As you learn more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across something called a blogroll.
WordPress refers to a list of links pointing to other websites or pages that display on your sidebar menu 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 feature lets you easily add and manage a links section to your sidebar (e.g. a “We Use And Recommend” section) using widgets.
Before WordPress version 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 kept hidden by default in new WordPress installations …
(Links was part of the WordPress admin menu until the release of WP v 3.5)
(The Link Manager – excluded from the WordPress menu after WordPress v3.5)
If you’ve had an earlier version of WordPress than v 3.5 installed and upgraded your installation, the Link 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 menu section is not displayed when you log into your WordPress admin area, you can add it by installing a plugin. In this tutorial, you will learn how to add and manage links on your sidebar using plugins.
The Link Manager plugin displays the default Link Manager, even if you upgrade WordPress to a later version or remove all of your current links.
Note: This plugin adds a single line of template code to WordPress 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.
Description Of Plugin
Simple Links attempts to recreate the same concept as the built-in WordPress Links Manager while addressing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.
To install the Link Manager plugin on your website, follow these instructions:
From your WP admin area, select 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 results screen and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin …
After activating the plugin, WordPress displays a ‘Links’ item in the navigation menu area …
(WordPress links menu section)
Configuring The Plugin
We recommend setting up your link categories first before you start adding links. This way, when adding a new link, you can assign your link to link categories you have already created.
To create a link category, go to your WP admin menu and select Links > Link Categories …
(Links – Link Categories)
You will be taken to the ‘Link Categories’ screen.
Type in information into the following sections:
- Name: Whatever you enter in this field is the category name that will display on your site.
- Slug: The slug is the URL part of the link category. It must be in lowercase letters and contain no spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display your link category description.
Click Add New Link Category …
(Link Categories area)
The link category will now show in the table …
Tip: The default WordPress link category is called Blogroll . Unless you specify the category for a link, WordPress will automatically assign new links to the default category …
(Default link category name is ‘blogroll’)
You may want to change the default link category name to something that your visitors can relate to. This not only makes it easier for visitors, but any new links that you add to your site will automatically be assigned to the new category name …
(we recommend changing the default link category name to something better suited to your business)
To edit the ‘Blogroll’ link title, 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), and click on the Update link Category button …
Replace the link category ‘Blogroll’ with a more suitable name (e.g. ‘Recommended’, ‘Resources’ etc).
Let’s create a description for this link category. To add a link category description, hover over the link category name and click Edit …
(Link category description)
Enter your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ page and click Update when finished …
(Edit Link Category page)
Repeat the above process and add as many new link categories as your site requires.
After configuring your link categories, you can add your links.
To create a new link, go to the main dashboard navigation menu and select Links > Add New …
(Links – Add New)
This loads the Add New Link’ screen in your web browser …
(Add New Link page)
You can also reach this screen by clicking on the ‘Add New’ button at the top of the main Links page …
(Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page has various sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
Enter details about your link in this section …
(Add New Link screen – Name, Web Address, Description fields)
Enter the following information:
- Name: Enter the link category name.
- Slug: The slug is the URL part of your 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
After adding link details, select a Category and Target for your new link …
(Add New Link – Categories & Target section)
In the Categories section, select one of the link categories you’ve already set up, or click on ’+ Add New Category’ to create a new category link.
Next, select a target frame for your link in the Target section by choosing one of the radio buttons. This lets you specify where the link should open when clicked on by visitors:
- _blank means that when a visitor clicks on your link, a new, separate web browser window will open up to display the information for that link. This allows your visitors to access the information without leaving your site
- _none means that when a visitor clicks on the 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 area provides some additional link functionality …
(Link Relationship (XFN) section)
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN stands for XML Friends Network – lets you define your relationship with the linked person. For example, if you have a professional relationship with Aditya Fields and you link to his 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 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 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, type nofollow into this field. Separate multiple ‘rel’ attributes using spaces.
To learn more about XFN, visit the site below:
The last section lets you enter Advanced features for your links (You can leave the fields in this section empty unless there’s a good reason to use them) …
(Advanced link settings – Add New Link)
The Advanced section contain the following fields:
- Image Address: Lets you specify an image to be displayed with the link. Add the image URL 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 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 want to sort links by rating (see the ‘Links’ widget section below).
Type in your information in the above fields or just leave this section blank, as these are not essential.
When you have finished adding information about your link, click on the Add Link button to update your link settings …
(Click on Add Link to save your new link)
Note: If you select the Keep this link private checkbox, your link will not be visible in your Links section …
(You can make links private by selecting the checkbox)
Making links private lets you toggle link visibility on or off without deleting your links (this is useful if you want to use seasonal links) …
(Toggle link visibility on and off)
To view all your links, click on Links > All Links in your navigation menu …
(Links Menu – All Links)
The ‘Links’ table will display in your browser. The table of links displays all of your links and link information (e.g. URL, link categories, relationship, etc.) …
Tip: To display additional options in the table of links, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of the screen …
(Screen Options – Table of links)
Enable/disable fields on your Links table by ticking/unticking their check boxes …
(Hide or show – List of links)
Editing Your Link Information
To edit a link, choose Links > All Links in your WP dashboard navigation menu to bring up the links table …
(Links Menu – All Links)
Select the link you want to edit and click on Edit to bring up the link’s details …
(Editing your link information)
Change the link details …
(Edit Link screen)
After you’re done editing the link, you can:
- Click the Update Link button to save and update your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to make sure that you have set up its URL correctly (your link will open up in a new window),
- Click Delete to remove the link from your list …
(Update Link button)
Deleting Your Links
To remove a link, select Links > All Links in the WP dashboard navigation menu …
(Links – All Links)
This brings up the ‘Links’ screen.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links by selecting their check boxes, or remove all of your links at once.
To delete individual links, hover your cursor over the link title that you want to remove from the link table and click Delete …
To delete links in bulk, either tick the check boxes next to individual links that you would like to delete, or select all links by clicking on the check box next to the ‘Name’ column header at the top of the list …
(Deleting multiple links)
Select Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ pull-down menu, and click the Apply button to delete your selected links …
(Bulk-deletion of links)
All the links you have selected will be deleted …
(links deleted notice)
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 website.
Using The Links Widget
The Link Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ screen.
To access and configure your Link widgets, go to the main navigation menu and click on Appearance > Widgets …
(Appearance Menu – Widgets)
This brings up the ‘Widgets’ screen.
You will see a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …
Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of the active widget areas in the Widgets screen and drop it wherever you want your links to show up …
(Adding a links widget to a widgetized menu using drag & drop)
The Links widget offers various options. For example, you can specify what information you want to display about your links and how many links you would like to display on your sidebar …
(Link widget - settings)
You can also add as many link widgets to your sidebar as you want. This allows you to create and display multiple link lists throughout your site …
(Add multiple link widgets to your widget bars)
Select a link category from the ‘Select Link Category:’ pulldown menu …
(Link widget options – Select Link Category)
You can sort links by Link ID, Link title, Link rating, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget options – Sorting options)
When you have finished setting up the links widget, click the Save button to update your settings. A link section will become visible on your site’s sidebar …
(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 more help using widgets? We have written a comprehensive article about adding widgets. Go here to learn more:
Link Manager – Additional Information
If you have loads of links, the Link Manager plugin allows you to easily administer these using sort, filter, and search features.
Sort Links Function
You can sort links by hovering your cursor over the title of the column you want to sort and clicking on the little triangle displayed next to the column title …
(Sort your links)
Find Your Links
Type a search term into the search field and click the Search Links button to search for links …
Filtering Your Links
You can filter links by category …
(Filter links by link 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 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 link category)
Links – Additional Options
If you plan to add a lot of links to your site, 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 your links.
(Link Library Plugin)
The Link Library plugin lets you display a list of your link categories and a complete list of all your links plus descriptions and notes …
(List of links created with Link library. Image source: Link Library plugin website.)
This useful plugin can be used to create a page on your web site containing all the link categories in your Links area, plus all links listed in 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 that lets your site users be made aware of additions to your link library.
To learn more about the Link Library plugin:
Congratulations! Now you know how to add a featured links section to your WordPress sidebar.
We have written a comprehensive article about how to easily add hyperlinks into your WordPress content. To learn more about this go here:
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