As you discover more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across references to the term blogroll.
In WordPress terminology, a list of hyperlinks displayed on your sidebar menu is often 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.”
You can add a blogroll using the Links menu in your WP Dashboard. These links will display on your sidebar if you have added the Links widget.
Prior to the release of WP version 3.5, Links were a core feature of the WordPress CMS. From v3.5 onwards, the Links manager and blogroll sections were hidden by default in new installations …
(WordPress Links Manager – pre v 3.5)
(The Link Manager feature is no longer part of the WordPress dashboard menu after WordPress v.3.5)
If you’ve used an earlier version than v3.5 and updated your installation, the Links 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 you can’t see the Link Manager section when you log into your WordPress dashboard you will need to install a plugin. In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn how to add and manage links on your sidebar using WordPress plugins.
Use this plugin to restore the default Links Manager, even if you update to a later version of WordPress or remove all of your current links.
Note: All this plugin does is add a single line of code to restore the hidden feature. When we last checked, the 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 attempts to recreate the same concept as the built-in Link Manager while addressing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.
To install the Link Manager plugin on your website, follow the instructions below:
In your WP administration menu, go to 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 screen and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin …
After activation, WordPress will display a ‘Links’ section on the admin menu screen …
(WordPress links menu)
We recommend setting up link categories first before adding links. This way, you can assign new links to a link category you have already created.
To create a link category, click on Links > Link Categories in your navigation menu …
(WordPress Links Menu – Link Categories)
You will be taken to the ‘Link Categories’ page.
Type in the following information:
- Name: Whatever you type here displays as the link category name.
- 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 a link category description.
When finished, click Add New Link Category to save your new link category name …
The link category will display in the table …
Tip: Blogroll is the default link category name. Unless you specify a category when adding a link, WordPress automatically assigns new links to the default category …
(Default link category)
You may want to change the default WordPress link category name to something that your visitors can understand. This will not only make it easier for visitors, but any new links that you add to your site will automatically be assigned to the new category name …
(Change the default link category name to something your visitors will relate to)
To edit the default category name, hover your mouse over the category name and click on the Quick Edit link …
(Edit the default 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 …
(Editing the link category)
Replace the category ‘Blogroll’ with an appropriate links section category name (e.g. ‘Recommended’, ‘Resources’ etc).
Let’s create a link category description. To add a description to an existing link category, hover over the item name and click Edit …
(You can add/edit your category description)
Enter your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ screen and click Update …
(Edit Link Category area)
Repeat the above process to add as many new link categories as you need.
After setting up your link categories, you can being adding new links.
Adding New Links
To create a new link, select Links > Add New in the WP navigation menu …
(WordPress Links – Add New)
This takes you to the ‘Add New Link’ page …
(Add New Link page)
You can also access this page by clicking on the ‘Add New’ button at the top of the main Links screen …
(Links – Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page has the following sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
Enter your link details in this section …
(Name, Web Address, Description)
Type in information into the following fields:
- Name: Enter the category name.
- Slug: The slug shows up in the web address of the link category name. Only use lower case letters without spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display a link category description.
Categories & Target
Select a Category and Target for your link …
(Categories & Target section – Add New Link)
In the Categories section, select a link category you’ve already set up, or click on the ‘+ Add New Category’ link to add a new category.
Next, select a target frame radio button for your link in the Target section. This lets you specify how you want your link to open when visitors click on it:
- _blank means that a separate web browser window will open up to display the content associated with the link.
- _none means that when visitors click on the link, they will leave 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. If you don’t use frames, or if you don’t know what frames are, then just ignore this option.
Link Relationship XFN
This area provides some additional link functionality …
(Add New Link – Link Relationship (XFN) fields)
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 Kabir Cooper 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 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 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.
To learn more about XFN, visit the site below:
The last section of the Add New Link’ page allows you to 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 page – Advanced link settings)
The Advanced link settings section includes the following options:
- Image Address: Lets you specify an image to be displayed with the link. To use this feature, 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 will display next to the links.
- Notes: This section lets you add notes for your own internal reference.
- Rating: 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 fields are not required.
When you are done adding information about your link, click on the Add Link button to save your new link …
(Click on the Add Link button to save your new link)
Note: If you tick Keep this link private, your link will not be visible when links are displayed on your site …
(Private link checkbox)
Making links private allows you to add links and then toggle their visibility on and off without deleting these (this is useful if you would like links to display during certain periods and hide them when they are no longer required) …
(Toggle link visibility on and off)
To view all your links, select Links > All Links in your WP navigation menu …
(Links – All Links)
The ‘Links’ table will display in your browser. The Links screen displays a list of all of your links and link information (e.g. URL, link categories, relationship, etc.) …
(Table of links)
Tip: To display additional fields in the list of links, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of the screen …
(Screen Options – Links screen)
Display/hide information on your Links table by selecting/deselecting their checkboxes …
Editing Link Information
To modify links, select Links > All Links in the dashboard navigation menu to bring up your links screen …
(Links Menu – All Links)
Locate the link to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the link’s information …
(Editing link information)
Edit the link …
(Edit Link screen)
After you’re done editing your link, you can:
- Click the Update Link button to save and update 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 delete the link …
(Update Link button)
How To Remove Your Links
To remove a link from the Link Manager, click on Links > All Links in your navigation menu …
(Links Menu – All Links)
The ‘Links’ table will display in your web browser.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links by selecting their check boxes, or perform a bulk delete.
To delete links individually, hover over the link title that you want removed and click Delete …
(Delete your links)
To delete multiple links, either click on the checkbox next to every item that you would like removed, 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 the Apply button to delete all selected links …
(Links: bulk-deletion function)
Your links will be removed …
(Link deletion notice)
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 display links on your website or blog.
Using The Links Widget
The Links Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ section.
To access and configure your Link widgets, go to the WP dashboard menu and select Appearance > Widgets …
(Appearance Menu – Widgets)
This loads the ‘Widgets’ page in your browser.
You will see that a ‘Links’ widget has been added to the Available Widgets section …
Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of the active widget areas and drop it wherever you would like the links section to display …
(Add a links widget to a widgetized menu)
The Links widget offers a number of settings. For example, you can specify what information you want to show about your links and how many links you want 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 display specific various links on your site …
(You can add a number of link widgets to your sidebar)
Select a link category to display a specific list of items …
(Link widget options – 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)
After configuring the Links widget, click Save to update your settings. Your link section will now appear 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 more help with widgets? Go here if you want to learn more using widgets:
Links Manager – Additional Information
If you have many links, the Links Manager plugin allows you to easily administer these using sort, filter, and search functions.
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 …
(Sorting your links)
Type a search term into the search field and click the Search Links button …
(Find links function)
Filter Your Links
You can filter links by categories …
(Filtering links by link categories)
You can also search and filter links in the Link Categories screen. Use the ‘Search Link Categories’ button to find link categories, or click on the links in the ‘Links’ column …
(searching and filtering links in the Link Categories screen)
This brings up a list of all links listed for a specific link category …
(Links filtered by link category)
Additional Link Options
If you plan to add a lot 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 links on your sidebar), then you may want to look at using a plugin that can help you administer links.
Download Plugin URL
This plugin allows you to display a list of all your link categories with a complete list of all your links plus notes and descriptions …
(List of links created with Link library. Image source: Link Library plugin website.)
This plugin creates a page on your web site containing all the link categories in your Links section, 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 of your links that lets your site users be made aware of additions to your link library.
To learn more this WordPress plugin, go here:
Congratulations! Now you know how to how to add and manage links in your WordPress sidebar menu.
Go here if you want to learn more how to easily add HTML links to your WordPress posts and pages:
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