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.

Adding A WordPress Featured Links SectionAs you continue to learn more about the benefits of using WordPress, you may occasionally come across the term blogroll.

WordPress refers to a list of hyperlinks pointing to other sites or pages that display on your sidebar area 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 manage a set of links using the Links menu in your Dashboard. These links will then display on your sidebar once you add the Links widget.

Important Info

Before WordPress v.3.5 was released, Links were a built-in feature of the WordPress CMS. After v3.5, the Links Manager section was removed …

Before …

The Links Manager displayed in the menu until the release of WP version 3.5

(WP Links Manager Feature – pre v.3.5)

After …

Post v.3.5 - no WordPress Links feature

(Post v.3.5 – no WordPress Links feature)

If you’ve had an earlier version of WordPress than v.3.5 installed and upgraded your installation, the Links Manager would be removed, unless you have previously used it.

 

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 Link Manager section when you log into your WP dashboard you will need to install a plugin. In this tutorial, you will learn how to add, edit, delete and manage blogroll links on your sidebar using WordPress plugins.

Link Manager

Link Manager - WordPress Links Management Plugin

(Link Manager – WordPress Links Management Plugin)

Download URL

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

Plugin Description

This plugin restores the Link Manager, even if you update to a later version of WordPress or remove all of your existing links.

Note: All this plugin does is add a single line of template code to your installation to restore the hidden feature. When we last checked, the 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

Simple Links WordPress Plugin

(Simple Links WordPress Plugin)

Plugin Download URL

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

Plugin Description

Simple Links recreates the same concept as the built-in Link Manager while addressing the shortcomings of the deprecated functionality.

How To Install The Plugin

Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.

In the WP administration menu, select Plugins > Add New

Plugins - Add New

(Plugins Menu – Add New)

Select the Install Plugins > Search tab, type ”link manager” into the search field and hit Enter

How To Install Link Manager

Find the plugin in the results area and click Install Now

Plugin Installation

Activate the plugin …

Installing Link Manager

After activation, WordPress will display a ‘Links’ section on the sidebar menu screen …

Links management menu section

(WordPress links menu section)

Setting Up Link Manager

We recommend setting up your link categories first before you start adding links. This way, when you add a new link, you can assign the link to a link category you have already created.

Link Categories

To create a new link category, choose Links > Link Categories in the admin menu …

WordPress Links - Link Categories

(Links – Link Categories)

This brings up the ‘Link Categories’ screen in your web browser.

Type in information into the following fields:

  • Name: Enter the category name here.
  • Slug: The slug is the URL bit 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)

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

Link Categories page

(Link Categories)

Your new category will now show in the table …

Link Categories

(Link Categories)

Important Info

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

Default link category

(Default link category)

You may want to change this default link category name to something better suited to your business. This will not only make it easier for users of your site, but any new links that you add to the Links section will automatically appear under the new category name …

Change the default 'blogroll' to something better suited to your business

(Consider changing the default ’blogroll’ to something your visitors will relate to)

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

Quick Edit

(Edit the link category name)

Replace 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

(Update Link Category)

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

Let’s create a link category description. To add a description to an existing link category, hover over the link category name and click Edit

Link category description

(Link category description)

Add your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ screen and click Update done to save your settings …

Edit Link Category screen

(Edit Link Category area)

Repeat the above process to add as many different link categories as you need.

Once you have set up your link categories, you can start adding new links.

How To Add New Links

To create a new link, go to the WP dashboard menu and click on Links > Add New

WP Links Menu - Add New

(Links Menu – Add New)

You will be taken to the ‘Add New Link’ page …

Add New Link screen

(Add New Link screen)

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

Add New Link button

(Links – Add New Link button)

The ‘Add New Links’ page is divided into several sections:

Name, Web Address & Description

Enter details about your link in this section …

Name, Web Address, Description

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

Type in the following information:

  • Name: What you type in this field is the category name that will display on your site.
  • Slug: The slug shows up in the search-engine friendly URL of the link category name. Use only lowercase 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

Select a Category and Target for your link …

Add New Link page - Categories & Target section

(Add New Link – Categories & Target)

In the Categories section, select one of the link categories you’ve already created, or click on ’+ Add New Category’ to add a new category.

Also, select a target frame for your link in the Target section by choosing one of the radio buttons. This lets you specify how the link should open when clicked on by visitors:

  • _blank means that a separate web browser window will open up to display the information associated with the link. This lets your visitors access the information without leaving your page
  • _none means that when a visitor clicks on your link, they will exit your site and a new site 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. Ignore this option if you don’t use frames, or if you don’t know what frames are.
Link Relationship XFN

This area provides some additional link functionality …

Link Relationship (XFN) area - Add New Link page

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

Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN (XML Friends Network) allows you to define your relationship to the linked person. For example, if you work with Aaliyah Jones and you link to her blog, you would probably check co-worker or colleague.

XFN relationships are optional. You can leave everything in this section blank and 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, enter nofollow into this field.

You can learn more about XFN by visiting the site below:

Advanced

The last section of the Add New Link’ screen lets you specify Advanced features for your links (some themes will ignore this. You can leave the fields in this section empty unless there’s a good reason to use them) …

Advanced area

(Add New Link screen – Advanced link settings)

The Advanced section fields include the following:

  • Image Address: Specify an image to be displayed with the link. Add the URL of your image 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 will be displayed next to the 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 would like to sort links by rating (see the ‘Links’ widget section below).

Enter information into the above fields or just leave this section blank, as these fields are not essential for links to work.

When you have finished adding information about your link, click on Add Link to save your new link …

click on Add Link to update your link settings

(Click on the Add Link button to save your new link)

Important

Note: If you tick the checkbox next to Keep this link private, your link will not be visible in your Links section …

You can make links private by checking the box

(Private link checkbox)

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 afterwards) …

Toggle link visibility on and off

(Making links private toggles their visibility on and off)

To see all the links you have added to the Link Manager, go to the admin menu and click on Links > All Links

Links - All Links

(Links – All Links)

This takes you to the ‘Links’ table. The Links page displays a list of all your links and link information (e.g. URL, 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 your screen …

Screen Options - Table of Links

(Links table – Screen Options)

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

Hide or show - List of links

(Show/hide links)

How To Edit Links

To edit a link in the Link Manager, choose Links > All Links in your navigation menu to bring up the links screen …

Links Menu - All Links

(Links – All Links)

Locate the link to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the link’s information …

Editing your link information

(Editing your link information)

Make changes to the link details …

Edit Link screen

(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 view your link and make sure that you have set up everything correctly (the link will open up in a new window),
  • Click Delete to delete the link …

Edit Link: Update Link button

(Edit Link: Update Link button)

How To Delete Links

To remove a link from the Link Manager, go to the dashboard navigation menu and select Links > All Links

Links Menu - All Links

(Links – All Links)

You will be taken to the ‘Links’ screen.

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 to remove and click on Delete

Delete links

(Delete links)

To delete links in bulk, either click on the check boxes next to individual links that you would like deleted, or select all links by clicking on the main checkbox next to the ‘Name’ column header …

Delete multiple links

(Deleting multiple links)

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

Links: bulk-deletion function

(Links: bulk-deletion function)

Your selected links will be removed …

Deleted links notice

(Deleted links notice)

Using The Plugin

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

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 navigation menu and click on Appearance > Widgets

Appearance Menu - Widgets

(Appearance Menu – Widgets)

This brings up the ‘Widgets’ screen in your web browser.

You will notice 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 areas in the Widgets page and drop it wherever you would like the links section to show up …

Drag & drop the links widget to add it to a widgetized area

(Add a links widget to your sidebar)

The Links widget offers a number of configurable settings. You can specify what information you want to show about your links and how many links you would like to display on your sidebar …

Link widget - settings

(Link widget - settings)

You can also add multiple link widgets to your sidebar. This allows you to create and feature different links on your site …

You can add multiple link widgets to your widget bars

(Add multiple link widgets to your widget bars)

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

Link widget options - Select Link Category

(Link widget settings – Select Link Category)

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

Link widget options - Sorting options

(Link widget settings – Sorting options)

Once you are done configuring the links widget, click Save to update your settings. Your link section should appear on your website’s 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.

Useful Tip

Need more help using widgets? We have written a comprehensive article on adding widgets. Go here to learn more about this:

Links Manager – Additional Information

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

Sorting Links Function

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 …

Sorting links

(Sort links function)

Search Your Links

Type a search term into the search field and click the Search Links button to search for links …

Finding links

(You can find your links with the search function)

Filtering Links

You can filter links by categories …

Filter links by category

(Filter links by categories)

You can also search and filter links in the Link Categories screen. Use the ‘Search Link Categories’ button to find link categories, or click on the links in the ‘Links’ column …

Search and filter links in the Link Categories page

(Search and filter links in the Link Categories screen)

This brings up a list of all links listed for a specific link category …

Links filtered by link category

(Links filtered by category)

Links – Additional Options

If you plan to add lots of links to your website, or if you would like to add a ‘Links’ page 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 For WordPress

(Link Library WordPress Plugin)

Plugin Download URL

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

Plugin Description

Link Library gives you the ability to publish a list of your link categories and a complete list of links plus descriptions and notes …

List of links created with Link library

(List of links created with Link library. Screenshot taken from Link Library plugin documentation.)

Link Library can be used to create a page on your website containing all the link categories in your Links section, plus 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 link collection so that your site users can be made aware of additions to your link library.

For more information about this powerful plugin, visit the plugin website:

How To Add A Blogroll To WordPress

Congratulations! Now you know how to add external links to WordPress.

Practical Tip

If you want to learn more about inserting links into WordPress posts and pages, see this article:

***

"I am beyond impressed with what you have put together. I can tell that you put a ton of hard work into building what you have. You have the absolute best content on WordPress I have ever seen!" - Robert T. Jillie

***

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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 tutorials that show you how to use WordPress to grow your business online with no coding skills required! Get our FREE "101+ WordPress Tips, Tricks & Hacks For Non-Techies" e-course with loads of useful WordPress tips!

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