As you continue to learn more about the benefits of using WordPress, you may occasionally come across something called a blogroll.
WordPress refers to a list of links pointing to other websites or web pages that display on your sidebar menu 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 website once you add the Links widget.
Before WordPress v3.5 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 Menu – pre v3.5)
(Post v3.5 – no WP Links Manager feature)
If your site had a previously active Links Manager section, then it will still be available when your WP installation updates to a newer version. If you’ve never used Link Manager, however, or if your WordPress site installation is new, then this function will remain hidden – it will not be displayed on your dashboard menu.
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 the Links menu section is not visible when you log into your WP admin area, you can add this feature via a plugin. In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn how to add and manage blogroll links on your sidebar using WordPress plugins.
(Link Manager WordPress Plugin)
Plugin Download URL
Use this plugin to display the default Links feature on your dashboard, even if you upgrade WordPress to a later version or remove all of your existing links.
Note: All this plugin does is add a single line of code to WordPress 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 – WordPress Link Management Plugin)
Description Of Plugin
This plugin attempts to recreate the concept of the built-in Link Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.
How To Install The Plugin
To install the Link Manager plugin, follow the instructions below:
In the WP dashboard area, select Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins – Add New)
Select the Install Plugins > Search tab, type in “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 installation …
After you’ve activated the plugin, a ‘Links’ section will show up on the WP dashboard menu …
(WordPress links menu)
We recommend setting up link categories first before adding links. This way, when you add a new link, you can assign your link to link categories you have already created.
To create a link category, click on Links > Link Categories in the WP dashboard navigation menu …
(Links – Link Categories)
This brings up the ‘Link Categories’ page.
Enter information into the following sections:
- Name: Enter the category name here.
- Slug: The slug displays in the URL of the link category. Only use lower case letters without spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display a link category description. (Optional)
after entering your information, click the Add New Link Category button to save your new link category …
Your new category will now show in the list …
Tip: WordPress calls its default link category Blogroll . Unless you specify the category when adding a link, WordPress will automatically assign new links to the default category …
(Default link category)
You may want to change this to something that your visitors can understand. 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 …
(Change the default link category name to something your visitors will relate to)
To change the default category name, hover your mouse over the list item and click on the Quick Edit link …
(Editing the link category)
Replace both the Name and the Slug with a new category name, then click on Update Link Category …
(Update Link Category)
Replace the link category ‘Blogroll’ with a name more suitable to your purposes (e.g. ‘Recommended’, ‘Links’ etc).
Let’s create a description for this link category. To add a link category description, click on the Edit link under the category name …
(Link category description)
Add your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ screen and click Update …
(Edit Link Category page)
Repeat the above process to add as many link categories as you need.
After configuring your link categories, you can being adding new links.
How To Add Links
To create a new link, go to your admin menu and click on Links > Add New …
(Links Menu – Add New)
The ‘Add New Link’ screen will display in your browser …
(Add New Link screen)
You can also access this screen by clicking on ’Add New’ in the main Links page …
(Links page – Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page includes a number of sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
The first section lets you enter details about your link …
(Add New Link screen – Name, Web Address& Description)
Enter information into the following sections:
- Name: Enter the link category name here.
- Slug: The slug shows up in the SEO friendly URL 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 your link category description in the links section, or as a tool tip when visitors hover over the link name with their mouse.
Categories & Target
After adding link details, select a Category and Target for the new link …
(Categories & Target)
In the Categories section, select a link category you have already set up, or click on the ‘+ Add New Category’ link to add a new category.
Also, select a target frame radio button for your link in the Target section. This lets you specify how the link should open when a visitor clicks on it:
- _blank means that when a visitor clicks on your link, a separate window will open up in their web browser to display the content associated with the link. This allows your visitors to see the information without leaving your page
- _none means that when visitors click on the link, they will exit your site and a new website or page will load in your web 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 …
(Add New Link page – Link Relationship (XFN) area)
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN stands for XML Friends Network – lets you define your relationship with the linked person. For example, if you have a professional relationship with Brandon Anderson and you link to his blog, you would probably check co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional. You can ignore this section and all of your links will work just fine. Defining relationships with XFN makes the links defined on your site 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 defines 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, start, index, help, etc.
To learn more about XFN, visit the site below:
The last section allows you to enter Advanced features for your links (some themes will ignore this. You can leave these fields blank unless you have a reason to use them) …
(Advanced link settings – Add New Link)
The Advanced link settings section contains the following:
- Image Address: Lets you specify an image to be displayed with the link. To use this feature, add an image URL 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 the link.
- 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).
Type in your information in the above fields or just leave this section blank, as these are not essential.
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 update your link settings)
Note: If you select Keep this link private, your link will not be visible when links are displayed on your site …
(Make links private by selecting the checkbox)
Making a link private allows you to add a link and then toggle its visibility on or off without deleting it (this is useful if you want to use seasonal links) …
(Making links private toggles their visibility on and off)
To view a list of all your links, select Links > All Links in your WP dashboard menu …
(Links Menu – All Links)
The ‘Links’ table will load in your browser. The table of links displays all your links and link information (e.g. URL, categories, visibility, etc.) …
Tip: To display or hide columns in the Links page, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top of the screen …
(Screen Options – Table of links)
Enable/disable fields on your table of links by ticking/unticking their checkboxes …
How To Edit Your Links
To edit links in the Link Manager, go to the navigation menu and choose Links > All Links to bring up the table of links …
(WP Links – All Links)
Select the item you want to edit and click on Edit to bring up the item’s link details …
(Editing link information)
Change the link …
(Edit Link page)
After editing the link, you can:
- Click on Update Link to save and update your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to see your link and make sure that you have set up the link’s URL correctly (the link will open in a new window),
- Click Delete to delete the link if it’s no longer required …
(Update Link button)
To delete links from the Link Manager, go to the WP admin menu and choose Links > All Links …
(Links Menu – All Links)
This brings up the ‘Links’ screen in your browser.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links by selecting their check boxes, or perform a bulk delete.
To delete individual links, hover over the link that you want removed and click Delete …
(Delete your links)
To delete a number of links at once, either tick the checkboxes next to individual links that you want to delete, or select all links by clicking on the check box next to the ‘Name’ column header at the top of the list …
(Deleting multiple links)
Choose Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ drop menu, and click Apply to remove all selected links …
(Links: bulk-deletion function)
Your selected links will be deleted …
(Deleted links notification)
Using The Link Manager Plugin
Now that you know how to set up link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, let’s show you how to display links on your website or blog.
Installing the Links Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ screen.
To access and configure your Link widgets, click on Appearance > Widgets in your WP dashboard navigation menu …
(Appearance – Widgets)
The ‘Widgets’ screen will load in your web browser.
You will see that a ‘Links’ widget has been added to the Available Widgets section …
To make the ‘Links’ widget active, drag it to one of your active widget sections and drop it wherever you would like your links section to display …
(Drag & drop the links widget to add it to your WordPress sidebar)
The Links widget provides various settings. For example, you can specify what information you want to show about your links and how many links you would like displayed on your sidebar menu …
(Link widget - settings)
You can add multiple link widgets to your sidebar and footer. This allows you to create and feature a number of link sections on your site …
(You can add multiple link widgets to your sidebar)
Select a link category to display specific links …
(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 settings – Sorting options)
Once you are done configuring the Links widget, click the Save button to update your settings. Your links should now be visible on your website’s sidebar menu …
(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 with widgets? We have written a comprehensive article about widgets. For more info, see this article:
Link Manager – Additional Information
If you have loads of links, the Links Manager plugin lets you easily administer these with sort, search, and filter functions.
Sorting Your Links
You can sort links by hovering your mouse over the title of the column you want to sort and clicking on the black triangle displayed next to the column title …
(You can easily sort links)
Searching Your Links
Find links using the ‘Search Links’ function …
(You can search links with the search function)
You can filter links by link categories …
(Filter links by link categories)
You can also search and filter links in the Link Categories page. 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 grouped under a specific link category …
(Links filtered by link category)
Links – Additional Options
If you plan to add lots of links to your website, or if you intend 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 links, like Link Library.
(Link Library WordPress Plugin)
This plugin lets you publish a list of your link categories and a complete list of links together with notes and descriptions …
(List of links created with Link library. Image sourced from Link Library plugin website.)
This useful plugin can be used to create a page on your website containing all the link categories in your Links section, plus 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 so that your site users can be made aware of additions to your link library.
Go here to learn more this great plugin:
Congratulations! Now you know how to how to add a blogroll and manage links in your WordPress sidebar menu.
We have written a detailed article about how to create HTML links in WordPress posts and pages. To learn more about this go here:
"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