As you continue to discover more about the benefits of using WordPress, you may occasionally come across references to the term blogroll.
In WordPress terminology, a list of hyperlinks displayed on your sidebar section 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 easily add external links to a widget-ready theme.
Prior to the release of version 3.5, Links were a built-in feature of the WordPress CMS. After v3.5, the Links manager and blogroll sections were kept hidden by default in new installations …
(WordPress Links Menu – pre v 3.5)
(Links is no longer part of WordPress after WordPress version 3.5)
If your website or blog this feature was previously active on your site, then it will still be available when you upgrade to newer WordPress versions. If you’ve never used Links Manager, however, or if your site installation is new, then this function will become invisible – it will not appear on your 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 the Links Manager is not visible when you log into your WordPress dashboard you will need to install a plugin. This step-by-step tutorial explains how to add, edit, delete and manage blogroll links on your sidebar using plugins.
(Links Manager WordPress Plugin)
Plugin Download URL
Description Of Plugin
You can use this plugin to restore the default Links feature on your dashboard, even if you update WordPress to a later version or remove all of your current links.
Note: All this plugin does is add a single line of template code to your installation in order 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.
This plugin recreates the concept of the built-in WordPress Links Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated feature.
To install the Link Manager plugin, follow these step-by-step instructions:
From the WP dashboard menu, select Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins Menu – Add New)
Select the Install Plugins > Search tab, type ”link manager” into the search field and hit Enter …
Find the plugin in the results screen and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin after it has been installed …
After activation, WordPress will display a ‘Links’ section on your navigation menu screen …
(WordPress links management menu)
Setting Up The Plugin
We recommend setting up link categories first before you start adding new links. This way, when you add a new link, you can assign the link to link categories you have already created.
To create a new link category, click on Links > Link Categories in your WP dashboard navigation menu …
(Links Menu – Link Categories)
This loads the ‘Link Categories’ screen in your browser.
Enter information into the following sections:
- Name: Whatever you type here will display as the category your links will be assigned to.
- Slug: The slug appears in the search-engine friendly URL of the link category. It must be in lowercase letters and contain no spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display a link category description.
after entering your information, click Add New Link Category to save …
Your new category will be added to the list …
(Link Categories screen)
Tip: The default WordPress link category is called Blogroll . Unless you specify the category when creating a new link, WordPress automatically assigns new links to the default category …
(Default link category)
You may want to change this default WordPress 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 assigned to the new category name …
(Change 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 the Quick Edit link …
(Editing the default link category)
Change both the Name and the Slug with a new category name, and click on the Update link Category button …
(Edit the default link category)
Replace the category ‘Blogroll’ with an appropriate links section category name (e.g. ‘Recommended’, ‘Resources’ etc).
Let’s now add a link category description. To add a link category description, click on Edit under the category name …
(Link 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 and add as many different link categories as your site needs.
After you have finished setting up your link categories, you can start adding new links.
To add a new link, go to your dashboard menu and click on Links > Add New …
(Links Menu – Add New)
This loads the Add New Link’ page in your web browser …
(Add New Link page)
You can also reach this page by clicking on the ‘Add New’ button in the main Links page …
(Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page is divided into the following sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
This section lets you enter details about your link …
(Name, Web Address, Description section)
Type in information into the following fields:
- Name: Enter the link category name here.
- Slug: The slug displays in the SEO friendly URL of the link category. Use lowercase letters only without 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 with their mouse.
Categories & Target
After adding your link details, select a Category and Target for the link …
(Add New Link page – Categories & Target area)
In the Categories section, select a link category you have already added, or click on ’+ Add New Category’ to add a new category link.
Also, select a target frame radio button for your link in the Target section. This lets you specify where you want the link to open when visitors click on it:
- _blank means that when visitors click on your link, a new, separate browser window will open up to display the content for that link.
- _none means that when a visitor clicks on your link, they will exit your site and a new website 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 ignore this option.
Link Relationship XFN
This area provides some additional link functionality …
(Add New Link screen – Link Relationship (XFN))
Link Relationship (XFN) – XFN (XML Friends Network) is a way to define your relationship to the linked person. For example, if you have a professional relationship with Saanvi O’Malley 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 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 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. Separate multiple ‘rel’ attributes using spaces.
You can learn more about XFN by visiting this site:
The last section allows you to specify Advanced features for your links (some themes will ignore this. You can ignore this section, unless there’s a good reason to use it) …
(Add New Link page – Advanced section)
The Advanced section fields are as follows:
- Image Address: Specify an image to be displayed with the link. Add the URL of your image 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 display next to your 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 the Add Link button to save your new link …
(Click on Add Link to save your new link)
Note: If you select Keep this link private, your link will not be visible in your Blogroll section …
(Private link checkbox)
Making a link private allows you to add a link and then toggle its visibility on or off without deleting it (this is useful if you would like a link to display during certain times and hide it after it’s no longer required) …
(Toggle link visibility on and off)
To see all your links, choose Links > All Links in the navigation menu …
(Links – All Links)
This brings up the ‘Links’ table in your web browser. The table of links displays all your links and link information (e.g. URL, link categories, relationship, etc.) …
(List of links)
Tip: To view or hide columns in the list of links, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top of your screen …
(List of links – Screen Options)
Display/hide fields on your table of links by selecting/deselecting their checkboxes …
Editing Your Links
To modify links, go to the dashboard navigation menu and select Links > All Links to bring up the links screen …
(Links Menu – All Links)
Locate the link to be edited and click on Edit to bring up the item’s link information …
Make changes to the 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 its URL correctly (your link will open in a new window),
- Click Delete to remove the link from your list …
(Update Link button)
Removing Your Links
To delete links from the Link Manager, go to your WP dashboard navigation menu and click on Links > All Links …
(Links – All Links)
This loads the ‘Links’ screen in your web browser.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links, or perform a bulk delete.
To delete links individually, hover over the link title that you want to remove from the link table and click on Delete …
(Deleting your links)
To delete multiple links, either click on the check boxes next to individual items that you want deleted, 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’ pulldown menu, and click Apply to remove your selected links …
Your links will be removed …
(links deleted notification)
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 or blog.
Installing the Links Manager plugin adds a ‘Links’ widget to your ‘Widgets’ screen.
To access and configure your Link widgets, select Appearance > Widgets in the main dashboard navigation menu …
(WP Appearance Menu – Widgets)
You will be taken to the ‘Widgets’ page.
You will notice that a ‘Links’ widget has been added to the Available Widgets section …
Drag the ‘Links’ widget to one of the active widget sections in the Widgets screen and drop it wherever you want the links section to display …
(Add a links widget to your sidebar)
The Links widget offers various settings. 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 …
(Link widget - settings)
You can also add as many link widgets to your sidebar as you want. This lets you create and display links sorted by categories throughout your site …
(Add a number of link widgets to your widget bars)
Display a list of items for a specific category …
(Link widget options – Select Link Category)
You can sort links by Link title, Link ID, Link rating, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget settings – Sort by options)
After configuring your Links widget, click Save to update your settings. Your links should show up immediately 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 more help with widgets? We have written a detailed article about widgets. To learn more about this go here:
Link Manager – Additional Information
If you have many links, the Links Manager plugin allows you to easily administer these with filter, sort, and search functionality.
Sort Links Function
To sort links, hover your mouse over the title of the column you want to sort and click on the black triangle displayed next to the column title …
(Sort your links)
Find links using the ‘Search Links’ function …
(Search your links)
Filter Links Function
You can filter links by link category …
(Filtering links by link category)
You can also search and filter links in the Link Categories page. 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 page)
This displays 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 links on your sidebar), then you may want to consider using a plugin that can help you administer your links, like Link Library.
(Link Library WordPress Plugin)
Plugin Download URL
Link Library lets you publish a list of all your link categories with a complete list of all your links 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 web site that contains all the link categories in your Links area, 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 about Link Library:
Congratulations! Now you know how to add a featured links section to your WordPress sidebar.
We have written a comprehensive article about how to easily add HTML hyperlinks to WordPress posts & pages. To learn more about this go here:
"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group