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 …

Adding WordPress Sidebar LinksAs you continue to learn more about the benefits of using WordPress, you may occasionally come across something called a blogroll.

A blogroll is a list of hyperlinks pointing to external websites or web pages displayed on your sidebar area.

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 links to a widgetized theme.


Before WordPress v3.5 was released, Links were a built-in feature of the WordPress CMS. From v.3.5 onwards, the Links manager and blogroll sections were kept hidden by default in new installations …

Before …

The Link Manager  - included in the WordPress dashboard menu until the release of WordPress v3.5

(WP Links Menu – pre v3.5)

After …

The Links Manager  - no longer included in WordPress after WordPress v3.5

(Post v.3.5 – no WordPress Links feature)

If you have used an earlier version than 3.5 and upgraded your installation, then the Link 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 you can’t see the Links feature when you log into your WordPress admin area you will need to install a plugin. This step-by-step tutorial explains how to add and manage links on your sidebar using plugins.

Link Manager

Link Manager

(Link Manager)

Download URL

Plugin Description

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

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

Simple Links

Simple Links

(Simple Links Plugin)

Download URL

Description Of Plugin

Simple Links recreates the concept of the built-in WordPress Link Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated functionality.

Plugin Installation

Let’s install the Link Manager plugin.

In your WP dashboard menu, go to Plugins > Add New

Plugins - Add New

(Plugins Menu – Add New)

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

Installing The Plugin

Locate the plugin in the search results screen and click Install Now

Plugin Installation

Activate the plugin after it has been installed …

Plugin Installation

After activation, a ‘Links’ section will show up in your admin menu area …

Links menu

(Links management menu)

Setting Up The Plugin

We recommend setting up your link categories first before you start adding new links. This way, when adding a new link, you can assign your link to the link category you have already created.

Link Categories

To create a link category, go to the main navigation menu and click on Links > Link Categories

WP Links - Link Categories

(WordPress Links – Link Categories)

This brings up the ‘Link Categories’ screen.

Enter the following information:

  • Name: Whatever you enter here is the category name that will display on your site.
  • Slug: The slug appears in the URL of the link category. 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 the Add New Link Category button to save …

Link Categories

(Link Categories)

Your category details will now show in the table …

Link Categories screen

(Link Categories)

Useful Information

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

Default link 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 …

Consider changing the default link category name to something your visitors will understand

(Change the default link category name to something better suited to your business)

To change the default category name, hover your mouse over the item and click on Quick Edit

Quick Edit

(Quick Edit)

Change both the Name and the Slug with a new category name, then click on the Update link Category button …

Quick Edit

(Quick Edit)

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

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

Link category description

(Link category description)

Add your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ screen and click Update

Edit Link Category screen

(Edit Link Category screen)

Repeat this process and add as many link categories as you need.

After setting up your link categories, you can being adding your links.

How To Add Links

To create a new link, go to the main admin menu and select Links > Add New

Links Menu - Add New

(Links – Add New)

You will be taken to the ‘Add New Link’ page …

Add New Link page

(Add New Link screen)

You can also access this page by clicking on the ‘Add New’ button at the top of the main Links page …

Add New Link button

(Add New Link button)

The ‘Add New Links’ page has a number of sections:

Name, Web Address & Description

Enter details about your link in this section …

Name, Web Addressand Description area - Add New Link screen

(Name, Web Address, Description fields – Add New Link)

Type in information into the following sections:

  • Name: Enter the category name here.
  • Slug: The slug shows up in the SEO friendly 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 your link category description in the links section, or as a tool tip when visitors hover over the link name. (Optional)
Categories & Target

Select a Category and Target for your new link …

Categories & Target

(Categories & Target – Add New Link screen)

In the Categories section, select one of the link categories you’ve already added, 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 the link should open when clicked on by visitors:

  • _blank means that a new, separate window will open up in their browser to display the information for that link. Your visitor can access the link information without leaving your website
  • _none means that when a visitor clicks on your link, they will exit your site and a new site or page will load in your web 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

(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 have a professional relationship with Aaron Larsson and you link to his blog, you would probably tick co-worker or colleague.

XFN relationships are optional. You can ignore this section and your links will work just fine. 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 defines what relationship exists 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, index, help, start, etc.

You can learn more about XFN by visiting this site:


The last section of the Add New Link’ screen allows you to enter Advanced features for your links (some themes will ignore this. You can ignore this section, unless there’s a good reason to use it) …

Advanced link settings - Add New Link

(Add New Link screen – Advanced area)

The Advanced section fields are as follows:

  • Image Address: Specify an image to be displayed with the link. To use this feature, add an 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 will be displayed next to the links.
  • Notes: This section lets you add notes 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 in the above fields or just leave this section ignore this section.

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

click on the Add Link button to update your link settings

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

Useful Information

Note: If you select the Keep this link private checkbox, your link will not be visible when links are displayed on your site …

Private link checkbox

(Make links private by checking the box)

Making a link private lets you toggle link visibility on or off without deleting it (this is useful if you want to use seasonal links) …

Toggle link visibility on and off

(Toggle link visibility on and off)

To see a list of all the links you have added to the Link Manager, click on Links > All Links in the WP admin menu …

Links Menu - All Links

(Links – All Links)

The ‘Links’ screen 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.) …

List of Links

(Links table)

Practical Tip

Tip: To view or hide information in the table of links, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top of the screen …

Table of Links - Screen Options

(Table of links – Screen Options)

Enable/disable information on your Links table by selecting/deselecting their checkboxes …

Show/hide - List of links

(Show/hide links)

Editing Your Link Information

To modify a link, select Links > All Links in your WP admin menu to bring up the links screen …

Links Menu - All Links

(WP Links – All Links)

Select the link to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the item’s link details …

Editing your link information

(Editing link information)

Make any changes you want to your link …

Edit Link screen

(Edit Link page)

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 (your link will open up in a new window),
  • Click Delete to delete the link …

Edit Link: Update Link button

(Edit Link: Update Link button)

Removing Your Links

To delete a link, go to the WP dashboard menu and select Links > All Links

Links Menu - All Links

(Links – All Links)

The ‘Links’ page will load in your browser.

You can delete links individually, delete multiple links, or perform a bulk delete.

To delete links individually, hover over the link that you want removed and click on Delete

Delete your links

(Delete links)

To delete links in bulk, either tick the check box next to every item that you would like deleted, or select all links by clicking on the checkbox next to the ‘Name’ column header at the top of the list …

Deleting multiple links

(Delete multiple links)

Select Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ menu, and click the Apply button to remove all selected links …

Links: bulk-delete function

(Links: bulk-delete function)

The links you have selected will be deleted …

Deleted links notice

(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 make links display on your website.

Links Widget

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 click on Appearance > Widgets

Appearance Menu - Widgets

(Appearance – Widgets)

This brings up the ‘Widgets’ screen in your browser.

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

Links widget

(Links widget)

Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of your active widget bars and drop it wherever you would like the links section to display …

Drag and drop the links widget to add it to a widgetized area

(Adding a links widget to a widgetized area using drag and drop)

The Links widget provides a number of configurable options. For example, you can specify what information you would like to display about your links and how many links you would like to display on your sidebar menu …

Link widget - configurable settings

(Link widget options)

You can add multiple link widgets to your sidebar and footer. This lets you add and display different lists of links throughout your site …

Add multiple link widgets to your widget bars

(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

(Link widget options – Select Link Category)

You can sort links by Link ID, Link rating, Link title, or display links in Random order …

Link widget settings - Sort by options

(Link widget options – Sorting options)

When you have finished setting up the Links widget, click the Save button to update your settings. Your link section will show on your website …

Links can be displayed on your site's sidebar

(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.

Practical Tip

Need more help using widgets? We have written a detailed article on using widgets here:

Links Manager – Additional Information

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

Sorting Links

You can sort links by hovering your mouse 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 your links

(Sorting links function)

Search Links Function

Type a search term into the search field and click the Search Links button …

You can easily find links with the search function

(Searching your links)

Filter Your Links

You can filter links by link categories …

Filter links by categories

(Filter links by link 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 …

Search and filter links in the Link Categories screen

(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 category

(Links filtered by category)

Links – Additional Options

If you plan to add lots 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 consider using a plugin that can help you administer your links.

Link Library

Link Library WordPress Plugin

(Link Library WordPress Plugin)

Plugin URL

Plugin Description

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

Link Library links

(List of links created with Link library. Screenshot taken from Link Library plugin documentation.)

This plugin can be used to create a page on your site that contains all the link categories in your Links section, and 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 of your links so that your site users can be made aware of any additions made to to your link library.

Go here to learn more about this useful plugin:

How To Add A Blogroll Section To The WordPress Sidebar

Congratulations! Now you know how to add external links to your WordPress site.


To learn more about how to easily insert HTML links into your WordPress posts & pages, refer to this article:


"I was absolutely amazed at the scope and breadth of these tutorials! The most in-depth training I have ever received on any subject!" - Myke O'Neill,

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