6 Awesome Features That Will Sell You On Jetpack

January 7, 2014 in WordPress tips & tricks.

jetpack by wordpressTell me if you’ve heard these phrases before. Maybe you’ve even uttered them yourself: “Jetpack is so overrated.” “Jetpack isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.” “Jetpack is bloated beyond belief!”

A lot of people hold onto these beliefs about Jetpack but I’m here to tell you that these statements couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, Jetpack packs a serious punch, offering up features aplenty that serve the needs of all WordPress users. Bloggers looking for simple tools and developers looking for robust options will both be pleased by this plugin.

For those who don’t know, Jetpack is a plugin created by Automattic. It features numerous “modules” that can be activated in order to benefit from their features.

Today, I’m dead set on convincing you to use Jetpack for the first time (or to dust it off and give it a try once again). Will you accept the challenge?

1. Robust Site Stats 

jetpack-site-statsThough Google Analytics is the tried and true resource for stats on your WordPress posts, don’t rule out the value of Jetpack Site Stats.

The primary benefit here is its location: right on your dashboard for easy viewing. Yes, Google Analytics has a plugin, too, but it’s not as nice to look at. Site Stats also puts a handy little stats graph on the task bar at the top of your site when viewing live posts and pages. It’s a nifty reminder of how many visitors your site has been getting.

What’s particularly cool is the fact that Stats doesn’t bog down your site at all. It was made by WordPress for WordPress, which makes it so it doesn’t get much better in terms of integration. If you have multiple regular authors on your blog, you might wish to add the Jetpack Post Statistic Link plugin to add a link to the stats for individual posts as well. Authors can see how their posts are doing much more easily this way.

2. Simple, Automatic Sharing via Publicize 

publicize-optionsAnother aspect of Jetpack that gets a bad rap is Publicize. Is it the most robust tool for social sharing? No. But it gets the job done — and well at that.

Some themes come with social sharing built in, but that can be limiting. Doing the coding to make the right social buttons appear in the right places can be a lot of work. And yes, there are many plugins out there that fill this role quite nicely. But the beauty of the Jetpack Publicize module is that it integrates well in every theme. Drag and drop the icons for whichever social sites for which you want to enable sharing, input your social media account information and call it a day.

It’s perfectly acceptable to use other sharing plugins in conjunction with Publicize. I’d encourage it, even. Publicize is a great way to give your readers a multitude of sharing options. The buttons will appear at the bottom of each post and you can select to have just the social site’s icon, name, or both visible. Publicize also makes it possible to automatically share your blog posts when they’re published to the social networks you select.

Should tweeting the name of your blog post and its link constitute the entirety of your social marketing strategy? Of course not. But it does ensure a link to your new post gets out as soon as it goes live. Then, you can concentrate on filling up your social queue with more thoughtful, informative posts for the hours that follow.

3. Spelling and Grammar (and More) Checker

Many people use WordPress as a word processor, which means having a fully-featured, robust spelling and grammar checker is essential. Who wants to discover typos or grammar mistakes after a post has been published? Not this guy. Which is why I often rely on the Spelling and Grammar checker built into Jetpack.

It’s powered by After the Deadline, giving your WordPress post editor the ability to catch your errors on the spot. After activating the module, the best way to use Spelling and Grammar is to click on the standard ABC checkmark logo once you’ve completed a draft. It’ll highlight any mistakes it finds. Under settings, you can modify what the spelling and grammar module checks for including passive voice, jargon, double negatives, redundancy, cliches, and more.

4. Shortcode Integration

Who doesn’t love shortcodes? They’re quick and convenient and when it comes to building websites, we could all use more tools like that. That’s why Jetpack’s Shortcodes module is a must-have.

This module extends the shortcode feature available to WordPress.com users to those with self-hosted WordPress sites. And since there are shortcodes available for just about everything, you need this power boost.

There are shortcodes for multimedia sites like Flickr, YouTube, SlideShare, and SoundCloud. There are even shortcodes for the automatic insertion of polls and content from Digg. So, take the two seconds it requires to active the Shortcodes module in Jetpack and you can embed media like an expert — even if you’re a newbie.

5. The Only Comments System You Need

comments-wordpress-jetpackTrying to find a commenting system for your WordPress site can be difficult. I mean, you want something robust enough to provide the features your users need but you don’t want to alienate anyone with an awkward interface, either. That’s why I wholly recommend using Jetpack to handle comments.

It offers the familiar interface of the standard WordPress comments system and adds the ability to log in and leave comments from Twitter or Facebook. It also handles site subscriptions (if you activate the Subscriptions module).

Configuration is straightforward — Jetpack walks you through it — and your visitors can easily subscribe to comments and/or new posts while leaving a comment for you. What more could you ask for?

6. The Easiest Contact Form Ever

If you’re serious about your site — and if you’re here, I’m assuming you are — you need to have a contact form on your blog somewhere. Thanks to Jetpack, this is a piece of cake.

Just activate the Contact module and a new button will appear on your post and page editor screens. Click this button and you’ll be prompted with a popup screen that walks you through creating a custom form for your site. After you’ve filled in all the sections, insert it into your site. You’re done!

The form will be visible to anyone who visits, making you suddenly a whole lot more accessible. Just remember to enable Akismet as well to prevent contact form spam.

Conclusion

JetPack is feature-filled yet sleek. It’s easy to use and since it was developed by WordPress.com, it doesn’t cause any server lag or cause general site weirdness.

Yes, there are more robust plugins out there but you can’t beat JetPack for its ease of use and overall awesomeness. So, did I convince you?

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26 Responses

  1. allmyhoney
    7 January 2014 at 4:08 pm #

    2013 was a good year for jetpack and it has improved significantly since its early days. Nice tips here to get jetpack up and running.

  2. Bart
    7 January 2014 at 5:37 pm #

    Indeed Jetpack is highly overrated. For instance I compared comment systems and in my opinion, LiveFyre is a much, much better choice. Contactform 7 beats jetpack by any length. Google analytcs give far better statistics and the lists goes on. So jetpack is a lazy, but far from optimal choice. I always advice against it.

    • likoma
      12 January 2014 at 8:04 am #

      Hi Bart,
      Disclaimer: I’m also a Jetpack fan so …
      But I agree that other plugins are better (faster/leaner/fancier) than some in Jetpack. But with Jetpack, they’re all just right there, ready, easy, a click away AND they get updated on a regular basis, you can assume that they’ll be compatible with WP and upgrades, etc.

      I build tons of WP sites so until a client really needs the power of, for example, Gravity Forms, I’ll just use the Jetpack form. Probably my favorite is Publicize–it does so much so easily (once you get it all configured!). If something better comes around, great, I’ll give it a whirl, but until then, it’s easy, easy to use, and works well … usually. ;-)

  3. Conor
    7 January 2014 at 6:29 pm #

    I could never get the Jetpack comment system to work with the Mystile theme reviews right. It wouldn’t let customers leave reviews. Of course this was 6 months ago.

    • Conor
      7 January 2014 at 6:31 pm #

      Speaking of comments. Does anyone else get kicked to a blank white page after submitting their comment here? I do and then I refresh the page and I get the Ooops! Something went wrong page.

      • dotp
        7 January 2014 at 6:51 pm #

        Happens to me every time. Not sure if it is in the site or the browser.

        • Ryan Ray
          7 January 2014 at 8:59 pm #

          Strange guys, not sure why that would be happening every time you want to leave a comment. :(

          • allmyhoney
            7 January 2014 at 10:55 pm #

            Its quiet regular for myself also Ryan. Looks like some kind of cache issue possibly as far as I can tell.

  4. The Z Man
    8 January 2014 at 12:20 am #

    Nice writeup, but I’m curious… So you outlined a strong case for Jetpack usage, but do you guys at Woo use it? If so, do you use the parts outlined above or other parts?

    • Tom Ewer
      9 January 2014 at 4:49 pm #

      Hey Z,

      I wouldn’t want to speak for the other WooThemes guys but I use Jetpack :-)

      Cheers,

      Tom

    • Mark Forrester
      11 January 2014 at 8:35 pm #

      I use the site stats and spelling and grammar checker on my personal site.

  5. Martin
    8 January 2014 at 1:43 pm #

    I like JetPack – especially the stats in my dashboard which gives me an instant overview of visitor activity. Unfortunately, it doesn’t like my WooTheme (Function) and frequently breaks it, sending the right widget area into the footer…

  6. Sennbrink Kommunikation
    8 January 2014 at 2:52 pm #

    I like Jetpack but if you are looking to create a fast site you should not use Jetpack. If you decide to use Jetpack a cache is a must.

    • Johnny
      9 January 2014 at 12:25 pm #

      Will Jetpack slow down the site if I only use the After The Deadline (spelling/grammar checker) functionality? Thanks in advance for your advice.

      • Sennbrink Kommunikation
        9 January 2014 at 8:55 pm #

        Do a speed test before and after activation of Jetpack? :)

        • Johnny
          10 January 2014 at 5:20 pm #

          I should have thought about it :) Thanks!

  7. Thu Tran
    9 January 2014 at 3:43 pm #

    Great job! It’s very useful for me at that time. You gave me interesting information about Jetpack, a wonderful product.
    Thank you so much for your writing, Have a nice day.

  8. lkinca
    10 January 2014 at 7:52 am #

    Can you guys please fix the messed up characters…some kind of db encoding issue perhaps?

  9. Conor
    10 January 2014 at 1:40 pm #

    lkinca, you’ right! Maybe the font doesn’t have an apostrophe haha.

  10. likoma
    12 January 2014 at 8:11 am #

    Great post, Tom! It makes me want to check out their shortcodes in more depth.

    Funny, I’m a (big) fan of Jetpack and seeing the 6 features you chose to highlight makes me think I should write a follow-up post called:

    6 More Reasons You Should Be Using Jetpack

    I’d do: Sharing, Google+ Profile, Omnisearch, Tiled Galleries, Custom CSS, and Mobile Push Notifications. Interested?

  11. Casey
    14 January 2014 at 6:13 am #

    Does Omnisearch include woocommerce orders, customers, and products?

  12. Sonyaapple
    30 January 2014 at 1:42 pm #

    Great idea! Interesting article! If you need a really effective solution to your academic problems, we have the answers! Writings-centre.com

  13. Bongolicious
    31 January 2014 at 8:28 pm #

    What’s up nigga,Bongolicious is here!Im from SA.I lyk jetpack a lot and the thing that i like lyk jetpack is to f^^k girls!

  14. Bongolicious
    31 January 2014 at 8:52 pm #

    What’s up nigga?This z Bonginkosi aka Bongolicious.Im from SA.I lyk jetpack,i lyk it ly f^^king girls.I want an AMERICAN girl aged 14-18 because im 16.Im a cute guy.There are my contacts,call on 0820910322,on facebook im bonginkosi

  15. MC
    10 February 2014 at 4:01 pm #

    Jetpack slows it down. Tried it and uninstalled. Yes even on WP Engine. Not worth it.

  16. alexbath
    15 February 2014 at 7:48 pm #

    Is it compatible with woo shortcodes?