As you learn more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across the term blogroll.
WordPress refers to a list of links pointing to other websites or pages that display on your sidebar 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.”
You can display a featured links section on your sidebar or footer using the Link Manager plugin for WordPress.
Before the release of v.3.5, Links were a core feature of the WordPress CMS. After v3.5, the Links Manager section was removed …
(WordPress Links Manager Feature – pre v.3.5)
(Post v 3.5 – no WordPress Links feature)
If you have had an earlier version of WordPress than v3.5 installed and upgraded your installation, the Links Manager would have been removed, unless you’ve 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 item is not displayed when you log into your WordPress admin area, you can add this feature by installing a plugin. This step-by-step tutorial explains how to add and manage blogroll links on your site’s sidebar using plugins.
(Link Manager – Plugin For WordPress)
The Link Manager plugin displays the built-in Links menu on your dashboard, 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 template code to your installation in order 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 one below instead, or contact us for help editing your template code.
(Simple Links Plugin)
Description Of Plugin
This plugin recreates the same concept as the built-in Link Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.
How To Install The Plugin
To install the Link Manager plugin on your website, follow these step-by-step instructions:
From the WordPress dashboard area, select Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins Menu – Add New)
Select 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 …
Once the plugin is activated, a ‘Links’ section will show in your navigation menu …
(WordPress links management menu)
We recommend setting up link categories first before adding links. This way, you can assign any new links to a link category you have already created.
To create a new link category, go to your dashboard menu and select Links > Link Categories …
(Links – Link Categories)
This takes you to the ‘Link Categories’ screen.
Type in information into the following sections:
- Name: Enter the category name here.
- Slug: The slug is the URL 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 a link category description.
Click the Add New Link Category button …
The link category will display in the list …
(Link Categories screen)
Tip: Blogroll is the default link category name. Unless you specify the category when adding a new link, WordPress automatically assigns new links to the default category …
(Default link category name is ‘blogroll’)
You may want to change this default WordPress link category name to something better suited to your business. 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 assigned to the new category name …
(Change the default ’blogroll’ to something better suited to your business)
To change the ‘Blogroll’ link title, hover your mouse over the category name and click on the Quick Edit link …
(Edit the default 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 …
Replace the link category name ‘Blogroll’ with a name more suitable to your purposes (e.g. ‘Recommended’, ‘XYZ Sites’ etc).
Let’s create a link category description. To add a link category description, click on the Edit link under the category name …
(Link category description)
Enter your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ page and click Update when done …
(Edit Link Category page)
Repeat the above process and add as many new link categories as your site requires.
Once you have set up your link categories, you can start adding your links.
To create a new link, click on Links > Add New in your WP navigation menu …
(WordPress Links Menu – Add New)
This takes you to the ‘Add New Link’ screen …
(Add New Link screen)
You can also reach this page by clicking on ’Add New’ at the top of the main Links screen …
(Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page has the following sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
Enter details about your link in this section …
(Name, Web Address& Description – Add New Link page)
Type in the following information:
- Name: Enter the category name here.
- Slug: The slug is the URL bit of your link category. Only use lower case letters and do not include spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display a link category description.
Categories & Target
After typing in your link details, select a Category and Target for the link …
(Categories & Target – Add New Link)
In the Categories section, tick a link category you’ve already set up, or click on the ‘+ Add New Category’ link to create a new category link.
Next, select a target frame radio button for your link in the Target section. This lets you specify where you want the link to open when visitors click on it:
- _blank means that a new browser window will open up to display the information associated with the link. This allows your visitors to see the information without leaving your page
- _none means that when visitors click on the 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 area provides some additional link functionality …
(Add New Link screen – Link Relationship (XFN))
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN (XML Friends Network) is a way to define your relationship to the linked person. For example, if you have a professional relationship with Ramona Larsson and you link to her blog, you would probably check co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional. You can ignore this section and all of your links will work just fine. Defining relationships with 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 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.
You can learn more about XFN by visiting this site:
The last section lets you enter Advanced features for your links (You can ignore this section, unless there’s a good reason to use it) …
(Advanced link settings)
The Advanced section contain the following fields:
- Image Address: 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 RSS feed associated with the link will display next to your links.
- Notes: This section lets you add notes 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).
Type in your information in the above fields or just leave this section blank, as these fields are not required.
When you have finished adding your new link information, click on the Add Link button to save your new link …
(Click on Add Link to update your link settings)
Note: If you tick the Keep this link private checkbox, your link will not be visible in your Blogroll section …
(Make links private by selecting the checkbox)
Making links private allows you to toggle their visibility on and off without deleting these (this is useful if you want links to display during certain times and hide them afterwards) …
(Toggle link visibility on and off)
To view all your links, choose Links > All Links in your admin menu …
(WordPress Links – All Links)
The ‘Links’ table will load in your web browser. The list of links displays all of your links and link information (e.g. link URL, link categories, rating, etc.) …
Tip: To view additional columns in the Links page, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of the screen …
(Screen Options – List of links)
Display/hide fields on your table of links by ticking/unticking their checkboxes …
(Links table – Show/hide screen options)
Editing Your Links
To edit a link, choose Links > All Links in the main dashboard menu to bring up your list of links …
(Links Menu – All Links)
Locate the link to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the item’s link information …
(Editing your links)
Make changes to your link information …
(Edit Link screen)
After you’re done editing your 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 its URL correctly (your link will open in a new window),
- Click Delete to delete the link …
(Update Link button)
To delete links from the Link Manager, go to the main dashboard menu and click on Links > All Links …
(WP Links Menu – All Links)
This brings up the ‘Links’ table in your browser.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links by selecting their check boxes, or perform a bulk delete.
To delete individual links, hover over the link that you want to remove and click on Delete …
To delete a number of links at once, either click on the check box next to every link that you want to be removed, or select all links by clicking on the checkbox next to the ‘Name’ column header …
(Delete multiple links)
Choose Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ menu, and click Apply to remove all selected links …
(Links: bulk-delete function)
The links will be removed …
(Deleted links message)
Using The Link Manager Plugin
Now that you know how to configure link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, it’s time to learn how to display your links on your site.
The Links Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ page.
To access and configure your Link widgets, select Appearance > Widgets in your navigation menu …
(Appearance – Widgets)
The ‘Widgets’ screen will load 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 the widget to one of your active widget areas in the Widgets screen and drop it wherever you want the links to show up …
(Add a links widget to a widgetized area using drag and drop)
The Links widget provides various configurable settings. For example, you can specify what information you would like to show about your links and how many links you want to display on your sidebar …
(Link widget options)
You can also add multiple link widgets to your sidebar and footer. This allows you to add and display several lists of links sorted by categories throughout your site …
(You can add a number of link widgets to your widget bars)
You can select a link category …
(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)
Once you are done setting up your links widget, click Save to update your settings. A link section should become visible on your website or blog’s sidebar menu …
(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 many links, the Links Manager plugin lets you easily administer these using filter, search, and sort functionality.
Sorting Your Links
To sort links, hover your mouse over the title of the column you want to sort and click on the black triangle displayed next to the column title …
Searching Your Links
Find links using the ‘Search Links’ button …
(Searching your links)
Filter Links Function
You can filter links by link category …
(Filtering 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 …
(Search and filter links in the Link Categories page)
This brings up a list of all links grouped under a specific link category …
(Links filtered by link category)
Links – Additional Options
If you plan to add lots of links to your site, or if you want 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, like Link Library.
Plugin Download URL
Link Library lets you publish a list of your link categories with a complete list of links with notes and descriptions …
(Link Library links. Screenshot taken from Link Library plugin site.)
This plugin creates a page on your website that contains all the link categories in your Links section, 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 of your link collection that lets your site users become aware of additions to your link library.
Visit this site to learn more about the benefits of using this 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 how to easily insert hyperlinks into WordPress posts & pages. To learn more, go here:
"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group