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 WordPress Sidebar LinksAs you become more familiar with WordPress, you may occasionally come across the term blogroll.

WordPress refers to a list of hyperlinks pointing to other websites or web pages that display on your sidebar 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 easily add and manage hyperlinks to a widget-ready theme.

Important

Before the release of v3.5, Links were a built-in feature of the WordPress CMS. After v 3.5, the Link Manager section was removed …

Before …

WordPress Links Manager - pre v.3.5

(WP Links Feature – pre v3.5)

After …

Post v3.5 - no WordPress Links Manager

(Links – excluded from WordPress after WP v.3.5)

If you have had an earlier version than 3.5 installed and upgraded your installation, the Link Manager would have been removed, unless you’ve previously used it.

 

How To Add A Link Section To WordPress

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 WP 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.

Link Manager

Link Manager Plugin

(Link Manager WordPress Plugin)

Download URL

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

Description Of Plugin

This plugin displays the default Link Manager, even if you update 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 your installation 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 plugin below instead, or contact us for help editing your site’s template code.

Simple Links

Simple Links

(Simple Links – WordPress Link Management Plugin)

Download URL

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

Plugin Description

This plugin attempts to recreate the concept of the built-in Link Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated functionality.

Plugin Installation

Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.

In your WP dashboard area, go to Plugins > Add New

Plugins - Add New

(Plugins Menu – Add New)

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

Plugin Installation

Locate the plugin in the results area and click Install Now

Plugin Installation

Activate the plugin after it has been installed …

Plugin Installation

Once the plugin has been activated, a ‘Links’ item is added to your WP navigation menu area …

WordPress links menu section

(WordPress links menu section)

Plugin Configuration

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

Link Categories

To create a link category, go to the WP dashboard navigation menu and choose Links > Link Categories

Links - Link Categories

(WordPress Links – Link Categories)

The ‘Link Categories’ screen will load in your browser.

Type in the following information:

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

When finished, click Add New Link Category to save …

Link Categories page

(Link Categories)

The category details will now show in the table …

Link Categories

(Link Categories)

Idea

Tip: Blogroll is the default link category name. Unless you specify a category for a new link, WordPress will assign new links to the default category …

Default link category name

(Default link category)

You may want to change this to something that will make sense to your visitors. This not only makes it easier for visitors, but any new links that you add to the Links section will automatically be assigned to the new category name …

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

(Change the default ’blogroll’ to something your visitors will relate to)

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

Editing the link category name

(Quick Edit)

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), and click on Update Link Category

Editing the link category name

(Quick Edit)

Replace the link category ‘Blogroll’ with (e.g. ‘Recommended’, ‘Links’ etc).

Let’s add a description for this link category. To add a link category description, click on Edit under the category name …

Link category description

(Link category description)

Enter your link category description field and click Update finished to save your settings …

Edit Link Category page

(Edit Link Category page)

Repeat this process to add as many different link categories as your site needs.

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

Adding New Links

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

Links Menu - Add New

(WordPress Links Menu – Add New)

This brings up the Add New Link’ screen in your browser …

Add New Link screen

(Add New Link page)

You can also reach this page by clicking on ’Add New’ in the main Links screen …

Add New Link button

(Links screen – Add New Link button)

The ‘Add New Links’ page is divided into a number of sections:

Name, Web Address & Description

The first section is where you enter your link details …

Name, Web Address& Description area

(Name, Web Address, Description section)

Enter information into the following sections:

  • Name: What you enter in this field is the category name that will display on your site.
  • Slug: The slug is the web address bit of the link category name. Use only lowercase letters without spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
  • Description: Some themes may display a link category description.
Categories & Target

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

Add New Link - Categories & Target

(Categories & Target)

In the Categories section, select one of the link categories you’ve already added, or click on the ‘+ Add New Category’ link to create a new category link.

Next, select a target frame for your link in the Target section by choosing one of the radio buttons. 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 separate window will open up in their browser to display the content associated with the link. This allows your visitors to access the information without leaving your site
  • _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 web 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 section provides some additional link functionality …

Link Relationship (XFN) section

(Add New Link – Link Relationship (XFN) section)

Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN (XML Friends Network) is a way to define your relationship with the linked person. For example, if you have a professional relationship with Neva Gould and you link to her 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 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 lets you specify 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. Other ‘rel’ attributes include author, start, index, help, etc.

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 (some themes will ignore this. You can leave the fields in this section blank unless there’s a good reason to use them) …

Advanced fields

(Advanced link settings – Add New Link)

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 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 link’s RSS feed will display 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 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 are not required.

When you have finished adding information about your link, click on the Add Link button to update your link settings …

click on the Add Link button to save your new link

(Click on Add Link to save your new link)

Important Info

Note: If you select Keep this link private, your link will not be visible when links are displayed on your site …

Make your links private

(You can make links private by selecting the checkbox)

Making links private lets you add links and then 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 they are no longer required) …

Making links private toggles their visibility on and off

(Toggle link visibility on and off)

To view a list of all your links, go to your navigation menu and select Links > All Links

Links Menu - All Links

(Links Menu – All Links)

This takes you to the ‘Links’ page. The table of links displays all your links and link information (e.g. link URL, link categories, relationship, etc.) …

Links screen

(Links table)

Useful Tip

Tip: To display additional information in the Links page, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of your screen …

List of Links - Screen Options

(Screen Options – Table of links)

Show/hide information on your table of links by selecting/deselecting their check boxes …

Show/hide links

(List of links – Hide or show screen options)

How To Edit Links

To edit a link in the Link Manager, choose Links > All Links in your admin menu to bring up your links page …

WordPress Links Menu - All Links

(WP Links – All Links)

Locate the link to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the link’s details …

Editing link information

(Editing your link information)

Change your link fields …

Edit Link page

(Edit Link page)

After editing your link, you can:

  • Click on Update Link to save and update your link details,
  • Click on Visit Link to make sure that you have set up its URL correctly (the link will open in a new window),
  • Click Delete to remove the link from your table if it’s no longer required …

Edit Link: Update Link button

(Update Link button)

Deleting Links

To remove links from the Link Manager, go to your WP dashboard menu and select Links > All Links

Links Menu - All Links

(Links Menu – All Links)

This brings up the ‘Links’ screen.

You can delete links individually, delete multiple links, or perform a bulk delete.

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

Delete your links

(Delete links)

To delete multiple links, either tick the checkboxes next to individual items that you would like removed, or select all links by clicking on the main checkbox next to the ‘Name’ column header …

Delete multiple links

(Delete multiple links)

Choose Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ pull-down menu, and click the Apply button to remove all selected links …

Links: bulk-deletion function

(Bulk-delete links)

The links will be deleted …

Deleted links notice

(Deleted links notification)

Plugin Usage

Now that you know how to configure link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, it’s time to make links display on your site.

Using The Links Widget

The Links Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ screen.

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

Appearance Menu - Widgets

(WordPress Appearance – Widgets)

The ‘Widgets’ screen will display in your web 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 sections and drop it wherever you want the links section to display …

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

(Add a links widget to your WordPress sidebar)

The Links widget offers various configurable settings. 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

(Link widget - configurable settings)

You can also add as many link widgets as you want. This lets you add and feature specific links sorted by categories throughout your site …

Add multiple link widgets to your sidebar

(You can add multiple link widgets to your sidebar)

You can select a link category …

Link widget settings - Select Link Category

(Link widget options – Select Link Category)

You can sort links by Link title, Link ID, Link rating, or display links in Random order …

Link widget settings - Sort by options

(Link widget settings – Sort by options)

Once you are done setting up the links widget, click Save to update your settings. Your link section will show up immediately on your sidebar …

An example of how links can be displayed on a sidebar

(An example of how 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.

Tip

Need more help using widgets? Go here for a detailed article on using widgets:

Links Manager – Additional Information

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

Sort Links Function

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 …

Sort links

(Sort your links)

Finding Your Links

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

Finding your links

(Find links)

Filter Links

You can filter links by link category …

Filter links by category

(Filter your links by link categories)

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 …

Search and filter links in the Link Categories page

(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 category

(Links filtered by link category)

Additional Link Options

If you plan to add lots of links to your website or blog, 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 consider using a plugin that can help you administer your links.

Link Library

Link library - WordPress Links Management Plugin

(Link Library WordPress Plugin)

Plugin Download URL

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

Plugin Description

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

List of links created with Link library

(Link Library links. Image source: Link Library plugin site.)

This plugin can be used to create a page on your web site containing all the link categories in your Links section, plus all links defined for 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.

Visit this site to learn more about this plugin:

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

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

Practical Tip

If you want to learn more about how to add links to WordPress posts, refer to this article:

***

"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now

***

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the founder of WPCompendium.org and the author of The Small Business Digital Manager. WPCompendium.org provides hundreds of FREE tutorials that show you how to use WordPress to grow your business online with no coding skills required! Get our FREE "101+ WordPress Tips, Tricks & Hacks For Non-Techies" e-course with loads of useful WordPress tips!

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