WordPress For Non-Techies: Free WordPress Tutorials – WPCompendium.org

How To Add A Link Section To WordPress

As you become more familiar with WordPress, you may occasionally come across the term blogroll.

A blogroll is a list of links pointing to external websites or web pages displayed on your sidebar area.

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 links to a widget-ready theme.

Before WordPress v3.5 was released, Links were a visible feature of the WordPress CMS. From v.3.5 onwards, the Link Manager section was kept hidden by default in new WordPress installations …

Before …

(WordPress Links Feature – pre version 3.5)

After …

(Post v 3.5 – no WordPress Links feature)

If you’ve had an earlier version than v.3.5 installed and upgraded your installation, then the Link Manager would have been removed, unless you’ve previously used it. If you’ve never used the Link Manager feature, however, or if your WordPress site installation is new, then this function will become invisible – you won’t see it 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 WP admin area, you can add this feature via a plugin. This step-by-step tutorial explains how to add and manage links on your sidebar using plugins.

Link Manager

(Link Manager Plugin)

Plugin URL



The Link Manager plugin restores the default Link Manager, 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 template code 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

(Simple Links Plugin)

Download URL


Plugin Description

This plugin recreates the same concept as the built-in WordPress Link Manager while addressing the shortcomings of the deprecated functionality.

Installing The Plugin

To install the Link Manager plugin on your website or blog, follow these instructions:

In the WP administration menu, select Plugins > Add New

(Plugins Menu – 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 area and click Install Now

Activate the plugin …

After the plugin is activated, a ‘Links’ item will get added to your sidebar menu …

(WordPress links menu)

Configuring Link Manager

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

Link Categories

To create a new link category, go to the main navigation menu and click on Links > Link Categories

(WP Links – Link Categories)

This loads the ‘Link Categories’ page in your web browser.

Enter information into the following fields:

Click the Add New Link Category button to save your new link category …

(Link Categories area)

Your category details will now show in the table …

(Link Categories page)

Tip: The default WordPress link category is called Blogroll . Unless you specify a category for a new 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 your visitors can understand. 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 be listed under the new category name …

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

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

(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 the Update link Category button …

(Editing the link category)

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

Let’s add a link category description. To add a link category description, click on the Edit link under the category name …

(You can add/edit the category description)

Add your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ page and click Update

(Edit Link Category page)

Repeat this process and add as many new link categories as you need.

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

How To Add Links

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

(Links Menu – Add New)

The ‘Add New Link’ page will display in your browser …

(Add New Link page)

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 is divided into several sections:

Name, Web Address & Description

The first section lets you enter your link details …

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

Type in information into the following sections:

Categories & Target

Select a Category and Target for your new link …

(Add New Link – Categories & Target)

In the Categories section, select a link category you have already set up, 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 where your link should open when clicked on by visitors:

Link Relationship XFN

This section provides some additional link functionality …

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

Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN (XML Friends Network) allows you to define your relationship with the linked person. For example, if you work with Michael Smith and you link to his blog, you would probably check 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 lets you specify the ‘rel’ attribute that will be assigned to your link. The rel attribute specifies 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. Separate multiple ‘rel’ attributes using spaces.

You can learn more about XFN by visiting this site:


The last section of the Add New Link’ screen allows you to enter Advanced features for your links (You can ignore this section, unless there’s a good reason to use it) …

(Advanced fields)

The Advanced link settings section includes the following:

Enter information in the above fields or just leave this section ignore this section.

When you are done adding your new link information, click on the Add Link button to save your new link …

(Click on the Add Link button to update your link settings)

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

(Private link checkbox)

Making links private lets you toggle link visibility on or off without deleting these (this is useful if you want to add seasonal links) …

(Toggle link visibility on and off)

To see all the links you have added, choose Links > All Links in your WP admin menu …

(WP Links Menu – All Links)

This brings up the ‘Links’ page in your web browser. The table of links displays your links and link information (e.g. URL, link categories, visibility, etc.) …

(Table of links)

Tip: To view or hide fields in the Links table, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of the screen …

(Screen Options – Links screen)

Enable/disable information on your table of links by ticking/unticking their checkboxes …

(Show/hide links)

Editing Links

To modify links in the Link Manager, go to the admin menu and select Links > All Links to bring up your links table …

(Links – All Links)

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

(Editing your links)

Change your link …

(Edit Link screen)

After editing the link, you can:

(Edit Link: Update Link button)

Removing Your Links

To remove a link, go to your WP navigation menu and select Links > All Links

(Links – All Links)

This loads 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 individual links, hover your cursor over the link title that you want to remove from the link table and click on Delete

(Deleting your links)

To delete links in bulk, either tick the check boxes next to individual items that you want to delete, 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’ pull-down menu, and click the Apply button to delete all selected links …

(Links: bulk-deletion function)

The links you have selected will be removed …

(Link deletion notice)

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 site.

Links Widget

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

To access and configure your Link widgets, go to your dashboard menu and choose Appearance > Widgets

(WordPress Appearance – Widgets)

The ‘Widgets’ screen will load in your web browser.

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

(Links widget)

Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of your widget sections in the Widgets screen and drop it wherever you would like your links section to display …

(Drag & drop the links widget to add it to your WordPress widget bar)

The Links widget includes various configurable options. For example, you can specify what information you want to show about your links and how many links you want displayed on your sidebar …

(Link widget settings)

You can add multiple link widgets to your sidebar and footer. This lets you create and feature link lists throughout your site …

(Add a number of link widgets to your sidebar)

Select a link category to display a specific list of items …

(Link widget options – Select Link Category)

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

(Link widget settings – Sort by options)

When you have finished setting up your links widget, click Save to update your settings. A links should become visible on your site …

(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 with widgets? We have written a detailed article about adding widgets. Go here to learn more about this:

Link Manager – Additional Information

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

Sort Links Function

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

(You can sort your links)

Find Your Links

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

(You can find links with the search function)

Filtering Links Function

You can filter links by link category …

(Filter your 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 …

(Search and filter links in the Link Categories page)

This brings up a list of all links grouped under a specific link category …

(Links filtered by link category)

Additional Link Options

If you plan to add lots of links to your website or blog, or if you intend to add a ‘Links’ page to your site (i.e. not just add links on your sidebar), then you may want to look at using a plugin that can help you administer links, like Link Library.

Link Library

(Link Library)

Plugin URL


Plugin Description

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

(Link Library links. Image source: Link Library plugin site.)

This useful plugin creates a page on your website containing all the link categories in your Links section, and 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 link collection so that your site users can become aware of any additions made to to your link library.

To learn more about the Link Library plugin:

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

We have also written a detailed article about creating HTML hyperlinks in your WordPress content here:


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