Benefits of Jetpack Manage

Whether you’re a developer managing multiples client sites or you only post to a personal blog, Jetpack Manage unlocks a ton of awesome features to help you stay on top of your site. These are just a few of my favorite parts of Jetpack Manage — tools that are valuable no matter how many sites you have:

Before reading on, set up Jetpack Manage to get the most out of these tips!

Continue reading → Benefits of Jetpack Manage

Posted in Features, Tips & Tricks, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

The First Time I Used Photon for Business

It was 2012 and the holiday season was upon us. I was nestled in my cubicle and settling in for a long winter project. As the director of the web development team for an agency in Rhode Island, I was tasked with the development of a WordPress multisite that would power tens of thousands of websites. Jetpack had just been installed on our new network, and I was looking into all the tools we could use for these business websites.

Continue reading → The First Time I Used Photon for Business

Posted in Features | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Five Things You Didn’t Know Jetpack Could Do

How well do you think you know Jetpack? Most people know about Stats, Publicize, and Sharing. You may even have your own personal favorite module like Tiled Galleries or Subscriptions. But what about the rest of Jetpack? Here are five things you might not know you can do:

Continue reading → Five Things You Didn’t Know Jetpack Could Do

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Building a Beautiful Photoblog with Jetpack

Jetpack is a powerhouse of added functionality for self-hosted WordPress. As a photographer, some of my favorite features are the ones that elegantly and easily add beauty to a site, helping you quickly launch a new photoblog or enhance an existing one. Jetpack makes it simple for WordPress bloggers of any proficiency level to create a stellar photoblog in very little time, no matter the theme — these four modules will get your photoblog off to a great start:

Continue reading → Building a Beautiful Photoblog with Jetpack

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Photon Now Delivers Images Even Faster than Before

We always strive to make your sites run as quickly and smoothly as possible, both on the front end and under the hood. Our most recent improvement? All self-hosted Jetpack-connected sites who have the Photon image service activated can now enjoy seamless support for the WebP image format.

What does this mean for you and your audience? This new feature provides size reductions of up to 34 percent for served images compared to a JPEG image of an equivalent visual quality level. Your viewers will save a lot of time loading your pages — time they can better spend enjoying the content you publish.

Image comparison - JPEG Image comparison - WebP
JPEG File Size – 43.84KB WebP File Size – 29.61KB

Visually identical images in JPEG and WebP format with their respective sizes.

While WebP isn’t currently supported by all browsers (see the WebP FAQ for more details), you don’t have to worry about anything. We auto-detect which browsers your readers are using to make sure they can enjoy your images in the best quality and highest speed possible.

We should note that by default, Photon is compressing the WebP images at a high quality setting. If you want to get the most out of this new feature, utilizing the quality parameter will yield the best results.

If you’d like to learn more about this fast-loading image format, check out the following links:

Posted in Features | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Jetpack: Protection From Brute Force XML-RPC Attacks

You may have read the recent news report from Sucuri about the latest vulnerability to your WordPress XML-RPC file: Brute Force Amplification Attacks via WordPress XML-RPC

miguel

Brute force attacks against XML-RPC are one of the oldest and most common types of attacks to your site. Recently, according to Sucuri’s post above, attackers have found a way to “amplify” these attacks – making it easier for attackers to try and break into your site.

How can you protect yourself from these attacks?

Simple. Use Jetpack’s Protect module.

Sam Hotchkiss, one of our Jetpack developers, wrote an article today on his blog going over the more technical details on how this new attack method works and how Jetpack protects you from this new threat.

If you’re running Jetpack with Protect enabled, you don’t need to do anything to keep yourself safe from this. We’ve already got it taken care of for you!

Posted in Features | Tagged , | 5 Comments

How to boost your traffic with “Related Posts”

Jetpack’s Related Posts feature scans all of the posts on your site (or blog), analyzes them, and shows your visitors other posts with related content that they might be interested in reading once they’re done reading the one that brought them to your site.

Most sites who activate this see an increase in traffic. On this site, Jetpack.me, when we compare pages with and without the feature enabled we see around 79% more visitors clicking through to one other post on the site.

related-posts-graphic-2

This data is based on a 6-month traffic comparison between blog posts showing related posts and pages with the feature disabled. Turning on the feature for us in essence means that almost twice as many visitors read something else besides the original post that brought them here.

How does it work?

The related content is automatically generated based on the content of the post and any tags or categories if they exist. Unlike many other related post plugins, we do all the analysis, processing, and serving from our cloud, so there is no additional load on your server. (That’s why many plugins like YARPP or Similar Posts are often banned by web hosts, but Jetpack Related Posts are allowed.)

This is not unlike other Jetpack features like Photon and Stats that rely on our cloud infrastructure for the heavy lifting.

Once its enabled (and if you have more than 10 posts in total on your site) the related posts will show up in a “Related Posts” section just below your main post content, very much like what you can see at the bottom of this post:-)

How to enable it

First, you need to have Jetpack installed and connected to your WordPress.com account.

Once this is done, go to the Jetpack page in your blog’s dashboard and click the Activate button for Related Posts. You can also customize how the related posts section looks by going to your Settings → Reading page and scrolling down to the options next to “Related posts.”

Posted in Features | Tagged , | 20 Comments

“Hear it from us first”: Why every site should run Jetpack

Jetpack is a WordPress plugin that helps you optimise your site on various fronts: traffic, development and user experience amongst others. There is one feature however which I feel is critical: Jetpack Monitor. Simply put, Jetpack Monitor keeps tabs on your site and alerts you the moment that downtime is detected.

angryclients2

Like a lot of people who work in web, before I joined the Jetpack team I did quite a bit of client work: both freelance and at agencies. For me the absolute worst thing in this business is receiving a call from a client, most likely while you’re relaxing on a beach or just waking up, desperately asking you to fix her site because she’s losing money, clients or brand value while her site is down.

Jetpack Monitor might not do away with the frantic scrabbling you’ll need to do to fix the site but it will put you back in the driving seat. Because you get notified first you can turn the tables around and call your client yourself, calmly saying “Hey, as I’ve been keeping tabs on your site I noticed it just went down 10 seconds ago. Don’t panic, I’m on it.” At times the problem might even be a trivial one meaning that you can actually call your client and say that its already sorted!

Of course the same applies if you maintain your own site. You’ll get notified by us rather than by one of readers (or customers) making it more likely you can fix the problem before it affects too many of your users.

That’s it. With Jetpack Monitor, if your site goes down, you’ll hear it from us first.

Its entirely likely, indeed desirable, that you will turn this feature on when you install Jetpack and then never think about it again. But if, for whatever reason, your site or your client’s site does go down you will be thanking your lucky stars this feature is enabled.

Try Jetpack for yourself by connecting it to your site or by downloading the plugin files directly if you prefer that route. Oh, and do let us know in the comments if you have any questions or suggestions.

Posted in Features | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

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:

  1. Photon
    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.

  2. Monitor
    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.

 

Mobile Devices

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:

  1. Mobile theme
    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.

  2. Custom CSS
    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.

 

Interaction

Finally the last set of features deal with enabling your visitors to interact with your site, content and the community in a smoother fashion:

  1. Likes
    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.

  2. Related Posts
    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.

  3. Infinite Scroll
    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.

  4. Jetpack Comments
    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!

Posted in Features, Tips & Tricks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Indispensable Jetpack features for theme developers

Jetpack offers a number of great features for theme developers that help you cut down both development time as well as load times. Most of these features work right out of the box, but you can also get under the hood to apply tweaks and customisations that really take your theme to the next level.

This article introduces you to:

  1. Speeding up your theme with Photon
  2. Showcasing posts with Featured Content
  3. Automatically loading posts with Infinite Scroll
  4. Instantly applying a Mobile Theme
  5. Customising CSS
  6. Providing Sharing functionality
  7. Integrating Social Links
  8. Showing similar content with Related Posts
  9. Additional resources

 

1. Speeding up your theme with Photon

Jetpack for developersPhoton is a free image CDN offered by Jetpack. As soon as Photon is enabled, it automatically serves the images found in posts and pages from WordPress.com’s speedy servers around the globe.

But did you know that you can use it to save bandwidth and speed up load times for images within your theme, too? You can link to a Photon-ized version of an image by calling the jetpack_photon_url() function. Its quite straightforward and we’ve put together some step-by-step instructions to make it even easier.

 

2. Showcasing posts with Featured Content

Featured Content SettingsFeatured Content is one of Jetpack’s lesser known features. But it’s a really powerful tool for theme development because you can use it to create a completely custom area in your theme for users to showcase posts. The appearance and placement is completely up to you, the theme author.

Your users can then specify which posts to show in that area simply by selecting a tag of their choice. There’s even an option to hide the tag from post meta and tag clouds.

Whether you are building an image slider on your homepage, or want to allow users to highlight specific posts, Featured Content makes it easier than rolling your own custom functionality. You can see a few examples of the feature in action here.

 

3. Automatically loading posts with Infinite Scroll

With Infinite Scroll active, users no longer have to click a link to get to the next set of posts on archive pages. Instead, your theme loads the next set of posts automatically into view when the reader approaches the bottom of the page. You’ve probably seen similar functionality on other sites, and thanks to Jetpack, it’s a snap to add it to your theme.

 

4. Instantly applying a Mobile Theme

Jetpack Mobile Front PageMobile internet usage is growing exponentially and any theme worth its salt should work on mobile devices. That’s why you’ll be happy to know that Jetpack ships with a full Mobile Theme ready-to-go out of the box.

Just use the .mobile-theme CSS class to style the mobile theme or take things a step further and use jetpack_is_mobile to target mobile visitors.

That way you can build the best user experience for your theme, no matter what device visitors are using.

Check out this article on customizing Jetpack’s mobile theme to learn more.

 

5. Customising CSS

If you’ve published a theme before you most likely know that users often want to customize its appearance. Savvy users might create a child theme, but more often than not, users will simply edit your theme’s files directly.

revision_listThat can get messy when you release a theme update that overwrites users’ modifications. But thanks to Jetpack, a much more user-friendly alternative is available through the Custom CSS feature which also includes a revision history.

After activating the feature, a ‘Custom CSS link’ is added to the Appearance menu in the Dashboard. From there, users can add their own Custom CSS, without touching the theme’s files. They can even use their favorite CSS pre-processer, as support for both SASS and LESS is built right in.

 

6. Providing Sharing functionality

The Sharing feature allows you to add social media sharing buttons to your theme. There are multiple display options built in and you can opt to use your own custom styles as well.

In this way you can integrate social sharing buttons in your theme, and keep complete control over their appearance. You can even alter the functionality with some jQuery magic. Our friends over at ThemeShaper have a great article with more information about this.

 

7. Integrating Social Links

Jetpack also makes it easy to include Social Links within your theme. After a user connects their social media accounts through Publicize, you can automatically use links to their accounts in your theme. You can add support with add_theme_support() and then use the Theme Modifications API to pull the data into your theme.

 

8. Showing similar content with Related Posts

Related posts in visually striking modeRelated Posts is one of Jetpack’s newer features. When activated, this adds a section to single posts that includes automatically generated links to similar content.

By default the section appears at the bottom of your content, but you can also move it to the top with a filter. In addition users can add a shortcode wherever they want the section to appear.

This means that you can include styling for the Related Posts section in your theme and then users are able to drop in a custom Related Posts section that matches the rest of their site wherever they want.

 

9. Additional resources

Finally, we’d love to see what you’ve done yourself and what you think of Jetpack. If you have questions, comments or your own tips drop us a comment below! In addition to that, we’re always open to suggestions, so feel free to get in touch. Thanks for flying with Jetpack!

Posted in Features, Tips & Tricks | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments
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