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.

How To Add A Blogroll Section To Sidebar MenuAs you become more familiar with WordPress, you may occasionally come across references to the term blogroll.

A blogroll is a list of hyperlinks pointing to external sites or pages 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.”

You can manage a blogroll using the Links menu in your WordPress Dashboard. These links will then display on your website if you have added the Links widget.

Important

Prior to the release of WordPress v.3.5, Links were a built-in feature of the WordPress CMS. From version 3.5 onwards, the Links manager and blogroll sections were removed …

Before …

The Link Manager  - part of the WordPress admin menu until the release of WordPress version 3.5

(Links – part of the admin menu until the release of WordPress version 3.5)

After …

The Links Manager  - excluded from the WordPress menu after WP v.3.5

(The Link Manager feature – excluded from the admin menu after WordPress v 3.5)

If you’ve used an earlier version than 3.5 and updated your installation, the Links Manager would be removed, unless you have previously used it.

 

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 you can’t see the Link Manager section when you log into your WP admin area you will need to install a plugin. In this tutorial, you will learn how to add and manage blogroll links on your sidebar using WordPress plugins.

Link Manager

Link Manager Plugin

(Links Manager WordPress Plugin)

Download URL

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

Description Of Plugin

The Link Manager plugin displays the built-in Links menu on your WP dashboard, even if you upgrade to a later version of WordPress or remove all of your existing links.

Note: All this plugin does is add a single line of code to restore the hidden feature. When we last checked, this plugin had not been updated for a while, but it should still work fine. If you don’t want to use the Link Manager plugin, then use the one below instead, or contact us for help editing your template code.

Simple Links

Simple Links Plugin

(Simple Links WordPress 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 feature.

Plugin Installation

Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.

In the WP administration area, select Plugins > Add New

Plugins Menu - Add New

(Plugins Menu – Add New)

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

Installing The Plugin

Locate the plugin in the results screen and click Install Now

Plugin Installation

Activate the plugin after installation …

Plugin Installation

Once you have activated the plugin, the ‘Links’ function is restored to the navigation menu area …

WordPress links management menu

(Links menu)

Plugin Configuration

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

Link Categories

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

Links - Link Categories

(Links – Link Categories)

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

Enter the following information:

  • Name: Enter 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 your link category description.

When finished, click the Add New Link Category button to save your new link category …

Link Categories area

(Link Categories)

The link category will display in the table …

Link Categories

(Link Categories)

Important Info

Tip: The default WordPress link category is called Blogroll . Unless you specify the category when adding a link, WordPress automatically assigns new links to the default category …

Default link category

(Default link category name is ‘blogroll’)

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 the Links section will automatically be assigned to the new category name …

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

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

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

Editing the default link category name

(Editing the 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), and click on the Update link Category button …

Edit the link category name

(Quick Edit)

Replace the link category name ‘Blogroll’ with a name more suitable to your purposes (e.g. ‘Recommended’, ‘Our Partners’ etc).

Let’s create 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)

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

Edit Link Category page

(Edit Link Category page)

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

After setting up your link categories, you can add your links.

How To Add New Links

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

Links Menu - Add New

(Links Menu – Add New)

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

Add New Link page

(Add New Link screen)

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

Links - Add New Link button

(Links screen – Add New Link button)

The ‘Add New Links’ page includes several sections:

Name, Web Address & Description

The first section is where you enter details about your link …

Name, Web Address, Description fields - Add New Link

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

Type in information into the following fields:

  • Name: Enter the category name.
  • Slug: The slug is the URL bit of your link category name. Only use lower case letters and do not include spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
  • Description: Some themes may display your link category description. (Optional)
Categories & Target

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

Categories & Target area - Add New Link

(Categories & Target – Add New Link page)

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.

Next, select a target frame radio button for your link in the Target section. This lets you specify where your link should open when visitors click on it:

  • _blank means that when a visitor clicks on the link, a separate browser window will open up to display the information for that link.
  • _none means that when a visitor clicks on your link, they will leave your site and a new website or page will load in your browser window instead.
  • _top opens the link 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) fields

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

Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN stands for XML Friends Network – lets you define your relationship to the linked person. For example, if you have a professional relationship with Pari Jones and you link to her blog, you would probably tick co-worker or colleague.

XFN relationships are optional. You can ignore this section and all 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 is used to define what relationship exists 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. Separate multiple ‘rel’ keywords using spaces.

To learn more about XFN, visit this site:

Advanced

The last section lets you enter Advanced features for your links (some themes will ignore this. You can leave the fields in this section blank unless you have a reason to use them) …

Add New Link - 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. 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 can display next to the link.
  • Notes: Add notes about the link in this section for your own internal reference.
  • Rating: 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 into the above fields or just leave this section ignore this section.

When you are done adding information about your link, click on Add Link to update your link settings …

click on Add Link to save your new link

(Click on Add Link to update your link settings)

Important

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

Make your links private

(Make links private by checking the box)

Making links private lets you toggle link 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) …

Toggle link visibility on and off

(Toggle link visibility on and off)

To see a list of all your links, select Links > All Links in the main dashboard menu …

Links - All Links

(Links – All Links)

This loads the ‘Links’ table in your browser. The Links page displays your links and link information (e.g. link URL, link categories, visibility, etc.) …

Table of Links

(Table of links)

Useful Tip

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

Screen Options - Links screen

(Screen Options – List of links)

Enable/disable fields on your table of links by ticking/unticking their checkboxes …

List of links - Show/hide screen options

(Links table – Show/hide screen options)

How To Edit Links

To edit a link in the Link Manager, select Links > All Links in the main admin menu to bring up your list of links …

Links - All Links

(WP Links Menu – All Links)

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

Editing link information

(Editing links)

Edit the link fields …

Edit Link screen

(Edit Link screen)

After you’re done editing the link, you can:

  • Click the Update Link button to save and update your link details,
  • Click on Visit Link to see your link and check that you have set up its URL correctly (your link will open in a new window),
  • Click Delete to delete the link from your link table …

Edit Link: Update Link button

(Update Link button)

How To Remove Your Links

To remove a link from the Link Manager, click on Links > All Links in the admin menu …

WP Links - All Links

(Links Menu – All Links)

The ‘Links’ page will load in your browser.

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

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

Deleting links

(Delete links)

To delete a number of links at once, either tick the check boxes next to individual items that you want to remove, or select all links by clicking on the main checkbox next to the ‘Name’ column header …

Deleting multiple links

(Deleting multiple links)

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

Links: bulk-delete function

(Links: bulk-deletion function)

All the links you have selected will be deleted …

Link deletion notice

(links deleted notice)

Using The Plugin

Now that you know how to set up link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, it’s time to learn how to make links display on your website or blog.

Links Widget

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

To access and configure your Link widgets, select Appearance > Widgets in your dashboard menu …

Appearance - Widgets

(Appearance – Widgets)

The ‘Widgets’ screen will load in your browser.

You will notice a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …

Links widget

(Links widget)

Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of the widget bars and drop it wherever you want the links section to display …

Add a links widget to your widget bar using drag and drop

(Drag and drop your links widget to add it to your WordPress widget bar)

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

Link widget - configurable options

(Link widget settings)

You can also add as many link widgets to your sidebar and footer as you want. This lets you add and display specific a number of different lists of links throughout your site …

You can add multiple link widgets to your widget bars

(Add a number of link widgets to your sidebar)

Select a link category from the ‘Select Link Category:’ dropdown menu …

Link widget settings - Select Link Category

(Link widget settings – Select Link Category)

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

Link widget settings - Sorting options

(Link widget settings – Sorting options)

After setting up the links widget, click the Save button to update your settings. A links should display on your sidebar menu …

An example of how links can be displayed on your site's sidebar

(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.

Practical Tip

Need help using widgets? If you want to learn more about configuring widgets, see this article:

Links Manager – Additional Information

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

Sorting Links

You can sort links by hovering your cursor over the title of the column you want to sort and clicking on the little black triangle displayed next to the column title …

Sort links

(Sorting links)

Finding Links Function

Find links using the ‘Search Links’ button …

You can easily search your links using the search function

(You can search links using the search function)

Filter Links Function

You can filter links by link categories …

Filter links by category

(Filtering your 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 links in the ‘Links’ column …

searching and filtering links in the Link Categories page

(Search and filter links in the Link Categories screen)

This displays a list of all links grouped under a specific link category …

Links filtered by link category

(Links filtered by category)

Links – Additional Options

If you plan to use links extensively on your website, or if you would like 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 consider using a plugin that can help you administer your links.

Link Library

Link Library Plugin

(Link library – Plugin For WordPress)

Download Plugin URL

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

Plugin Description

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

Link Library links

(List of links created with Link library. Image sourced from Link Library plugin website.)

Link Library creates a page on your site containing a list of all of the link categories in your Links section, plus all links defined for 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 link collection that lets your site users be made aware of additions to your link library.

For more details about the benefits of using this WordPress plugin, go here:

Adding Featured Links To The WordPress Sidebar

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

Tip

We have written a detailed article about how to easily add hyperlinks in your WordPress posts. For more details:

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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 detailed step-by-step tutorials that will teach you how to use WordPress to grow your business online at minimal cost with no coding skills required!

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