As 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.
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 …
(WordPress Links Feature – pre version 3.5)
(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
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.
(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 – 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.
To install the Link Manager plugin on your website, follow these instructions:
In your WordPress admin menu, select Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins Menu – Add New)
Select the Install Plugins > Search tab, type in “link manager” into the search field and hit Enter …
Locate the plugin in the results screen and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin …
After activation, WordPress displays a ‘Links’ item in the admin 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.
To create a new link category, select Links > Link Categories in the dashboard navigation menu …
(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 page)
Your link category will be added to the list …
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 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 …
(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 …
(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 …
(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)
Enter your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ page and click Update …
(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.
To add a new link, go to the main dashboard menu and click on Links > Add New …
(Links Menu – Add New)
This takes you to the ‘Add New Link’ page …
(Add New Link page)
You can also reach this page by clicking on ’Add New’ in the main Links page …
(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)
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 …
(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)
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 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 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 …
(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)
To view all the links you have added to the Link Manager, choose Links > All Links in the admin menu …
(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.) …
Tip: To view additional fields in the list of links, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of your screen …
(Screen Options – Links page)
Display/hide information on your Links table by ticking/unticking their check boxes …
(Hide or show – Links table)
To edit a link in the Link Manager, select Links > All Links in your dashboard menu to bring up the list of links …
(Links Menu – All Links)
Select the item to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the link’s information …
Make changes to your link information …
(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)
Deleting Your Links
To delete links, click on Links > All Links in your WP admin menu …
(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 …
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 …
(Delete multiple links)
Choose Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ menu, and click the Apply button to delete all selected links …
(Bulk-deletion of links)
Your selected links will be deleted …
(Link deletion message)
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.
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 …
(Appearance – Widgets)
The ‘Widgets’ page will load in your browser.
You will see a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …
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 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 - 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 multiple link widgets to your sidebar)
Select a link category from the ‘Select Link Category:’ pull-down menu …
(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)
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)
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? 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 …
(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 …
Filter Links Function
You can filter 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 find link categories, or click on the category 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 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 Plugin)
Plugin Download URL
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. 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:
Congratulations! Now you know how to how to add a blogroll and manage links to other websites in your WordPress sidebar menu.
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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