What Is Jetpack and Should You Use It?
Jetpack is a single plugin with more than two dozen modules. Each module has a specific task that is typically found when you have a site on WordPress.com. Over the years, it has received a bad wrap from some developers and you may have already been warned about how bloated it is.
So before we move into the technical part of the plugin, let me answer a few questions for you.
Does Jetpack Slow Down Your Site?
No. It’s that simple. Several different issues may cause a site to run slow and it is usually not the fault of a single plugin. In fact, recent tests have proven otherwise. Site slowdowns can be due to a combination of things, and Jetpack could be part of the problem, as any other WordPress theme or plugin might be as well. Or it could be your host.
Should I Use All of the Modules Or Is That Too Much?
As with any plugin functionality, use only what you need. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend running Jetpack for just one or two of the modules. Instead, if you install it, chances are that many of the modules can easily replace some of your existing plugins. So look at the features and compare them.
Does It Conflict with Plugins and Themes?
Like any plugin, yes, that can happen. First, make sure that you are not duplicating efforts. For example, keeping your commenting plugin after you have activated the Jetpack commenting module.
Is There a Best Scenario For Using Jetpack?
I can think of a couple:.
- You have just moved off WordPress.com and you feel more comfortable using the features it brings to your self-hosted site without having to learn new plugins.
- You have just started a blog or simple website. This could be the perfect way to get the functionality you need without having to hunt down and continue adding more plugins.
Is It Forever?
There is a chance you will grow out of Jetpack. As the WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg says, “Jetpack can often be the stepping stone to premium plugins.”
For example, let’s say you are using the contact form module in Jetpack. But at some point you realize that you need a form that’s more robust, with more options. And you choose to move to one like Gravity Forms. If this happens enough, you may eventually find that Jetpack isn’t serving your needs anymore and it’s time to replace it with other plugins.
That said, this course will introduce you to all the modules, the features and benefits Jetpack brings to your site, so you can decide for yourself if it is the right plugin for your site.
And if you are already using Jetpack, but have not fully explored all it has to offer, you may come across a surprise or two as well.
After you have installed the plugin and activated it, you will get this message on your plugin page. The reason you should connect to WordPress.com is that so many of these modules integrate with specific robust functionality of that platform.
If you don’t have a WordPress.com account, you can open one. It’s free and easy. And no, this does not force you to build a blog or site on WordPress.com.
Likely it will connect with your WordPress.com account and this page will come up. And if you have more than one account, you will choose which account to hook it up to. If not, it will ask you for your WordPress.com login.
Once you have connected, you will return to your site and you will see this screen. It will show you some of the active and inactive modules, allows you to activate all the WordPress.com tools, and lets you click through to view the other features of this plugin. For now, you can leave as is until you determine which modules you will want to use.
The settings for Jetpack are all in one spot, which makes it easy to activate/deactivate and also configure the various modules. I would recommend using this area for configuring as some of the module settings are scattered throughout the dashboard and not as easily found.
You will also be able to tell if a module is activated or not at a single glance because the activated modules are slightly darker in color.
Bulk Actions, Sorting and Views
As you can see here, you have the ability to activate or deactivate numerous modules using Bulk Actions. You also can search the modules, limit your views and sort.
Beautiful Math Module
Although this is one of the modules that is automatically activated when installing Jetpack, it is specific to mathematical nerds. So unless you are wanting to create cool-looking formulas and equations on your site or blog, it’s unlikely you will need this.
It uses a markup language to help geeky mathematical bloggers easily render their equations, formulas and other mathy stuff.
All of this is neatly placed in these parameters.
Inserting the Markup
This screenshot shows an example of how it might be used. The important thing to note here is that you will want to do this while in the Text tab, not the Visual tab.
You may get what is called a parse error. There are several reasons this can happen and, unfortunately, the solutions are not always easy. But from experience, I can tell you that I got it in two instances that were easy fixes.
- If you do insert this markup using the visual tab instead, two things can happen when previewing the post. One, it will show up looking exactly as the markup is, not your beautiful math. Or, the parse error appears.
- When previewing the post, before saving it as a draft or publishing it, sometimes you will also get the parse error. Simply saving it will fix that.
The Final Output
If done correctly, the markup I showed you before will look like this in the frontend. I have enlarged it to the right so you can see it better.
WordPress has an easy-to-use option for creating galleries via your media library. But without installed gallery plugins, the end results aren’t very flattering. The Image Gallery Carousel is one option that will give your galleries a nice slideshow when images are selected.
Typically your gallery will look something like this in your site on the front end.
By default, when you create a gallery in a post or page, if you click on an image, it opens in a new image post.
Once you have activated the Carousel module in Jetpack, you will get these settings added to the end of your Settings >Media.
It’s simple. You can choose a black or white background and also whether to show your photos’ meta information or not.
Once saved, the carousel gallery function kicks in. If I were to go back to that post and click on the same image in the gallery, I would get a nice carousel to display my images, instead of it going to a boring, single post with my image setting in it.
Later in this post you will learn how to use the Tiled Gallery to add even more cool features to your default galleries.
If you are like me, you have tried different commenting plugins and services. I believe I have tried them all. And yes, Jetpack comes with its own comments.
If you are using the default comment form, it’s pretty straightforward and might look only slightly different from theme to theme. For example, this is what they look like using the Twenty-Fifteen theme.
This example shows the default commenting system on a theme from WooThemes.
In both cases, there are subtle differences in the style and look. But it’s basically the same.
Jetpack Comment Settings
Jetpack comments are similar to other commenting systems in that it allows you to sign in to comment using your WordPress account, social accounts or as a guest, which is similar to the default commenting.
The benefit of this can be:
- You may want your site to require people to log in before leaving a comment. It allows them to not have to create another login because they can use their WordPress or other social login easily.
- A lot of people who have a WordPress.com account like that their comments can be easily accessed in one place in their account. This allows WordPress.com users to easily access their comments across the net.
Once you have activated this module, some new settings will be appended to your Settings > Discussion page. You have the option of showing or hiding a couple of subscription settings. You can also customize the heading for the discussion area to something more friendly than Leave a Reply. The Color Scheme options vary depending on your theme. I have found that they work on some themes and others, not so much. You will have to test.
Jetpack Comments on the Front-End
This is what your comments will now look like. As you can see, someone can leave a post as a guest requiring no login, or they can login via WordPress.com, Twitter, Facebook or Google+.
As I said before there are lots of options for commenting systems. And a lot of pros and cons with each. I have learned that it’s best to test one for awhile and see how it works for your readers. Don’t be afraid to try different approaches until you find that perfect one. It may even be the Jetpack comment system.
Contact Form Module
There are many options when it comes to contact forms for your site or blog. There are free and premium plugins. It really depends on your needs, how easy they are to set up, and how flexible they are.
First, let’s briefly talk about contact forms. I am a big believer in them. It’s much better to use a contact form on your contact page rather than listing your email or even linking to it. This prevents people from scanning sites and grabbing your email address just to add it to their spamming lists.
Also, it’s good to give your readers options with your contact form. You don’t want them overly complicated, but by listing a few options, it helps narrow down the reason someone is contacting you, and may even help you avoid or reduce some of the SPAM.
Setting Up Your Contact Form
When you activate this module in Jetpack, you don’t instantly see any settings. Instead you get a button on your page and post editor window to add your contact form.
Now you just need to put the cursor where you want your form and click on the Add Contact Form button. This window will open with both a Form builder and Email notifications.
MOVE, EDIT AND DELETE FIELDS
By rolling over any field, you will see options to move or edit.
You can move by simply dragging and dropping the field where you want it.
If you click edit, you can change the options of that specific field. For example, if I click on the name, I get these options. You can basically change the field name and the field itself.
You can also delete a field easily by click on the (-) to the right of it.
As you saw in a previous screenshot of the fields, there are a few you can choose from.
Checkbox, Drop down, Email, Name, Radio, Text, Texarea, Website. Each one of these are unique. If we want to add a couple of Checkbox fields, we would simply click on the Add a new field.
- The options appear on the right-hand side.
- The New Field has been added on the bottom as a checkbox
Now I can add my own Label, Save this field and repeat for a second checkbox. I have changed the label of my comment box and moved the checkboxes above that box as well. This is what it looks like.
Now you will add a bit of info for the email that will notify you when someone has filled out the form.
If you leave this area blank, the email will be automatically sent to the address of the author of the page or post. The subject line will be the name of the page or post.
You can fill it out with another email, or several emails separated by commas. And you can put in a custom subject line that might make it more recognizable as a submission.
You can now save, go back to the form build and insert into your page. You will see a shortcode that will now translate into your form. If you want to add additional content on the page you can as I have here. Note: if you need to further edit your contact form once the shortcode is in place, just click on the Add Contact Form button again, and it will open your form to edit. Do your edits and click once more :Add this form to my post. Your edited form will now be in place.
And once we save the page, this is how it will look on my site.
Once someone fills it out and submits the form, this is what the page looks like after it has been sent.
This is the email that you will receive.
Lastly, in case you lose the submission in your email program, all submissions are saved in your dashboard. You will now find a menu item called Feedback. There you will be able to see all submissions, as well as an option to export feedback as a CVS file.
Customize Your Submit Button
If you would like to customize the submit button on your form to say something else, for example “Contact Bob,” you would add this line to your existing shortcode.
[contact-form submit_button_text=’YOUR CUSTOM SUBMIT BUTTON TEXT HERE’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’I want you to build my website’ type=’checkbox’/][contact-field label=’I want you to give me a website review’ type=’checkbox’/][contact-field label=’Any questions?’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]
If You Don’t Get the Email Notification
There are certain functions in WordPress that make sure you get email notifications, even for comments. If you need to double check to make sure it’s working, try the Check Email plugin out. If that doesn’t work, you will need a plugin like this to fix the issue by using a specific email service.
Custom Content Types Module
Custom Content Types are the same as Custom Post Types. If you don’t know what I’m talking about in either case, here are a couple of examples.
Have you ever installed a plugin and when you went to use it, you ended up creating something that looks similar to posts? An example of this would be an event calendar. When you create an event, you are likely opening up a page that looks very similar to a post using the same editor window. But below that are fields where you can add the venue, the venue address, dates and times, and maybe even a Google map. That last part is what makes it custom.
Because once you have put all that info in and published your event, a nicely laid-out page appears all formatted.
This is what Jetpack Custom Content Types gives you. A custom page for Portfolio Project and Testimonials, but a lot simpler. In fact you will find it to be very similar to your blog page, but with testimonials instead.
Once you have activated either or both of these, they will now appear in your dashboard menu.
Let’s Take Testimonials as an Example
If we were to click on Add New under the testimonials we would get this page. I would add the name of the person who is giving the testimonial in place of a title, their testimonial in the text area, and their photo as a featured image.
How the single testimonial looks on your site will depend on your theme. This does not allow you to change image sizes or placement, but rather pulls the style from your theme. You will find it looks similar to a single post, but removes the post meta and has the photo above the title rather than below it. I am using the Twenty-Fifteen theme in this example.
All the testimonials you have added will be on an archive page. And again, the look will depend on your theme. You will be able to access this page with an archive URL: yoursite.com/testimonial.
As I mentioned, these content types do not have a lot of customizations, so you may want to check the output and see if it works for you and your site.
Custom CSS Module
If you know what CSS is, all you need to know is that Jetpack gives you a place to put in your custom CSS. If you don’t know what it is, just a short explanation and example to clarify it for you.
CSS, or Cascade Style Sheets is what controls the look of your theme. It’s what makes it look pretty. Often fonts, color, spacing, styles and all that good stuff is controlled by our CSS and resides in a separate file.
Now some themes have built in features to let you customize fonts and other elements of your theme without knowing this code. There are also plugins that will help you to do this as well without having to mess with code.
But there are times when you may have to, or want to. Let me give you three scenarios here:
Customizing the file itself.
This file resides with the rest of your WordPress files and is line after line after line of code. Someone that knows CSS can go in and edit, delete and add new stuff. Those people who know what they are doing. But let’s say you do this yourself, or someone else does it. Then when your theme updates, which is very likely, all of that custom code that was changed is gone. And all that hard work as well.
That’s where child themes come in.
So for those who do like to customize the file itself, typically they play it safe. The will have one theme that is the parent theme. Then from that they build or use a child theme. The beauty to this is that the parent theme will be the only one that updates. The child theme doesn’t need to be updated and retains all of its custom CSS code.
That special place for custom CSS
Lastly we come to this. Some themes have an area where you can put in your custom CSS. For example the Woo Framework has this in all of it’s themes. So if you want to add custom CSS to overwrite some existing CSS, you just drop it in that field and it does the job. And just like other theme options and features, when the theme updates that does not get overwritten.
This is what Jetpacks custom CSS does for you. It adds an special page just for your custom CSS. No more worrying about losing your customizations when you update your theme, or even update Jetpack. They are safely nestled in this area.
Data Backups Module
This is a paid service through WordPress.com. If you are not already backing up your site, I cannot stress the importance of it enough. For both emergencies and security, it’s critical to keep it backed up regularly if your hosting service isn’t doing it.
There are free and premium plugins for this, but using a service like VaultPress will take the hassle and worries out of your site’s life, especially with automated restores.
Check them out , as it’s well worth the investment.
Enhanced Distribution Module
There is nothing additional to do with this module than activate it. It will allow your blog’s content to be included in the WordPress.com firehose.
The firehose is a public content stream that flows in and around WordPress.com, as well as to all who also have this activated on Jetpack. This firehose is often used by companies and people who are interested in public blog content. You can read more about the firehose here.
The beauty of this is when firehose users decide to display content from a blog that is connected through Jetpack, they are required to link back to your blog, thus resulting in more traffic.
It’s just another way to get your blog out there!
Extra Sidebars Widget Module
If you activate this module, you will get several new sidebar widgets in addition to the default WordPress widgets. Some of these, as noted below, will only appear if you have another related module activated. You will also see the word Jetpack after each widget name.
Also note that in each widget the Visibility button appears. This is because I have the Widget Visibility module activated.
This will only show up if you have the Subscription module activated.
It allows readers to subscribe to your blog and comments in a widget area, in addition to at the end of your posts. As you can see, you will be able to edit the content for title, text, placeholder, button and the successful subscribe message.
A handy little widget that allows you to add some contact info in a widget area, as well as a map.
Display WordPress Posts
If you have another blog that you run, or there is a related blog you would like to share with your readers, this widget allows you to bring in recent posts from an outside blog by simply adding the blog URL.
Sometimes I recommend getting the permission from the owner of the blog before displaying the links on your site, just as a precaution and a courtesy.
Facebook Like Box
If you have an active Facebook page and would like to display it while giving readers the opportunity to like your page, this is a great option without having to install yet another plugin.
The option to control the height of this box is useful, especially if you don’t want to take up too valuable real estate in your sidebar or other widget area.
This will only show up if you have the Carousel module activated.
An easy way to add a custom gallery to a widget area. A good example would be if you were doing an event and wanted to show the sponsor logos.
Use Goodreads? Share what you have read, are currently reading, or are about to read.
Similar to the Facebook widget, if you are active on Google+, this is an option to display your badge.
If you have a Gravatar account, you can add a simple profile using this widget.
This is probably one of the most versatile widgets that comes with Jetpack. In fact, I have been using the free plugin The Image Widget for a long time. But if you have Jetpack installed, you already have it there waiting for you.
In my example in the Widget Visibility lesson I used this as a way to sell a book in the sidebar. With the option of adding a link, you can have anyone click on the image and it will send them to a landing page or another place to buy your book. Or use this for an affiliate ad. Or a logo of a company you recommend. The options are endless and the widget gives you good control over alignment and size.
An easy way to add RSS links for either or both your comments and posts from your blog.
Although you may have or prefer to have people sign up for your blog updates via some other signup or plugin, giving people the option to do this via RSS is a good idea.
Social Media Icons
If you are active on the several social media platforms, what better way to make it easy for your visitors to connect with you there. This module lets you add in any usernames for the different accounts so they display in a widget area for the social media icons without having to install another plugin.
Just make sure only to share accounts that you are active in. Nothing is more frustrating then clicking to a Twitter account when your last tweet was 6 months ago.
Top Posts & Pages
This will only show up if you have the Site Stats module activated.
This widget will calculate the views from your stats and display your most visited pages and posts. As you can see, you have the option to display pages, posts or media. In most cases, you will probably want to stick to posts.
Another option for adding a social media widget to your widget area, this time Twitter. As in the others, you have some nice control over what is and isn’t displayed.
As you can see, Jetpack gives you some useful widgets to add to your site. But as I always say, be careful with your widget areas. Don’t clutter them with too many because they can distract your readers.
Later I will be showing you the Widget Visibility module, where I also touch on this subject. The great thing about a widget like this is it gives you the option to customize your sidebars to compliment the content, rather than distracting and conflicting with it.
For example, the Facebook, Google and Twitter widgets might work really well on your About page versus having them on the side of every post, where they might needlessly pull your reader away from the content.
Gravatar Hovercards Module
This is a great way to give a little love to your commenters. By enabling this module, if anyone who has a comment also has a Gravatar profile, when rolling over their Gravatar in the comments, it pulls up a card that tells you more about them and provides a link to their complete profile.
Gravatar Hovercard Settings
The settings can be found in your Settings > Discussion, appropriately placed in the Avatars section.
By ticking the box, two things happen.
- Now anyone with a Gravatar account who comments on your site will have a hovercard that others can view.
- Your own Gravatar appears and you can preview it.
Previewing Your Hovercard
All you need to do is hover over your Gravatar and see what your own card will look like.
If you don’t have a Gravatar.com account, here is a post that tells you why you should.
Infinite Scroll Module
A lot of sites are starting to use this. Normally on your blog page, you show X number of posts. When you get to the bottom, you see numbers for pages to click to the next page.
With infinite scroll, when you get to a certain number, posts automatically are pulled in as the reader gets near the bottom on the page. And so it goes, on and on.
There is quite a bit of debate about whether infinite scroll is good or not. You will need to make your own decision on that. Here is an infographic with some pros and cons.
Keep in mind that all themes aren’t supportive of infinite scroll. So if yours isn’t, you will need to add it to your theme and use CSS to customize the look. This involves code, which you can find out more about on the Jetpack site.
But with this module activated, you can see if your theme will work and if it does, add infinite scroll to it seamlessly.
Activating Infinite Scroll
To see if it is working with you theme, go to your Settings > Reading and see if you can activate or if the option even shows up. (You will also see that if you use Google Analytics there is an option to tracking here as well.)
Before Infinite Scroll
In my reading settings, I have it set to show 5 posts on my blog page. When I scroll down after post number 5, I see this. I would need to click on the button, Older Posts to open up a page with the next five posts.
After Infinite Scroll
If I scroll to that same spot, you will see that more posts have loaded.
JASON AIP Module
The description of this module via the Jetpack documentation is this:
Jetpack will allow you to authorize applications and services to securely connect to your blog and allow them to use your content in new ways and offer you new functionality.
This particular module is most useful to developers and you probably won’t use it. But you can read more about it here if you are interested.
You have probably seen the Likes on WordPress.com blogs, or even used them yourself. Now you can add this same feature to your self-hosted site.
It’s another feature of social proof and how popular your content is and lets people show some appreciation for you posts. It also pulls in their Gravatar, giving it more of a human touch.
Activation and Settings
Once you have activated the module, or many of the other social modules for Jetpack, you will now have a menu item under Settings > Social. This is where you can either turn on the likes for all posts for per post.
If you do choose the per post option, when creating a new post you will see this setting below the editor window.
If you are using Jetpack on several self-hosted sites, you can connect them all and manage them in your WordPress.com account. This lets you update and manage all your plugins, see the stats from your different sites and post to your Jetpack site from a single page.
When you install Jetpack on your first self-hosted site, you may see the message. All you have to do is Click to Activate.
You can now go to your WordPress.com site and you will see that the site is now listed under My Sites. For example, my test site, A WordPress Site, which is a self-hosted site on GoDaddy is now listed here.
Overview of Site
By clicking on the site you get the same full overview plus other features that are part of a self-hosted site.
If you click on plugins, you will get this list. It’s easy to activate or deactivate a plugin on the site from here, and if it is a free plugin on WordPress.org, you can also activate auto-updates.
If you click on a plugin, you get a single view.
Of course, on premium plugins the info is very limited and you do not have auto-updates available.
But if you click on a free plugin that is in the WordPress repository on WordPress.org, you will get much more information.
You can also bulk edit your plugins easily by clicking on the Manage button when viewing the lists of your plugins.
Searching and Installing Plugins
You can search for and install plugins directly from the WordPress.org directory here as well. Next to your plugins, you will see an add button.
Once you click on that a page will open with some featured and new plugins and you have the the option to search for a specific one.
When you click on any plugin, you have the option to install right then and there.
Posting from Here
The other cool feature is that you can create a post from here if you find that easier or more convenient. Just make sure you are on the overview of the site you want to post to and then click on the pencil icon in the top menu.
You will get the familiar looking post editor window and all the options you need on the right-hand side such as assigning categories, tags and other choices.
Menu Editing and Management
As you see here, you can also edit your existing menus and manage them here.
More Options for Management
Of course this isn’t all that you will be able to manage. You also have stats, your theme customizer, etc accessible through this feature. If you have several sites this may just be the solution you were looking for.
As of WordPress 4.3, you will not need to activate this module to use Markdown, as it works automatically with WordPress now. So I’m not really sure why it’s still an option.
But just in case you are curious about what markdown is:
Markdown lets you compose posts and comments by easily adding links, lists and other styles using punctuation marks. In fact, since WordPress 4.3, you may have noticed if put in a number 1, it automatically converts into a number list. This is markdown in action.
Here’s one example. I have put an asterisks before and after the words WordPress Trainer and Coach. This is markdown for italicizing or emphasis. The two asterisks are for strong or bold. This is what you see in your editor window.
Once we publish the post, we will see this.
One thing to note: The markdown will always stay. Once we publish the post, and return to edit it, the markdown remains.
If you would like to learn more about markdown, check this out on WordPress.com
The mobile module might be a solution if your site is not already mobile-friendly.
If you are using a mobile-responsive theme, or had your theme customized for mobile, you don’t need to activate this module. If you are unsure, to test, look at your site on a smartphone. If it sizes itself for mobile, cool. If you have to pinch to zoom in and out, and your site moves haplessly on the screen when you are trying to find something, you probably should consider doing something about it.
The Jetpack mobile module is pretty basic. You have a few choices as far as settings, but you cannot control how it looks. This will all depend upon your theme.
Based on some testing I did myself, this doesn’t work on all themes. So you will want to double check.
If you are able to change your theme and use a responsive design theme, that is your best option. But if the time and expense doesn’t work for you, I suggest checking out WPTouch Pro . It has some amazing features and also allows for customization. You can find their free plugin on the WordPress.org repository.
This is utility will monitor your site and send you an email if your site goes down. The servers over on WordPress.com will check your site every five minutes and if something has gone wonky, they will notify you.
Once you activate the module, you will get this screen:
What to Expect
When this is activated, the emails you get will come from firstname.lastname@example.org. You may want to whitelist the address in case it ends up in your SPAM folder.
Same with the email subject lines.
When your site first goes down:
[Jetpack Monitor] Bad news — your site http:wponlinecourse.wpengine.com is down!
If your site is still down after an hour:
[Jetpack Monitor] Bad news — your site http://wponlinecourse.wpengine.com is still down!
And when you site finally goes back up:
[Jetpack Monitor] Good news — your site http://wponlinecourse.wpengine.com is back up!
A Few Things to Consider
First, stuff happens, and sometimes sites can go down for a matter of a few seconds or minutes. If you are okay with these kinds of warnings, and don’t freak out every single time, then go for it. That five-minute interval might just hit with perfect timing on a short downage.
Also, if you are on shared hosting, you may get this warning more often as you are sharing your server with thousands of other sites. If it takes more than 10 seconds to load, that could be when it’s triggered. Also, if you have a lot of resources, when a page is loaded it may also slow down the load time, thus sending you emails frequently. So you will need to decide if it’s worth it and maybe even do some testing.
The notifications module has no settings, only activation.
With this module you will be notified of new comments on your blog, as well as have the ability to moderate them from a simple toolbar option at the top of your WordPress page.
This module also will give you the same notifications via mobile for both iOS and Android.
The module also has no settings, and only requires activation.
Omnisearch is used only for searching your database in the backend of your site. This is completely different than the search on your site that visitors and readers use. Think of this. You know that search option when you are in the All Post window of your dashboard. Then, just think of Ominsearch as taking it beyond just your posts.
So what it does is searches your site and its database as well as some select providers on the web. As far as the latter, it’s unclear of who exactly those providers are. But I do see from the results that I will be sharing with you, one of those is the repository on WordPress.org.
Once its activated, you will find a search box in your dashboard in two places.
In Your Toolbar
Now, at the very end of your toolbar you will find this search icon.
By clicking on that it will expand the search box.
Or you can choose to go to Jetpack > Omnisearch.
The Search Results
From my test site when I search “Jetpack” you will see the results below. As you will not you can see the results in the separate areas of Products, Posts, Pages, Comments, Media, Plugins and Feedback.
If you find yourself doing a lot of searches in your dashboard this is a much better solution than searching in individual areas like posts, pages, etc.
This is another module that enhances your site rather than adding settings to it.
If you use a lot of images on your site this useful option helps with site load speed. It provides a CDN for your site. CDN is short for content delivery network. Technically, it’s a system of distributed servers (network) that deliver webpages and other web content to users based on their geographic locations, the origin of the webpage and a content delivery server.
In simple terms, you are letting the WordPress cloud do all the hard work of loading images instead of burdening your hosting. As a result, it’s less load ing for your host and much faster images for your readers.
Note: Do not continue using Photon if you disconnect Jetpack from WordPress.com or you may get into trouble.
Post by Email Module
This cool module lets you publish a blog post by using your email service. If you are wondering why you would do this, here’s an example. Let’s say you want to easily and quickly publish posts from a cell phone where you cannot install the WordPress mobile app. Or maybe you just find this an easy option when you are on the go.
Activating and Getting Your Special Email Address
Once you have activated the module, you will find the setting on Your Profile via Users.
Enable this and it will generate your unique email address that you will use.
Creating the Post Via Email
You can now use the address you generated to send your post. Open a new email and start putting your post together. The great thing about this is there are several shortcodes (see the list at the bottom of this lesson) you can use for even greater publishing control. For instance, you can add it to categories, control the status (eg. publish, draft, etc,), turn comments off or on, and a lot more.
As you see in this screenshot, I have created a small post with an image and assigned it to the category plugins and widgets. Also, be aware that the Subject of your email will become the title of your post, so in this example, my post title is Post by Email.
The Published Post
After sending the email, seconds later the post was published on my blog.
Here is a list of the shortcodes that you can use.
[delay +1 hour]
[comments on | off]
[status publish | pending | draft | private]
[title Your post title]
[end] – everything after this shortcode is ignored (i.e. signatures). Make sure it’s on its own line with a blank line above it.
[slideshow] – replaces the auto-gallery with a slideshow
[nogallery] – disables the auto-gallery and displays all images inline
[more] – more tag
[nextpage] – pagination
[publicize off|yahoo|twitter|facebook] – change Publicize options
[poll]question and answers[/poll] – insert a Polldaddy poll into your post
Unless you are on a managed hosting service that offers extra protection, brute force attacks regularly happen to sites that are on shared hosting. Most of the time, our sites survive these attacks, but extra precautions are always good.
The protect module does just that. Using the power of WordPress.com and their cloud services, it keeps you from becoming a victim of brute force attacks. In fact, once activated, you will be able to see the number of attacks on your site.
The only option you will find in the setting is the ability to whitelist an IP. For example, let’s say you have activated this option and you made too many failed attempts to login to your site. Eventually you will be locked out.Putting in your IP address, which you will also find listed here, will keep that from happening.
Extra Security at Login
One of the best options for avoiding these brute force attacks is adding an extra step at login. The protect module will automatically add this math feature to tighten up your site even more.
For more a few more simple steps for keeping your site secure, check out this post.
If you want to automatically share your published posts on the popular social media platforms, this is exactly what the module does for you.
Automating your sharing can be a timesaver, but also remember, you are sharing them all at the same time. There are pros and cons to this and you need to decide for yourself.
Connecting to Your Social Accounts
First, you will need to connect each of the available options to your account.
It’s really not that hard to do this. It’s more or less just giving them permission to authenticate. Once you have done this, you will get this message, which lets you choose whether you want other users on your site to be able to share via your account. Note, this only works for users who are Administrators, Editors or Authors.
Once you have connected your social accounts, you will now see this. You have the option to disconnect at any time.
Whenever you publish a new post, you will be able to choose which connected accounts you want to share with this specific post and a custom message, if you prefer that over simply sharing the title.
Tips on the Image Shared
Although you don’t have the option of controlling the specific image that will be shared, there are a couple of things you should know that I pulled from the Jetpack documentation.
Twitter and Facebook will only pull in images that are at least 200 x 200 pixels.
When pulling the image in, it will typically go in this order:
Featured image first
If not featured image, then the image that is attached or inserted into the post
Last resort is other images that are not attached to the post, but are pulled in via a link.
When you activate this module, you get a list of shortcodes you can use to embed media and other stuff into your posts and pages. Shortcodes are often used by people who want to find easier ways to embed videos and other media without having to mess with the long embed codes that are normally required. It’s more of a convenience than anything else.
The List of Shortcodes
Here are all the different ones you can use.
Here I took a video from my Vimeo account. All I had to do was add the long number that I could find in my URL of this video.
After saving the post, and viewing it, the video is embedded.
A Word of Warning About Shortcodes
Shortcodes can be very handy, but be aware of one thing. Anytime you use shortcodes and they are associated with either a theme or plugin (as in this case), the minute you stop using the plugin for one reason or another, all of the shortcodes you have placed in posts will no longer work and will only show the shortcode. If you do go this route and at any time deactivate this module, you can use this plugin to clean up your shortcodes.
Single Sign On Module
This module lets someone register to your site using their WordPress.com login. This is an option you might consider if you have the need or require anyone to register for your site to do something specific or to follow it. Most people don’t have this turned on in their general settings as they don’t need it. But if you do, it makes it easier for anyone with a WordPress.com account to sign in or register on your site without having to remember another login.
Once this module is activated, you will find this new button on your login page.
It also has a couple of other options. In order to understand what you are doing, I recommend learning more about either of them before activating them.
Site Icon Module
This used to be called the favicon. It is used in various places on different browsers and as your application icon in other instances.
For example, it shows up here next to my site name in the tab of Chrome. It can be very small at times so make sure it’s simple and clear.
This module has since been replaced and is a default setting in the WordPress customizer. This new setting lets you easily add one to your site.
If you are not using something that is already creating your sitemaps for you, activating this module creates two XML sitemaps for your posts and pages. These are important for making it easy for search engines to crawl your site.
Site Stats Module
If you are using Jetpack, you can activate the Site Stats to get some simple statistics on your site.
As you see, you can control what page views are recorded for registered users. This can be helpful if an administrator, or someone in that role, is doing a lot of changes and work while viewing the site. You’ll avoid those skewed numbers due to the visits. As you can see, other roles can be added as you add other plugins to your site.
You can also limit who will see the stats when they are logged into the dashboard. This is information you may not want to share with editors, authors, contributors, etc.
Stats on Your Dashboard > Homepage
If you are not keeping track of your site’s stats and you are using Jetpack, I would suggest you start with this. If you really want to dig into your stats, I recommend the free tool Google Analytics.
Site Verification Module
There are certain sites and tools that require verification. For example, you may have come across this if you set up your Pinterest account and wanted to list your domain as verified. This setting lets you do it much easier with Pinterest, Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools if you use them.
Note: If you are wondering why you might want to use something like Google Webmaster Tools, one of the great benefits is that it lists all your 404 error pages (those pages that no longer exist and cannot be found). For SEO purposes, it’s best to correct those with a redirect.
Spelling and Grammar Module
When it comes to good SEO (search engine optimization), it’s becoming more and more important to create good content. Google is now paying more attention to well-written content. Grammatical errors and misspellings can definitely have an affect on your ranking.
Also, think of your readers. There will be visitors who simply will not tolerate misspellings and bad grammar and may never return to your site.
So if you feel those are getting by you, this module may come in handy in helping you catch some of those mistakes.
There are several options you can activate. If you are unclear of what any of these mean, before checking them, do a little research.
You will find these in the user profiles. This is a great option, as it allows everyone to customize it to fit their own needs.
WordPress Default Check
By default you will see that if you misspell a word, WordPress will place a dotted red line under it. Also note that it only finds totally misspelled words and not words that are misspelled but still a word. In this example you will see prey is not underlined.
With the module activated, you now get an icon called Proofread Writing that you can click to activate.
In the previous screenshot, you also see several words/phrases underlined.
Red – misused works or spelling errors
Green – grammar mistakes
Blue – style suggestions
In the example where the word prey was underlined, by clicking on it I get these options.
Here it caught someone that.
Lastly, it picked up what it calls a complex expression, suggesting a replacement word for utilize.
Just remember that these tools aren’t perfect and sometimes mistakes can still slip by. But it can help. In the end, the better solution is to be more careful with your writing and take the time to have your posts edited.
If you have a blog on your site or are using comments in some form or another with custom post types, you will want your readers to be able to subscribe to your blog and, possibly, your comments(if you have them open).
There are several plugins that do this and also control what the email notifications your readers receive will look like. For example, on our site here we use a plugin called Postmatic.
But if you are not using one, and have Jetpack installed, activate this module to make it easy for readers to subscribe.
You have two choices for settings:
Once activated, they will now appear on the bottom of your posts.
And here’s a closer look.
If you are using the Carousel module, you have the option of adding even more cool features with the Tiled Galleries module. Say goodbye to the boring grid galleries that are your only choice with the default WordPress settings. For example, this is a gallery created using the default gallery settings in WordPress.
Like the Carousel module, when you activate Tiled Galleries, the setting appears in Settings > Media. Simply tick to activate. As you can see in the next few screenshots, by doing this, you will still have choices for the grid, as well as the standard grid layout.
Tiled Gallery Options
When you create your gallery, you have a few other options here added beyond the Thumbnail Grid and the Slideshow.
Let’s look at each option and how the gallery from the first screenshot changes.
You can also create a slideshow.
A Couple of Notes
Width of Your Gallery – If you notice that the width of your gallery is a bit off, it may be because your theme doesn’t define the content width. As a result, the gallery will be 500 pixels wide. There is code to change this if you are so inclined, but if you want an easier way to fix it, you can check out the free plugin Custom Content Width.
Conflict – There is one known conflict with this module. If you are using the plugin Cleaner Gallery, you will need to deactivate it to allow Tiled Galleries to work. Also, some themes use the Cleaner Gallery and it’s built into the theme. In that case, you can download this small plugin that comes from the Jetpack site.
If you use a lot of video, it’s never a good idea to host them yourself, through the server your WordPress site is on. Videos take a lot of bandwidth, which could result in either your site slowing down or your host contacting you because you are using too much bandwidth and they need to charge you more for your hosting.
Neither of those are a good option.
VideoPress is a service that lets their servers take the brunt of the bandwidth, which is what they are built for. I use Vimeo myself, for the very same reason.
In order to use the VideoPress module, you will need to use your WordPress.com account. There is a free plan if you don’t have too many videos and a couple of others that offer more choices.
These are the features you will get by using VideoPress.
Once activated, the settings give you more control over how your videos are displayed and who sees them.
Again, if you post all your videos to YouTube and don’t mind streaming them into your site with the ads, there is no need for this kind of service. But if you want quality, ad-free videos on your site, I suggest you look into VideoPress or if you aren’t using Jetpack, check out Vimeo.
Widget Visibility Module
This is useful module lets you control where a widget will show. This is similar to custom sidebars , but it actually is more widget-specific.
Let me give you an example.
You are a photographer and you specialize in portraits, landscape, wildlife and children. You have also just published a book on wildlife photography. What you would like to do is have the book available to click on and buy in your sidebar.
This is where the widget visibility comes in. It uses target marketing. Instead of that widget showing in your sidebar on all your blog posts, you can have it show only when you are writing a post that is on the topic of wildlife photography. With this widget, all you have to do is create a category called wildlife photography. Then you can assign the widget that has your book for sale to only that category. So now it only shows on posts about wildlife. Cool, huh?
Let me show you what I mean.
The Visibility Button
Once you have activated this module, any widget you add to a widget area will now have a button called visibility. In this example, I am using the Image widget because I want to use that to sell my book. You can learn more about this widget in this lesson.
If you are not familiar with conditional logic, basically, you are showing widgets based on certain conditions.
You see here that I can either Show or Hide this widget if certain conditions are met.
Now using my previous example, you can see that I have chosen to Show if: Category is wildlife photography. Once I have chosen the category, then in the next dropdown, I have the choice of all my categories.
Using a different site of mine, here you can see all the different options that you will have for hiding or displaying a widget using this module.
You can have as many conditions as you want by simply adding more. Just click add. In this example, I have added one more condition and that is that the post author is me. Now this widget will only appear in posts that are categorized in wildlife photography and by the author Bob Dunn.
A last note. I have found from experience that certain theme builders and plugin combinations can affect the functionality of this module. So if you find it not working, likely that is the case.
But if you are using Jetpack, give it a try, and I encourage you to take advantage of this module and get creative with your marketing via the widget areas on your site.
There are several different options out there to get shortlinks. You have probably noticed them when using Twitter, or maybe you have a Bit.ly account that gives you a shortlink— or even a custom one.
A shortlink shortens your long URL links into shorter ones. This is done for convenience when sharing links, or, in the case of Twitter, because of the 140-character limit.
The Jetpack module gives you a shortlink with WP.me in it. Why would you want to use it? Maybe just to make your shortlinks look nicer.
For example, WordPress used to give you an option to Get Shortlink by your permalink, but it was taken out, along with the View Post button in a recent version.
Now all you have next to the permanlink is an Edit button.
If you want to get the shortlink back in, and use the WP.me, you can do that by activating the module.
And if you click on the Get Shortlink, it will create one that you can copy and paste as needed.
So there you have it, everything you need too know about using Jetpack.
In the end you need to consider if Jetpack is right for you. If you are just starting you site, it likely can fill a lot of gaps for you as far as not having to go out and hunt down a bunch of plugins.