As you learn more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across the term blogroll.
WordPress refers to a list of links pointing to other sites or web pages that display on your sidebar 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.”
The Links Manager lets you easily add hyperlinks to a widgetized theme.
Before the release of WP v3.5, Links were a visible feature of the WordPress CMS. After the release of v.3.5, the Link Manager section was kept hidden by default in new WordPress installations …
(The Links Manager – part of the menu until the release of WordPress v3.5)
(The Links Manager feature is no longer included in WordPress after WP version 3.5)
If your site previously used Link Manager, then it will still be available when your WP installation upgrades to a newer version. If you’ve never used the Link Manager feature, however, or if your WordPress 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 you can’t see a Links item on the main menu when you log into your WordPress admin area, you can add this feature via a plugin. In this tutorial, you will learn how to add and manage links on your site’s sidebar using plugins.
(Link Manager WordPress Plugin)
This plugin displays the default Links menu on your WP dashboard, even if you update to a later version of WordPress or remove all of your current links.
Note: All this plugin does is add a single line of 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 this plugin, then use the one below instead, or contact us for help editing your template code.
Simple Links attempts to recreate the concept of 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.
From the WP administration menu, select Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins – Add New)
Click on the Install Plugins > Search tab, type ”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 activating the plugin, a ‘Links’ item will be displayed in your navigation menu …
Before adding links, we recommend setting up your link categories. 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, choose Links > Link Categories in the navigation menu …
(Links Menu – Link Categories)
The ‘Link Categories’ page will display in your browser.
Type in the following information:
- Name: Enter the link category name.
- Slug: The slug displays in the web address of the link category. It must be in lowercase letters and contain no spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display your link category description. (Optional)
Click Add New Link Category to save your new link category …
(Link Categories area)
Your new category will be added to the table …
Tip: WordPress calls its default link category Blogroll . Unless you specify the category for a link, WordPress automatically assigns new links to the default category …
(Default link category)
You may want to change this to something that your visitors can relate to. This not only makes it easier for visitors, but any new links that you add to your site will automatically appear under the new category name …
(we recommend changing 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 …
(Edit 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 Update Link Category …
In our example, the link category name ‘Blogroll’ has been replaced with a more suitable category name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).
Let’s create a description for this link category. 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 description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ page and click Update when you’re done …
(Edit Link Category page)
Repeat the above process and add as many new link categories as you need.
After you have finished setting up your link categories, you can add your links.
To add a new link, select Links > Add New in the WP admin menu …
(Links Menu – Add New)
The ‘Add New Link’ page will load in your browser …
(Add New Link screen)
You can also access this screen by clicking on ’Add New’ at the top of the main Links screen …
(Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page is divided into the following sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
This section is where you enter details about your link …
(Name, Web Address& Description – Add New Link)
Type in the following information:
- Name: Enter the category name here.
- Slug: The slug is the SEO friendly URL part of your link category. Use only lowercase letters without spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display a link category description.
Categories & Target
After typing in your link details, select a Category and Target for the new link …
(Categories & Target fields)
In the Categories section, tick a link category you’ve already set up, or click on the ‘+ Add New Category’ link to create a new category link.
Also, select a target frame radio button for your link in the Target section. This lets you specify where the link should open when a visitor clicks on it:
- _blank means that when a visitor clicks on the link, a new, separate browser window will open up to display the content associated with the link. This lets your visitors see the information without leaving your page
- _none means that when visitors click on your link, they will leave your site and a new website or page will load in your web browser window instead.
- _top opens links at the top level of the frame system if you’re using frames. Don’t worry about 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) fields – Add New Link screen)
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN (XML Friends Network) lets you define your relationship with the linked person. For example, if you work with Flannery Schwartz and you link to his blog, you would probably tick co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional for WordPress links. You can leave everything in this section blank and all of your links will work just fine. Defining relationships with XFN makes the links defined on your site more understandable to some sites 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 the 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. Other ‘rel’ attributes include author, start, index, help, etc. Separate multiple ‘rel’ keywords with spaces.
You can learn more about XFN by visiting 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 – Advanced area)
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 link’s RSS feed 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.
When you are done adding your new link information, click on the Add Link button to save your new link …
(Click on Add Link to save your new link)
Note: If you select the Keep this link private checkbox, your link will not be visible in your Links section …
(Private link checkbox)
Making a link private allows you to toggle link visibility on or off without deleting it (this is useful if you would like your link to display during certain times and hide it after it’s no longer required) …
(Toggle link visibility on and off)
To see all your links, go to your WP dashboard navigation menu and click on Links > All Links …
(Links Menu – All Links)
This loads the ‘Links’ screen in your browser. The list of links displays all your links and link information (e.g. URL, categories, relationship, etc.) …
Tip: To show or hide options in the list of links, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top of your screen …
(Links screen – Screen Options)
Enable/disable fields on your table of links by selecting/deselecting their check boxes …
Editing Link Information
To modify links in the Link Manager, choose Links > All Links in the WP navigation menu to bring up the table of links …
(Links – All Links)
Locate the link you want to edit and click on Edit to bring up the link’s information …
(Editing your link information)
Change the link …
(Edit Link page)
After you’re done editing the link, you can:
- Click on Update Link to save and update your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to view your link and check that you have set up everything correctly (the link will open in a new window),
- Click Delete to remove the link …
(Update Link button)
Removing Your Links
To delete a link, go to your WP dashboard navigation menu and select Links > All Links …
(Links Menu – All Links)
This brings up the ‘Links’ screen in your web browser.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links by selecting their check boxes, or perform a bulk delete.
To delete links individually, hover your cursor over the link you want removed and click Delete …
(Deleting your links)
To delete links in bulk, either tick the check boxes next to individual items that you would like deleted, 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)
Select Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ drop menu, and click Apply to remove all selected links …
The links will be deleted …
(Link deletion message)
Using The Plugin
Now that you know how to configure link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, it’s time to learn how to display your links on your site.
Using The Links Widget
Installing the Link Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ page.
To access and configure your Link widgets, go to the main dashboard navigation menu and choose Appearance > Widgets …
(Appearance – Widgets)
This loads the ‘Widgets’ screen in your browser.
You will see a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …
Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of your widget bars in the Widgets page and drop it wherever you would like the links section to display …
(Drag & drop your links widget to add it to a widgetized menu)
The Links widget includes various settings. You can specify what information you want to display about your links and how many links you want to display on your sidebar …
(Link widget settings)
You can also add as many link widgets to your sidebar as you want. This allows you to create and display lists of links throughout your site …
(You can add a number of link widgets to your widget bars)
Display a list of links for a specific category …
(Link widget settings – Select Link Category)
You can sort links by Link ID, Link title, Link rating, 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. Your link section should become visible on your sidebar, footer or wherever you have added the widget to …
(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 using widgets? To learn more about widgets, refer to this article:
Links Manager – Additional Information
If you have loads of links, the Links Manager plugin lets you easily administer these using searching, filtering, and sorting functions.
You can sort links by hovering your mouse over the title of the column you want to sort and clicking on the little triangle displayed next to the column title …
Search for links using the ‘Search Links’ feature …
(You can easily search links with the search function)
Filtering Your Links
You can filter links by link category …
(Filtering your 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 …
(Search and filter links in the Link Categories page)
This brings up a list of all links listed under a specific link category …
(Links filtered by link category)
Additional Link Options
If you plan to add lots of links to your site, or if you want 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 links, like Link Library.
Download Plugin URL
Link Library gives you the ability to display a list of your link categories with a complete list of links plus descriptions and notes …
(Link Library links. Image source: Link Library plugin site.)
This useful plugin can be used to create a page on your site that contains a list of all of 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 for your links so that your site users can become aware of additions to your link library.
To learn more about the Link Library plugin:
Congratulations! Now you know how to add a featured links section to your WordPress sidebar.
We have written a detailed article about adding hyperlinks in your WordPress content. Go here to learn more about this:
"If you're new to WordPress, this can stand on its own as a training course and will stay with you as you progress from beginner to advanced and even guru status." - Bruce (Columbus, Ohio)