At least 19% of the web uses WordPress. That’s a lot of websites using the same software to edit and display their webpages to the world. And Matt Mullenweg predicts “the number of people who have WordPress as part of their daily habits [will] grow exponentially.” But WordPress isn’t the only name powering all those sites. Heard of Jetpack? It’s a software add-on (or plugin) by the same developers who build WordPress itself. If you’re on WordPress and not working with Jetpack, you’re missing out on nearly 30 extra features. Here’s how to get the most out of this essential plugin.
Whether you’re a blogger, business, or both, everything you need to make webpages with text and images is bundled into the basic WordPress installation. But it won’t keep your daily site traffic, give you social sharing options or set you up to compete for number one in search rankings. Jetpack lets you go the extra mile with stats, slick photo galleries, social media integration and other useful tools. Marvel at all the possible modules at Jetpack.me.
Once you install Jetpack, many of these features can’t be turned off without deactivating the whole bundle. Most do no harm if you ignore them. But some of them have to be enabled by you. And some of them are dangerous.
Dangerous Jetpack Modules
Publicize – This service blasts your connected social media profiles automatically with images and text extracted from your blog posts. It’s not a good thing. These robotically synthesized posts are easy to spot with broken sentences and a distinct lack of humanity. Treat your Facebook fans and followers right and share by hand. Don’t enable this.
Infinite Scroll – When readers come to the bottom of the screen, this tool loads up a new batch of blog posts, similar to the way Facebook’s News Feed works. Sounds like it would make browsing easier, but I find it more annoying than advantageous. Leave this module turned off.
Spelling and Grammar – Whether it’s WordPress, Microsoft Word or quill and parchment, you must re-read your work and check for errors yourself. Correct spelling and grammar are too important to your professional image to leave to the computer. While you can’t turn off spell-check, eyeing it suspiciously is encouraged.
There are a ton of additional modules that are simply neat. I’ll let you explore those on your own. Don’t worry about turning these on and off, most hang out quietly in the background until you need them. Make sure you check out the Contact Form module. This tool creates a quick online contact form right inside WordPress. Also read up on all the cool things you can embed into WordPress pages and posts.
Stats – Your website must have tracking systems set up. Even if you don’t care about today’s traffic, someday you might. While you’ll definitely want Google Analytics, it can be a lot to take in. The Stats module gives you an immediate, easy-to-use reading of traffic and basic blog post performance statistics.
Custom CSS – The guy who helps you with your website will love this. Change colors, spacing and other parts of your website’s appearance without mucking up the original code.
Sharing – There’s a buffet of “social sharing” plugins out there. Most of them are bloated and hideous. Thankfully, WordPress built a simple and sleek little function to add Facebook Likes, Tweets, +1’s and other sharing options to the bottom of all your blog posts. Some might say the options are limited. I say this little module is just right.
Google+ Profile – Google Authorship is on the tongue of many digital marketing agencies these days. Google now wants to confirm your blog post is authentically produced and add it to a history of other things you’ve written. Rumblings from Google execs suggest Authorship will play a significant role in search engine rankings in the near future. And there are definite benefits to associating blog posts with your real name. Use this module to easily connect your Google+ Profile to your blog, no code.
Isn’t Jetpack just great? I know, I know, the “essential modules” are kinda boring. But they’re important. If you’re looking to walk on the wild side, maybe try out the Infinite Scroll feature. But you need to install and configure Jetpack if you haven’t already. No other plugin adds so many options for your site. Learn how to install Jetpack on your website with these simple instructions.
Got a question about WordPress or Jetpack? Let me know in the comments.