Jetpack is a popular plugin developed by the folks over at Automattic, and over the past few years they’ve done a tremendous job improving the plugin by adding loads of useful features which makes managing a WordPress site a whole lot easier!
With their recent update – Jetpack 2.3, they have introduced Omnisearch – a combined search engine within WordPress that searches your site’s content and has the capacity to add more search engines using filters.
In today’s article I’m going to list what I believe are some of the most useful features of Jetpack – ones which I personally love and use in all my sites. With over 23 modules, you’re bound to find something you like.
Photon – Free CDN from Automattic
Talking about useful Jetpack modules/features, the first name that comes to mind is Photon. It is a highly acclaimed module inside Jetpack – one of the primary reasons (I think) you should use it.
What is Photon and why should I activate it?
Photon is a free CDN (content delivery network plugin) inside Jetpack that serves your posts’ images and featured images from the WordPress network grid which again is powered by EdgeCast. That’s a whole lot of bandwidth saved right there.
- More bandwidth = higher costs
- Less bandwidth consumption = lower/no extra costs
- Photon = Less bandwidth = Save money
Bottom line – if you’re running a self hosted WordPress site on a shared hosting server or a VPS that does not come with unlimited bandwidth, then Photon is a must have; unless of course if you’re using a paid CDN service.
If you’re in the habit of using more than a few images in your blog posts – kudos! That’s a great way to grab your visitor’s attention. Here’s one plugin to enhance your site’s UX – Carousel. This module turns your standard image galleries into an immersive, full-screen experience.
This is like icing on the cake. Tiled layouts beautify your post’s content making easier on the viewer’s eye while gathering kudos points in his/her mind.
If you’re a regular blogger who just likes to think about the site’s content (and nothing else), then this Jetpack module is your social media Swiss Army Knife. Establish connections with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Tumblr, and once you hit the Publish button, your post is automatically shared in your social media profiles. The connection options are located under Settings > Sharing.
Although this module is a part of the Swiss Army Knife we talked about in the last paragraph, it deserves a special mention simply because of the sheer number of sharing channels available. Enabling/disabling or organizing the order of the plugin is cakewalk thanks to the drag-and-drop nature of the module. You also have other options such as displaying just the text/icon or both among others.
Theme isn’t mobile responsive? No problem amigo. A couple of great free themes out there aren’t exactly mobile responsive. And if you’re not willing to shell out ~40 bucks for a custom theme, better go with the Mobile Theme module of Jetpack. When your site is loaded in a mobile device, Jetpack simply overwrites whatever theme you’re using and uses a clean blue mobile theme – one which focuses on readability and is beautifully minimalistic in design.
We’re living in an age where some folks are too lazy to click a button and navigate to the next page. I for one am guilty of such a crime, but only on 9GAG. However, Jetpack takes care of us too – thanks to its infinite scroll module. You keep on scrolling till you run out of posts. This definitely improves user experience but on the downside, your page views and click-rate take a toll since people aren’t exactly clicking 5 times to view 50 articles.
Friend: You forgot Google Analytics eh?
Me: No sir, I didn’t. Its just that we’re talking about Jetpack’s awesome power to display the number of visitors to my site using a cool histogram, not to mention also displaying the link origins and the internal clicks.
Friend: Oh I see. But Google Analytics gives you so much more. :O
Me: Sure it does, but let’s face it – for that to happen you’re gonna have to validate your site and install a plugin (optional), etc. But with Jetpack, none of this matters – just sit back and drool over the stats.
Friend: Niceee, gonna try Jetpack then.
When you’re in a hurry and feel like leaving a comment, a quick Facebook or Twitter or WordPress.com account link come in very handy. Jetpack also allows you to have the traditional method of commenting, the social media links are an added bonus.
Last but surely not the least, the contact forms feature in Jetpack is one of my favorites. I always love hearing back from my readers. Comments are one way to do that. A more personal touch requires email, which I easily achieve via a contact form. No additional plugins required – just a few simple clicks and I have a fully functional contact form.
Jetpack is undoubtedly one of the most useful plugins out there – to both hardcore WordPress experts and beginners, all thanks to its underlying principle – simplicity.
What are your favorite Jetpack modules? Let us know!
Jetpack’s uniqueness lies in the fact that it it’s like a whole bunch of plugins in one, and it’s completely free. If you’re into The Lord of The Rings book/movie series, there’s an interesting analogy:
Jetpack is like the one ring to rule them all!
But if you’d prefer separate plugins for different features, have a look at our recent post for 50+ Best WordPress Plugins for adding features to your website.