One of the most useful plugins ever, is Jetpack for WordPress. Tons of features, previously only available to WordPress.com users, Jetpack for WordPress brings them to your self hosted WordPress website. There are so many plugins that this plug in replaces and it’s so robust and useful. I thought I’d break it down here as there are so many features that it might be intimidating. It’s the first plug in that I install when I’m building a new site for myself or a client.
Let’s jump right in.
Beautiful Math – This feature uses LaTeX a typeset that allows you to write complicated mathematical equations like this:
I, however, have no idea what that means, but if a mathematical genius needs it, there you go.
Carousel – Really beautiful, full screen browsing of any galleries you created with WordPress gallery function. Here’s a gallery of a certain, local rock star. Click an image to launch the carousel. No extra coding needed.
Contact Form – Super easy contact forms, right from the post. Click a button, fill out your fields and it’s done. Try it out… Send me a message.
Custom CSS – A little more advanced, this option allows you to add to or replace your CSS file, without modifying the original. Excellent for quick changes, or if you’re just getting your feet wet and want to experiment with the option of restoring, very quickly. There are even links within the feature for learning more about CSS and the themes forum at WordPress.
Custom Content Types – Great for content that isn’t a post, or a page, like testimonials, portfolios, menus, comics (!). Certain themes have different features and if this is something you’d like to explore, this link provides great information on getting started.
Enhanced Distribution – This feature brings your content into the WordPress.com Firehouse, automatically, without you doing anything.
WordPress.com publishers and visitors produce thousands of new posts and comments every hour. With the addition of IntenseDebate comments, this is a lot of data. These content streams are available in three real-time formats from redundant servers. They are intended for partners like search engines and market intelligence providers who would like to ingest a real-time stream of new content from a wide spectrum of publishers.
Extra Sidebar Widgets – Adds a number of additional sidebar widgets into your wordpress install. Facebook likes, tweets, social media, blog posts from another blog on WordPress.com or self hosted with Jetpack installed and this feature activated.
Gravatar Hovercards – If you allow comments on your site, and a commenter has a gravatar, hovering over their name will bring up more information on that person. Really useful for finding out more about your commenters, or even if you’re on another site and really like something another commenter has to say, you can learn a bit more about them and easily find them. Note: they must have hovercards enabled for their gravatar.
Infinite Scroll – Not available for all themes, your theme must have support for Infinite Scroll, or you can add it yourself with a bit of code. (or you could hire someone… hint, hint). Very simply, when you’re reading someone’s post archives, you usually come to a point, where you have to click on the “next” or “previous” links. This feature eliminates that and allows posts to keep loading, creating one long page.
JSON API – Another one that’s a little more advanced, JSON API is basically a lightweight, data interchange format. Remember XML? Well it’s like that, but much lighter. Use it to give limited access of your content to other sites, like XML or RSS feeds, but in a smaller package, if that makes sense to you.
Jetpack Comments – If you allow comments on your site, this allows commenters to comment as their Facebook, Twitter, or WordPress.com accounts
Jetpack Single Sign On – Does your site offer registration for users? This allows them to log in with their WordPress.com credentials.
Likes allow your readers to show their appreciation for your posts and other published content using their WordPress.com accounts. Your readers will then be able to review their liked posts from WordPress.com.
Displayed below your posts will be how many people have liked your posts and the Gravatars of those who have liked them.
Manage – Manage self hosted, and WP.com sites from one dashboard, add posts and pages, update themes and plug ins for all of your websites in one dashboard
Markdown – Simply converts text to HTML, easy to remember, useful if you write content in text mode, not visual.
Mobile Theme – Necessary if your theme doesn’t have a mobile setting. Chances are greater, everyday that visitors will come to your site using a mobile device, you absolutely need to make sure that they can navigate. This automatically creates a mobile theme, with some easily customized options.
Monitor – Checks your site every five minutes to make sure it’s up and running, emails you if it’s not.
Notifications – Notifies you of activity on your site, interact with other WordPress users. Useful if you have a lot of comments that you like to monitor and interact with.
Omnisearch – Use your admin bar site search to find all content within your site that relates to that term. Want to compile a list of all your posts, pages, testimonials, projects, etc. that pertain to a certain subject? This is the easy way to find them. I use it for compilation posts of some of my archived content (i.e. eight of my favorite…. ), as well as if I get new information on something I’ve written about previously, I can easily update the pages, posts, comments, etc., on my site to reflect the new information.
Photon – Caches all the images on your self hosted site, to wordpress.com and serves them from there, reducing the load on your server – if you have a lot of images and a lot of traffic, it will significantly reduce the load.
Post by Email – Generates a secret email address, allowing you to post to your site via email.
Protect – Blocks malicious IPs, tracks failed log in attempts, blocks any log in to a site that has this activated after a certain amount of failed log in attempts.
Publicize – Allows you to connect your blog to numerous social media sites and share each new post automatically. Gives you the ability to choose which connected networks to share to on each individual post or page.
Related Posts – Shares relevant, related posts under your sharing buttons. Allows for text only, as well as images.
Sharing – Very easily configurable sharing buttons for visitors to quickly share your content on various social media networks.
Shortcode Embeds – Easily and safely embed media from other sources into your posts and pages, using simple shortcodes. You just copy and paste the codes. Super easy. Here’s a list of available shortcodes
Site Verification – It’s imperative to verify your sites with third party sources, like Google, Bing, etc. This gives you a very simple, straightforward way to do that.
Spelling and Grammar – Proofreads as you write, easily configured to ignore certain phrases, words, etc. Lots of options.
Subscriptions – Encourages visitors to sign up for email notifications of your new updates using a widget.
Tiled Galleries – Creates visually pleasing galleries. Circles, mosaics, rounded tiles, etc.
Video Press – If you have a Video Press subscription, this plug in makes it easy to add your video to your sites. I don’t currently use Video Press, so there’s not much I can about it. The pricing, however, is very reasonable and they do have a free option.
WP.me Shortlinks – Generates short links using the wp.me domain name.
Widget Visibility – One of the most useful features, it allows you to control which posts, pages, etc., your widgets show up on.
WordPress.com Stats – In my opinion, the nicest, easiest to navigate, stats available. I still use Google Analytics, but WordPress.com stats truly are easier to understand.
With a monthly subscription, the VaultPress plugin will backup your site’s content, themes, and plugins in real-time, as well as perform regular security scans for common threats and attacks.
I hope that this makes things a little less intimidating and as always, don’t hesitate to contact me if you need a little more help.