As you continue to discover more about using WordPress, you may occasionally come across references to the term blogroll.
A blogroll is a list of links pointing to external websites or web pages displayed on your sidebar.
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 links to a widget-ready theme.
Before the release of WP v.3.5, Links were a visible feature of the WordPress CMS. From v 3.5 onwards, the Links manager and blogroll sections were kept hidden by default in new WordPress installations …
(WP Links Manager Feature – pre version 3.5)
(Post v.3.5 – no WP Links Manager feature)
If you’ve had an earlier version of WordPress than 3.5 installed and updated your installation, then the Links 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 the Links feature 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, edit, delete and manage blogroll links on your site’s sidebar using plugins.
(Link Manager – WordPress Link Management Plugin)
Description Of Plugin
You can use this plugin to display the default Link Manager, even if you upgrade to a later version of WordPress or remove all of your existing links.
Note: This plugin adds a single line of template code to restore the hidden feature. The last time we 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 plugin below instead, or contact us for help editing your template code.
(Simple Links Plugin)
This plugin recreates the concept of the built-in WordPress Links Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated functionality.
How To Install Link Manager
Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.
From the WordPress dashboard area, go to Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins Menu – Add New)
Select the Install Plugins > Search tab, then type in “link manager” into the search field and hit Enter …
Locate the plugin in the results screen and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin after it has been installed …
Once you have activated the plugin, WordPress adds a ‘Links’ item to the sidebar menu …
(Links menu section)
Configuring The Plugin
Before adding new links, we recommend setting up your link categories. This way, you can assign new links to a link category you have already created.
To create a new link category, go to your WP dashboard navigation menu and choose Links > Link Categories …
(Links – Link Categories)
This loads the ‘Link Categories’ screen in your web browser.
Enter information into the following sections:
- Name: Enter the link category name here.
- 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. (Optional)
after entering your information, click Add New Link Category to save …
(Link Categories page)
The link category will be added to the table …
(Link Categories area)
Tip: WordPress calls its default link category Blogroll . Unless you specify a category for a new link, WordPress will assign new links to the default category …
(Default link category)
You may want to change the default link category name to something that your visitors can relate to. This not only makes it easier for users of your site, but any new links that you add to the Links section will automatically be assigned to the new category name …
(Change the default ’blogroll’ to something your visitors will relate to)
To edit the default category name, hover your mouse over the item and click on the Quick Edit link …
(Editing the link category name)
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 (e.g. ‘Recommended’, ‘Special Deals’ etc).
Let’s create a link category description. To add a link category description, hover over the item name and click Edit …
(You can add/edit your category description)
Add your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ screen and click Update …
(Edit Link Category area)
Repeat the above process to add as many link categories as you need.
Once you have set up your link categories, you can add your links.
How To Add New Links
To create a new link, click on Links > Add New in the WP admin menu …
(Links Menu – Add New)
This brings up the Add New Link’ page in your browser …
(Add New Link page)
You can also access this screen by clicking on ’Add New’ in the main Links screen …
(Links – Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page includes several sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
This section lets you enter your link details …
(Add New Link – Name, Web Address, Description)
Type in information into the following fields:
- Name: Whatever you type here is the link category name that will display on your site.
- Slug: The slug is the SEO friendly URL part of the link category name. Only use lower case letters without 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 …
(Add New Link page – Categories & Target area)
In the Categories section, tick a link category you have already added, or click on ’+ Add New Category’ to add a new category link.
Also, 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 clicked on by visitors:
- _blank means that when visitors click 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 your link, they will leave your site and a new site 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. 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) fields)
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN (XML Friends Network) lets you define your relationship to the linked person. For example, if you have a professional relationship with Milo Larsson and you link to his blog, you would probably check co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional for WordPress links. You can ignore this section and all of your links will still work. XFN makes the links defined on your site more understandable to some sites 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 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. Other ‘rel’ attributes include author, help, index, start, etc.
You can learn more about XFN by visiting this site:
The last section of the Add New Link’ screen 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 includes the following:
- Image Address: Specify an image to be displayed with the link. To use this feature, add the image URL 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 be displayed 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).
Enter information in the above fields or just leave this section blank.
When you are done adding information about your link, click on Add Link to update your link settings …
(Click on the Add Link button to update your link settings)
Note: If you tick 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 toggle link visibility on and off without deleting these (this is useful if you want to have seasonal links) …
(Making links private toggles their visibility on and off)
To see all your links, choose Links > All Links in your dashboard menu …
(WordPress Links – All Links)
The ‘Links’ screen will load in your web browser. The table of links displays all your links and link information (e.g. link URL, categories, rating, etc.) …
(Table of links)
Tip: To display or hide options in the Links table, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top of your screen …
(Screen Options – List of links)
Display/hide fields on your Links table by selecting/deselecting their check boxes …
(Show/hide – Links page)
Editing Link Information
To edit a link in the Link Manager, go to the WP dashboard menu and choose Links > All Links to bring up the links table …
(WordPress Links – All Links)
Select the link you want to edit and click on Edit to bring up the link’s information …
(Editing your link information)
Change the link details …
(Edit Link page)
After 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 your link’s URL correctly (your link will open in a new window),
- Click Delete to remove the link from your table of links …
(Update Link button)
Removing Your Links
To delete links from the Link Manager, choose Links > All Links in your navigation menu …
(WP Links – All Links)
You will be taken to the ‘Links’ table.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links by selecting their check boxes, or delete all of your links at once.
To delete individual links, hover over the link that you want to remove and click Delete …
To delete a number of links at once, either tick the checkboxes next to individual items that you would like to remove, or select all links by clicking on the check box next to the ‘Name’ column header …
(Delete multiple links)
Choose Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ drop-down menu, and click the Apply button to remove your 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 make links display on your website or blog.
Using The Links Widget
Installing the Links Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ screen.
To access and configure your Link widgets, go to the WP admin menu and select Appearance > Widgets …
(Appearance Menu – Widgets)
The ‘Widgets’ screen will load in your web browser.
You will notice a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …
Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of the active widget bars in the Widgets screen and drop it wherever you would like the links section to show up …
(Adding a links widget to a widgetized area)
The Links widget provides various options. You can specify what information you would like to show about your links and how many links you want to display on your sidebar …
(Link widget - options)
You can also add multiple link widgets to your sidebars and footers. This lets you add and display link sections sorted by categories on your site …
(You can add multiple link widgets to your widget bars)
You can create and display a list of links for a specific 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 – Sort by options)
After configuring your links widget, click Save to update your settings. A links should now display on your site …
(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.
Need help with widgets? We have written a comprehensive article about adding widgets here:
Link Manager – Additional Information
If you have added many links, the Link Manager plugin allows you to easily administer these using searching, filtering, and sorting 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 …
(You can sort your links)
Searching Your Links
Type a search term into the search field and click the Search Links button to find links …
Filtering Links Function
You can filter links by link categories …
(Filtering links by category)
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 links in the ‘Links’ column …
(searching and filtering links in the Link Categories page)
This brings up a list of all links listed for a specific link category …
(Links filtered by category)
Additional Link Options
If you plan to add a lot of links to your site, or if you intend 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 your links.
Plugin Download URL
Link Library lets you output a list of all your link categories with a complete list of all your links plus notes and descriptions …
(Link Library links. Image: Link Library plugin site.)
This useful plugin can be used to create a page on your website that contains a list of all of the link categories in your Links area, plus all links listed in 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 so that your site users can become aware of any additions made to to your link library.
To learn more this plugin, visit this website:
Congratulations! Now you know how to add external links to WordPress.
Go here if you would like to learn more about how to add hyperlinks into your WordPress posts & pages:
"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group