If you’ve been using WordPress for quite a while, it’s time for you to learn about a must-have plugin to expand your site’s functionality to its full extent. Of course, I’ll be covering Jetpack by WordPress.com – one of the best-known WordPress plugins with over five million active installations.
Jetpack, developed by Automattic – the company behind WordPress –, is a powerful tool that allows you to manage almost every important aspect of your site such as security, SEO, performance, and so many others. Any good web developer should be interested in learning what JetPack can do for them – which is what I’ll be covering in this article.
What is Jetpack for WordPress?
First of all, to best understand Jetpack we should cover the two versions of WordPress. The first one is the commercially available WordPress.com and the second one is the self-hosted WordPress.org.
WordPress.com, managed by Automattic, is a blogging platform like Blogger or Tumblr where you can sign up for free and start blogging right away, the main drawback being limited flexibility.
As for WordPress.org, it’s an open-source CMS (Content Management System) that requires its users to look for a domain and a web hosting service before it’s ready for use. Even though it’s not completely free, the vast number of available plugins and themes coupled with nearly unlimited freedom are totally worth your money.
That said, there are still a few features that only WordPress.com users can take advantage of, namely the site management tools that improve marketing, SEO, and social media integration.
Thanks to Jetpack, you can enjoy those exclusive features on self-hosted WordPress CMS sites. It’s worth noting that Jetpack is actually a freemium plugin so there’s a paid plan option you can buy if you want even more functionality.
It comes with an all-in-one package that allows you to manage several aspects of your site like performance optimization, security, backups, and many others. This reduces the need for having additional plugins that take care of these aspects individually.
What Can Jetpack by WordPress.com Do?
Jetpack is a great plugin beloved by many WordPress users. But, how does it benefit you exactly? The answer lies in its many “modules”. Think of it as sections where you can manage each function on the dedicated page, such as General, Engagement, Writing, and Appearance.
Let’s take a closer look at how this plugin can improve certain aspects:
If you’re not monitoring your site’s security, it may become a sitting duck for malicious attacks or hacking attempts. Jetpack by WordPress.com understands this very well and provides many beneficial security measures:
- Downtime tracking and notifications. Nobody likes when their site suddenly crashes without them knowing. If only there was a tool that could notify us every time that happens – oh wait, there is! With Jetpack, you can enjoy real-time monitoring of your site’s condition and always be kept in the loop.
- Iron-clad protection against hackers and botnets. Jetpack is well-equipped with the power to guard your site against many kinds of malicious attacks. By putting known IP addresses on the whitelist, false positives are now a thing of the past.
- Always up-to-date plugins. Imagine casually checking your dashboard to see 24 plugins need to be updated. Bummer, isn’t it? Don’t worry, Jetpack can update all plugins automatically using bulk management. With no more than one click, you can turn on auto-updates for a single plugin or all of them. Plus, it’ll tell you when an update is available or when it fails to complete.
- Be in the know of your site’s activities. A site can have many authors and it’d be impossible to know everything that they do. But trust me, you’d rather let Jetpack take notes on those activities and tell you in the form of a comprehensive list and in an exact chronological manner. It’s just so much more convenient this way.
- Safe authentication through WordPress.com account. It’s extremely easy for people to access the login interface of your WordPress site. Then, all they need to do is just guess the admin username and password, which can be done with a brute-force attack. By pairing your site with a WordPress.com account, you can enable two-factor authentication and disable the default login form.
When it comes to SEO, you just can’t ignore performance. Slower WordPress websites are guaranteed to rank lower on the SERPs. You’ll need to take extra measures to ensure your site’s performance is always up to standard – which is yet another thing Jetpack can help with.
- Lazy loading image. Images can make a website slow to load, especially when there are tons of them. Visitors will be left with no choice but to wait until all images on a page finish loading – but that’s not the case with Jetpack. With lazy loading, images won’t be downloaded unless visitors happen to scroll past them.
- Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) support. In short, AMP provides a better viewing experience on mobile devices. As you may know, people are constantly on their phones these days, so it’s great knowing that Jetpack features are enjoyable for on-the-go visitors.
- Infinite scrolling. It sucks when a long article is divided into separate pages, or when you’re trying to find a blog post from a while back, and need to click from page to page. Putting everything on a single page is not an option since things may take longer to load. So, infinite scrolling can be a good solution. It’s a seamless experience when reading content without taking much of the bandwidth. You can either set it so that the next post will be shown after visitors reach the bottom of a page or set up a button that when clicked loads the next section without reloading the page.
- A better search bar on your site. Having issues with the default search function? Luckily, Jetpack provides a search bar that allows visitors to get more relevant results based on their queries. Plus, it takes no time at all for the results to appear.
Design and Customization
Achieving success is almost impossible without good design. You need to come up with an easy way to customize your site so it can dazzle everyone who visits. With JetPack, the process won’t take much of your time and there are lots of customization options you can take advantage of:
- Lots of free and premium themes. Browse through hundreds of aesthetically pleasing mobile-optimized themes for a site of any niche and purpose. Installing them just takes a few clicks and all of them work well with Jetpack features.
- Custom content types for more functionality. Feel like showcasing some of your work on an online portfolio? Jetpack has custom content types that you can use to make a portfolio or testimonial section on your site. Managing it is a breeze by using the shortcodes to place the content practically anywhere.
- Easy sidebar management. Some may say that no website is complete without a sidebar. You can put so much information in there – contact info, a vertical navigational menu, etc. With Jetpack, you can insert so much more by using the available widgets such as social icons, Twitter feeds, Goodreads integration, Facebook Badges, and much more. Plus, you can decide on which pages you would want to show or hide.
- Blazing-fast video hosting. Putting up a video may not be ideal considering the increased amount of time necessary to stream it. Thankfully, Jetpack comes with ad-free video hosting to hold your clips and show them to your visitors no matter what device they use.
- LaTeX support. Own an educational site? Then you could use a practical way to write mathematical formulas. Well, why not use LaTeX? With Jetpack, you can enable the LaTeX markup language and simply write the easy-to-remember code to insert each function.
Promotion and Monetization
There are lots of opportunities to make money through sites by keeping a regular schedule for publishing great content – ads, affiliate marketing, you name it. That said, making a website profitable takes a lot of work. Jetpack can help lift some of that weight from you by providing useful monetization and marketing features.
- Keep your visitors engaged by showing related posts. The longer your visitors stay, the easier it is to stay on the good side of Google’s algorithms. One way to make them stay is by automatically showing related posts – yet another great feature from Jetpack. Each new post will also be instantly added to the related post list. All you have to do is just keep writing awesome content and let Jetpack handle the rest.
- Easy social media integration. If you’ve been neglecting your social media, you’re missing out on an amazing opportunity to increase in more traffic. Start automating your social media to publish your article’s link using one of Jetpack’s features. Once activated, each newly published post will be shared on multiple social media accounts immediately.
- Easy like and share buttons. While we’re still talking about social media, you can also rely on your visitors to share your article on their feeds. This makes for a great marketing campaign as word-of-mouth promotions are a gold mine for bringing in new visitors. Jetpack allows for the strategic placing of like and share buttons to increase the likelihood of clicks.
- Easy authentication. You can verify the ownership of your site on Google, even though it’s optional. But, when you’re able to help your site get indexed, why not take the chance? Jetpack can automatically verify your site without even touching the header or any code at all, speeding up the process of getting your site crawled and indexed.
- See how your site looks like on the search engine result page. Before you publish an article, you may want to know how it’ll look like to potential visitors. Jetpack lets you preview your title and meta description by showing the snippet where you can optimize both, to make them as eye-catching as they can be.
Should I Upgrade to A Paid Plan?
Without a doubt, there are many benefits you can have from including Jetpack in your line-up of plugins.
Even with its free version, the number of features is massive – considering we’re talking about a single plugin.
What’s more fascinating, you still can expand the set of features further by upgrading to its paid plans.
There are a few advanced features that are worth your money such as backups, spam filtering, automated malware scanning, and more.
If you’re interested, let’s take a deeper look at each plan and its exclusive benefits.
- Personal ($3.50/month). Other than the benefits of the free version, the features added to this plan are automated spam filtering, 30-day archives, site activity filters (by date range and activity type), and priority support. It’s a great choice if you’re just starting out or simply don’t need other features from the more expensive plans.
- Premium ($9/month). You get to enjoy the benefits of the Personal plan plus automated malware scanning and automatic security fixes. Other new features include unlimited video hosting, SEO preview tools, Google Analytics support, PayPal integration, and ad network approval. It’s suitable for websites with enough traffic to justify the advances features or those who seek to monetize their sites.
- Professional ($29/month). You’ll have the features from previous plans and others like an Elasticsearch-powered search bar, more than 200 premium WordPress themes, and premium theme support. Best-suited for advanced users with heavily traffic-invested sites.
Why Should You Use Jetpack by WordPress.com?
I can say for sure that there isn’t any other plugin that comes close to what Jetpack has to offer in terms of features.
If you still need more compelling reasons to use Jetpack, here’s why:
- Have complete control of your site. With so many possible things to do, Jetpack gives you freedom on how you’d want to shape your website.
- No need to install separate plugins. Normally, you’d need a plugin for different purposes. That’s not the case with Jetpack because most of the things you need are likely already provided.
- Constantly updated. Every plugin has a weak spot where it can be vulnerable to unwanted bugs and errors – Jetpack is no exception. However, you can relax because the developers care about their customers and provide regular updates to fix errors and mistakes.
- It’s free (with the exception of paid package plans). For most freemium plugins, usually, there can be some narrowing limitation for its free version. As with Jetpack, its free version already has lots of features that you can immediately use most of which could already be considered premium.
Why Is Jetpack Not for Everyone?
With so many benefits to have, you’d think that no one would be disappointed with Jetpack by WordPress.com. However, there are still some cons which make this plugin not suitable for everyone:
- It can be overwhelming. The sheer amount of functionality can be too much to handle for beginners, despite most features not actually being loaded if they’re not activated. That said, there are some people that prefer taking care of their sites one thing at a time – using a plugin dedicated to a certain issue.
- It needs to be connected to a WordPress.com account. Well, it’s only necessary for a handful of features. Still, the fact that you need a step that requires creating another account may not be favorable.
- Conflict with other plugins. Even though Jetpack has a one-for-all attitude, it doesn’t mean you won’t install other plugins, right? And with so many aspects Jetpack touches, there’s likely to be an incompatibility issue.
Get The Best of Both Worlds
It’s rather undeniable how helpful Jetpack is, balancing each aspect of security, performance, design, and marketing.
On one side, your site is protected against malware and other breaches, while on the other you can improve the loading time and promote your content without breaking a sweat.
I recommend you at least give Jetpack a shot to see if it’s for you! It might just help take your site to the next level.