How To Add A Link Section To WordPress

Before the release of WordPress v3.5, Links were a core feature of WordPress. This tutorial shows you how to restore this feature to your site …

Adding A WordPress Links SectionAs you learn more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across references to the term blogroll.

A blogroll is a list of links pointing to other sites or blogs that display on your sidebar.

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 display links on your sidebar using the Link Manager plugin for WordPress.

Useful Info

Prior to the release of v 3.5, Links were a visible feature of the WordPress CMS. After the release of WordPress version 3.5, the Links manager and blogroll sections were hidden by default in new installations …

Before …

WP Links Feature - pre v.3.5

(WordPress Links Feature – pre version 3.5)

After …

Post v3.5 - no WP Links Manager

(The Link Manager – no longer included in WordPress after WordPress v 3.5)

If you’ve used an earlier version of WordPress than v 3.5 and updated your installation, then the Links Manager would have been removed, unless you have previously used it.


How To Add A Link Section To WordPress

Practical Tip

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 step-by-step tutorial explains how to add, edit, delete and manage links on your sidebar using plugins.

Link Manager

Link Manager

(Links Manager WordPress Plugin)

Plugin Download URL


The Link Manager plugin displays the built-in Links 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 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

Simple Links Plugin

(Simple Links – WordPress Link Management Plugin)

Plugin Download URL


This plugin recreates the concept of the built-in Link Manager while addressing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.

Plugin Installation

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

In your WordPress admin menu, select Plugins > Add New

Plugins - Add New

(Plugins Menu – Add New)

Select the Install Plugins > Search tab, type in “link manager” into the search field and hit Enter

How To Install The Plugin

Locate the plugin in the results screen and click Install Now

Installing The Plugin

Activate the plugin …

Installing The Plugin

After activation, WordPress displays a ‘Links’ item in the admin menu …

Links menu

(WordPress links management menu section)

Configuring The Plugin

Before adding any new links, it’s a good idea to first set up your link categories. 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, select Links > Link Categories in the dashboard navigation menu …

Links Menu - Link Categories

(WP Links – Link Categories)

The ‘Link Categories’ page will load in your browser.

Type in the following information:

  • Name: Enter the link category name.
  • Slug: The slug is the web address part of the link category. It must all be in lowercase letters and contain no spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
  • Description: Some themes may display your link category description. (Optional)

When finished, click the Add New Link Category button …

Link Categories

(Link Categories page)

Your link category will be added to the list …

Link Categories page

(Link Categories)


Tip: Blogroll is the default link category name. Unless you specify the category for a new link, WordPress automatically assigns new links to the default category …

Default link category name

(Default link category name is ‘blogroll’)

You may want to change this to something that your visitors can understand. This will not only make it easier for visitors, but any new links that you add to the Links section will automatically be assigned to the new category name …

Consider changing the default 'blogroll' to something your visitors will understand

(Change the default link category name 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

Quick Edit

(Editing the 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), and click on the Update link Category button …

Quick Edit

(Update Link Category)

Replace the link category ‘Blogroll’ with an appropriate links section name (e.g. ‘Recommended’, ‘XYZ Sites’ etc).

Let’s now add a description for this link category. To add a description to an existing link category, hover over the item name and click Edit

Link category description

(Link category description)

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

Edit Link Category screen

(Edit Link Category area)

Repeat the above process and add as many new link categories as your site needs.

Once you have configured your link categories, you can being adding your links.

Adding Links

To add a new link, go to the main dashboard menu and click on Links > Add New

Links - Add New

(Links Menu – Add New)

This takes you to the ‘Add New Link’ page …

Add New Link screen

(Add New Link page)

You can also reach this page by clicking on ’Add New’ in the main Links page …

Add New Link button

(Links screen – Add New Link button)

The ‘Add New Links’ page is divided into several sections:

Name, Web Address & Description

Enter your link details in this section …

Name, Web Address& Description - Add New Link page

(Name, Web Address& Description)

Type in the following information:

  • Name: What you type in this field is the link category name that will display on your site.
  • Slug: The slug appears in the URL of the link category name. Use lowercase letters only and do not include spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
  • Description: Some themes may display a link category description. (Optional)
Categories & Target

After typing in link details, select a Category and Target for your new link …

Add New Link - Categories & Target area

(Categories & Target – Add New Link screen)

In the Categories section, select a link category you have already created, or click on ’+ Add New Category’ to add a new category.

Also, select a target frame for your link in the Target section by choosing one of the radio buttons. This lets you specify where you want the link to open when clicked on by visitors:

  • _blank means that a separate window will open up in their web browser to display the information associated with the link.
  • _none means that when visitors click on your link, they will leave your site and a new website or page will load in your browser window instead.
  • _top opens the link 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 page

(Link Relationship (XFN) – Add New Link)

Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN (XML Friends Network) is a way to define your relationship with the linked person. For example, if you work with Austin Schwartz and you link to his blog, you would probably tick co-worker or colleague.

XFN relationships are optional. You can ignore this section and all of your links will still work. Defining relationships with XFN makes the links defined on your site 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 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. Separate multiple ‘rel’ attributes using spaces.

You can learn more about XFN by visiting the site below:


The last section allows you to specify Advanced features for your links (You can ignore this section, unless there’s a good reason to use it) …

Advanced section

(Advanced link settings – Add New Link page)

The Advanced link settings section contains the following:

  • Image Address: Lets you specify an image to be displayed with the link. Add the image URL and make sure that the 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 the links.
  • Notes: Add notes about the link in this section 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 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 update your link settings …

click on the Add Link button to update your link settings

(Click on Add Link to save your new link)


Note: If you tick the Keep this link private checkbox, your link will not be visible when links are displayed on your site …

Make your links private

(Private link checkbox)

Making a link private allows you to toggle link visibility on or off without deleting it (this is useful if you want to have seasonal links) …

Toggle link visibility on and off

(Toggle link visibility on and off)

To view all the links you have added to the Link Manager, choose Links > All Links in the admin menu …

Links Menu - All Links

(WP Links – All Links)

The ‘Links’ screen will display in your browser. The table of links displays your links and link information (e.g. URL, link categories, visibility, etc.) …

Links page

(Links table)

Practical Tip

Tip: To view additional fields in the list of links, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of your screen …

Table of Links - Screen Options

(Screen Options – Links page)

Display/hide information on your Links table by ticking/unticking their check boxes …

Show/hide links

(Hide or show – Links table)

Editing Links

To edit a link in the Link Manager, select Links > All Links in your dashboard menu to bring up the list of links …

Links - All Links

(Links Menu – All Links)

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

Editing your links

(Editing links)

Make changes to your link information …

Edit Link screen

(Edit Link page)

After editing the link, you can:

  • Click on Update Link to save and update your link details,
  • Click on Visit Link to check that you have set up your link’s URL correctly (your link will open in a new window),
  • Click Delete to remove the link if you no longer require it …

Edit Link: Update Link button

(Edit Link: Update Link button)

Deleting Your Links

To delete links, click on Links > All Links in your WP admin menu …

Links - All Links

(Links – All Links)

The ‘Links’ page will display in your web browser.

You can delete links individually, delete multiple links by selecting their check boxes, or perform a bulk delete.

To delete links individually, hover over the link that you want to remove from the link table and click on Delete

Delete links

(Deleting links)

To delete a number of links at once, either click on the check box next to each link that you want deleted, or select all links by clicking on the main check box next to the ‘Name’ column header …

Deleting multiple links

(Delete multiple links)

Choose Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ menu, and click the Apply button to delete all selected links …

Links: bulk-deletion function

(Bulk-deletion of links)

Your selected links will be deleted …

Deleted links notice

(Link deletion message)

Plugin Usage

Now that you know how to set up link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, it’s time to learn how to display links on your website.

Links Widget

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

To access and configure your Link widgets, click on Appearance > Widgets in your dashboard menu …

WordPress Appearance - Widgets

(Appearance – Widgets)

The ‘Widgets’ page will load in your browser.

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

Links widget

(Links widget)

To make the ‘Links’ widget active, drag the widget to one of the widget sections and drop it wherever you would like the links section to display …

Add a links widget to a widgetized menu

(Add a links widget to a widgetized menu using drag and drop)

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

Link widget - options

(Link widget - configurable settings)

You can also add multiple link widgets to your sidebars and footers. This allows you to create and display lists of links throughout your site …

You can add a number of link widgets to your sidebar

(You can add multiple link widgets to your sidebar)

Select a link category from the ‘Select Link Category:’ pull-down menu …

Link widget options - Select Link 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

(Link widget options – Sort by options)

Once you are done setting up the links widget, click Save to update your settings. A links should now display on your sidebar menu …

Links can be displayed on a 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.

Practical Tip

Need help with widgets? We have written a detailed article about widgets. To learn more, go here:

Links Manager – Additional Information

If you have loads of links, the Link Manager plugin lets you easily administer these with sort, filter, and search functions.

Sorting Your Links

You can sort links by hovering your cursor over the title of the column you want to sort and clicking on the black triangle displayed next to the column title …

Sorting links

(You can easily sort links)

Finding Your Links

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

Finding links

(Searching links)

Filter Links Function

You can filter links by link category …

Filter your links by categories

(Filter your links by category)

You can also search and filter links in the Link Categories screen. 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

(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 filtered by link category)

Links – Additional Options

If you plan to add a lot 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

(Link Library Plugin)

Plugin Download URL

Plugin Description

The Link Library plugin lets you publish a list of your link categories and a complete list of links plus descriptions and notes …

List of links created with Link library

(List of links created with Link library. Screenshot taken from Link Library plugin documentation.)

Link Library can be used to create a page on your web site containing a list of all of 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 of your links that lets your site users be made aware of any additions made to to your link library.

To learn more this useful plugin, visit the plugin site:

Adding WordPress Sidebar Links

Congratulations! Now you know how to how to add a blogroll and manage links to other websites in your WordPress sidebar menu.

Practical Tip

We have written a comprehensive article on how to easily add HTML links to your WordPress content. Go here to learn more about this:


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Originally published as How To Add A Link Section To WordPress.