As you continue to learn more about the benefits of using WordPress, you may occasionally come across references to the term blogroll.
A blogroll is a list of hyperlinks 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 feature lets you easily add hyperlinks to your WordPress sidebar (e.g. a “Top 10 Resources” section) using a widget.
Before the release of WordPress version 3.5, Links were a core feature of the WordPress CMS. After v 3.5, the Links manager and blogroll sections were hidden by default in new installations …
(WordPress Links Manager Feature – pre version 3.5)
(The Link Manager is no longer part of the menu after WordPress v 3.5)
If you’ve had an earlier version of WordPress than 3.5 installed and upgraded your installation, then the Links Manager would have been 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 the Links feature is not visible 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 plugins.
(Link Manager WordPress Plugin)
This plugin displays the Link 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. 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 one below instead, or contact us for help editing your template code.
(Simple Links WordPress Plugin)
Description Of Plugin
This plugin attempts to recreate the same concept as the built-in WordPress Links Manager while addressing the shortcomings of the deprecated functionality.
Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.
In the WordPress administration menu, 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 area and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin after installing it …
After activation, WordPress will display a ‘Links’ item on your WP admin menu …
(WordPress links management menu)
We recommend setting up link categories first before adding links. This way, when adding a new link, you can assign the link to a link category you have already created.
To create a new link category, go to the main dashboard menu and click on Links > Link Categories …
(Links – Link Categories)
The ‘Link Categories’ screen will display in your web browser.
Enter information into the following sections:
- Name: Enter the category name here.
- Slug: The slug displays in the URL of the link category. Use only lowercase letters and do not include spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display your link category description.
after entering your information, click Add New Link Category …
(Link Categories area)
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 automatically assigns new links to the default category …
(Default link category)
You may want to change the default WordPress link category name to something that will make sense to your site visitors. This will not only make it easier for users of your site, but any new links that you add to your site will automatically be assigned to the new category name …
(Change the default ’blogroll’ to something your visitors will relate to)
To edit the ‘Blogroll’ link name, hover your mouse over the category name and click on Quick Edit …
(Editing the link category name)
Replace both the Name and the Slug with a new category name, then click on the Update link Category button …
(Editing the link category name)
In our example, the link category ‘Blogroll’ has been replaced with a more suitable category name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).
Let’s add a link category description. To add a description to an existing link category, click on Edit under the category name …
(You can add/edit the category description)
Enter your link category description field and click Update …
(Edit Link Category area)
Repeat this process and add as many new link categories as your site needs.
After configuring your link categories, you can add new links.
Adding New Links
To create a new link, go to the dashboard navigation menu and select Links > Add New …
(Links Menu – Add New)
The ‘Add New Link’ page will display in your browser …
(Add New Link page)
You can also reach this screen by clicking on the ‘Add New’ button at the top of the main Links screen …
(Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page has several sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
Enter your link details in this section …
(Name, Web Addressand Description fields – Add New Link screen)
Enter the following information:
- Name: What you enter here is the link category name that will display on your site.
- Slug: The slug shows up in the web address of the link category. Only use lower case letters without 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 link …
(Add New Link – Categories & Target area)
In the Categories section, select a link category you have 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 you want your link to open when clicked on by visitors:
- _blank means that a new web browser window will open up to display the content associated with the link. This allows your visitors to see the link information without leaving your site
- _none means that when visitors click on the link, they will leave 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 ignore this option.
Link Relationship XFN
This area provides some additional link functionality …
(Add New Link page – Link Relationship (XFN))
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN stands for XML Friends Network – is a way to define your relationship to the linked person. For example, if you work with Ella Cooper and you link to her blog, you would probably check co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional. You can ignore this section and your links will still work. 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 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, type nofollow into this field. Other ‘rel’ attributes include author, start, index, help, etc. Separate multiple ‘rel’ keywords with spaces.
To learn more about XFN, visit this site:
The last section lets you specify 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 screen – Advanced link settings)
The Advanced section fields are as follows:
- Image Address: Specify an image to be displayed with the link. To use this feature, add an image URL and make sure that your image is small (around 16×16 like a favicon).
- RSS Address: If your theme allows it, the RSS feed associated with the link can display next to your 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 want to sort links by rating (see the ‘Links’ widget section below).
Type in your information into the above fields or just leave this section blank, as these are not essential for links to work.
When you are done adding your new link information, click on Add Link to save your new link …
(Click on Add Link to update your link settings)
Note: If you select the Keep this link private checkbox, the link will not be visible in your Blogroll section …
(You can make links private by selecting the checkbox)
Making links private allows you to toggle their visibility on or off without deleting these (this is useful if you want to have seasonal links) …
(Making links private toggles their visibility on and off)
To view all your links, choose Links > All Links in the navigation menu …
(Links Menu – All Links)
You will be taken to the ‘Links’ page. The Links page displays a list of all of your links and link information (e.g. link URL, categories, rating, etc.) …
(Table of links)
Tip: To display additional options in the Links table, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of the screen …
(Links table – Screen Options)
Enable/disable information on your Links table by selecting/deselecting their checkboxes …
(List of links – Hide or show screen options)
Editing Link Information
To modify links in the Link Manager, select Links > All Links in the WP dashboard menu to bring up your links page …
(Links Menu – All Links)
Locate the link you want to edit and click on Edit to bring up the item’s link details …
(Editing link information)
Edit your link information …
(Edit Link screen)
After you’re done 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 the link’s URL correctly (the link will open in a new window),
- Click Delete to remove the link from your table if you no longer require it …
(Edit Link: Update Link button)
How To Remove Links
To remove links, go to your admin menu and choose Links > All Links …
(Links Menu – All Links)
This brings up the ‘Links’ page in your web browser.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links, or perform a bulk delete.
To delete links individually, hover your mouse cursor over the link that you want removed and click Delete …
To delete links in bulk, 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 at the top of the list …
(Deleting multiple links)
Choose Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ drop-down menu, and click Apply to delete all selected links …
(Links: bulk-delete function)
The links will be removed …
(links deleted notification)
Now that you know how to set up link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, it’s time to make links display on your website.
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 admin menu …
(Appearance – Widgets)
This brings up the ‘Widgets’ screen.
You will see that a ‘Links’ widget has been added to the Available Widgets section …
To make the ‘Links’ widget active, drag the widget to one of your active widget sections in the Widgets screen and drop it wherever you would like your links section to display …
(Drag and drop your links widget to add it to your WordPress sidebar)
The Links widget provides various configurable settings. You can specify what information you want to display about your links and how many links you would like displayed on your sidebar menu …
(Link widget options)
You can add as many link widgets to your sidebar as you want. This lets you add and display specific a number of different link lists on your site …
(You can add a number of 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 title, Link rating, Link ID, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget settings – Sort by options)
When you have finished configuring your links widget, click the Save button to update your settings. A links should appear on your sidebar menu …
(An example of how 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 more help with widgets? Go here if you would like to learn more about widgets:
Links Manager – Additional Information
If you have added many links, the Links Manager plugin allows you to easily administer these with filter, sort, and search functions.
Sorting Links Function
To sort links, hover your mouse cursor over the title of the column you want to sort and click on the black triangle displayed next to the column title …
(Sort your links)
Search Links Function
Type a search term into the search field and click the Search Links button …
(You can find your links using the search function)
Filtering Links Function
You can filter links by category …
(Filtering links by link 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 screen)
This brings up a list of all links listed under a specific link category …
(Links filtered by category)
Links – Additional Options
If you plan to use links extensively on your site, or if you intend to add a ‘Links’ page 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, like Link Library.
Download Plugin URL
The Link Library plugin gives you the ability to display a list of your link categories with a complete list of all your links together with notes and descriptions …
(List of links created with Link library. Image source: Link Library plugin documentation.)
This plugin can be used to create a page on your site 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 link collection so that your site users can become aware of additions to your link library.
To learn more this great plugin, visit the plugin site:
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 inserting HTML hyperlinks into WordPress posts and pages. Go here to learn more:
"These tutorials have so much information and are easy to understand. If you use WordPress or plan to in the future these will help you with everything you need to know." - Valisa (Mesa, Arizona)