As you continue to 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 area.
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 easily add and manage hyperlinks to a widget-ready theme.
Before WordPress v 3.5 was released, Links were a built-in feature of the WordPress CMS. From version 3.5 onwards, the Links manager and blogroll sections were removed …
(WordPress Links Manager Feature – pre v3.5)
(Post v 3.5 – no WP Links Manager)
If you have had an earlier version of WordPress than 3.5 installed and upgraded your installation, then the Link Manager would be 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 a Links item on your main menu when you log into your WP backend, you can add this feature by installing a plugin. In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn how to add, edit, delete and manage links on your sidebar using WordPress plugins.
(Link Manager Plugin)
Plugin Download URL
You can use this plugin to restore the default Link 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 code to restore the hidden feature. The last time we 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 plugin below instead, or contact us for help editing your template code.
(Simple Links Plugin)
Plugin Download URL
Simple Links attempts to recreate the concept of the built-in Link Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated functionality.
How To Install Link Manager
Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.
In your WordPress administration area, go to Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins Menu – Add New)
Click on the Install Plugins > Search tab, type in “link manager” into the search field and hit Enter …
Find the plugin in the search results screen and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin …
After activating the plugin, WordPress displays a ‘Links’ section in the dashboard menu area …
(Links management menu section)
Before adding new links, it’s a good idea to set up your link categories. This way, when adding a new link, you can assign your link to the link category you have already created.
To create a new link category, go to your WP dashboard menu and select Links > Link Categories …
(Links – Link Categories)
You will be taken to the ‘Link Categories’ page.
Enter the following information:
- Name: What you enter in this field is the link category name that will display on your site.
- Slug: The slug appears in the SEO friendly 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)
When done, click Add New Link Category …
(Link Categories area)
The link category will now show in the table …
Tip: Blogroll is the default link category name. Unless you specify a category when creating 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 will make sense to visitors. 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 title, hover your mouse over the list item and click on the Quick Edit link …
(Editing the link category)
Change both the Name and the Slug with a new category name, and click on Update Link Category …
(Update Link Category)
Replace the category ‘Blogroll’ with an appropriate links section category name (e.g. ‘Recommended’, ‘Links’ etc).
Let’s add a description for this link category. To add a description to an existing link category, click on Edit under the category name …
(Link category description)
Add your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ screen and click Update when done …
(Edit Link Category page)
Repeat the above process and add as many link categories as your site requires.
Once you have set up your link categories, you can add your links.
How To Add Links
To create a new link, go to your WP admin menu and select Links > Add New …
(Links Menu – Add New)
This brings up the Add New Link’ screen in your web browser …
(Add New Link page)
You can also reach this screen by clicking on the ‘Add New’ button in the main Links screen …
(Links screen – Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page includes several sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
The first section lets you enter details about your link …
(Name, Web Address& Description)
Type in the following information:
- Name: Enter the category name.
- Slug: The slug is the search-engine friendly URL bit of your link category name. Use only lowercase letters and do not include spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display your link category description in the links section, or as a tool tip when visitors hover over the link name.
Categories & Target
After typing in your link details, select a Category and Target for the new link …
(Add New Link screen – Categories & Target)
In the Categories section, tick one of the link categories you have already created, or click on the ‘+ Add New Category’ link to add 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 the link should open when clicked on by visitors:
- _blank means that when visitors click on the link, a new 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 ignore this option.
Link Relationship XFN
This area provides some additional link functionality …
(Link Relationship (XFN))
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN (XML Friends Network) allows you to define your relationship to the linked person. For example, if you have a professional relationship with Ivy Larsson and you link to her blog, you would probably check co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional. You can ignore this section and your links will still work. XFN makes your links more understandable to some websites 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 specifies 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.
You can learn more about XFN by visiting the site below:
The last section allows you to enter 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 link settings)
The Advanced link settings section contains the following options:
- Image Address: Lets you specify an image to be displayed with the link. To use this feature, add the URL of your image 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 will be displayed next to the 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 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, as these fields are not essential.
When you have finished adding your new link information, click on Add Link to update your link settings …
(Click on Add Link to update your link settings)
Note: If you select the Keep this link private checkbox, your link will not be visible in your Blogroll section …
(Make your links private)
Making links private allows you to add links and then toggle their visibility on and off without deleting your links (this is useful if you want links to display during certain times and hide them when they are no longer required) …
(Toggle link visibility on and off)
To view a list of all your links, go to the main navigation menu and choose Links > All Links …
(Links – All Links)
The ‘Links’ page will display in your web browser. The table of links displays your links and link information (e.g. link URL, categories, visibility, etc.) …
(Table of links)
Tip: To display additional columns in the table of links, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of your screen …
(Links table – Screen Options)
Enable/disable information on your table of links by ticking/unticking their checkboxes …
Editing Link Information
To modify a link in the Link Manager, go to your WP navigation menu and click on Links > All Links to bring up the links table …
(Links – All Links)
Select the link to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the link’s details …
(Editing your link information)
Change your link fields …
(Edit Link page)
After you’re done editing your link, you can:
- Click the Update Link button to save your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to see your link and check that you have set up your link’s URL correctly (your link will open in a new window),
- Click Delete to delete the link …
(Edit Link: Update Link button)
How To Remove Links
To remove links from the Link Manager, go to your WP admin menu and click on Links > All Links …
(Links – All Links)
The ‘Links’ page will display in your browser.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links by selecting their check boxes, or remove all of your links.
To delete individual links, hover your cursor over the link title that you want removed and click Delete …
(Deleting your links)
To delete multiple links, either tick the check boxes next to individual items that you would like to be removed, or select all links by clicking on the checkbox next to the ‘Name’ column header at the top of the list …
(Delete multiple links)
Select Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ drop-down menu, and click the Apply button to delete all selected links …
Your links will be removed …
(links deleted notification)
Using The Plugin
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.
Using The Links Widget
Installing the Links Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ page.
To access and configure your Link widgets, go to the dashboard menu and click on Appearance > Widgets …
(Appearance – Widgets)
This loads the ‘Widgets’ screen 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 your widget sections in the Widgets page and drop it wherever you want your links to display …
(Add a links widget to a widgetized area using drag and drop)
The Links widget offers a number of configurable settings. For example, you can specify what information you want to display about your links and how many links you want displayed on your sidebar …
(Link widget options)
You can add multiple link widgets to your sidebar and footer. This allows you to create and display various link sections sorted by categories on your site …
(You can add multiple link widgets to your sidebar)
Display links for a specific category …
(Link widget options – Select Link Category)
You can sort links by Link rating, Link ID, Link title, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget options – Sorting options)
After configuring your Links widget, click Save to update your settings. A link section will now be visible on your site …
(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.
Need help using widgets? We have written a detailed article about widgets. For more details, go here:
Link Manager – Additional Information
If you have many links, the Link Manager plugin allows you to easily administer these using filtering, searching, and sorting functions.
Sorting Your Links
To sort links, hover your cursor over the title of the column you want to sort and click on the little triangle displayed next to the column title …
Finding Links Function
You can search for links using the ‘Search Links’ feature …
Filter Your Links
You can filter links by categories …
(Filter links by link category)
You can also search and filter links in the Link Categories screen. 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 screen)
This displays a list of all links listed for a specific link category …
(Links filtered by link category)
Links – Additional Options
If you plan to use links extensively on your site, 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 consider using a plugin that can help you administer links.
(Link Library Plugin)
Plugin Download URL
The Link Library plugin allows you to display a list of all your link categories and a complete list of links together with descriptions and notes …
(Link Library links. Image: Link Library plugin site.)
This plugin creates a page on your web site containing all the link categories in your Links area, and 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 for your links that lets your site users be made aware of any additions made to to your link library.
For more details about the benefits of using this handy plugin, go here:
Congratulations! Now you know how to add a blogroll to WordPress.
We have written a comprehensive article on how to create HTML links in WordPress posts & pages. Go here to learn more about this:
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