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

How To Add Links To WordPressAs you continue to learn more about the benefits of using WordPress, you may occasionally come across the term blogroll.

In WordPress terminology, a list of hyperlinks displayed on your sidebar 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.”

The Links Manager lets you easily add links to your sidebar area (e.g. a “We Use And Recommend” section) using widgets.

Important Info

Before WordPress version 3.5 was released, Links were a visible feature of the WordPress CMS. From v 3.5 onwards, the Links Manager section was hidden by default in new installations …

Before …

WP Links Feature - pre version 3.5

(The Link Manager – part of the dashboard menu until the release of WP v 3.5)

After …

Links  - excluded from the menu after WP v.3.5

(The Links Manager feature – no longer displayed in WordPress after WP v 3.5)

If your site had the Link Manager installed, then it will still be available when your site updates to a newer version. If you’ve never used Link Manager, however, or if your site installation is new, then this function will become invisible – you will not see it on the dashboard menu.

 

How To Add A Link Section To WordPress

Useful 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 you can’t see the Links feature when you log into your WP dashboard you will need to install a plugin. This tutorial will show you how to add and manage links on your sidebar using plugins.

Link Manager

Link Manager Plugin

(Link Manager)

Plugin Download URL

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

Description Of Plugin

You can use this plugin to display the built-in Links Manager, even if you update to a later version of WordPress or remove all of your current links.

Note: This plugin adds a single line of code to WordPress 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 site’s template code.

Simple Links

Simple Links

(Simple Links WordPress Plugin)

Plugin Download URL

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

Description

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

Installing Link Manager

Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.

From the WordPress admin area, select Plugins > Add New

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

Plugin Installation

Find the plugin in the results screen and click Install Now

Plugin Installation

Activate the plugin after it has been installed …

Installing The Plugin

After you have activated the plugin, a ‘Links’ section is added to the WP admin menu area …

WordPress links management menu section

(Links menu section)

Configuring Link Manager

Before adding any new links, it’s a good idea to first set up your link categories. This way, when you create a new link, you can assign the link to link categories you have already created.

Link Categories

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

Links - Link Categories

(Links Menu – Link Categories)

This brings up the ‘Link Categories’ page.

Type in information into the following fields:

  • Name: Whatever you type in this field displays as the category your links will be assigned to.
  • Slug: The slug is the web address part of your link category name. Use only lowercase letters without spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
  • Description: Some themes may display a link category description. (Optional)

Click the Add New Link Category button to save your new link category …

Link Categories page

(Link Categories)

The link category will display in the table …

Link Categories

(Link Categories)

Info

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

Default link category name is 'blogroll'

(Default link category name)

You may want to change the default link category name to something that will make sense to readers. 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 …

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

(Consider changing the default link category name to something better suited to your business)

To change the default category name, hover your mouse over the item and click on Quick Edit

Edit the link category

(Editing the default link category)

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 Update Link Category

Update Link Category

(Quick Edit)

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

Let’s now add a link category description. To add a link category description, hover over the item name and click Edit

Link category description

(You can add/edit the category description)

Enter your link category description field and click Update you’re done to save your settings …

Edit Link Category area

(Edit Link Category screen)

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

After configuring your link categories, you can add new links.

Adding New Links

To create a new link, click on Links > Add New in the WP dashboard navigation menu …

Links - Add New

(Links Menu – Add New)

This loads the Add New Link’ page in your web browser …

Add New Link page

(Add New Link screen)

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

Add New Link button

(Links page – Add New Link button)

The ‘Add New Links’ page includes several sections:

Name, Web Address & Description

Enter your link details in this section …

Add New Link - Name, Web Address& Description fields

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

Type in information into the following fields:

  • Name: Enter the category name.
  • Slug: The slug is the search-engine friendly URL part of your link category. 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)
Categories & Target

Select a Category and Target for your link …

Categories & Target area - Add New Link

(Categories & Target – Add New Link page)

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 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 you want the link to open when clicked on:

  • _blank means that a new, separate window will open up in their web browser to display the information for that link. This allows your visitors to see the link information without leaving your page
  • _none means that when visitors click on your 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 screen - 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 work with Bessie Smith and you link to her blog, you would probably check co-worker or colleague.

XFN relationships are optional for WordPress links. You can ignore this section and all your links will work just fine. 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 specifies 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, index, start, help, etc.

To learn more about XFN, visit the site below:

Advanced

The last section allows you to enter Advanced features for your links (You can ignore this section, unless there’s a good reason to use it) …

Advanced link settings - 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. 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: Add notes about the link in this section 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).

Enter information in the above fields or just leave this section blank.

When you have finished adding information about your link, click on the Add Link button 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)

Important Info

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

You can make links private by selecting the checkbox

(You can make links private by selecting the checkbox)

Making a link private lets you toggle link visibility on or off without deleting it (this is useful if you want to have seasonal links) …

Toggle link visibility on and off

(Making links private toggles their visibility on and off)

To view a list of all the links you have created, go to the WP navigation menu and click on Links > All Links

Links Menu - All Links

(WP Links Menu – All Links)

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

Links table

(Links page)

Tip

Tip: To show or hide fields in the table of links, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of the screen …

Screen Options - Table of Links

(List of links – Screen Options)

Display/hide information on your Links table by ticking/unticking their check boxes …

Show/hide links

(Show/hide – Table of links)

Editing Your Links

To modify a link in the Link Manager, click on Links > All Links in the admin menu to bring up the list of links …

WP Links Menu - All Links

(WP Links Menu – All Links)

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

Editing links

(Editing links)

Change your link …

Edit Link page

(Edit Link screen)

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 everything correctly (the link will open up in a new window),
  • Click Delete to delete the link from your table of links …

Edit Link: Update Link button

(Update Link button)

Removing Links

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

Links - All Links

(Links – All Links)

The ‘Links’ page will load in your browser.

You can delete links individually, delete multiple links, or remove all of your links.

To delete links individually, hover your mouse cursor over the link that you want removed and click on Delete

Delete links

(Delete links)

To delete a number of links at once, either click on the check boxes next to individual links that you would like to remove, 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

(Deleting multiple links)

Choose Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ pulldown menu, and click Apply to remove all selected links …

Bulk-deletion of links

(Bulk-deletion of links)

The selected links will be deleted …

Link deletion notification

(Link deletion notice)

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

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

Appearance Menu - Widgets

(Appearance – Widgets)

This loads the ‘Widgets’ screen in your browser.

You will see 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 your links section to show up …

Add a links widget to a widgetized menu

(Drag & drop your links widget to add it to your sidebar)

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

Link widget - configurable options

(Link widget - settings)

You can also add multiple link widgets to your sidebars and footers. This lets you create and display link lists throughout your site …

Add a number of link widgets to your sidebar

(You can add multiple link widgets to your sidebar)

Select a link category from the ‘Select Link Category:’ drop-down menu …

Link widget settings - Select Link Category

(Link widget options – Select Link Category)

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

Link widget options - Sorting options

(Link widget options – Sort by options)

Once you are done configuring the Links widget, click Save to update your settings. Your links should show up immediately on your website or blog’s sidebar …

An example of how 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.

Tip

Need help using widgets? To learn more about adding widgets, see this article:

Links Manager – Additional Information

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

Sort Your Links

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 links

(Sort your 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

(Finding your links)

Filter Links Function

You can filter links by categories …

Filtering your 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 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)

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 a links section to your sidebar), then you may want to look at using a plugin that can help you administer your links, like Link Library.

Link Library

Link Library Plugin

(Link Library WordPress Plugin)

Plugin Download URL

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

Plugin Description

Link Library gives you the ability to display a list of all your link categories and a complete list of all your links together with notes and descriptions …

List of links created with Link library

(Link Library links. Image: Link Library plugin documentation.)

This useful plugin creates a page on your website that contains a list of all of the link categories in your Links area, and 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 of your links that lets your site users be made aware of any additions made to to your link library.

To learn more about Link Library:

Adding A Blogroll To Sidebar Menu

Congratulations! Now you know how to add a featured links section to your WordPress site.

Useful Tip

We have written a comprehensive article on how to easily insert hyperlinks into WordPress. Go here to learn more:

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