As you learn more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across references to the term blogroll.
In WordPress terminology, a list of links displayed on your sidebar area is sometimes referred to 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 add and manage external hyperlinks to your WordPress sidebar menu (e.g. a “We Use And Recommend” section) using a widget.
Before WordPress version 3.5 was released, Links were a core feature of the WordPress CMS. From v.3.5 onwards, the Links manager and blogroll sections were removed …
(WordPress Links Manager Feature – pre v.3.5)
(Post v.3.5 – no WordPress Links Manager)
If you were using the Links Manager in previous versions of WordPress, then it will still be available when your WordPress installation upgrades to a newer version. If you’ve never used the Link Manager feature, however, or if your site installation is new, then this function will become invisible – it will not display on the dashboard menu.
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 you can’t see a Links item on your main menu when you log into your WordPress dashboard, you can add it via a plugin. This step-by-step tutorial explains how to add, edit, delete and manage blogroll links on your sidebar using plugins.
(Link Manager Plugin)
You can use this plugin to restore the Links menu on your WP dashboard, even if you upgrade to a later version of WordPress or remove all of your current links.
Note: This plugin adds a single line of code to your installation in order to restore the hidden feature. When we last checked, the plugin had not been updated for some time, 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.
(Simple Links WordPress Plugin)
Simple Links attempts to recreate the same concept as the built-in Link Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.
To install the Link Manager plugin, follow the instructions below:
In your WordPress admin menu, select Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins – Add New)
Select the Install Plugins > Search tab, type ”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 installation …
After activating the plugin, a ‘Links’ section will show up in your dashboard menu …
(Links menu section)
Before you start adding new links, it’s a good idea to first set up your link categories. This way, when adding a new link, you can assign the link to a link category you have already created.
To create a link category, select Links > Link Categories in the WP dashboard menu …
(WordPress Links – Link Categories)
The ‘Link Categories’ screen will load in your browser.
Type in information into the following sections:
- Name: What you type here displays as the link category name.
- Slug: The slug is the web address bit of your link category. Only use lower case letters without spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display your link category description. (Optional)
after entering your information, click the Add New Link Category button to save …
(Link Categories area)
Your new category will now show in the table …
(Link Categories area)
Tip: WordPress calls its default link category Blogroll . Unless you specify the category when adding a new link, WordPress will automatically assign new links to the default category …
(Default link category name is ‘blogroll’)
You may want to change this default link category name to something better suited to your business. This not only makes it easier for visitors, but any new links that you add to your site will automatically be listed under the new category name …
(we recommend changing the default ’blogroll’ to something better suited to your business)
To edit the ‘Blogroll’ link title, hover your mouse over the category name and click on Quick Edit …
Replace both the Name and the Slug with a new category name, then click on the Update link Category button …
(Edit the default link category)
In our example, the category name ‘Blogroll’ has been replaced with an appropriate links section category name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).
Let’s insert a link category description. To add a link category description, hover over the item name and click Edit …
(Link category description)
Enter your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ screen and click Update …
(Edit Link Category screen)
Repeat this process and add as many new link categories as your site requires.
Once you have configured your link categories, you can add your links.
Adding New Links
To create a new link, select Links > Add New in your navigation menu …
(Links – Add New)
This brings up the ‘Add New Link’ screen …
(Add New Link page)
You can also reach this page by clicking on ’Add New’ in the main Links screen …
(Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page has a number of sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
Enter your link details in this section …
(Name, Web Address, Description)
Enter the following information:
- Name: Whatever you enter here will display as the link category name.
- Slug: The slug shows up in the web address of the link category name. Only use lower case letters without spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display a 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 your link details, select a Category and Target for your new link …
(Categories & Target – Add New Link)
In the Categories section, tick one of the link categories you’ve already set up, or click on the ‘+ Add New Category’ link to create a new category link.
Next, select a target frame for your link in the Target section by choosing one of the radio buttons. This lets you specify how you want the link to open when clicked on:
- _blank means that when a visitor clicks on your link, a new browser window will open up to display the content associated with the link. This allows your visitors to see the information without leaving your website
- _none means that when a visitor clicks on the link, they will exit 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 area provides some additional link functionality …
(Add New Link – Link Relationship (XFN) section)
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN stands for XML Friends Network – allows you to define your relationship to the linked person. For example, if you have a professional relationship with Sophie Smith and you link to her 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 your links will still work. XFN makes your links more understandable to some sites and search engines that use this information.
rel – This field lets you specify the ‘rel’ attribute that will be assigned to your link. The rel attribute defines a relationship between the current document and the linked document. For example, if you don’t want search engines to follow your link, enter nofollow into this field. Other ‘rel’ attributes include author, help, index, start, etc.
To learn more about XFN, visit this site:
The last section of the Add New Link’ page lets you enter Advanced features for your links (some themes will ignore this. You can leave the fields in this section empty unless there’s a good reason to use them) …
(Add New Link – Advanced area)
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 RSS feed associated with the link will display next to your 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 want to sort links by rating (see the ‘Links’ widget section below).
Enter information into the above fields or just leave this section ignore this section.
When you have finished adding information about your link, click on Add Link to update your link settings …
(Click on the Add Link button to save your new link)
Note: If you tick Keep this link private, the link will not be visible in your Blogroll section …
(Private link checkbox)
Making links private lets you toggle their visibility on and off without deleting your links (this is useful if you want links to display during certain times and hide them when they are no longer required) …
(Making links private toggles their visibility on and off)
To see all your links, choose Links > All Links in your WP dashboard menu …
(Links Menu – All Links)
This brings up the ‘Links’ table. The table of links displays your links and link information (e.g. link URL, link categories, relationship, etc.) …
(Table of links)
Tip: To view or hide options in the Links page, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top of the screen …
(Table of links – Screen Options)
Enable/disable fields on your table of links by selecting/deselecting their check boxes …
(Links page – Hide or display screen options)
How To Edit Your Links
To edit links, choose Links > All Links in your WP dashboard navigation menu to bring up the list of links …
(Links – All Links)
Locate the item to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the item’s link information …
(Editing your links)
Edit the link …
(Edit Link screen)
After you’re done editing the link, you can:
- Click the Update Link button to save and update your link details,
- Click on Visit Link to see your link and check that you have set up your link’s URL correctly (the link will open in a new window),
- Click Delete to remove the link from your table of links if you no longer require it …
(Update Link button)
Deleting Your Links
To remove links, go to your navigation menu and choose Links > All Links …
(WordPress Links Menu – All Links)
This takes you to the ‘Links’ screen.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links, or delete all links.
To delete individual links, hover your cursor over the link title that you want to remove and click on Delete …
To delete a number of links at once, either click on the check boxes next to individual items that you want to remove, or select all links by clicking on the main checkbox next to the ‘Name’ column header at the top of the list …
(Deleting multiple links)
Select Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ menu, and click the Apply button to remove your selected links …
(Links: bulk-delete function)
The links you have selected will be deleted …
(Link deletion 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 make links display on your site.
Installing the Link Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ section.
To access and configure your Link widgets, go to your WP dashboard navigation menu and select Appearance > Widgets …
(Appearance – Widgets)
This brings up the ‘Widgets’ page 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 your active widget sections and drop it wherever you want the links section to display …
(Adding a links widget to a widgetized area using drag and drop)
The Links widget includes various configurable settings. You can specify what information you would like to display about your links and how many links you want to display on your sidebar …
(Link widget - settings)
You can add as many link widgets to your sidebar and footer as you want. This allows you to create and feature various link lists throughout your site …
(Add multiple link widgets to your widget bars)
Select a link category to display a specific list of items …
(Link widget options – Select Link Category)
You can sort links by Link ID, Link title, Link rating, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget settings – Sorting options)
Once you are done configuring your Links widget, click Save to update your settings. Your link section will become visible 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 configuring widgets here:
Links Manager – Additional Information
If you have added many links, the Links Manager plugin allows you to easily administer these using sorting, searching, and filtering features.
To sort links, hover your cursor over the title of the column you want to sort and click on the little triangle displayed next to the column title …
(You can sort your links)
Finding Your Links
Type a search term into the search field and click the Search Links button …
(You can easily find links using the search function)
Filter Links Function
You can filter links by categories …
(Filtering 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)
This brings up a list of all links listed for a specific link category …
(Links filtered by link category)
Additional Link Options
If you plan to add a lot of links to your site, 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 your links, like Link Library.
Download Plugin URL
Link Library allows you to display a list of all your link categories with a complete list of links together with descriptions and notes …
(List of links created with Link library. Screenshot taken from Link Library plugin site.)
Link Library creates a page on your site containing a list of all of the link categories in your Links area, plus all links listed in 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 for your link collection that lets your site users be made aware of additions to your link library.
To learn more about this great plugin, visit the plugin site:
Congratulations! Now you know how to add a blogroll to WordPress.
We have written a comprehensive article on how to easily add HTML links to your WordPress posts & pages. Go here to learn more:
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