links in WordPress

Not to be confused with the “Link” format of posting, WordPress supports a fairly elaborate mechanism for defining and categorizing what it calls “Links”.  The purpose of these is somewhat obscured by the fact the default WordPress configuration doesn’t enable their display, although it provides a conspicuous group of Links administration facilities in the WordPress Dashboard.  There is also a sampling of links to various official WordPress resource pages, assigned to the link category “Blogroll”, but where are these links supposed to appear?

The answer is that WordPress Links are used to display a “Blogroll” on your home page, but you need to enable this feature by going into the WordPress Dashboard’s Appearance, Widgets screen.  In that screen, drag the Links item from the “Available Widgets” area into the “Main Sidebar” area at the desired position relative to the other widgets listed.  Now your site will show a new section of the main sidebar, with heading “BLOGROLL”, listing the provided sample of links to WordPress resources.

WordPress Links can be categorized, for example “Blogroll” is just the default Link Category, but you needn’t use that category name, and you can define any number of additional Link Categories.  Link Categories, however, are distinct and different from categories of Posts.  Unlike posting categories, link categories have no hierarchical structure, so it might help to think of link categories as being more like a special type of tags. What the Links widget does is simply to list each link category as a heading in the sidebar, and under that heading to display the links assigned to that category.  Link categories are listed in alphabetical order, and links under each category are listed alphabetically by link name (by default – there are additional options for the Links widget).

The preceding remarks apply to WordPress under the Twenty Eleven theme, using WordPress 3.4.2.  Other WordPress themes may deal differently with Links, and there are a variety of WordPress plugins available, for more flexible and sophisticated ways of presenting links.  Here are some helpful references about WordPress Links:

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