need to know." - Valisa (Mesa, Arizona)

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