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Routine WordPress Maintenance is Easy With Jetpack

Most businesses benefit from having well-designed websites. But what happens to the small business owner who is working with limited time and resources for managing a website?

Fortunately, the team behind Jetpack recognizes the importance of maintaining the health of your website without having to spend extra money on third-party website maintenance services, or devoting time you don’t have to routine tasks like making backups or monitoring your logins.

Let’s review four of the most useful WordPress maintenance features that Jetpack offers, and how you can use each one to save time.

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Monitor Your Site’s Success with Analytics

You’ve done it: you finally launched a website to promote your small business. One of the next steps you should take is to determine your site’s success in terms of visits, clicks, and conversions.

If you want to figure out how well your site is performing, you’ll want to collect data on your traffic. There are lots of different data collection and site analytics tools on the market, but figuring out which one to use can be challenging, time-consuming, and costly.

Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about taking the time to evaluate these tools and install them on your site. There’s an easier way to track your visitor and viewing trends with Jetpack.

Read on to learn more about Jetpack’s analytics tools, including built-in stats and the Google Analytics integration.

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Jetpack 5.8. Advanced Search and lazy loading

Improve Your SEO with Sitemaps

Embarking on a new WordPress project is incredibly exciting. You’re probably full of ideas for your site and what you hope it will achieve. You may even have content or products for an online store ready to go.

It’s tempting to only focus on the creative side of things, or the business aspects of building a site. But there are some equally important technical tasks that you should spend some time fine-tuning, and one of those is building a sitemap.

In this post, you’ll learn what a sitemap is, why you need one, and how to create it. Most importantly, you’ll learn how Jetpack does a lot of the heaving lifting for you!

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How to Keep Your WordPress Plugins Updated

One of the best parts of WordPress is its massive ecosystem of plugins. In fact, as of right now, there are more than 50,000 free add-ons available on the WordPress.org plugin repository.

Given how user-friendly plugins are, it’s not uncommon to end up with dozens of them. Each one might be specifically chosen and configured for your needs.But with all the positive aspects of using plugins, there can be some pain points as well. The biggest pain point is probably keeping up with all the updates that become available.

This might lead you to ask questions like: “do I need to run plugin updates?” “How often should my plugins be updated?” Or: “are there any tools that help make plugin updates easier or more efficient?” In short, the answers are: yes, it depends, and you bet!

Read on to learn about the importance of plugin updates, how to update your plugins, and when (and how) to use automatic updates to help manage your site.

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Posted in Utilities & Maintenance | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments
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Why, Where, and How to Add a Contact Form

Your site serves many purposes. Tt’s a place where people can learn about you and your business. It can also operate as an outlet to engage with fans, customers, and sales leads.

Many people rely on social media to interact with site visitors, and a good social media strategy is definitely important. However, social media isn’t always the best method of communication. In some scenarios, using a contact form to build direct relationships with site visitors gives you more control and flexibility.

Let’s take a look at some of the best places to put a contact form, and how to use Jetpack to create custom forms for your site.

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Posted in Tips & Tricks | Tagged , | 5 Comments
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Share the Power of Jetpack: Join Our Affiliate Program!

As a developer, designer, or business professional, you probably recommend different tools to clients and colleagues every day. But what if there was a way to make money from your recommendations?

The WordPress.com affiliate program, which includes the Jetpack affiliate program, can help you do just that. Becoming a Jetpack affiliate is a great way to earn extra money through commissions while helping clients and site builders discover how Jetpack can improve their sites.

This post will explain what a Jetpack affiliate is, how the affiliate program works, and what benefits affiliates can expect to receive after signing up. Read on for more!

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Illustration of two people talking about a website

Keep Your Readers Engaged with Related Posts

The more that readers enjoy being on your site, the longer they’ll stay. And the longer they stay, the more likely they are to become dedicated readers, subscribers, or customers.

If you’re looking for a way to keep your website visitors engaged for even longer periods of time, Jetpack’s Related Posts feature can help. This feature works by analyzing all of your content and suggesting additional relevant pieces to your readers.

These suggestions are curated automatically, and are based on the article currently being read. And the best part is that Jetpack accomplishes this without affecting your website’s performance.

Websites with this feature activated generally experience increases in the average length of time that each visitor spends on their site. This ultimately results in longer visits, subscriber growth, or even purchases.

Let’s look at exactly how Jetpack’s suggested posts feature works, and how to make the most of it on your own site.

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Jetpack 5.9: General Maintenance

Today’s release of Jetpack 5.9 includes some general maintenance items, many of which are included due to feedback received after the release of our search and Lazy Loading Images features in 5.8. You probably won’t find anything surprising in the list below, but it’s still worth a read to see what we’ve improved!

Here’s everything you’ll find in 5.9:

Improving the behavior of Jetpack Search

We received some great feedback about the Elasticsearch-powered search feature in our Professional plans that helped us make some important changes to its behavior in this release.

First, we’ll now implicitly activate this feature when the Jetpack Search Widget gets added to a sidebar. Also, the link from the Jetpack Search settings card will now properly direct you to the Widgets section in the customizer, so it’ll be easier to add and customize your search widget.

Another change we’ve introduced: any active Jetpack Search widgets will be moved to the inactive list if you disable the search feature.

Adding a filter to the Lazy Loading Images feature

We now allow images to be ignored by the Lazy Loading Images feature (introduced in 5.8) if they contain a reserved class name — by default, skip-lazy, or a custom one you define via the new jetpack_lazy_images_blacklisted_classes filter.

To use this on your site, apply the like skip-lazy class to a post or page with images, and verify that they do not load in a deferred fashion when visiting the content from the frontend.

Signing out from the WordPress.com Toolbar no longer logs you out of WordPress.com

Previously, when your site had the WordPress.com Toolbar enabled and you signed out of your site, you would also be signed out of WordPress.com. This would potentially create a strange experience if you just were trying to sign out to your site in order to perform testing.

With Jetpack 5.9, if you sign out from the toolbar, you will only be logged out of your site — not WordPress.com. You will still be able to configure Jetpack from WordPress.com if you wish to.

Additional performance enhancements

Finally, here are a few additional changes you may want to be aware of:

  • We improved the way we handle characters for the minor conditions dropdown of the Widget Visibility section. For example, categories containing names with an ampersand will now be properly shown.
  • We added support for excerpts to the Portfolio and Testimonial custom post types.
  • A new filter, jetpack_twitter_image_default, was added to allow themes and plugins to customize twitter:image when no suitable image is found automatically.
  • We removed an error that would occasionally appear when attempting to connect a site after clicking the Jetpack banner in the WordPress Dashboard.

Full changelog and thanks

As always, the changelog provides the full list of updates and changes in this release. If you have questions or feedback, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

Install Jetpack on your site or upgrade to 5.9 today to try out the latest improvements!

Thank you to the contributors to this release:

Alex Mills, Anna Magdalena Kedzierska, Ben Lowery, Bernie Reiter, Brandon Kraft, Daniel Walmsley, Derek Smart, Elio Rivero, Enej Bajgoric, Eric Binnion, Greg Ichneumon Brown, Igor Zinovyev, James Nylen, Jeff Bowen, Jeff Golenski, Jeremy Herve, Jonny Harris, Marin Atanasov, Matt Wiebe, Michael Turk, Miguel Lezama, Mikael Korpela, Nicole Kohler, Oscar Lopez, Paul Sealock, Rebecca Hum, Richard Muscat, Rob Landers, Robert Elliott, Rocco Tripaldi, Ryan Barrett, Steven Lin, Stephen Edgar, Umang Vaghela, Yaroslav Kukharuk and Žiga Sancin.

Posted in Releases | Tagged , | 8 Comments
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