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 …

How To Add A Links Section To Your WordPress SiteAs you learn more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across something called a blogroll.

A blogroll is a list of hyperlinks pointing to other websites or pages that display on your sidebar section.

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 WP Dashboard. These links will then display on your sidebar if you have added the Links widget.

Important Info

Before WordPress v 3.5 was released, Links were a built-in feature of the WordPress CMS. From v.3.5 onwards, the Links manager and blogroll sections were removed …

Before …

WP Links Feature - pre v 3.5

(The Links Manager displayed in the WordPress admin menu until the release of WP v.3.5)

After …

The Link Manager feature  - no longer shown in the WordPress dashboard menu after WP version 3.5

(Post v 3.5 – no WP Links Manager feature)

If you’ve used an earlier version than v 3.5 and upgraded your installation, the Link Manager would be removed, unless you’ve previously used it. If you’ve never used the Links feature, however, or if your site is new, then this function will remain hidden – it will not appear on your menu.

 

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 Links feature when you log into your WordPress 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

Link Manager - Plugin For WordPress

(Link Manager)

Plugin Download URL

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

Description Of Plugin

Use this plugin to display the default Links 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 code to your installation 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 plugin below instead, or contact us for help editing your template code.

Simple Links

Simple Links

(Simple Links)

Download URL

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

Description Of Plugin

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.

In the WordPress administration area, go to Plugins > Add New

Plugins Menu - Add New

(Plugins – Add New)

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

How To Install Link Manager

Locate the plugin in the search results area and click Install Now

Installing Link Manager

Activate the plugin …

Plugin Installation

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

WordPress links menu

(WordPress links menu)

Setting Up Link Manager

We recommend setting up link categories first before you start adding any new links. This way, you can assign new links to link categories you have already created.

Link Categories

To create a link category, click on Links > Link Categories in your WP dashboard navigation menu …

WordPress Links Menu - Link Categories

(Links – Link Categories)

The ‘Link Categories’ page will load in your browser.

Type in the following information:

  • Name: Enter the link category name here.
  • Slug: The slug is the SEO friendly URL part of your link category. Use only lowercase letters and do not include 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

Link Categories

(Link Categories)

Your new category will now show in the table …

Link Categories

(Link Categories screen)

Info

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

Default link category name is 'blogroll'

(Default link category name)

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

Consider changing the default 'blogroll' to something better suited to your business

(Change the default ’blogroll’ to something better suited to your business)

To edit the ‘Blogroll’ link title, hover your mouse over the item and click on the Quick Edit link …

Quick Edit

(Quick Edit)

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

Edit the link category

(Quick Edit)

In our example, we’ve replaced the category ‘Blogroll’ with an appropriate links section name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).

Let’s create a description for this link category. 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 link category description field and click Update

Edit Link Category screen

(Edit Link Category page)

Repeat the above process to add as many new link categories as your site requires.

After setting up your link categories, you can start adding new links.

How To Add Links

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

Links - Add New

(WordPress Links Menu – Add New)

This loads the Add New Link’ page in your browser …

Add New Link page

(Add New Link screen)

You can also reach this page by clicking on the ‘Add New’ button at the top of the main Links page …

Add New Link button

(Links page – Add New Link button)

The ‘Add New Links’ page has a number of sections:

Name, Web Address & Description

This section lets you enter details about your link …

Name, Web Address, Description section - Add New Link

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

Type in the following information:

  • 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)
Categories & Target

After adding your link details, select a Category and Target for the new link …

Add New Link - Categories & Target area

(Add New Link screen – Categories & Target)

In the Categories section, select a link category you have already created, or click on the ‘+ Add New Category’ link to create a new category.

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:

  • _blank means that a separate 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 page
  • _none means that when visitors click on your link, they will exit your site and a new site 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. If you don’t use frames, or if you don’t know what frames are, then ignore this option.
Link Relationship XFN

This section provides some additional link functionality …

Add New Link - Link Relationship (XFN) fields

(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 Ethan Larsson and you link to his blog, you would probably tick co-worker or colleague.

XFN relationships are optional for WordPress links. You can ignore this section and your links will still work. Defining relationships with 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 defines 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, start, index, help, etc. Separate multiple ‘rel’ keywords with spaces.

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 ignore this section, unless there’s a good reason to use it) …

Add New Link screen - Advanced section

(Advanced link settings – Add New Link screen)

The Advanced section contain the following fields:

  • Image Address: 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 your link.
  • Notes: Add notes about the link in this section 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 in the above fields or just leave this section ignore this section.

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

click on the Add Link button to save your new link

(Click on Add Link to save your new link)

Important Info

Note: If you select the checkbox next to Keep this link private, your link will not be visible when links are displayed on your site …

Make your links private

(Make your links private)

Making a link private allows you to add a link and then toggle its visibility on and off without deleting it (this is useful if you want to use seasonal links) …

Toggle link visibility on and off

(Making links private toggles their visibility on and off)

To view all the links you have added, go to the WP dashboard navigation menu and select Links > All Links

Links - All Links

(Links – All Links)

The ‘Links’ screen will display in your web browser. The table of links displays all of your links and link information (e.g. link URL, link categories, visibility, etc.) …

Links page

(Table of links)

Useful Tip

Tip: To display additional columns in the Links table, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of the screen …

Links page - Screen Options

(Screen Options – Links table)

Display/hide information on your Links table by selecting/deselecting their check boxes …

Show/hide links

(Show/hide – Links page)

Editing Links

To modify a link, select Links > All Links in the dashboard menu to bring up your links screen …

WordPress Links Menu - All Links

(WordPress Links – All Links)

Select the item to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the item’s link details …

Editing link information

(Editing link information)

Make the changes you want to the link …

Edit Link page

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

Update Link button

(Update Link button)

Removing Links

To remove a link from the Link Manager, click on Links > All Links in your dashboard menu …

WP Links Menu - All Links

(Links Menu – All Links)

The ‘Links’ page will display in your browser.

You can delete links individually, delete multiple links, or delete all links.

To delete links individually, hover your mouse cursor over the link title you want removed and click on Delete

Deleting links

(Delete your links)

To delete a number of links at once, either tick the check box next to each item that you want to remove, or select all links by clicking on the main check box next to the ‘Name’ column header …

Deleting multiple links

(Delete multiple links)

Choose Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ pulldown menu, and click the Apply button to remove your selected links …

Bulk-delete links

(Bulk-deletion of links)

The links you have selected will be removed …

Link deletion notice

(Link deletion notification)

Plugin Usage

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

The Links Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ page.

To access and configure your Link widgets, go to your admin menu and click on Appearance > Widgets

WP Appearance Menu - Widgets

(WordPress Appearance Menu – Widgets)

This brings up the ‘Widgets’ page.

You will notice a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …

Links widget

(Links widget)

To make the ‘Links’ widget active, drag it to one of the active widget areas and drop it wherever you would like your links section to show up …

Add a links widget to your sidebar

(Adding a links widget to a widgetized area using drag and drop)

The Links widget includes various settings. For example, you can specify what information you want displayed about your links and how many links you would like to display on your sidebar …

Link widget - options

(Link widget - settings)

You can also add as many link widgets to your sidebar as you want. This allows you to create and display various link sections throughout your site …

Add a number of link widgets to your sidebar

(You can add a number of link widgets to your sidebar)

Display links for a specific category …

Link widget settings - Select Link Category

(Link widget options – 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 will show on your site …

Links can be displayed on your site's sidebar

(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.

Tip

Need help using widgets? We have written a detailed article about using widgets. For more details, go here:

Links Manager – Additional Information

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

Sorting Your Links

To sort links, hover your cursor over the title of the column you want to sort and click on the black triangle displayed next to the column title …

You can sort links

(You can sort links)

Searching Links Function

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

Searching links

(Find your links)

Filter Your Links

You can filter links by link category …

Filtering your links by categories

(Filtering your links by category)

You can also search and filter links in the Link Categories screen. 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 page

(Search and filter links in the Link Categories page)

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

Links filtered by category

(Links filtered by category)

Links – Additional Options

If you plan to add a lot of links to your website or blog, or if you intend to add a page containing a list of links 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 links.

Link Library

Link Library

(Link Library)

Download Plugin URL

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

Plugin Description

Link Library allows you to publish a list of all your link categories with a complete list of all your links with notes and descriptions …

Link Library links

(List of links created with Link library. Image: Link Library plugin website.)

Link Library can be used to create a page on your site that contains a list of all of the link categories in your Links area, and all links defined for 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 of your links so that your site users can be made aware of any additions made to to your link library.

Go here to learn more this powerful plugin:

Adding A Links Section To Sidebar Menu

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

Practical Tip

We have also written a detailed article about creating links in WordPress posts here:

Get Thrive Leads for WordPress

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