As you discover more about WordPress, you may occasionally come across references to the term blogroll.
A blogroll is a list of hyperlinks pointing to external websites or web pages that display on your sidebar section.
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 manage a blogroll using the Links menu in your Dashboard. These links will then display on your sidebar or footer once you add the Links widget.
Prior to the release of version 3.5, Links were a visible feature of the WordPress CMS. After the release of v.3.5, the Links Manager section was removed …
(Links appeared in the WordPress menu until the release of WordPress v3.5)
(Post v.3.5 – no WordPress Links Manager feature)
If you have used an earlier version 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 menu section is not displayed when you log into your WordPress backend, you can add it by installing a plugin. This step-by-step tutorial shows you how to add and manage links on your sidebar using plugins.
The Link Manager plugin restores the default Links Manager, even if you update WordPress to a later version or remove all of your current links.
Note: This plugin adds a single line of template code to restore the hidden feature. When we last checked, the plugin had not been updated for a while, but it should still work fine. If you don’t want to use the Link Manager plugin, then use the plugin below instead, or contact us for help editing your site’s template code.
This plugin recreates the concept of the built-in WordPress Links Manager while removing the shortcomings of the deprecated functionality.
How To Install Link Manager
To install the Link Manager plugin, follow the instructions below:
From your WP dashboard menu, select Plugins > Add New …
(Plugins – 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 area and click Install Now …
Activate the plugin …
After activation, WordPress will display a ‘Links’ item on your WP sidebar menu screen …
(Links management menu)
Configuring Link Manager
We recommend setting up link categories first before adding links. This way, when adding a new link, you can assign your link to link categories you have already created.
To create a link category, select Links > Link Categories in your navigation menu …
(WP Links Menu – Link Categories)
This loads the ‘Link Categories’ screen in your web browser.
Type in information into the following sections:
- Name: Enter the link category name.
- Slug: The slug displays in the web address of the link category name. Only use lower case letters and do not include spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display a link category description. (Optional)
Click Add New Link Category to save your new link category name …
(Link Categories screen)
Your link category will be added to the list …
Tip: The default WordPress link category is called Blogroll . Unless you specify a category when creating a link, WordPress will assign new links to the default category …
(Default link category)
You may want to change this to something better suited to your business. This will not only make it easier for users of your site, but any new links that you add to the Links section 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 default category name, hover your mouse over the category name and click on Quick Edit …
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), and click on Update Link Category …
In our example, the category name ‘Blogroll’ has been replaced with an appropriate links section name (e.g. ‘Recommended’).
Let’s insert a description for this link category. To add a link category description, hover over the item name and click Edit …
(You can add/edit the category description)
Enter your description in the ‘Edit Link Category’ page and click Update …
(Edit Link Category screen)
Repeat this process to add as many link categories as your site requires.
Once you have finished setting up your link categories, you can being adding your links.
To add a new link, select Links > Add New in the main dashboard navigation menu …
(Links Menu – Add New)
This loads the Add New Link’ page in your browser …
(Add New Link page)
You can also access this page by clicking on ’Add New’ in the main Links page …
(Links screen – Add New Link button)
The ‘Add New Links’ page includes several sections:
Name, Web Address & Description
Enter your link details in this section …
(Add New Link page – Name, Web Address& Description fields)
Enter the following information:
- Name: What you enter in this field is the category name that will display on your site.
- Slug: The slug displays in the web address of the link category. Only use lower case letters without spaces (use hyphens to separate words).
- Description: Some themes may display a link category description.
Categories & Target
Select a Category and Target for your new link …
(Categories & Target – Add New Link)
In the Categories section, tick a link category you have already added, or click on ’+ Add New Category’ to create a new category link.
Also, select a target frame for your link in the Target section by choosing one of the radio buttons. This lets you specify how the link should open when clicked on:
- _blank means that when a visitor clicks on the link, a new web browser window will open up 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 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 ignore this option.
Link Relationship XFN
This area provides some additional link functionality …
(Link Relationship (XFN) – Add New Link)
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 Austin Silva and you link to his blog, you would probably check co-worker or colleague.
XFN relationships are optional. You can ignore this section and your links will still work. XFN makes the links defined on your site more understandable to some websites and search engines that use this information.
rel – This field specifies the ‘rel’ attribute that will be assigned to your link. The rel attribute specifies 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. Separate multiple ‘rel’ keywords with spaces.
To learn more about XFN, visit 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) …
The Advanced link settings section contains the following:
- Image Address: Lets you specify an image to be displayed with the link. To use this feature, 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 be displayed next to the link.
- 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 into the above fields or just leave this section blank, as these are not essential for links to work.
When you are done adding information about your link, click on Add Link to update your link settings …
(Click on the Add Link button to update your link settings)
Note: If you tick Keep this link private, the link will not be visible in your Links section …
(Make your links private)
Making a link private allows you to toggle link visibility on or off without deleting it (this is useful if you want a link to display during certain periods and hide it after it’s no longer required) …
(Making links private toggles their visibility on and off)
To view a list of all the links you have created, select Links > All Links in the WP navigation menu …
(Links Menu – All Links)
This brings up the ‘Links’ screen. The Links page displays all your links and link information (e.g. link URL, categories, relationship, etc.) …
(List of links)
Tip: To view or hide options in the Links table, click on the ‘Screen Options’ tab near the top of your screen …
(Links page – Screen Options)
Enable/disable information on your Links table by ticking/unticking their checkboxes …
(Hide or display – Table of links)
To edit links, go to the WP dashboard menu and choose Links > All Links to bring up the links screen …
(WordPress Links Menu – All Links)
Locate the item you want to edit and click on Edit to bring up the item’s link details …
(Editing your link information)
Edit your link fields …
(Edit Link screen)
After you’re done editing your 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 (the link will open up in a new window),
- Click Delete to delete the link …
(Update Link button)
Deleting Your Links
To delete links, click on Links > All Links in your WP dashboard menu …
(WP Links – All Links)
You will be taken to the ‘Links’ screen.
You can delete links individually, delete multiple links, or remove all links at once.
To delete individual links, hover over the link title 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 checkbox next to each item that you would like deleted, or select all links by clicking on the main check box next to the ‘Name’ column header at the top of the list …
(Deleting multiple links)
Choose Delete from the ‘Bulk Actions’ menu, and click Apply to delete your selected links …
(Bulk-deletion of links)
All the links you have selected will be deleted …
(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, let’s show you how to display your links 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 the WP admin menu and choose Appearance > Widgets …
(WordPress Appearance – Widgets)
This brings up the ‘Widgets’ screen.
You will notice that a ‘Links’ widget has been added to the Available Widgets section …
To make the ‘Links’ widget active, drag it to one of your widget sections and drop it wherever you want the links to show up …
(Drag and drop the links widget to add it to your widget bar)
The Links widget provides various settings. You can specify what information you would like 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 sidebar and footer. This allows you to create and display specific link lists throughout your site …
(You can add multiple link widgets to your widget bars)
Display a list of links for a specific category …
(Link widget settings – Select Link Category)
You can sort links by Link rating, Link title, Link ID, or display links in Random order …
(Link widget settings – Sort by options)
When you have finished configuring your links widget, click the Save button to update your settings. Your links should appear on your website or blog’s sidebar menu …
(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.
Need help using widgets? We have written a detailed article about configuring widgets. To learn more, go here:
Links Manager – Additional Information
If you have many links, the Link Manager plugin lets you easily administer these using sort, filter, and search functions.
Sort Links Function
You can sort links by hovering your mouse cursor over the title of the column you want to sort and clicking on the little black triangle displayed next to the column title …
(Sort your links)
Find Links Function
Type a search term into the search field and click the Search Links button …
(Find your links)
Filtering Your Links
You can filter links by categories …
(Filter links by categories)
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 links in the ‘Links’ column …
(Search and filter links in the Link Categories page)
This brings up a list of all links listed under a specific link category …
(Links filtered by link category)
Links – Additional Options
If you plan to use links extensively on your website or blog, or if you want to add a ‘Links’ page to your site (i.e. not just add a links section to your sidebar), then you may want to consider using a plugin that can help you administer your links, like Link Library.
(Link Library Plugin)
Plugin Download URL
This plugin gives you the ability to publish a list of all your link categories with a complete list of links plus notes and descriptions …
(List of links created with Link library. Image sourced from Link Library plugin site.)
Link Library can be used to create a page on your website that contains all the link categories in your Links area, 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 for your link collection that lets your site users become aware of additions to your link library.
To learn more about Link Library:
Congratulations! Now you know how to add external links to your WordPress site.
To learn more about how to add hyperlinks into WordPress, see this article:
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