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.

Get Thrive Leads for WordPress

How Do I Add A Links Section To The WordPress Sidebar?As you discover more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across references to the term blogroll.

WordPress refers to a list of hyperlinks 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.”

The Links feature lets you easily add external links to a widgetized theme.

Important Info

Before WordPress v 3.5 was released, Links were a core feature of the WordPress CMS. From v.3.5 onwards, the Links Manager section was hidden by default in new WordPress installations …

Before …

WP Links Manager - pre v 3.5

(WordPress Links Manager Feature – pre v3.5)

After …

Post v.3.5 - no WP Links feature

(Post version 3.5 – no WP Links Manager feature)

If you’ve used an earlier version of WordPress than v 3.5 and upgraded your installation, the Link Manager would be removed, unless you’ve previously used it.

If the Links item is not displayed when you log into your WordPress backend, 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 site’s sidebar using WordPress plugins.

Link Manager

Link Manager Plugin

(Link Manager)

Download URL

http://wordpress.org/plugins/link-manager

Description

The Link Manager plugin restores the built-in Link Manager, even if you upgrade WordPress to a later version or remove all of your existing links.

Note: All this plugin does is add 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 this plugin, then use the plugin below instead, or contact us for help editing your template code.

Simple Links

Simple Links WordPress Plugin

(Simple Links Plugin)

Plugin Download URL

https://wordpress.org/plugins/simple-links/

Description Of Plugin

Simple Links recreates the same concept as the built-in WordPress Links Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.

Plugin Installation

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

From the WP administration area, select Plugins > Add New

Plugins Menu - Add New

(Plugins Menu – Add New)

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

How To Install The Plugin

Find the plugin in the results area and click Install Now

Installing Link Manager

Activate the plugin …

How To Install The Plugin

After activation, WordPress restores the ‘Links’ feature to your admin menu …

Links management menu

(WordPress links management menu section)

Configuring The Plugin

Before adding links, we recommend setting up your link categories. This way, when you create a new link, you can assign your link to link categories you have already created.

Link Categories

To create a new link category, click on Links > Link Categories in your WP dashboard navigation menu …

WordPress Links - Link Categories

(Links Menu – Link Categories)

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

Type in the following information:

  • Name: Enter the link 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 a link category description. (Optional)

after entering your information, click Add New Link Category

Link Categories page

(Link Categories screen)

The new category will display in the list …

Link Categories page

(Link Categories page)

Useful Info

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

Default link category name is 'blogroll'

(Default link category name is ‘blogroll’)

You may want to change this to something that will make sense to your blog readers. This not only makes 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 …

Consider changing the default link category name to something better suited to your business

(Change the default link category name to something your visitors will understand)

To edit the ‘Blogroll’ link name, hover your mouse over the item and click on the Quick Edit link …

Edit the link category name

(Quick Edit)

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), then click on the Update link Category button …

Update Link Category

(Edit the default link category name)

In our example, the category name ‘Blogroll’ has been replaced with a more suitable name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).

Let’s insert a link category description. To add a link category description, click on the Edit link under the category name …

You can add/edit the category description

(You can add/edit the category description)

Add your link category description field and click Update

Edit Link Category page

(Edit Link Category area)

Repeat this process to add as many new link categories as your site requires.

Once you have finished setting up your link categories, you can add your links.

Adding Links

To add a new link, select Links > Add New in the main dashboard menu …

Links - Add New

(WordPress Links – Add New)

This brings up the ‘Add New Link’ page …

Add New Link screen

(Add New Link page)

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

Add New Link button

(Add New Link button)

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

Name, Web Address & Description

This section is where you enter your link details …

Name, Web Address, Description - Add New Link

(Add New Link – Name, Web Addressand Description)

Enter information into the following sections:

  • Name: What you enter in this field is the category name that will display on your site.
  • Slug: The slug displays in the URL 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.
Categories & Target

Select a Category and Target for your link …

Categories & Target section - Add New Link

(Categories & Target fields – Add New Link)

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

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 your link to open when clicked on:

  • _blank means that when visitors click on your link, a new, separate window will open up in their browser to display the information for that link. This allows your visitors to access the information without leaving your website
  • _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 links at the top level of the frame system if you’re using frames. Don’t worry about this option if you don’t use frames, or if you don’t know what frames are.
Link Relationship XFN

This section provides some additional link functionality …

Link Relationship (XFN) - Add New Link screen

(Link Relationship (XFN))

Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN stands for XML Friends Network – allows you to define your relationship with the linked person. For example, if you work with Ananya Smith and you link to her blog, you would probably tick co-worker or colleague.

XFN relationships are optional. You can leave everything in this section blank and your links will work just fine. 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 the 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 the site below:

WordPress Codex: Defining Relationships With XFN

Advanced

The last section of the Add New Link’ screen allows you to specify Advanced features for your links (You can leave the fields in this section blank unless there’s a good reason to use them) …

Advanced link settings - Add New Link screen

(Advanced fields – Add New Link screen)

The Advanced section fields are as follows:

  • Image Address: Lets you specify an image to be displayed with the link. To use this feature, 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 can 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 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, as these are not essential.

When you have finished adding your new link information, click on Add Link to save your new link …

click on Add Link to save your new link

(Click on the Add Link button to save your new link)

Important

Note: If you select the Keep this link private checkbox, the link will not be visible in your Blogroll section …

Private link checkbox

(Make links private by selecting the 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 would like the link to display during certain periods and hide it after it’s no longer required) …

Making links private toggles their visibility on and off

(Making links private toggles their visibility on and off)

To see a list of all your links, select Links > All Links in your navigation menu …

WP Links - All Links

(WP Links Menu – All Links)

This loads the ‘Links’ page in your web browser. The table of links displays all of your links and link information (e.g. URL, link categories, relationship, etc.) …

Links screen

(Table of links)

Useful Tip

Tip: To view or hide columns in the Links page, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top of the screen …

Table of Links - Screen Options

(Screen Options – Table of links)

Display/hide fields on your Links table by ticking/unticking their checkboxes …

Show/hide links

(Show/hide links)

How To Edit Link Information

To edit a link, go to your WP dashboard menu and choose Links > All Links to bring up your table of links …

Links - All Links

(WordPress Links Menu – All Links)

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

Editing your link information

(Editing your link information)

Edit the link fields …

Edit Link page

(Edit Link page)

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 see your link and make sure that you have set up everything correctly (the link will open in a new window),
  • Click Delete to remove the link from your link table if it’s no longer required …

Edit Link: Update Link button

(Update Link button)

How To Remove Your Links

To delete links, choose Links > All Links in the WP admin menu …

Links Menu - All Links

(Links – All Links)

The ‘Links’ screen will load in your 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 Delete

Delete links

(Deleting your links)

To delete a number of links at once, either click on the check boxes next to individual items that you would like to delete, or select all links by clicking on the main check box next to the ‘Name’ column header at the top of the list …

Deleting multiple links

(Delete multiple links)

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

Links: bulk-deletion function

(Bulk-delete links)

All the links you have selected will be deleted …

Deleted links notification

(Link deletion notice)

Plugin Usage

Now that you know how to configure link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, let’s show you how to make links display on your website.

Links Widget

Installing the Links Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ screen.

To access and configure your Link widgets, select Appearance > Widgets in your WP admin menu …

Appearance Menu - Widgets

(Appearance Menu – Widgets)

The ‘Widgets’ page will load in your web browser.

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

Links widget

(Links widget)

Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of your widget areas in the Widgets screen and drop it wherever you would like the links to show up …

Adding a links widget to a widgetized area

(Adding a links widget to your widget bar using drag & drop)

The Links widget offers various options. You can specify what information you would like displayed about your links and how many links you would like displayed on your sidebar …

Link widget - configurable options

(Link widget options)

You can also add multiple link widgets to your sidebar. This allows you to create and feature lists of links sorted by categories throughout your site …

Add multiple link widgets to your widget bars

(Add multiple link widgets to your sidebar)

Display links for a specific category …

Link widget settings - Select Link Category

(Link widget settings – 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

(Link widget settings – Sort by options)

When you have finished setting up the Links widget, click Save to update your settings. Your links will become visible on your website …

An example of how links can be displayed 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.

Tip

Need more help with widgets? We have written a comprehensive article about using widgets. If you would like to learn more about this here: Using WordPress Widgets

Link Manager – Additional Information

If you have added many links, the Links Manager plugin lets you easily administer these with search, sort, and filter features.

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 triangle displayed next to the column title …

You can sort your links

(You can easily sort your links)

Searching Your Links

Find links using the ‘Search Links’ function …

Searching links function

(Searching links function)

Filter Links Function

You can filter links by category …

Filtering links by link category

(Filter your links by category)

You can also search and filter links in the Link Categories screen. Use the ‘Search Link Categories’ button to search for link categories, or click on the category links in the ‘Links’ column …

searching and filtering links in the Link Categories screen

(Search and filter links in the Link Categories page)

This displays a list of all links listed for a specific link category …

Links filtered by link category

(Links filtered by category)

Additional Link 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 a links section to your sidebar), then you may want to look at using a plugin that can help you administer your links.

Link Library

Link library - Plugin For WordPress

(Link Library)

Plugin Download URL

http://wordpress.org/plugins/link-library/

Plugin Description

The Link Library plugin gives you the ability to publish a list of all your link categories with a complete list of links together with notes and descriptions …

Link Library links

(Link Library links. Image sourced from Link Library plugin site.)

This useful plugin creates a page on your website containing all the link categories in your Links area, plus 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 for your links that lets your site users become aware of additions to your link library.

Visit this website to learn more about using this plugin: Link Library Plugin For WordPress

How To Add A Featured Links Section To Sidebar Menu

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

Practical Tip

We have written a comprehensive article about how to easily add HTML hyperlinks in your WordPress posts. Go here to learn more: Using The Internal Linking Tool In WordPress

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"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)

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the founder of WPCompendium.org and has authored hundreds of FREE WordPress tutorials for beginners. WPCompendium.org provides detailed step-by-step tutorials that will teach you how to use WordPress with no coding skills required and grow your business online at minimal cost!

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