Jetpack for WordPress
Jetpack is brought to you by Automattic, the makers of WordPress, and is a great one stop shop plugin that adds lots of features to your self-hosted site that used to only be available to WordPress.com users. At the moment there are 30 different modules offering a diverse range of functions. The great thing about Jetpack is that you can choose to activate the ones that are most useful for you and ignore the rest. Here are some of our favourites.
Jetpack has two particularly good modules to offer if you use image galleries in your posts but would like to get a bit more impact out of them. The first is Carousel, a module that turns your image galleries into a full screen browsing experience with comments and EXIF metadata. The second creates tiled galleries with three different design options to choose between: rectangular, square and circular.
Spread The Word
Publicize is a great module if you don’t have the time to carefully craft each of your social media messages separately but still want to push your website content out through those channels. All you need to do is connect your social media accounts and Publicize will automatically update them whenever you publish a new post.
Another option for spreading the word via social media is making it easier for your readers to share your content. Jetpack Sharing can be configured to appear at the bottom of posts, pages and some custom post types, like portfolios. All of the major services are supported and there’s also the option to set up a custom service if you need to.
Engage Your Audience
How do you encourage someone who has visited your site once to come back again? Well firstly, you could remind them by giving them the option to subscribe to your posts and comments by email. Enabling this module adds checkboxes to the bottom of comment forms, gives you a widget to place on your site’s sidebar and the ability to add a sign up form in any post or page with a shortcode. WordPress.com handles the verification process and sends out an email automatically whenever you update your site or someone leaves a follow up comment on a post your reader has already commented on.
You can also make it easier for your audience to engage with your content. If your readers are typical internet users, they’re probably already swimming in accounts and passwords and find having to register another one off putting. By using the Jetpack Comments module you can allow them to use an existing social media account to identify themselves, rather than making them set up a whole new account with your site.
Top quality content will make both repeat visits and engagement more likely to happen. Jetpack can help here too with their Spelling and Grammar module. With this enabled, the After the Deadline service will proofread your post before it is published. You can customise what the artificial intelligence will pick up, for example you can tell it to alert you to problems with style and grammar as well as spelling mistakes, and you can also define when it will do its checks – after it is first published or after every subsequent update.
The other thing you can do to engage your audience is to make sure that you’re paying attention to what they like and giving them lots of it. To do this, you need to keep an eye on your stats and Jetpack gives you the opportunity to get hold of some simple, concise figures right on your dashboard. While Google Analytics gives you more detail, if you don’t need it or you want a nice, simple overview in addition to your other stats, activate this module.
There are also lots of other great functions ranging from a way to make your sidebar widgets only visible on certain types of posts or pages, to ways to write mathematical formulae and make them look pretty. With so many functions packaged in one plugin, it’s worth having a rummage to see what’s available.
Jetpack is one of the plugins we install as standard on all helpfulwebhosting sites. All you need to do is activate the plugin and then follow the simple instructions to connect your website with a WordPress.com account. If you need any assistance with this process, feel free to give us a shout through the usual channels.