As you learn more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across the term blogroll.
A blogroll is a list of hyperlinks pointing to external sites or pages that display 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 display a links section on your site using the Link Manager plugin for WordPress.
Before WordPress v 3.5 was released, Links were a built-in feature of the WordPress CMS. After v 3.5, the Links manager and blogroll sections were kept hidden by default in new WordPress installations …
(WordPress Links Manager – pre version 3.5)
(Post v.3.5 – no WP Links Manager)
If you’ve used an earlier version of WordPress than v3.5 and updated your installation, the Link Manager would be removed, unless you’ve previously used it.
If you can’t see the Link Manager section when you log into your WordPress dashboard you will need to install a plugin. In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn how to add, edit, delete and manage links on your sidebar using WordPress plugins.
- Link Manager
- How To Add New Links
- How To Edit Your Link Information
- Deleting Links
- Links – Additional Options
- Link Library
(Link Manager Plugin)
Description Of Plugin
You can use this plugin to restore the built-in Links Manager, even if you upgrade to a later version of WordPress or remove all of your existing links.
Note: This plugin adds a single line of code to restore the hidden feature. When we last checked, this plugin had not been updated for a while, but it should still work fine. If you don’t want to use the Link Manager plugin, then use the one 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 Link Manager while addressing the shortcomings of the deprecated functionality.
How To Install Link Manager
Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.
From your WP administration menu, select Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins – Add New)
Select the Install Plugins > Search tab, type in “link manager” into the search field and hit Enter …
Find the plugin in the search results area and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin …
After activation, WordPress will display a ‘Links’ section on the WP sidebar menu …
(WordPress links menu)
We recommend setting up link categories first before you start adding links. This way, when adding a new link, you can assign your link to a link category you have already created.
To create a link category, choose Links > Link Categories in the dashboard menu …
(WP Links Menu – Link Categories)
The ‘Link Categories’ screen will load in your web browser.
Enter the following information:
- Name: Whatever you type in this field displays as the category your links will be assigned to.
- Slug: The slug is the search-engine friendly URL bit 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)
When finished, click Add New Link Category …
(Link Categories area)
The new category will be added to the list …
Tip: WordPress calls its default link category Blogroll . Unless you specify a category when adding a new link, WordPress will assign new links to the default category …
(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 users of your site, but any new links that you add to the Links section will automatically be assigned to the new category name …
(Consider changing the default link category name to something your visitors will relate to)
To edit the default category name, hover your mouse over the 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 …
(Update Link Category)
Replace the link category name ‘Blogroll’ with a name more suitable to your purposes (e.g. ‘Recommended’, ‘Our Partners’ etc).
Let’s now add a link category description. To add a link category description, hover over the link category name and click Edit …
(Link category description)
Enter your link category description field and click Update …
(Edit Link Category area)
Repeat the above process and add as many different link categories as your site requires.
After setting up your link categories, you can add new links.
How To Add New Links
To create a new link, choose Links > Add New in the WP admin menu …
(Links Menu – Add New)
This brings up the Add New Link’ page in your browser …
(Add New Link screen)
You can also access this page by clicking on the ‘Add New’ button in the main Links screen …
(Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page is divided into the following sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
This section is where you enter details about your link …
(Name, Web Addressand Description – Add New Link)
Type in information into the following fields:
- Name: What you enter here is the link category name that will display on your site.
- Slug: The slug displays in the web address of the link category name. 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 in the links section, or as a tool tip when visitors hover over the link name with their mouse.
Categories & Target
After typing in link details, select a Category and Target for the new link …
(Categories & Target)
In the Categories section, tick a link category you’ve already added, 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 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 leave your site and a new website or page will load in your web 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 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 Arjun Smith and you link to his blog, you would probably check co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional for WordPress links. You can leave everything in this section blank and all 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 specifies 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 with spaces.
You can learn more about XFN by visiting this site:
The last section lets you 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 contains the following:
- Image Address: Specify an image to be displayed with the link. Add the URL of where the image is located 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 be displayed next to the 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 into the above fields or just leave this section blank.
When you have finished adding your new link information, click on Add Link to update your link settings …
(Click on the Add Link button to update your link settings)
Note: If you tick the checkbox next to Keep this link private, your link will not be visible in your Blogroll section …
(Private link checkbox)
Making a link private allows you to add a link and then 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 see a list of all the links you have created, click on Links > All Links in the dashboard menu …
(WordPress Links Menu – All Links)
You will be taken to the ‘Links’ screen. The list of links displays your links and link information (e.g. link URL, link categories, rating, etc.) …
(List of links)
Tip: To display additional columns in the Links page, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of your screen …
(Table of links – Screen Options)
Enable/disable information on your table of links by selecting/deselecting their checkboxes …
(Links screen – Show/hide screen options)
How To Edit Your Link Information
To edit links, select Links > All Links in your WP navigation menu to bring up the links screen …
(Links Menu – All Links)
Select the item to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the link’s details …
Make changes to the link fields …
(Edit Link screen)
After you’re done editing the link, you can:
- Click on Update Link to save and update your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to view your link and check that you have set up everything correctly (the link will open up in a new window),
- Click Delete to delete the link …
(Edit Link: Update Link button)
To remove links from the Link Manager, click on Links > All Links in the dashboard menu …
(WordPress Links Menu – All Links)
The ‘Links’ page will display in your web browser.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links, or delete all links at once.
To delete individual links, hover over the link title that you want to remove and click Delete …
(Delete your links)
To delete a number of links at once, either tick the check box next to every link that you want removed, 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’ dropdown menu, and click the Apply button to delete all selected links …
The links will be removed …
(links deleted notification)
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 display your links on your website or blog.
Installing the Links Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ page.
To access and configure your Link widgets, choose Appearance > Widgets in your WP dashboard menu …
(Appearance Menu – Widgets)
This loads the ‘Widgets’ screen in your web browser.
You will see that a ‘Links’ widget has been added to the Available Widgets section …
To make the ‘Links’ widget active, drag it to one of the widget bars in the Widgets page and drop it wherever you would like your links section to display …
(Drag and drop the links widget to add it to your sidebar)
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 to display on your sidebar menu …
(Link widget - configurable settings)
You can add as many link widgets as you want. This allows you to add and display link categories on your site …
(You can add multiple 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 rating, Link title, Link ID, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget options – Sorting options)
After configuring the links widget, click Save to update your settings. A links should show on your site …
(An example of how 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 with widgets? We have written a comprehensive article on widgets. Go here to learn more about this: How To Add And Configure WordPress Widgets In Your Blog
Links Manager – Additional Information
If you have added many links, the Links Manager plugin lets you easily administer these with search, sort, and filter functions.
Sort Your Links
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 …
(You can sort your links)
Search Your Links
Find links using the ‘Search Links’ button …
Filter Links Function
You can filter links by category …
(Filter 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 category links in the ‘Links’ column …
(searching and filtering links in the Link Categories screen)
This displays a list of all links listed for a specific link category …
(Links filtered by category)
Links – Additional Options
If you plan to add lots of links to your website or blog, or if you would like to add a ‘Links’ page to your site (i.e. not just add a links section to your sidebar), then you may want to look at using a plugin that can help you administer links.
(Link Library Plugin)
Plugin Download URL
Link Library lets you publish a list of your link categories and a complete list of links with notes and descriptions …
(Link Library links. Image source: Link Library plugin website.)
This useful plugin creates a page on your website 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 so that your site users can be made aware of additions to your link library.
To learn more about the benefits of using this useful plugin, go here: Link Library – WordPress Plugin
Congratulations! Now you know how to add a featured links section to WordPress.
We have also created a detailed article about inserting HTML hyperlinks into your WordPress posts and pages here: Using The WordPress Internal Linking Tool
Disclaimer: We have no direct association with WordPress, Automattic, or any WordPress products mentioned on this site. We may receive a financial benefit or affiliate commission from the purchase of third-party products advertised, promoted or linked to our website. All images remain the copyright of their respective owners, comply with all license terms and agreements of use to the best of our knowledge and are used solely for training or illustrative purposes.
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