Better Blogroll Widget For WordPress

Better Blogroll Widget for WordPress ScreenshotThe Better Blogroll widget for WordPress is a replacement for the default WordPress Links Manager that displays a configurable number of random links from your WordPress blogroll. This should help to combat link blindness while still allowing you to share the link love with more of your favorite blogs.

It will display images, text links, XFN data, ratings, and will give your readers a better idea of what they’re clicking on by displaying each link’s category to it’s right, and its description in a tool tip. Links can be grouped by category or consolidated into one list, and even lets you display or hide any categories you want. Because you can control the sort order or whether links are set to “nofollow”, the Better Blogroll can even be used as a rudimentary ad rotator.

Download

For WordPress 2.3+:
Better Blogroll v3.4 (November 30, 2011)

For Older Versions of WordPress:
Better Blogroll v1.13 (Sept. 14, 2007)

Installation

  1. Download and unzip better-bloggroll-widget.zip to /WordPress/ wp-content/ plugins
  2. Activate the widget from your Plugins tab of your WordPress dashboard.
  3. Go to Presentation/ Widgets and drag the Better Blogroll widget to your sidebar.

Options

Version 3.4 has twelve options:

  • Title: The Title of your Blogroll as it will appear on your sidebar.
  • Explanation: When you go from a massive blogroll down to ten links, people might think you dropped their link. This allows you to insert a small reassuring message at the top of your blogroll to let people know that your blogroll is now random and rolling.
  • Number of Posts to Show: This is the maximum number of posts you want the widget to display in a single list, or the number of links you want to show in each category if you are splitting the links by category.
  • Sort Order (new): Links can now be sorted in five ways: Random, Title Ascending, Title Descending, Rating Ascending, and Rating Descending. It should be noted that these sorts occur during the database pull, and not after. If you choose a sorting option, your blogroll will cease to be random and the links will be pulled from the top or bottom of your links list. The sorting options were added for people who want to use Better Blogroll as a non-random replacement for the default links widget.
  • Show Text Links: This was added as an option in version 2.5 to allow people to choose whether they want to display text links, image links, or both. Checking this box will show a text link for each item in your blogroll.
  • Show Images: If you set the “Image Address” variable for a link in the WordPress Link Manager, you can show it by checking this box.
  • Show Link Rating (new): If you rate your links in the WordPress Link Manager, you can show each link’s rating to the right of the link by checking this box.
  • Show Link Categories: Showing link categories helps the reader sort through your links, but if you only use one link category, you can uncheck this to suppress the category display.
  • Show Only Links From these Categories: By entering a single category name or a comma-separated list of categories into this field, you can limit the links shown to certain categories of your choice. Categories should be entered in the format category1,category2,category3,etc. To show all link categories, leave this field blank.
  • Check Here To Hide The Above Categories: Checking this box will hide links from any categories listed in the “Show Only Links From these Categories” field. This is useful if there are categories of links that you don’t want to show.
  • Set Links To Nofollow: Nofollow is used to instruct search engines that a link should not be counted when a link’s rank is calculated by search engines. Setting this attribute will override any XFN data specified in the WordPress Link Manager. There really should be no reason to set your links to nofollow unless you are using Better Blogroll as a simple ad rotator (see below for more info).
  • Separate Links By Category? (NEW): As of version 2.9, Better Blogroll can separate out your links under their own category headings. Each category is independently randomized.

Example

The plugin can be seen to the right on my sidebar.

Adding Better Blogroll Directly To A Page

A number of people have asked how they can use Better Blogroll to display a rotating list of links directly in a page rather than in the sidebar. Until I can come up with a cleaner solution, following these steps will work:

  1. Go to Appearance / Widgets from the WordPress admin panel.
  2. Find the Better Blogroll widget and click Add.
  3. Click Edit on the widget.
  4. Set the options for Better Blogroll.
  5. Click Done.
  6. Click Save Changes.
  7. Click Edit on the widget again.
  8. Click Remove.
  9. Click Save Changes.
  10. Create a custom page template and add the following to it:
    <?php
    $options = get_option('widget_betterblogroll');
    widget_betterblogroll($options);
    ?>
  11. Save the template and assign a page to it. The page will then have a rotating list of links.

How to Use Better Blogroll as a Simple Ad Rotator

Because Better Blogroll can now display images and control the nofollow attribute, it is possible to use the widget as a simple ad rotator for both text and image links. Here’s how to set up an image ad rotator:

  1. Add your links into the WordPress Link Manager making sure to set an image location in the “Image Address” field and set the target attribute to “_blank”.
  2. Once you have entered all the links, go into the Better Blogroll Widget by clicking on “Presentation \ Widgets” in your WordPress admin panel.
  3. Click on the Better Blogroll Widget to open the options panel.
  4. Set the Title to “Sponsors” (or something like it).
  5. Set the “Number of Links to Show” to 1.
  6. check “Show Images” and “Set Links To Nofollow”
  7. Uncheck the rest.
  8. Close the options and click “Save Changes”.

Change Log

v.3.4 (November 30, 2011)
- missing end tag corrected.

v.3.2/3.3 (January 22, 2010)
- Another Variable initialization bug fix.

v.3.1 (January 5, 2010)
- Bug fix. New sort order variable introduced in v. 3.0 not initialized

v.3.0 (December 22, 2009)
- Link Ratings are enabled for display.
- Links can be sorted randomly, by title, or by rating.

v.2.9 (Februray 19, 2009)
- Links can now be displayed in a single list or separated by category. Categories are individually randomized when this feature is used.

v.2.8 (June 25, 2008)
- Minor validation issue was fixed with respect to the target tag.
- Plugin now displays XFN data in the rel tag when “nofollow” is not in use.

v.2.7 (March 24, 2008)
- Added the ability to limit the links shown to multiple categories
- Added the ability to explicitly hide multiple categories from being displayed.
- Stopped the plugin from showing links with multiple categories multiple times.

v.2.6 (January 28, 2008)
- Added the ability to limit the links shown to a single category.

v.2.5 (December 17, 2007)
- Made the ability to show text links optional.
- Made the ability to show images optional.
- Allowed the “nofollow” attribute to be applied.
- Set the plugin to recognize the link target attribute as set in the WordPress link manager.
- Reworked the underlying SQL to allow WordPress to supply table names.

v.2.23 (October 9, 2007)
- Added a check box to control whether categories are displayed.
- Reclaimed the space for the explanation if not used.
- Stopped the explanation from being displayed as a bullet point.

v2.13 (Sept. 25, 2007)
Updated version to work with WordPress 2.3

v1.13 (Sept. 14, 2007)
Inital plugin release.

Bugs or Development Suggestions

Feel free to Contact me.