Many website owners and content creators seek to build their brands by reaching out to the widest possible audiences. The question is, how do you make potential customers aware of what you have to offer?
If your goal is similar to the one described above, then pay attention to Enhanced Distribution from Jetpack.
Let’s discuss what Enhanced Distribution does, and why you should apply it to your website.
The WordPress.com Firehose
Enhanced Distribution enables your website’s public posts to be included within the WordPress.com Firehose. This is made available to search engines and other entities that use real-time content streams in a variety of ways. You can be included in the Firehose even if you’re a self-hosted WordPress site owner.
With Jetpack, your site’s content is eligible for inclusion in the Firehose. Just enable Enhanced Distribution. If you ever want to disable this (or any other Jetpack) feature, you can do so from the Jetpack Debugging Center.
Increase traffic and backlinks to your site
The primary benefit of enabling Enhanced Distribution involves quickly attracting site traffic.
Take search engines, for example. Enhanced Distribution enables your content to be indexed almost immediately upon being published. This increases your chances of being discovered by target audience members.
In addition, other site owners can use the Firehose to display content on their own websites. Whenever they do so, they’re required to link back to the original source. This drives visitors to your site by increasing the backlinks leading to it. According to an analysis from Backlinko, backlinks are correlated with higher Google search rankings as well.
Support your site with Enhanced Distribution
Enhanced Distribution can help you generate more site traffic and build your backlink strategy. It doesn’t require any added effort besides consistently publishing content to your site. From there, it will automatically be shared to the WordPress.com Firehose.
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Last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced several updates that changed how the platform populates News Feeds. As one of the largest sources of referral traffic for many websites, any change to Facebook’s algorithm has the potential to have major impact on the visibility, engagement, and profits of your site.
Let’s review what the Facebook algorithm changes entail, whether they affect your site traffic, and how Jetpack can help you navigate these changes to better distribute your content.
An overview of the algorithm change
According to Mark Zuckerberg’s post on the first of several algorithm changes in 2018, Facebook’s goal is to make News Feeds about facilitating “meaningful social interactions,” over “helping you find relevant content.” In theory, the outcome should yield more updates from friends and family and fewer ads and posts from websites, brands, and companies.
Since connecting with friends and family is a primary reason why people create Facebook accounts, this change should result in more positive user experiences.
How it might impact site traffic
The downside to the aforementioned Facebook algorithm change is that it could have negative effects on the traffic that websites, brands, and companies receive from their Facebook activities.
There’s a finite amount of posts that an individual’s News Feed displays at any given time. Therefore, if a higher proportion of those posts are from friends and family members, there will be fewer opportunities for brands to get the visibility and clicks they desire.
The bottom line is that engagement with friends and family is likely to increase, but referral traffic to other websites is likely to suffer significantly.
Use Facebook to engage your audience
While the algorithm change might be bad news for publishers who previously relied on Facebook to deliver a steady stream of traffic, all is not lost. There are still plenty of ways to use Facebook to engage with your audience.
There are still millions of daily Facebook users out there. Even if your business’s content receives fewer views, your potential audience is still quite large, and the traffic that Facebook can drive to your website remains significant.
This is why it’s important to continue sharing your posts on Facebook regularly. Publicize facilitates this by automatically sharing new content to your Facebook page as soon as you publish it. Just connect Publicize to your Facebook account and select the relevant page for your brand.
It’s also important to note that Facebook recently made another change that disables automatic content sharing to individual profiles. You can still share branded content on your profile, you just need to manually do it.
If you were previously promoting your website or business content through your personal Facebook profile, you can no longer automatically do this using Publicize or another service. However, you can regain this ability by converting your personal profile into a page, or setting up an entirely new page just for your brand.
In addition to automatically sharing your content, here are some tips and strategies that you can employ to capture as much site traffic as possible:
Only share your best content. If you consistently post content that receives little-to-no engagement, Facebook will give your posts less and less visibility.
Add social sharing buttons to your posts. Instead of working against the update, make it work for you. Enable your existing readers to conveniently distribute your content to their own networks of friends and family members.
Pay to boost your best posts. The latest Facebook algorithm change made the platform more of a “pay-to-play” space for brands that want to drive referral traffic. Fortunately, paying for more visibility is not a complicated process. Just be sure to choose your best content so that it’s money well spent.
Start a Facebook group to carve out your own space for user engagement. You will see more success getting members of a Facebook group to see one of your posts than just hoping it will be shown to those who liked your page. You can’t automatically share to Facebook groups, but they’re great places to manually post content that will encourage discussions and interactions.
Don’t let change deter you
For publishers, the Facebook landscape is very different now than it was a few years ago. But, when it comes to promoting your content, a dip in Facebook referral traffic is no reason to abandon the social network altogether.
With your website connected to your Facebook page and a few complementary content-sharing strategies, you can still grow your following and drive plenty of Facebook users to your website.
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Website conversion rates are among the hardest metrics to optimize after you build a website. This is especially true if you’re trying to sell a product or service.
The average website conversion rate is only around 1.6 percent, according to Wolfgang Digital’s 2017 eCommerce Benchmark KPI Study. That’s not very high. You should do everything you can to increase the chances that a site visitor takes a specific action, whether it’s signing up for your newsletter or completing a purchase.
Many website conversion tips address tactical points like creating compelling call-to-action buttons; however, technical problems can keep readers from spending time on your site — or even from making a purchase.
Today, we’ll look at some of the more common technical issues that can affect website conversions and discuss how to overcome them.
Decrease your page load times
People are busy. They don’t have time to sit back and wait for your website pages to load. This means that your site needs to be as fast as possible, or you’ll risk losing readers and customers.
A big factor in minimizing page loading times is the ability to serve large files (images or videos) from an offsite service known as a Content Delivery Network (CDN). By storing these files on a CDN, you reduce the load on your web server. This will make your site load faster. Often, CDNs also have server locations around the world, so if your site is hosted in one country but your visitor is from another, the nearest CDN server can send the files to your visitor’s browser faster than your web host can.
Jetpack saves you the trouble of setting up and implementing a CDN by offering the Site Accelerator feature with every plan, as well as an unlimited video CDN for Premium and Professional plan users. You just need to enable the tool within your settings.
As an added bonus, Jetpack’s lazy-loading images is a free feature that will only load the images visible on a visitor’s screen. If there are other images further down a page, they will only load once a reader reaches that portion of the page. Since the browser doesn’t need to download all the images at once, your initial page load time will be faster.
Protect your visitors’ data
The rise of eCommerce has unfortunately yielded opportunities for hackers and other malicious players to steal important user data, like payment and contact information.
For these reasons, it’s important that your visitors trust the safety of your site. They should be able to interact with payment gateways without worrying about their information being stolen. Using globally trusted service providers — for example, PayPal to securely handle online payments — will give your site credibility. A site visitor already understands that PayPal is a trustworthy service, so they are more likely to take the leap and make a payment on your site than if you were relying on an unknown provider.
WooCommerce is one solution that comes with a secure payment system, but you can explore other safe ways to accept payments online. For example, Premium and Professional plans support PayPal payments through Simple Payment buttons you can add to any post or page.
Leverage relevant content
Whenever a visitor comes to your site, a great way to keep them around (and eventually turn them into a buyer or subscriber) is to persuade them to read more content that’s relevant to their interests. Generally, this means manually adding links to content that’s related to a given post or page. Already a time-consuming task, this can also have a negative effect on your page load times.
This is where the Related Posts feature comes in handy. When you enable it, your content will automatically be indexed; relevant matches will pop up following the content of each of your posts or pages. Because the indexing is done via Jetpack’s servers, it has no effect on your site speed. The service will continue to index any new content you add to better serve your readers.
Enhance your search features
Imagine the following scenario: A visitor stumbles upon your content via a search engine results page. After they read your content, they decide to read more related posts about your products and services, which they also find interesting. They use your website’s search functionality to look for a specific topic, but the keyword they search for appears multiple times within your posts and pages. Your site becomes slow or doesn’t return relevant results, so the reader leaves in search of a better, faster site. Ultimately, you lose the opportunity to convert that potential customer.
To prevent this scenario, Jetpack uses Elasticsearch. Used by online publications like TIME, CNN, and People, Elasticsearch implements the power of a Google-like search engine into your website, but outsources the processing of that search to an external service. Elasticsearch provides relevant search results by using modern algorithms (similar to Google’s) to rank content. It will also prioritize recent content above older content in search results. Finally, if a user searches for an entire phrase instead of one word, Elasticsearch will return content that matches the full phrase, as opposed to content that only matches words within that phrase.
Available to Jetpack Professional plan users, Jetpack Search will deliver faster, more useful results to your visitors while cutting down on server resource requirements. It creates better experiences for your site visitors and increases the likelihood that you’ll convert them into customers.
Great website experiences increase conversions
To convince a site visitor to buy your product or service, you need to provide a user experience that gives them absolutely no reason to hesitate. This means eliminating long load times, questionable payment gateways, and breaks in website functionality. Not only will implementing the services outlined above provide that kind of experience, they will also decerase any doubts first-time buyers might have, helping you strengthen your conversion rates from both ends of the equation.
Whether you’re an established barber, are fresh out of school, or are just pulling together a business plan, creating an effective and beautiful barbershop website can be critical to your professional success. Let’s talk about standing out from the crowd, landing new clients, and extending your social reach by creating a website for your salon services with WordPress and the Jetpack plugin.
Finding the perfect theme
Selecting an effective theme is the first step in the site design process, as it defines your brand’s overall tone.
You can browse more than 100 themes in the Jetpack theme showcase. If you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for, you can upgrade your plan for a wider theme selection that also come with enhanced features.
Whether you’re looking for a retro, 19th-century design (complete with a rotating barbershop pole) or a modern aesthetic, there’s a theme out there that’s perfect for your barbershop website. Once you find one that has the features you need, customize it to align with your color scheme and the layout you desire. After the customization process is completed, ensure that your site looks great across devices — while Jetpack themes are responsive, it never hurts to double-check that your images are properly sized for a smooth viewing experience. Help visitors get a feel for your business, which will make them more likely to book appointments.
Showcasing your skills through fast-loading images
Haircuts are all about the look, so your website should feature photos of your clients’ fresh cuts, your staff members, and your shop. With Jetpack, you can serve up your photos quickly and display them in a visually compelling way.
Jetpack’s Site Accelerator serves your photos through its global network, keeping load times low and reducing the burden on your hosting server. Your images will be automatically resized so that they fit perfectly with your theme, giving you an extra speed and efficiency boost.
This isn’t where the image optimizations end, however. Users expect websites to load extremely fast. Fortunately, with Lazy Images your site is ready to meet their speedy demands. Does it sound strange that “laziness” gets you speed? Here’s how it works: if one of your site pages contains images scattered throughout, they are typically all loaded at the same time. Your readers, however, likely want to start scrolling down a page as quickly as possible, and they don’t immediately need to view images that appear towards the bottom of that page. With Lazy Images, your site only loads the images when they need to be seen: once they scroll into view on a page.
Reaching customers with contact forms
Answering questions and responding to feedback are great ways to engage with customers. Those who ask questions and have them answered might be more likely to become customers, and anyone who leaves feedback — even if it’s critical — shows they are emotionally invested in your business.
To enable your customers to get in touch, have their questions answered, and their voices heard, consider adding a contact form to your pages or posts — it only takes seconds with the new Jetpack Form block. Each submitted form is delivered to the email address of your choice, and you can also view all replies within the Feedback section of your site.
After users submit a contact form, your site can redirect them to a “Thank You” page, where you can further incentivize interested individuals or appease critical feedback with special discounts. By adding a line of code to your theme’s functions.php file, you can add a customized message once your form has been successfully submitted.
Extending your reach with social media
Now that you have a theme for your site, images that load quickly, and contact forms to facilitate interaction, you can spread the word through social media integration. Help site visitors find your social media pages with ease in case they want to connect and share your posts to their own social channels. The Social Media Icons widget places links to your social media accounts on your sidebar. You can give viewers access to your YouTube or Vimeo clips, provide styling tips on Facebook or Twitter, or direct them to many other platforms where you maintain a presence, like Instagram.
You can also promote your Facebook page with the Facebook Page Plugin widget. This tool displays your profile photo on your website, as well as the number of “likes” your page has received. You can even configure this widget to display your latest Facebook posts on your website.
The possibilities are endless
The goal of any website is to make a business look appealing in order to attract customers and encourage audience engagement. For a business like a barbershop, which relies on sharp visuals and social buzz, Jetpack’s tools bring you one step closer to accomplishing your objectives.
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Sweepstakes, contests, and giveaways are often used by bloggers and marketers as ways to bolster mailing lists, boost user engagement, and increase exposure through social shares. Making sure that these campaigns are easy for you to manage and simple for participants to understand and enter will ensure that they run smoothly and achieve their purpose.
Let’s review a few tips and tool recommendations to help you effectively run a sweepstakes on your WordPress website, positioning you to reap the benefits and make the most out of your contest.
Running a sweepstakes has its perks
Using your site as a platform to run sweepstakes can increase the number of people that you typically reach. This is particularly true if your readership growth is a bit stagnant. Sweepstakes and contests can attract more eyeballs to your content, giving you the chance to reward a few of your readers for the time they spend exploring your site and sharing your posts. Since sweepstakes usually involve sharing a post on social media, your readers will be doing most of the sweepstakes marketing for you. Plus, if you’re giving away a product that you make and sell as the sweepstakes prize, your exposure will be even greater, as the winner might post and share photos of themselves using your product.
Don’t think that the benefits of sweepstakes, contests, and giveaways are fleeting. If your content remains relevant, it’s likely that participants will still follow your blog (or your social media accounts) even after your promotion ends.
Sweepstakes best practices
If this is your first time conducting this kind of promotion, here are a few tips that can help you run it smoothly.
Highlight your sweepstakes with its own page
If you’re a frequent blogger and you announce a sweepstakes within a regular post, it may get buried among your other posts. Instead, create a separate page with the pertinent contest details.
You can display your sweepstakes promotion within a widget. Use Widget Visibility to control which pages display your sweepstakes listing, and to hide other widgets that might distract from it. This should make your sweepstakes more visible to casual site visitors who stumble upon your page. Add it to your site’s primary navigation menu, display a message on the sidebar of your blog’s content page, or add a call-to-action button below your latest posts asking readers to enter your sweepstakes. This can save time that you might spend promoting and explaining the sweepstakes rules, and will make it easier for participants to navigate to, bookmark, and share your sweepstakes listing.
This rule applies to both your entry process and your intentions for running a sweepstakes on your WordPress website. If you make participants jump through too many hoops, you will likely end up with fewer entrants, which limits your promotion’s potential reach.
If you’re asking participants to submit personal information (like their names and email addresses to validate their entries), inform them about how you will be using their data. For example, if you’re conducting a sweepstakes to collect email addresses for your next newsletter marketing campaign, tell participants that they will be added to your list of email subscribers (and that they can opt out at any time). This is also applicable if you’re using Contact Forms to collect sweepstakes information.
Practice with a dry run
From contest rules to the entry process, any small hiccup could stall your sweepstakes’ success. Get ahead of these issues by testing your landing page with a small group of people before going live. You might reach out to willing participants on social media or ask a small group within your family-and-friends network to test your initial entry form.
Ask your testers how you might improve the wording of your sweepstakes rules, how long the process took them to complete, and how they felt as they were submitting their entries. Request that they submit any feedback using a contact form placed on your site, or through one of your social media channels. Take their feedback to heart when revising your sweepstakes entry form before sharing it with the general public.
With Jetpack’s suite of promotional features, most of your bases are already covered; these include Social Media Icons that complement any sharing components of your sweepstakes, Publicize to automate your contest-related posts, and the Milestone Widget to create a countdown for the number of days remaining until the winner is announced. Combine these with a plugin like Pick Giveaway Winner,Contests by Rewards Fuel, or Social Polls to complete your contest toolkit.
A small sweepstakes can create a big buzz
Running sweepstakes on your website can introduce your content to new readers, increase your site traffic, and boost engagement. With a bit of promotion and the tips and tools mentioned above, you can mobilize your followers to do the marketing for you.
If you’re a teacher, principal, or educator, you know how important creating a school website has become — some countries even require them. Parents visit the websites of their children’s schools to find information, students access their assignments, and prospective students and community members can learn about upcoming events.
Creating a school website requires more than just setting up a landing page. It will serve as a hub for communications, marketing, and resources.
Let’s explore the Jetpack features that can help educators create their school with WordPress, while ensuring they serve as assets for students, families, and communities.
Use photos to commemorate and promote events
Images can play two important roles on a school website:
They’re an effective way for parents to see what’s happening at school and how their children are performing. Images from award ceremonies, trips, and stage performances help students celebrate their successes as well as commemorate their milestones.
Images show off your school’s strengths to prospective parents who might enroll their children in the future. Photos of classroom learning and students enjoying activities on campus can bolster a positive image of your school and faculty.
Jetpack offers tools that can present your photos professionally and dynamically. When you create a gallery (have you tried the recently launched Gallery block in the WordPress Editor? You should!), you can specify how images will be displayed, from the number of columns to whether thumbnails are cropped or not.
Share updates to engage with your community
More and more schools are becoming active on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. They use these outlets to share updates and content with their communities. Although effective, this can become a time-consuming labor of love when done manually.
Publicize lets you automatically share new content to your social media channels as soon as it’s published. Just connect to your social media accounts and it will happen automatically. You can also tailor each post to your liking, or have Jetpack create descriptions based on the content of your posts. If you haven’t connected any social accounts yet, no worries — you can do that with a few clicks from the WordPress Editor’s sidebar — once you click Publish once, part of the confirmation process includes the option to add the networks you wish.
You can also encourage students and proud parents to share your school’s posts on their own social media accounts. Jetpack’s Social Sharing feature adds convenient buttons to each post, allowing visitors to re-share them in a matter of seconds.
If a robust social media presence isn’t the right choice for your particular school, keep in mind that you can still implement Social Sharing features so that your visitors can share your content to their personal feeds.
Create a calendar to keep everyone on schedule
Whether they’re looking for winter vacation dates, the summer school session period, or the graduation ceremony start time, your students, their parents, and even your own faculty members will turn to your school website for answers.
With the Upcoming Events Widget, you can add a list of forthcoming events along the sidebar or footer of every page of your site. This makes it easier for people to find what they’re looking for.
If you link this widget to a Google calendar, it will automatically display the most up-to-date details.
Use site security to protect your data
To protect your students and their families, the security of school data should be taken very seriously. European schools were affected by GDPR legislation, and elsewhere, there are regulations in place to ensure that the data held by schools is stored and used appropriately.
Your school website is a valuable asset. It can help you communicate with students and parents, allow you to share memories and accomplishments, and even attract new students. With Jetpack’s powerful features, you can enhance your school website, making it work even harder for your community.
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If you’re a musician, you probably agree that having a fresh, informative band website is important for promoting your songs and updating fans with your latest tour information and releases. Even if you’re already posting this information on social media, you can use your website as the hub for your online activity: a one-stop shop for listeners to connect with you.
Today, we’ll explore how you can use Jetpack tools to design your band’s site, promote your concerts, showcase photos and videos, and connect with fans over social media.
Pick a music-friendly theme
Among many others, bands like Dada Life and Tritonal use WordPress themes designed to amplify music websites.
To make your band’s website stand out from the crowd, consider using one of Jetpack’s many musician-friendly themes. For example, the recently launched Twenty Nineteen is a great choice for band websites, as it allows you to highlight your band’s logo and add widgets that display upcoming concert dates.
If you’re a Professional plan user, you’ll have access to more than 100 free themes (available with all plans), plus 200 premium themes to choose from. You can upload any theme you choose to your WordPress site, but Jetpack themes come with many built-in selections for a faster, streamlined setup.
Promote concerts and events
Want to share your tour dates online or let fans know about album release parties, pop-up shows, or other appearances? You can use the Upcoming Events widget and shortcode to display events directly from your Google calendar.
Here’s an example of what the Events shortcode looks like, placed inside a shortcode block within the WordPress Editor. Note the calendar link and the number of events to be displayed — in this case, three.
After you publish your post, the shortcode automatically turns into an event listing.
The beauty of syncing with your Google calendar is that after you set up the shortcode (or widget) to display events on your band’s website, you won’t need to update it again. Your Upcoming Events will automatically refresh to show the events on your Google calendar.
Showcase concert photos
Fans love seeing exclusive band photos. In addition to promotional album shoots and live concert images, listeners want to see what goes on behind the scenes. On your band’s website, you might want to share candid shots from recording sessions, goofy poses after late-night practices, and even the chaos taking place just before showtime. It’s these peek-behind-the-curtain moments that deepen the emotional connection fans have with your music.
With Jetpack, you can add captivating galleries to your band website. Go to a post or page, add a gallery block, and select the images that you want to include.
You can create as many galleries as you want, and edit existing ones as well.
Share high-quality videos
Not everyone can make it to your live shows, but you can still share videos from your concerts online so that anyone, anywhere, can experience them from wherever they are.
With Jetpack, you have the ability to upload and display videos from your media library, YouTube, and a variety of other video hosting services directly on your site. You can also embed a live video or entire YouTube playlists. There’s no extra coding knowledge required; in most cases, you’ll just need to insert the web address of the video into a post or page or select them from your existing videos.
You’re most likely using at least one social media platform to promote your band online. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, or another channel, you can connect your social accounts back to your website using the Social Icons Widget. This tool adds icons that link directly to your social pages. That way, visitors of your band website can easily find you across their favorite social platforms, and are more likely to share your music with new fans.
If you’re already investing time and energy into posting content to your social channels, you might as well get extra mileage out of your efforts. In many themes, you can display social media feeds directly on your website — for example, integrate your Twitter feed into your sidebar with the Twitter Timeline Widget.
Social feeds let you post content published elsewhere directly on your band website. Alternatively, you have the ability to share content from your website straight to your social channels with Publicize and automated social sharing.
Whenever you publish a new post, you can automatically share it across your configured social media channels. This will keep every one of your channels updated, allowing for followers and fans to stay in the know about album release dates, public appearances, and impromptu concerts.
If you have a Premium or Professional plan, you’ll also have the option to re-share previously published content to your social platforms. This comes in handy on days when you want to revisit a particularly successful song, or reminisce about your very first concert.
It’s your turn to take the stage
Whether you want to share videos, embed music files, publish tour dates, or otherwise connect with your fans, Jetpack tools can empower your WordPress site to do so.
Do you write content in the WordPress editor? Many content creators start new blog posts outside of WordPress (using programs like Microsoft Word), attempt to move them over, then spend a lot of time scouring for formatting issues and discrepancies that result from this cross-platform translation.
What if you could create a better writing process within the WordPress editor itself? It all starts by adopting a slightly different way to write.
Today, we’ll learn how the Markdown online editor can support you in creating a streamlined writing and editing process all within the WordPress enterprise.
Markdown is like a translator
Markdown can be thought of as its own language, but that makes things sound more complicated than they really are.
There’s no need to take years of Markdown classes to become proficient in it, you just need to familiarize yourself with the formatting syntax that makes it tick. In fact, coder, author, and web developer, Brett Terpstra, says, “the syntax is so simple that you can barely call it ‘syntax.’ If you can use an emoticon, you can write Markdown.”
The inventor of Markdown, John Gruber, describes it as, “a text-to-HTML conversion tool for web writers.”
Here’s how Markdown works:
A writer or blogger like yourself inputs plain text using Markdown syntax.
The Markdown online editor converts the plain text into structurally correct HTML.
How to learn Markdown
The easiest way to pick up any new skill is to practice. Go through the Markdown Tutorial to learn about popular syntax formatting tricks, and to see how they work in real-time. CommonMark also offers its own interactive learning tutorial, as well as a quick reference guide for the Markdown online editor.
WordPress.com offers yet another, even more comprehensive Markdown reference.
Markdown offers more ease with WordPress
Markdown unlocks greater usability within the WordPress visual editor.
Some bloggers begin writing posts using another editor (such as Google Docs or Microsoft Word) because they haven’t noticed great writing experiences within WordPress out-of-the-box. The problem with moving your writing from an outside editor over to WordPress is that a lot can get lost in translation.
Have you ever noticed some extra code when switching between the visual editor and the text editor after copying and pasting text from outside of the WordPress environment? Oftentimes, these discrepancies take the form of unnecessary tags that become tedious to manually remove. If you opt not to remove these extra code characters, it can actually hurt your ability to rank well in relevant search engine inquiries because of the “code bloat.”
Another usability problem that some bloggers run into is having to interrupt their typing to reach for the mouse and highlight text that needs special formatting. With Markdown, you won’t need to do this until you’re done writing, as it’s a completely portable syntax that you can use without having to draft your content within the WordPress editor.
So, if you write better while using a different platform, you can use Typora (a free Mac Markdown editor) or MarkPad (a free, open-source Windows Markdown editor) to draft your content using Markdown and then paste it into WordPress without breaking any code or adding unnecessary characters and formatting.
On that note, manually coding HTML can be extremely time-consuming. It’s also ripe with the potential for errors. Forgetting to close a tag or accidentally adding an extra character can cause a lot of problems. Markdown creates structurally sound HTML formatting while preserving syntax in the visual editor, so you can make changes to either type of code at any time.
Jetpack and the Markdown online editor
Jetpack uses Markdown Extra, which adds more functionality and introduces an ease in formatting with regards to inline HTML, tables, and ordered lists.
To enable Markdown functionality, navigate to Jetpack in the WordPress dashboard, then go to Settings > Writing > Composing, and toggle the “Write posts or pages in plain-text Markdown syntax” option, as such:
If you want to use Markdown for comments, you can also do so under the Discussion area of the dashboard. You can even enable Markdown for use with custom fields and custom post types.
Spend a little time learning Markdown to save a lot of time in the future
Like anything truly great in life, you won’t reap the benefits until you put in the work. The same can definitely be said about learning Markdown. Increasing productivity usually begins with a time investment to learn (or create) systems that run efficiently.
Luckily, learning Markdown is straightforward once you put forth the effort. With a minor time investment, Markdown can improve your blogging process, adding efficiencies that you might not have known were possible.
Are you excited to give Markdown a try? Leave any unanswered questions in the comments and our experts will help you get acquainted with this new skill!
As a site owner, one of your goals will likely be to attract more visitors, as this is one of the best ways to encourage people to check out your content, converting them into fans or customers.
But to do this, you’ll want to increase your website traffic. This probably means increasing your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts and applying other techniques to grow your audience, as well.
In this post, you’ll learn about some of the techniques and tools available (including ones that come with Jetpack), to help you increase website traffic and attract new readers, fans, and customers.
Making your site easier to find
If you want to increase the number of people visiting your site, make it easier for search engines like Google to find and identify the information and keywords (also known as “crawling”) that you use.
Adding an XML sitemap gives search engines a file they can use to determine the structure of your site. Then, they will effectively crawl it without missing any important information that might help you rank higher in search results.
Activate XML sitemaps through your Jetpack settings to turn on this essential SEO feature.
Formatting your post titles for SEO
One of the ways you can enhance your site’s SEO is by making the titles of your posts and pages display in ways that tell search engines more about your site and content. This also improves the way your site appears in search results. With Jetpack, you can customize how content titles display, so when someone sees your entry among their search results, they will be presented with the most useful information about your site, which might encourage them to click through to it.
For example, you can reorder items such as your site’s name and tagline, and add your own custom separators between them.
Optimizing meta descriptions
A meta description is the text that appears beneath your site’s name on a page of search results. Below, you’ll notice the meta description for Jetpack’s homepage; it’s the gray text beneath the URL.
The words that you include in your meta descriptions will be viewed by people who come across your page after performing searches. So, although these won’t affect your site’s chances of showing up in search results, it may affect the chances of people clicking through to your site. Making the meta description attractive and enticing can earn you more clicks and visitors.
In addition to optimizing the meta description of your homepage, you can also optimize it for internal pages (especially for landing pages designed to increase site traffic).
Previewing your search results
Before you publish your posts or pages, you can preview what they’ll look like on a search engine results page with an SEO preview tool.
Activate this tool before publishing your content, and you can see exactly how a page will look among search results. If you’re not satisfied with its appearance, you can edit your post or its settings before publishing it.
Easily sharing content
A great way to increase website traffic is to share your content across your social media channels. This increases the number of people who view your content, and might encourage them to click through to your website.
In your Jetpack settings, specify which social media channels you want to share to (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), provide your login credentials, and Jetpack will automatically share your new content to these pages. You can even create your own custom sharing buttons, which will make it even easier for visitors to share your site with their own followers.
Encouraging site visitors to share content from your site is extremely powerful. This can be seen as a form of validation, as they are touting your services to their friends and family, and might broaden your potential audience to include these important contacts.
You can add sharing buttons through your settings page, and they will automatically be added to all of your new posts. This will prevent any missed opportunities to distribute your content to more people.
Analyzing visitor numbers and behavior
To ensure that your SEO efforts are paying off, monitor your Site Stats and Google Analytics to determine what content is the most popular, and which pages people are leaving your site from. This will give you insight into your users’ experiences.
This can help you plan future content and identify which pieces of content you want to boost through social media outreach or other types of marketing. If a certain type of post attracts a lot of visitors, then it makes sense to write more posts like it, and to boost its presence.
Jetpack comes with basic stats built in, which can help you track how many people have been visiting your site and from what sources. If you have a Premium or Professional plan, you can enhance this by linking your site to your Google Analytics account and seeing detailed stats right from your site dashboard, like ecommerce tracking support and detailed reporting for products, conversions, and shopping cart behavior.
Increase your site traffic with the power of SEO and social engagement
Employing these tools and techniques can help you increase website traffic by making it easier for search engines to index your site, encouraging visitors to click through to your content, and allowing fans to share it across their own social media accounts.
Have any of these tools given your website traffic a boost? We’d love to hear from you!
Every website owner, from blogger to eCommerce entrepreneur, wants visitors to engage with their site. The longer you keep a visitor around, the more invested they become in your brand — and the more likely they are to make a purchase or subscribe to your content.
That’s why it’s important to capture their attention and keep them clicking through your site past the page they landed on.
1. Keep them reading with relevant content
A great way to keep your readers on your site longer is to entice them with more of your own content — but in a targeted way that speaks to their interests.
When a reader is already on a post, you can show them related content below to keep them clicking and reading. To do this with your WordPress site, just activate Jetpack’s Related Posts feature.
To start using Related Posts, visit Jetpack → Settings → Traffic → Related Posts and select the Show related content after posts option.
PRO TIP: It’s a good idea to always include relevant images in your posts. When you select the Show a thumbnail image where available option, your Related Posts sections will be that much more compelling.
2. Make your content easy to access
Keep your readers engaged by showing just how much there is to explore on your site at a glance. By featuring links to content in a sidebar or footer area, you can make it easy to access more posts and pages and keep your readers around longer.
Make use of your website’s real estate by adding lists and links to your content in your widget and menu areas. Widget areas could be your sidebar, footer, or other blocks of content built into the design of your WordPress theme.
Use the Top Posts & Pages Widget to promote your content with the most views. To add a widget, go to Appearance → Widgets. Then, select one of the many widget options to link to your posts and pages. You can add the Top Posts & Pages Widget, the Display WordPress Posts Widget, a Categories widget, or you could generate a tag cloud to help people find content related to specific topics.
If you’re unable to find the Top Posts & Pages Widget, make sure that you have the Widgets feature enabled from Jetpack → Settings → Writing:
PRO TIP: using Jetpack’s Widget Visibility feature, you can have complete control over where widgets do – and do not – appear across your site. This allows you to better target visitors with relevant links and content, depending on which page they’re currently browsing.
3. Highlight your content using image widgets
Another fun and effective way to advertise your content is using Jetpack’s Image widget. You can add temporary images linking to interesting posts, popular products, items currently on sale, or any content where you’re looking to drive lots of traffic.
Use this flexible feature to create your very own advertisements directly on your site. The visual cues will direct a reader’s attention to the content or products you want them to explore. This can be very useful for eCommerce sites, service providers, and websites offering special promotions.
When you add a new Image widget to your site, you can either select an image that has already been uploaded to your media library, upload a brand new image from your computer, or insert an image directly from a URL.
PRO TIP: If you need some help creating compelling promotional images or badges, we recommend checking out Canva (it’s free!). In just a few minutes – with no design experience required – you can be up and running with a beautiful design.
4. Communicate through clear navigation
It’s important to remember that if your content isn’t linked in your navigation menu or promoted on your homepage, your visitors may simply never find it. Make sure everything is easy to access bycreating custom menus in your menu or widget areas.
These could be short menus or a single complex drop-down menu. Either way, the goal is to make it easy for your visitors to navigate your site with a thoughtful and straight-forward menu structure. When your content is categorized and put on display, it becomes much more pleasant and intuitive to explore your site.
Learn how to create and customize your menus from Appearance → Menushere.
PRO TIP: While you’ll definitely want to include all of your static and important pages in your primary navigation, don’t be afraid to include links to other content that you’re trying to promote. This can include posts or even external links. If you want your visitors to see something, getting it in front of them on the home page and in the primary site navigation is really important.
Use these tips to keep your visitors engaged
Whether you run a personal website or a large eCommerce marketplace, you don’t just want traffic: you want your readers to engage with your website in a meaningful way. That’s why it’s important to reward them with relevant content that delivers on their expectations and adds value to their lives.
The more readers enjoy being on your site, the longer they’ll stay — and the more likely they will become a subscriber or customer. A proven way to build your following is to use Jetpack’s Related Posts feature, the Top Posts & Pages Widget, Image widgets, and WordPress’ custom menu feature to make it easier for your readers to engage.
What about you? What tips do you have to keep visitors on your site for longer? Share them with us in the comments.