Interview: How Paul Jarvis works with Jetpack

We got in touch with one of our users Paul Jarvis to find out what he thinks of the Jetpack plugin – how it has helped him and what he’d like to see in a new version. Paul is a freelance web designer/developer as well as an author of various popular books who’s been using WordPress since before he was born.

Paul lives in British Columbia, Canada. You can stalk him on Twitter @pjrvs or read about his books and work on his website.


Who is Paul?


What do you do for a living?

I’m a freelance web designer/developer and author. I’ve built websites for 20 years and written books for the last 4.

What’s the best thing about your job?

I can set my own hours and stop working when I’ve made enough for the year (typically 3-4 months off per year).

How did you first start using WordPress?

I’ve been using WordPress since sometime in early 2004. For client websites, I jumped on the bandwagon early of doing whatever I could to let clients update their own content on their site. This gave me more time to focus on design/development and less time doing tiny updates of content.


Thoughts on Jetpack

How’d you first find out about Jetpack?

I live and breathe WordPress so it’s hard to miss things like this! Since I began using Jetpack I’ve installed it on at least 30 sites – practically every site I’ve built for a client since 2011.

What’s the one Jetpack feature you couldn’t do without? Why?

Stats. Both for myself and for my clients, the stats page is such a perfect example of a single screen that gives a ton of information.

What do you think of the the Jetpack setup process: Easy, hard?

Easier now that the setup has been re-designed. The settings are much better now making it quicker to customize what modules I want and which I don’t but I still have to go through disabling the pieces I don’t want (which are the same for every site) for each setup.

What do you value about Jetpack?

Like I mentioned, the stats are great. But other things I use are: sharing, subscriptions, spelling, contact form, related posts. These are all added value for the sites I make for clients.


Working with Clients

Does Jetpack affect your work with clients?

Clients all ask for things like easy stats, related posts, sharing buttons – so Jetpack lets me add those things in a few seconds.

Can you think of a cool thing Jetpack helped you do for clients?

I use stats to teach my clients the basis of using metrics for their business. How to look for trends in popular content, how to spot where most of their traffic comes from and how to gauge what content is working the most for them (so they can create more or related content). For a developer it seems like very basic stuff, but for a non-technical client, this is very important for their business.


Jetpack Frustrations

What frustrates you about Jetpack? Why?

Previously it was the setup and taking a LONG time to disable all the modules I didn’t want, but now it’s much easier and quicker although it can still stand some improvement.

What would you like to improve?

If there was a way to save my “favourite modules” so on any new install I could pick my profile and those modules were activated – that’d be BOSS.


Get involved!

Try it out

If you’ve not used Jetpack before, read our step-by-step installation guide here to try it out for yourself.


If you are a Jetpack user already please tell us what you think in the comments and, if you’d like to get involved yourself by writing a guest post about Jetpack or being interviewed yourself, get in touch!

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  1. lbobbert says:

    Thanks! I’m a novice at Word Press although I started to adopt it for new sites several years ago. I install Jetpack because of the “noise” about it, but never really understood what I had. Sorta like carrying around a lump of coal and a diamond and not knowing which to ….anyway THANKS! for this article. Helped me just where i needed it and including the link to the tutorial. Larry


  2. Good post and an interesting thought to be able to transfer master settings to another install. I’d like to see that too.

    My biggest gripe with Jetpack was that when I first installed it I just did what I normally do with plugins, install and activate, then look at the settings.

    But I completely failed to realise that the default state is that everything – or at least oodles and oodles of things – are then activated.

    Now I know better and run down the list and deactivate most things only activate the things that I want.

    My favourite settings is Markdown activation.


    • Thanks David. Glad you figured that out and sorry its confusing 😦

      We’ve had a few similar comments in fact so maybe its time to look at this issue in more detail.

      If it were up to you, how would you do it? Would you prefer picking the modules you want activated as part of the setup process?


  3. Hi Richard,
    Yes, absolutely.

    I think a good place to start is with the mismatch in the naming. Clicking on ‘settings’ in Jetpack in the list of installed plugins doesn’t take me to the settings tab. It takes me to the ‘Home’ tab, which is the features page.

    I didn’t even see the ‘Settings’ tab at the top of the page when I first installed the plugin.


  4. ankurja says:

    Richard – nice interview.
    Since you already have the stats, i would look into the top 5 modules that are activated the most by community and keep them enabled for a default install.


  5. djw65 says:

    I am using an iPad. Jet pack will not download.


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