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Should Blogroll “Links” be removed in favor of WordPress Menus?

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Should Blogroll “Links” be removed in favor of WordPress Menus?

Yesterday, on our facebook page, we asked a question “If you could get rid of one feature or thing in WordPress, what would it be?”. Some folks from our community gave their opinion. We also asked the same question on twitter. One of our users sent us a Direct Message asking us what would we get rid of. After looking at the list of features that others suggested, we found it surprising that no one brought up “Blogroll” Links.

Back in the days when we started using WordPress, the Links feature aka blogroll was fascinating. It allowed us to add and remove links on the sidebar without dealing with code at all. It was a dream come true for us beginners. However, now the links feature seems a bit outdated and quite frankly not as easy as the “Menus”. In this article, we make a case of replacing the Blogroll “Links” feature in favor of WordPress menus.

In our recent projects, we have found ourselves using a custom menu where we used to use Links. It is much more flexible for our clients to control the order of links by simple drag-drop interface that the menus provide. This is by far one of the most requested feature that our clients ask for. Now don’t get us wrong. Links do have some of the features, we wish we could retain while using the menus. So we are going to do a comparison of features and let you decide whether blogroll “links” should be replaced in favor of WordPress Menus.

Features that Blogroll “Links” have:

  • Ability to add Custom Links
  • Add Link Description
  • Categorize Links
  • Target Property (open link a new window or same page)
  • Specify Link Relationship using rel: tags
  • Image Address
  • RSS Address
  • Notes
  • Ratings

Now let’s see how many of these things you can already do with WordPress menus. You can add custom links using the “Custom Links” area in Menus. You can categorize links by simply creating separate menus for each category. If you look at Screen Options tab at the top right corner of your admin screen, you will see there are checkboxes for Link Target, Link Relationship, and Description. So those can be added as well. So what menus cannot do that links can?

Menus does not allow you to have Notes “which are for administrator’s use to remind them why they added a link”. Again, it seems kind of pointless that someone will have a link in their sidebar without knowing why they added it there. Usually, we find users link to sites they LOVE and read regularly. You cannot have Ratings. This is used to sort links by administrator assigned rating. Well, you can do that through the drag-drop interface. Now what would be cool is if we can let public rate our links, and then this feature can be pretty nifty. RSS Address for the link. Never used this feature ever, but it may be useful for some of you. The feature that we absolutely miss is the Image Address. Yes you can use images in WordPress menus but that requires you to create a CSS class for each item. That is something most clients cannot do. Now if we can add a way to add icons to WordPress menus (either in core or through a plugin), we can completely get rid of Links area.

Now, we’ve seen some folks that use Links as a post type. So they add links and display them on a separate page which they call “Resources or Friends”. But with WordPress posts formats in version 3.1, you can add links anyways. So doesn’t it make more sense to use Post Formats for Links rather than using it as a separate post type?

Would love to hear your thoughts?


Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress lovers led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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  • Charles Flemming

    It’s true that a custom menu works better for including links on a sidebar, but that’s not why I need Link Manager functionality.

    You need Link Manager to allow nRelate to pull related content from external sites.

  • slushman

    I have to agree. I think you could move the entire Links section into a plugin that people can install if they need it. I’ve only used it on one site ever, so I’d bet most sites won’t miss this too much. It would be nice if someone took this on and improved the future Links plugin to add features, etc. You’d get the best of both worlds then.

  • ShubhojyotiBhattacharya

    I used to have a long link of friend’s blogs as Blogroll. But now I have them using the WP Menus. I have never used separate icons for the links but I guess it is useful for many. Personally I can live with WordPress without the Links option :)

  • EllesdeBoorder

    I always use Admin Menu Editor and the first thing I get rid of is the Links menu item

  • BillRobbins

    Personally, I think moving the Links section to an optional plugin–like the current import feature–would be a great move. It would also keep in line with WordPress’ move to turn all references of “blog” into “site.”

  • senlinonline

    my idea to definitely get rid of the word “Blogroll” as that is probably the most outdated word on the entire WordPress install. I still use the links section with additional customizations on most sites of clients, but I normally use a Page to display them and then show a few random ones in the sidebar (if at all)

    Regarding the sidebar links you are right on the dot when you say that the exact same can be accomplished with menus!

  • Alan Hughes

    Yeah maybe, might not be too bad though, basically like the RSS feed widget…

  • WPBeginner – WordPress for Beginners

    Ah, I get what you are saying now. But creating another widget would make the widget itself very complicated. Because widget screens are very small to begin with.

  • Alan Hughes

    I know what you are referring to but I must not be explaining myself very well. I was just suggesting removing the current links option, and replacing it with a new widget option since that is where they end up anyways.

  • WPBeginner – WordPress for Beginners

    Alan, I don’t think you are getting what we are referring to. There is an option in the left dashboard menu called Links. Which is used by users to add links and then they can display those in the sidebar using Widgets…

    There was a Menus feature added in WordPress 3.0 which can be found in Appearence > Menus (which lets you create cool menus to display on your site)… Those have drag-drop feature and most of the feature that Links has.

    So we are suggesting that Links should be removed… The new links widget?? I don’t know if such thing is planned for 3.3.

  • David Murphy

    links are always pretty much redundant in my wp themes and they seem quite old fashioned to me – I often take the links menu item out of my wp-admin installs via some functions.php trickery. So i agree that menus should be moved to the top line. I also use widgets a lot and it kind of annoys me that they sit as a child listing under appearance.

  • Alan Hughes

    Well I would assume a new links widget would have a drag and drop ordering system, the same way the widgets themselves have drag and drop ordering. (By menu I was referring to the the main left column of links in WordPress’ back end).

  • WPBeginner – WordPress for Beginners

    Bernardo – yup I understand now :)

  • Bernardo Irigoyen

    I find them more simpler for the final user.
    They can categorize in the same way as posts and the plus is including an image to every link, very simple.
    Sorry my english is not very good, i hope you understand what I mean.

  • WPBeginner – WordPress for Beginners

    - Bernardo please share why you think keeping Links are useful. We wrote an entire article pointing out why we think Menus are better. Would be glad to hear your point of view.

    - Alan but beginners like the ability to control the order of their links. Which is usually controlled by the output in theme’s code. We get tons of requests for people asking how to do that. Menus have drag-drop feature which is really easy.

  • Waqas Khan

    i think blogroll is useful. It should be in wordpress

  • Alan Hughes

    A simple built in links widget would probably be nice for beginners, but a menu tab of its own doesn’t seem necessary. Sidenote: I think the width of the menu column should be adjustable because some custom post type titles can be long and it starts looking goofy when every one or two words are indented to the next line.

  • Bernardo Irigoyen

    They are really usufull