In WordPress terminology, a list of hyperlinks displayed on your sidebar is often referred to 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 and manage external hyperlinks to a widget-ready theme.
Prior to the release of v3.5, Links were a core feature of the WordPress CMS. From v 3.5 onwards, the Link Manager section was removed …
(WP Links Manager – pre v.3.5)
(The Link Manager – no longer shown in WordPress after WordPress version 3.5)
If you were using the Link Manager in previous versions of WordPress, then it will still be available when your installation updates to a newer version. If you’ve never used Links Manager, however, or if your site is new, then this function will remain hidden – it will not be displayed on your 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 the Links menu section is not visible when you log into your WP admin area, you can add this feature via a plugin. In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn how to add, edit, delete and manage links on your sidebar using plugins.
(Links Manager WordPress Plugin)
Use this plugin to display the default Links feature on your WordPress dashboard, even if you update WordPress to a later version or remove all of your existing links.
Note: This plugin adds a single line of code to your installation to restore the hidden feature. When we last checked, the 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 recreates the concept of the built-in WP Link Manager while addressing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.
Installing Link Manager
To install the Link Manager plugin on your website, follow these instructions:
In your WP dashboard area, select Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins – Add New)
Select the Install Plugins > Search tab, then type in “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, the ‘Links’ functionality will be restored to your WP dashboard menu …
(WordPress links menu)
Configuring Link Manager
We recommend setting up your link categories first before you start adding any new links. This way, when you create a new link, you can assign the link to a link category you have already created.
To create a link category, select Links > Link Categories in the navigation menu …
(WordPress Links Menu – Link Categories)
The ‘Link Categories’ screen will load in your browser.
Enter the following information:
- Name: Enter the link category name here.
- Slug: The slug is the URL part of your link category. Use lowercase letters only without spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display a link category description. (Optional)
When finished, click Add New Link Category to save your new link category …
(Link Categories area)
The category details will display in the table …
Tip: WordPress calls its default link category Blogroll . Unless you specify the category when creating a new link, WordPress automatically assigns new links to the default category …
(Default link category name)
You may want to change this to something that your visitors can relate to. This will not only make it easier for users of your site, but any new links that you add to your site will automatically be listed under the new category name …
(we recommend changing the default ’blogroll’ to something better suited to your business)
To edit the default category name, hover your mouse over the list item and click on Quick Edit …
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 Update Link Category …
(Edit the link category)
In our example, we’ve replaced the link category ‘Blogroll’ with a more suitable category name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).
Let’s insert a link category description. 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 area)
Repeat this process to add as many new link categories as you need.
Once you have configured your link categories, you can add new links.
How To Add Links
To create a new link, go to your WP admin menu and select Links > Add New …
(WP Links – Add New)
This loads the Add New Link’ screen 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 includes a number of sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
Enter your link details in this section …
(Name, Web Address, Description – Add New Link)
Enter information into the following sections:
- Name: Enter the category name here.
- Slug: The slug is the web address part of the link category name. Use lowercase letters only without spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display your link category description. (Optional)
Categories & Target
After typing in your link details, select a Category and Target for your link …
(Categories & Target area – Add New Link screen)
In the Categories section, select one of the link categories you have already added, or click on ’+ Add New Category’ to create a new category link.
Next, 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 when visitors click on the link, a new, separate browser window will open up to display the information for that link. This allows your visitors to see the information without leaving your site
- _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. 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 …
(Link Relationship (XFN) – Add New Link)
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN stands for XML Friends Network – lets you define your relationship to the linked person. For example, if you work with Logan Jones and you link to his blog, you would probably tick co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional. You can leave everything in this section blank and all your links will work just fine. 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 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, help, index, etc. Separate multiple ‘rel’ keywords with spaces.
You can learn more about XFN by visiting this site:
The last section allows you to specify Advanced features for your links (some themes will ignore this. You can leave these fields empty unless you have a reason to use them) …
(Advanced link settings)
The Advanced section contain the following fields:
- Image Address: Specify an image to be displayed with the link. To use this feature, add the URL of your image 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 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 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 information about your link, click on the Add Link button to save your new link …
(Click on Add Link to update your link settings)
Note: If you tick Keep this link private, the link will not be visible in your Links section …
(Make your links private)
Making a link private allows you to toggle its visibility on and off without deleting it (this is useful if you want your link to display during certain periods and hide it after it’s no longer required) …
(Toggle link visibility on and off)
To view a list of all the links you have added, select Links > All Links in the WP dashboard menu …
(WP 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. link URL, link categories, rating, etc.) …
Tip: To view additional options in the list of links, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top of your screen …
(Screen Options – Table of links)
Display/hide information on your Links table by selecting/deselecting their check boxes …
(Table of links – Show/hide screen options)
Editing Your Link Information
To edit a link in the Link Manager, select Links > All Links in your dashboard menu to bring up your links table …
(WP Links Menu – All Links)
Select 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 screen)
After you’re done editing the link, you can:
- Click the Update Link button to save your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to see your link and make sure that you have set up your link’s URL correctly (the link will open in a new window),
- Click Delete to delete the link from your link table …
(Edit Link: Update Link button)
Deleting Your Links
To delete a link, go to your WP admin menu and click on Links > All Links …
(Links Menu – All Links)
This brings up the ‘Links’ page in your browser.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links, or delete all your links at once.
To delete individual links, hover your cursor over the link that you want to remove and click Delete …
To delete a number of links at once, either click on the checkboxes next to individual items 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)
Choose Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ pull-down menu, and click Apply to remove all selected links …
(Links: bulk-deletion function)
The links you have selected will be removed …
(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 make links display on your website.
Using The Links Widget
Installing the Links Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ section.
To access and configure your Link widgets, go to your WP navigation menu and choose Appearance > Widgets …
(Appearance Menu – Widgets)
This takes you to the ‘Widgets’ page.
You will notice a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …
Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of the widget areas and drop it wherever you would like your links section to show up …
(Add a links widget to your widget bar using drag and drop)
The Links widget provides various configurable options. For example, you can specify what information you want to display about your links and how many links you would like displayed on your sidebar …
(Link widget settings)
You can also add multiple link widgets to your sidebar and footer. This allows you to add and feature a number of link sections on your site …
(Add multiple link widgets to your widget bars)
You can select a link category …
(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 options – Sort by options)
After setting up your Links widget, click Save to update your settings. A link section will show 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? We have written a detailed article about configuring widgets. Go here to learn more about this:
Links Manager – Additional Information
If you have added many links, the Links Manager plugin allows you to 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 triangle displayed next to the column title …
(You can sort links)
Type a search term into the search field and click the Search Links button to find links …
(Searching your links)
Filter Links Function
You can filter links by categories …
(Filter your links by 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 category links in the ‘Links’ column …
(searching and filtering links in the Link Categories screen)
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 a lot of links to your website, 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 Plugin)
Plugin Download URL
Link Library lets you display a list of your link categories with a complete list of all your links together with notes and descriptions …
(List of links created with Link library. Image source: Link Library plugin documentation.)
Link Library creates 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 for your links so that your site users can become aware of any additions made to to your link library.
To learn more about this WordPress plugin, go here:
Congratulations! Now you know how to how to add a blogroll and manage links to other websites in your WordPress sidebar menu.
To learn more about how to easily create links in WordPress, refer to this article:
"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)