As you discover more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across something called a blogroll.
A blogroll is a list of links pointing to external sites or web pages displayed 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.”
The Links feature lets you easily add and manage links to a widgetized theme.
Before WordPress v3.5 was released, Links were a visible feature of the WordPress CMS. After the release of WordPress v.3.5, the Links manager and blogroll sections were hidden by default in new WordPress installations …
(WordPress Links Manager Feature – pre v.3.5)
(The Link Manager feature is no longer part of the WordPress dashboard menu after WordPress v 3.5)
If you have had an earlier version than v.3.5 installed and upgraded your installation, then the Link Manager would be removed, unless you’ve previously used it.
If the Links feature is not displayed when you log into your WP admin area, you can add it by installing a plugin. This step-by-step tutorial will show you how to add, edit, delete and manage links on your site’s sidebar using WordPress plugins.
- Link Manager
- Adding New Links
- How To Edit Links
- Removing Links
- Links – Additional Options
- Link Library
(Links Manager WordPress Plugin)
Description Of Plugin
This plugin restores 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 template code to WordPress to restore the hidden feature. When we last 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 plugin below instead, or contact us for help editing your template code.
(Simple Links – Link Manager Plugin For WordPress)
This plugin recreates the same concept as the built-in WordPress Links Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.
Installing The Plugin
To install the Link Manager plugin, follow the step-by-step instructions below:
In the WordPress administration area, select Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins – Add New)
Click on the Install Plugins > Search tab, then type in “link manager” into the search field and hit Enter …
Find the plugin in the search results screen and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin after installing it …
After activation, the ‘Links’ functionality is restored to the WP dashboard menu …
(WordPress links menu)
Setting Up The Plugin
We recommend setting up your link categories first before adding any new links. This way, when adding a new link, you can assign the link to link categories you have already created.
To create a link category, go to the dashboard navigation menu and select Links > Link Categories …
(Links Menu – Link Categories)
This takes you to the ‘Link Categories’ page.
Type in information into the following fields:
- Name: Enter the category name here.
- Slug: The slug appears in the web address of the link category name. Only use lower case letters without spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display your link category description. (Optional)
When finished, click Add New Link Category to save …
(Link Categories screen)
Your new category will display in the list …
(Link Categories screen)
Tip: WordPress calls its default link category Blogroll . Unless you specify a category when adding a link, WordPress automatically assigns new links to the default category …
(Default link category name is ‘blogroll’)
You may want to change the default WordPress link category name to something that your visitors can relate to. This will not only make it easier for visitors, but any new links that you add to your site will automatically display under 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 item and click on the Quick Edit link …
(Editing the default link category name)
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), then click on Update Link Category …
In our example, the category name ‘Blogroll’ has been replaced with a more suitable name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).
Let’s create a link category description. To add a link category description, click on Edit under the category name …
(Link category description)
Add your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ page and click Update you’re done to save your settings …
(Edit Link Category screen)
Repeat the above process and add as many different link categories as you need.
Once you have finished setting up your link categories, you can add your links.
Adding New Links
To add a new link, select Links > Add New in your WP dashboard navigation 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 the ‘Add New’ button in the main Links page …
(Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page includes the following sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
This section is where you enter details about your link …
(Name, Web Addressand Description area)
Type in information into the following fields:
- Name: Whatever you type in this field displays as the link category name.
- Slug: The slug is the SEO friendly URL part of the link category name. 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
Select a Category and Target for your new link …
(Add New Link – Categories & Target area)
In the Categories section, tick a link category you have already created, or click on the ‘+ Add New Category’ link to add a new category.
Also, select a target frame radio button for your link in the Target section. This lets you specify where you want your link to open when clicked on by visitors:
- _blank means that when a visitor clicks on the link, a new browser window will open up to display the information for that link. This lets your visitors see the link information without leaving your site
- _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 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 …
(Add New Link page – Link Relationship (XFN))
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN stands for XML Friends Network – lets you define your relationship to the linked person. For example, if you have a professional relationship with Daniel Anderson and you link to his blog, you would probably check co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional for WordPress links. You can leave everything in this section blank and all your links will still work. Defining relationships with XFN makes your links 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 defines a relationship 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, help, start, index, etc.
You can learn more about XFN by visiting the site below:
The last section lets you 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 fields)
The Advanced section fields are as follows:
- Image Address: Lets you specify an image to be displayed with the link. Add the URL of where the image is stored and make sure that your image is small (around 16×16 like a favicon).
- RSS Address: If your theme allows it, the link’s RSS feed will display next to the link.
- Notes: This section lets you add notes 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 have finished adding your new link information, click on Add Link to save your new link …
(Click on Add Link to save your new link)
Note: If you select Keep this link private, your link will not be visible when links are displayed on your site …
(Make your links private)
Making a link private allows you to add a link and then toggle its visibility on or off without deleting it (this is useful if you want to add seasonal links) …
(Toggle link visibility on and off)
To view a list of all your links, choose Links > All Links in the main dashboard menu …
(Links – All Links)
This takes you to the ‘Links’ table. The Links table displays all of your links and link information (e.g. URL, categories, visibility, etc.) …
(Table of links)
Tip: To display additional fields in the table of links, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of the screen …
(List of links – Screen Options)
Show/hide fields on your table of links by ticking/unticking their checkboxes …
How To Edit Links
To modify links in the Link Manager, go to your WP navigation menu and click on Links > All Links to bring up your links page …
(Links – All Links)
Select the item you want to edit and click on Edit to bring up the link’s information …
(Editing link information)
Make changes to your link …
(Edit Link screen)
After editing the link, you can:
- Click the Update Link button to save your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to check that you have set up everything correctly (the link will open in a new window),
- Click Delete to remove the link …
(Edit Link: Update Link button)
To delete links from the Link Manager, go to your admin menu and select Links > All Links …
(WordPress Links – All Links)
This loads the ‘Links’ page in your browser.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links, or perform a bulk delete.
To delete links individually, hover over the link title you want removed and click Delete …
(Delete your links)
To delete multiple links, either tick the check boxes next to individual links that you would like removed, or select all links by clicking on the checkbox next to the ‘Name’ column header at the top of the list …
(Delete multiple links)
Choose Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ drop-down menu, and click the Apply button to remove your selected links …
(Bulk-deletion of links)
All the links you have selected will be removed …
(links deleted notification)
Using The Plugin
Now that you know how to configure 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’ page.
To access and configure your Link widgets, choose Appearance > Widgets in your dashboard navigation menu …
(Appearance Menu – Widgets)
This brings up the ‘Widgets’ screen.
You will notice a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …
Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of your active widget bars in the Widgets page and drop it wherever you want the links to show up …
(Drag & drop your links widget to add it to a widgetized menu)
The Links widget offers various options. For example, you can specify what information you want to show about your links and how many links you want to display on your sidebar menu …
(Link widget settings)
You can also add as many link widgets to your sidebar and footer as you want. This allows you to add and feature links on your site …
(You can add multiple link widgets to your sidebar)
Select a link category from the ‘Select Link Category:’ dropdown menu …
(Link widget options – Select Link Category)
You can sort links by Link rating, Link ID, Link title, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget options – Sorting options)
Once you are done configuring your Links widget, click the Save button to update your settings. A links will become visible on your site …
(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 help using widgets? We have written a comprehensive article on widgets here: How To Add And Configure WordPress Widgets In The Sidebar
Link Manager – Additional Information
If you have loads of links, the Links Manager plugin allows you to easily administer these using filter, search, and sort features.
Sorting Your Links
To sort links, hover your mouse 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)
You can search for links using the ‘Search Links’ feature …
(Searching your links)
Filtering Your Links
You can filter links by categories …
(Filter 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 category links in the ‘Links’ column …
(searching and filtering links in the Link Categories page)
This displays a list of all links listed under a specific link category …
(Links filtered by link category)
Links – Additional Options
If you plan to use links extensively on your site, 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 your links, like Link Library.
(Link Library Plugin)
Download Plugin URL
This plugin allows you to output a list of your link categories and a complete list of all your links plus notes and descriptions …
(Link Library links. Screenshot taken from Link Library plugin documentation.)
Link Library creates a page on your site containing a list of all of 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 links that lets your site users be made aware of additions to your link library.
To learn more this handy plugin, visit this website: Link Library – WordPress Plugin
Congratulations! Now you know how to how to add and manage links in your WordPress sidebar menu.
We have written a comprehensive article on adding links into WordPress. For more details: How To Use The WordPress Internal Linking Tool
"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)
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