As you discover more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across the term blogroll.
In WordPress terminology, a list of links displayed on your sidebar 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.”
You can display a links section on your website using the Link Manager plugin for WordPress.
Before WordPress v 3.5 was released, Links were a core feature of the WordPress CMS. After the release of v 3.5, the Link Manager section was hidden by default in new WordPress installations …
(WP Links Menu – pre version 3.5)
(The Link Manager – no longer included in the admin menu after WP version 3.5)
If you have had an earlier version of WordPress than v.3.5 installed and upgraded your installation, then the Link 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 visible when you log into your WP backend, you can add it via a plugin. In this tutorial, you will learn how to add and manage links on your site’s sidebar using WordPress plugins.
(Link Manager Plugin)
Plugin Download URL
This plugin restores the Link Manager, even if you update WordPress to a later version or remove all of your existing links.
Note: This plugin adds a single line of code to WordPress 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 plugin below instead, or contact us for help editing your site’s template code.
(Simple Links Plugin)
Description Of Plugin
This plugin recreates the concept of the built-in Link Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated functionality.
How To Install Link Manager
To install the Link Manager plugin, do the following:
In the WP dashboard area, go to Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins Menu – Add New)
Click on 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 you have activated the plugin, a ‘Links’ section is added to the navigation menu area …
(WordPress links management menu section)
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, choose Links > Link Categories in your navigation menu …
(WordPress Links Menu – Link Categories)
You will be taken to the ‘Link Categories’ screen.
Type in the following information:
- Name: What you type here will display as the category your links will be assigned to.
- Slug: The slug is the search-engine friendly 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 to save …
The new category will display in the list …
(Link Categories screen)
Tip: Blogroll is the default link category name. Unless you specify a category when creating a link, WordPress will 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 that your visitors can understand. 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 …
(we recommend changing the default link category name to something your visitors will relate to)
To edit the ‘Blogroll’ link name, hover your mouse over the item and click on the Quick Edit link …
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 Update Link Category …
(Edit the link category name)
In our example, the category name ‘Blogroll’ has been replaced with an appropriate links section name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).
Let’s create a link category description. To add a description to an existing link category, hover over the item name and click Edit …
(You can add/edit the category description)
Enter your link category description field and click Update you’re done to save your settings …
(Edit Link Category screen)
Repeat this process to add as many link categories as you need.
After configuring your link categories, you can start adding new links.
How To Add New Links
To add a new link, go to the main dashboard navigation menu and choose Links > Add New …
(WordPress Links – Add New)
The ‘Add New Link’ page will display in your web browser …
(Add New Link page)
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 various sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
Enter your link details in this section …
(Add New Link page – Name, Web Address& Description fields)
Enter information into the following sections:
- Name: Enter the category name here.
- Slug: The slug is the URL bit 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)
Categories & Target
After adding link details, select a Category and Target for your link …
(Categories & Target)
In the Categories section, select a link category you’ve already set up, or click on the ‘+ Add New Category’ link to add a new category.
Next, select a target frame for your link in the Target section by choosing one of the radio buttons. This lets you specify how your link should open when clicked on:
- _blank means that when visitors click on your link, a separate web browser window will open up to display the information for that link. This allows your visitors to access the information without leaving your site
- _none means that when visitors click on the link, they will leave 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. If you don’t use frames, or if you don’t know what frames are, then just ignore this option.
Link Relationship XFN
This area provides some additional link functionality …
(Link Relationship (XFN))
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN stands for XML Friends Network – lets you define your relationship to the linked person. For example, if you work with Emma Larsson and you link to her blog, you would probably check co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional. 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 the 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.
You can learn more about XFN by visiting this site:
The last section of the Add New Link’ page lets you specify Advanced features for your links (some themes will ignore this. You can leave the fields in this section empty unless you have a reason to use them) …
(Add New Link page – Advanced fields)
The Advanced section contain the following fields:
- Image Address: Lets you specify an image to be displayed with the link. 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 can display next to the link.
- Notes: This section lets you add notes 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).
Type in your information into 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 Add Link to update your link settings)
Note: If you select the checkbox next to Keep this link private, the link will not be visible in your Blogroll section …
(Make links private by checking the box)
Making links private lets you toggle their visibility on or off without deleting your links (this is useful if you want to use seasonal links) …
(Making links private toggles their visibility on and off)
To see all your links, go to your WP dashboard menu and click on Links > All Links …
(Links – All Links)
The ‘Links’ screen will display in your browser. The Links page displays all of your links and link information (e.g. link URL, link categories, rating, etc.) …
Tip: To display or hide options in the Links table, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of the screen …
(Screen Options – Links page)
Enable/disable fields on your Links table by ticking/unticking their check boxes …
(Hide or show – Links page)
How To Edit Your Links
To modify links in the Link Manager, click on Links > All Links in the navigation menu to bring up the list of links …
(Links – All Links)
Locate the link to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the link’s information …
(Editing link information)
Change your link …
(Edit Link screen)
After editing your 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 its URL correctly (the link will open in a new window),
- Click Delete to remove the link from your list if you no longer require it …
(Update Link button)
To remove links from the Link Manager, click on Links > All Links in the admin menu …
(Links Menu – All Links)
The ‘Links’ table 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 Delete …
(Delete your links)
To delete a number of links at once, either tick the check boxes next to individual items that you would like deleted, or select all links by clicking on the main checkbox next to the ‘Name’ column header …
(Delete multiple links)
Select Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ menu, and click the Apply button to delete all selected links …
(Links: bulk-deletion function)
Your selected links will be removed …
(Link deletion notification)
Using The Plugin
Now that you know how to set up link categories and how to add, edit and delete links, it’s time to make links display on your website or blog.
Using The Links Widget
The Links Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ section.
To access and configure your Link widgets, click on Appearance > Widgets in your dashboard navigation menu …
(WP Appearance Menu – Widgets)
This brings up the ‘Widgets’ page.
You will see a ‘Links’ widget in the Available Widgets section …
Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of your active widget areas and drop it wherever you want the links to show up …
(Add a links widget to a widgetized area using drag & drop)
The Links widget includes various configurable options. You can specify what information you would like to show about your links and how many links you want to display on your sidebar menu …
(Link widget - settings)
You can add multiple link widgets to your sidebars and footers. This lets you create and feature different link sections throughout your site …
(You can add a number of link widgets to your sidebar)
You can select a link category …
(Link widget options – Select Link Category)
You can sort links by Link rating, Link ID, Link title, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget settings – Sort by options)
After configuring your Links widget, click Save to update your settings. Your link section will show on your 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? We have written a detailed article about adding widgets. For more details:
Links Manager – Additional Information
If you have added many links, the Links Manager plugin lets you easily administer these with sorting, searching, and filtering functions.
Sorting Your Links
To sort links, hover your mouse over the title of the column you want to sort and click on the little triangle displayed next to the column title …
(You can easily sort your links)
Search for links using the ‘Search Links’ feature …
You can filter links by categories …
(Filtering your links by link 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 links in the ‘Links’ column …
(Search and filter 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 use links extensively on your website, or if you would like 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)
Download Plugin URL
Link Library lets you display a list of your link categories and a complete list of links plus notes and descriptions …
(Link Library links. Image sourced from Link Library plugin website.)
Link Library can be used to create a page on your site that contains all 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 link collection so that your site users can become aware of any additions made to to your link library.
To learn more this plugin, visit the plugin website:
Congratulations! Now you know how to add external links to your WordPress sidebar.
We have written a comprehensive article about how to insert hyperlinks into your WordPress posts & pages. Go here to learn more:
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