A blogroll is a list of hyperlinks pointing to external websites or web pages displayed on your sidebar menu.
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 blogroll using the Links menu in your WP Dashboard. These links will then display on your blog once you add the Links widget.
Before WordPress v 3.5 was released, Links were a visible feature of the WordPress CMS. From v3.5 onwards, the Links manager and blogroll sections were hidden by default in new WordPress installations …
(The Link Manager feature was part of the WordPress menu until the release of WP v 3.5)
(The Link Manager feature is no longer part of WordPress after WP v.3.5)
If you’ve used an earlier version of WordPress than v.3.5 and upgraded your installation, the Links Manager would have been removed, unless you have previously used it.
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 the Links feature is not visible when you log into your WP dashboard you will need to install a plugin. This tutorial shows you how to add, edit, delete and manage blogroll links on your site’s sidebar using plugins.
Plugin Download URL
Description Of Plugin
This plugin displays the default Link Manager, even if you update WordPress to a later version or remove all of your current links.
Note: All this plugin does is add a single line of code to WordPress to restore the hidden feature. The last time we checked, this plugin had not been updated for some time, 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 – Links Manager Plugin For WordPress)
This plugin recreates the concept of the built-in Link Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated functionality.
Installing Link Manager
To install the Link Manager plugin, follow these instructions:
From the WP dashboard menu, go to Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins – Add New)
Click on the Install Plugins > Search tab, then 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 it has been installed …
After activation, a ‘Links’ section will show up on your WP navigation menu …
(Links management menu section)
Configuring The Plugin
We recommend setting up link categories first before you start adding links. This way, you can assign any new links to the link category you have already created.
To create a link category, go to the main navigation menu and click on Links > Link Categories …
(Links Menu – Link Categories)
This brings up the ‘Link Categories’ screen in your web browser.
Enter information into the following sections:
- Name: Enter the category name.
- Slug: The slug is the search-engine friendly URL part of the link category. Use lowercase letters only and do not include spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display a link category description.
When finished, click the Add New Link Category button to save your new link category name …
The link category will be added to the list …
(Link Categories area)
Tip: Blogroll is the default link category name. Unless you specify the category when creating a link, WordPress automatically assigns new links to the default category …
(Default link category name is ‘blogroll’)
You may want to change the default link category name to something better suited to your business. This will not only make it easier for visitors, but any new links that you add to the Links section will automatically be listed under the new category name …
(Change the default link category name to something your visitors will relate to)
To change the ‘Blogroll’ link title, hover your mouse over the item and click on the Quick Edit link …
(Editing 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 the Update link Category button …
(Edit the link category)
Replace the link category name ‘Blogroll’ with an appropriate links section name (e.g. ‘Recommended’, ‘Our Partners’ etc).
Let’s insert a description for this link category. To add a description to an existing link category, click on Edit under the category name …
(Link category description)
Enter your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ page and click Update …
(Edit Link Category screen)
Repeat the above process to add as many different link categories as your site requires.
After setting up your link categories, you can being adding your links.
How To Add New Links
To create a new link, click on Links > Add New in the main navigation menu …
(WP Links Menu – Add New)
The ‘Add New Link’ page will display in your browser …
(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 …
(Links – Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page has several sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
Enter details about your link in this section …
(Name, Web Addressand Description)
Type in information into the following sections:
- Name: What you enter in this field will display as the category your links will be assigned to.
- Slug: The slug shows up 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 a link category description.
Categories & Target
Select a Category and Target for the new link …
(Categories & Target fields – Add New Link screen)
In the Categories section, select one of the link categories you’ve already created, or click on ’+ Add New Category’ to create a new category link.
Also, select a target frame radio button for your link in the Target section. This lets you specify how your link should open when visitors click on it:
- _blank means that a new browser window will open up to display the content for that link.
- _none means that when a visitor clicks on the link, they will leave your site and a new site or page will load in your 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 just ignore this option.
Link Relationship XFN
This area provides some additional link functionality …
(Link Relationship (XFN) – Add New Link page)
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN (XML Friends Network) is a way to define your relationship with the linked person. For example, if you work with Mia Jones and you link to her 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. XFN makes the links defined on your site 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 defines the 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. Separate multiple ‘rel’ attributes with spaces.
You can learn more about XFN by visiting the site below:
The last section of the Add New Link’ screen allows you to 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) …
The Advanced link settings section includes the following:
- Image Address: Specify an image to be displayed with the link. Add an image URL and make sure that your image is small (around 16×16 like a favicon).
- RSS Address: If your theme allows it, the RSS feed associated with the link will display 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 blank.
When you have finished adding your new link information, click on the Add Link button to update your link settings …
(Click on Add Link to update your link settings)
Note: If you select the Keep this link private checkbox, your link will not be visible when links are displayed on your site …
(Make your links private)
Making a link private lets you toggle link visibility on or off without deleting it (this is useful if you would like a link to display during certain periods and hide it afterwards) …
(Toggle link visibility on and off)
To see all the links you have created, select Links > All Links in the main dashboard navigation menu …
(Links Menu – All Links)
You will be taken to the ‘Links’ page. The list of links displays your links and link information (e.g. link URL, link categories, rating, etc.) …
(Table of links)
Tip: To view or hide information in the list of links, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of the screen …
(Screen Options – List of links)
Display/hide information on your table of links by ticking/unticking their check boxes …
How To Edit Your Links
To modify a link, go to your WP dashboard menu and choose 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 item’s link details …
(Editing your links)
Edit the link …
(Edit Link page)
After editing your link, you can:
- Click on Update Link to save your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to view your link and make sure that you have set up its URL correctly (the link will open in a new window),
- Click Delete to delete the link from your list if you no longer require it …
(Edit Link: Update Link button)
How To Remove Links
To remove a link, go to the main dashboard menu and choose Links > All Links …
(Links – All Links)
This brings up the ‘Links’ table.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links, or perform a bulk delete.
To delete individual links, hover your cursor over the link you want removed and click Delete …
(Deleting your links)
To delete a number of links at once, either click on the checkboxes next to individual links that you want to delete, or select all links by clicking on the check box 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 Apply to remove your selected links …
The selected links will be deleted …
(Link deletion message)
Using The Link Manager Plugin
Now that you know how to set up link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, it’s time to display your links on your site.
Installing the Link Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ section.
To access and configure your Link widgets, select Appearance > Widgets in your WP navigation menu …
(WordPress Appearance – Widgets)
This loads the ‘Widgets’ page in your web browser.
You will see that a ‘Links’ widget has been added to the Available Widgets section …
Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of the widget bars and drop it wherever you would like your links to display …
(Adding a links widget to a widgetized menu using drag & drop)
The Links widget includes various configurable settings. For example, you can specify what information you would like displayed 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 as you want. This lets you create and display various link categories throughout your site …
(Add a number of link widgets to your widget bars)
Display a list of links for a specific category …
(Link widget options – Select Link Category)
You can sort links by Link title, Link rating, Link ID, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget options – Sort by options)
After configuring your links widget, click Save to update your settings. A link section will show up immediately on your site …
(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 with widgets? If you want to learn more about widgets, refer to this article:
Links Manager – Additional Information
If you have added many links, the Link Manager plugin allows you to easily administer these using search, sort, and filter features.
You can sort links by hovering your mouse cursor over the title of the column you want to sort and clicking on the little black triangle displayed next to the column title …
(Sort links function)
Search Your Links
Type a search term into the search field and click the Search Links button …
(Search your links)
You can filter links by categories …
(Filtering your links by link category)
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 category links in the ‘Links’ column …
(searching and filtering links in the Link Categories page)
This displays a list of all links grouped under a specific link category …
(Links filtered by category)
Links – Additional Options
If you plan to use links extensively on your site, or if you intend 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.
(Link library – Plugin For WordPress)
Download Plugin URL
The Link Library plugin lets you display a list of all your link categories with a complete list of links plus descriptions and notes …
(List of links created with Link library. Image: Link Library plugin website.)
This plugin creates a page on your website that contains a list of all of the link categories in your Links area, and 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 so that your site users can be made aware of any additions made to to your link library.
To learn more about the Link Library plugin:
Congratulations! Now you know how to how to add and manage links in your WordPress sidebar menu.
We have written a comprehensive article about creating hyperlinks in your WordPress content. Go here to learn more:
"This is an awesome training series. I have a pretty good understanding of WordPress already, but this is helping me to move somewhere from intermediate to advanced user!" - Kim Lednum