The past nine releases of Jetpack have started to reveal our vision for next-generation features that will boost WordPress’ incredible success by making it more social, more connected, more mobile, and more customizable.
Over three million downloads later, we’re excited to report that the community has embraced this seemingly impossible vision for combining the best of hosted and non-hosted WordPress. This tenth release brings some of the most-asked-for features into the hands of millions of Jetpackers.
Publicize to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr…
You no longer have to jump through hoops and developer portals to connect your blog to your friends on your favorite social networks. Through Jetpack and your WordPress.com account, you can connect to each network with just a few clicks and broadcast to your audiences and followers across several networks, making WordPress your true digital hub. Activate Publicize from the main Jetpack page in your dashboard, then go to Settings → Sharing to add social sharing connections.
Post by Email
If you live in Gmail, Outlook, your BlackBerry, or just find it easiest to email on the go, you’ll love the new Post by Email feature. Email anything to your secret address — a photo, a video, a bunch of photos, an audio file, ten pages of single-spaced text — and we’ll figure out how to make it beautiful and put it on your blog literally within seconds after you send it. Combined with Publicize and the previously-released Subscriptions module, that post will go out to all your friends including ones that subscribe via email, completing the loop of email / blog nirvana. To set up your special address go to Users → Your Profile in your dashboard and click the “Enable Post By Email” button.
Photon Your Images
Have you ever switched themes to find that full-width images break out of the layout and no longer fit your theme? Are you frustrated that images on your blog take too long to load? Jetpack Photon fixes all of that by making the advanced image acceleration and image editing service from WordPress.com available to the broader WordPress community, essentially making every image a fully dynamic object that themes and plugins can transform to their heart’s content without killing your server. In fact, if you enable Photon, you will see your CPU and bandwidth usage plummet as images are served through the global WordPress.com cloud, meaning less load on your host and faster images for your users.
Infinite Scroll brings the future of reading on the web to your website. Speed and performance are key, and Infinite Scroll loads new content quickly without a full-page refresh. Instead of the old way of navigating down a page — by scrolling and then clicking a link to get to the next page and waiting for the page to refresh — infinite scrolling pulls the next set of posts into view automatically when the reader approaches the bottom of the page. Your theme needs support for this to work. There are already several themes in the directory with Jetpack Infinite Scroll support and theme authors will find documentation for adding it to any theme on jetpack.me.
Jetpack 2.0 isn’t just about shiny new things, we’ve also fixed dozens of bugs and under-the-hood things to keep Jetpack one of the smoothest running, most secure, and most stable plugins out there.
I want to personally thank all of the members of the Jetpack community who have shared countless hours of testing, feedback, and criticism. Your thoughts and passion have made the plugin immeasurably better than it would have been otherwise, and rest assured we’re still listening closely to your feedback around better stats, module activation and deactivation, developer mode, translation, and documentation.
How to improve your User Experience using Jetpack
Jetpack has a ton of features (more than 30) that help you improve your WordPress site or blog in many ways – both for yourself as administrator as well as for your readers. Today I’m going to focus on eight Jetpack features that you can use to improve the User Experience of your site so that visitors find it easier to navigate and stick around longer.
Performance and Stability
It can seem like a no-brainer but the absolute worst user experience when visiting a site is when the site doesn’t work at all or takes a long time to load. Jetpack comes with two must-have features that stop this from happening:
Turning on Photon means that all your images get automatically served to users from the WordPress.com content delivery network (CDN) which means faster images for your readers (and less load on your host). To turn it on all you have to do is go to the Jetpack page in your blog dashboard and click the Activate button for Photon. And if you’re a developer, you can also speed up your theme with Photon.
All sites go down once in a while. It could be your database, your host, some rogue code – whatever the reason, your visitors don’t really care, they just want to see your stuff! Jetpack Monitor will keep tabs on your site, and alert you the moment that downtime is detected so that you hear it from us first.
If you keep tabs on your traffic you’ve probably noticed you’re getting more and more visitors browsing your site from a mobile device: smart phones and tables of all shapes and sizes. Jetpack provides two features that help you make the reading experience on these devices significantly better:
Jetpack comes with a responsive theme that works instantly on all mobile browsers. It also comes with various options and settings that enable you to choose exactly how you’d like your mobile browsing experience to work.
Jetpack’s Custom CSS feature lets you tweak your site’s appearance to your heart’s content in a way that doesn’t break your theme when an upgrade is released. In addition, you can also create custom CSS for your mobile theme, further refining your mobile experience.
Finally the last set of features deal with enabling your visitors to interact with your site, content and the community in a smoother fashion:
This feature puts a “Like” button on your posts and is a way for people to show their appreciation for your content. Enabling it is a short two-step process.
This feature pulls relevant content from your blog to display at the bottom of your posts. If the feature is enabled, a section of related posts appears just underneath your Likes (if you’ve turned these on). Just activate the feature from your Jetpack dashboard to turn them on but you can also customize how they display.
Infinite scroll simply means that when a visitor scrolls to the bottom of your posts page Jetpack will automatically load the next set of posts without requiring clicking on any buttons. Activating it is similar to “Related Posts” above but not every theme supports it.
When someone reads an article on your site and wants to comment, they can now use one of their existing social networking accounts to post a comment. No longer do they need to create yet another account and profile! You can also customize how Jetpack Comments display.
That’s it! Eight Jetpack features that can help your visitors have a more pleasurable experience when visiting your site. 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 by writing a guest post about Jetpack get in touch!