Jetpack: What, Why, and How!

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posted on: January 31, 2018

When you have a WordPress website or blog, you might overlook Jetpack. It can be kind of overwhelming to a newbie. Jetpack is a plugin that does the job about 40 different plugins. There are several different settings, and I wanted to review my favorite.

Before we begin, in order to connect to Jetpack, you need a WordPress.com account. You can sign up for a WordPress.com account without creating a separate wordpress.com site here. WordPress.com is different than your self-hosted website. WordPress.com is a host and CMS (content management system), and your self-hosted blog or website is hosted on a third-party like SiteGround, GoDaddy, or Hostgator and uses WordPress as a CMS.

WordPress.com Stats

This setting presents the most popular and easy to understand metrics – pageviews, clicks, and referrals – in a clear and easy to understand way. I use Stats to gauge my posts on a day-to-day basis. I’ve found that it is often very similar to Google Analytics (but not always exact).

Monitor

If your site is down, you receive a notification letting you know its down, and then another notification when it goes back up! I’ve found this extremely helpful for not only myself but also my clients. Last week, my site went down for a few hours due to an issue with SiteGround (this is the first time it has gone down like that in over a year).

I have clients who have different hosting companies and also have had different hosting issues. If your site goes down one time, I always tell the client not to freak out, and give it an hour. If the site is not back up in an hour, check in with the hosting company. I also like to check the twitter feed of the host too. I had one client who had an awful experience with her host, and her site would go down several times a day and week. The server was bad, and the hosting company was extremely difficult to switch hosts. Instead, she used all those emails from Jetpack as documentation of how frequently her site went down to prove that they violated the terms of what she purchased.

Protect

This setting is a new feature to Jetpack, and it is great! Protect blocks unwanted login attempts and tracks them. It should be used along with Akismet.

Shortcode Embeds

This setting allows you to quickly and easily embed videos, audio, Facebook posts and much more to your blog posts and pages. If you do a lot of Youtube videos, then Shortcode Embeds is a must. Here’s an example of how you would put in the shortcode:

Then the video will show up directly in your post editor and the post! People can watch and engage in the video on your site instead of leaving it.

Enhanced Distribution

When WordPress.com and Jetpack blogs that participate in Enhanced Distribution, publish new posts, they go through the WordPress.com firehose. Companies and people interested in public blog content, use the firehouse, a stream of public data (posts, comments, etc.); when firehose users display content from your blog, they are required to link back to your blog.

Spelling and Grammar

I thin it is pretty easy why you would want to have this setting enabled in your blog posts! It gives you color-coded feedback and suggestions for spelling errors.

Manage

If you have multiple WordPress websites, then Management is perfect for you! This tool allows you to manage and monitor your WordPress site – add posts, leave comments, check stats – all from one dashboard!

Widget Visibility

One of the most underused features, Widget Visibility allows you to customize when certain Widgets will show up – i.e. pages, archives, posts, etc. This setting can allow you to customize you sidebar depending on the content, but it order to do it well, you’d want to make sure that your sidebar is purposeful.

What I Use Instead

Jetpack comes with these features that are also worth considering. I don’t use alternatives instead, and here’s why!

  • Site Verification: I’ve disabled this on Jetpack, and opted to enter all my meta tags through Yoast SEO.
  • Related Posts + Social Sharing: Both of these functions are built into my website theme (and the premade blog shop themes). For social sharing, I’ve opted to use Add-to-Any. I think social sharing really depends on the type of content you are putting out.
  • Subscriptions: If you don’t want to start a newsletter, you can still deliver your posts via inbox to subscribers. This function is extremely easy to setup. If at a later date, you want to transfer subscribers from Jetpack to MailChimp it is also very easy to do.
  • Contact Form: On this site, I used Contact Form 7 because it allows me to send an automatic responder back. It is a great an easy way to setup contact form. If you aren’t a business, I would definitely suggest using this setting for your needs.

The most valuable element about Jetpack is the app. By downloading the WordPress app, I can login to my site dashboard and monitor my stats, edit posts, and respond to comments. If I’m on the go, this functionality has been very helpful in running and operating my business.

Editor's Note

Some of the links included throughout this website are affiliate links, which means that Lindsay Humes LLC receives a small commission when certain items are purchased. These affiliate links provide a means for the site to earn revenue and generate free content for readers. For more details, read the privacy policy here.

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