Create the Perfect Barbershop Website with WordPress and the Jetpack Plugin

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.

Desk with various barber utilities such as heairbrush, combs, etc.

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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Run a Successful Sweepstakes on Your WordPress Website

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.

Be forthcoming

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.

Sweepstakes plugins

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.


Posted in Grow | Tagged , , | 1 Comment
an illustration of two people having a conversation about a website

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.

Continue reading → Why, Where, and How to Add a Contact Form

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Ways to Build Relationships with Contact Forms

Contact forms are a great way to create and build relationships with your readers and customers. Offering users the chance to connect with you on a personal level shows that you care about growing the relationship, and presents an opportunity to answer their questions.

The more people that fill out your online contact form, the higher your chances are of creating long-lasting relationships. It’s important to figure out how to persuade more visitors to fill out your forms. Making your contact form easy to find and use are the most important considerations, but you shouldn’t stop there.

There are many ways that you can create user-friendly, appealing contact forms. Read on to learn some tips that will help you build stronger relationships with even stronger contact forms.

Continue reading → Ways to Build Relationships with Contact Forms

Posted in Tips & Tricks | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Jetpack 5.4: Date Picker in Contact Form, Comment Improvements, and Welcome Screens

Today’s release of Jetpack 5.4 includes the addition of a new field to our Contact Form editor, display improvements to Comments and how they integrate with themes, and welcome screens for users of our paid plans. We’ve also added a new search feature, currently in beta, that Jetpack Professional customers can help us test.

Let’s take a closer look at what we’ve included in this update.

Date picker added to Contact Form editor

We added a new field to the Contact Form editor that allows you to add a date picker to your forms.

You can now create forms with date pickers.

This allows you to ask visitors to submit delivery dates, their birthdays, the best day to contact them, or anything else you can think of.

Improvements to Comments and theme compatibility

We’ve made some improvements to how the Jetpack comment form is displayed in some themes.

When enabled on your site, the Comments feature should now display a form with a default height. There should also be no extra white space below it. Comments entered into the form will cause the height of the form to expand automatically.

Welcome screens added to paid plans

When purchasing a Jetpack Personal, Premium, or Professional plan, you’ll now see a welcome screen with some tips to help you make the most of the plan you just purchased.

Here’s what you might see if you purchase a Personal plan.

Jetpack Search (Beta) available for Professional plan customers

If you’ve purchased a Professional Plan for your Jetpack site, this new release will give you access to a new feature we’re currently still testing: Jetpack Search, powered by Elasticsearch.

To get started, go to Settings > Traffic on WordPress.com, and select a site using Jetpack 5.4 and a Professional plan. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and enable the search feature.

This feature is still in beta, and we’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback if you give it a try.

Miscellaneous updates and fixes

Finally, here are a few more updates we’ve made in 5.4:

  • Fixed some UI issues within the Jetpack settings interface for the Internet Explorer 11 browser.
  • The Simple Payments button received some minor display improvements.
  • Facebook embeds have received display improvements.
  • RTL style fixes for some shortcodes.
  • Added a new “Time Unit” setting to available widgets.
  • Third party plugin and theme authors can add new menu items to the WordPress.com toolbar.

Full changelog and thanks

The changelog provides the full list of updates and changes in this release. If you have questions or feedback, please get in touch.

Install Jetpack on your site or upgrade to 5.4 today and let us know what you think!

Thank you to the contributors to this release:

Alexander Concha, Allen Snook, Andrew Duthie, Anthony Bubel, Daniel Walmsley, Derek Smart, Donna Peplinskie, Elio Rivero, Enej Bajgoric, Eric Binnion, Erick Hitter, George Stephanis, Igor Klimer, Igor Zinovyev, Umang Vaghela, James Fraser, James Nylen, Jeremy Herve, Justin Shreve, Kirk Wight, Lance Willett, Marko Andrijasevic, Michael Turk, Miguel Lezama, Nick Daugherty, Nicole Kohler, Oscar Lopez, Paul Sieminski, RC Lations, Rastislav Lamos, Rob Landers, Rocco Tripaldi, Sam Hotchkiss, Scott Stancil, Stanimir Stoyanov, Steve Seear, Takashi Irie, and Thomas Guillot.

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Jetpack 5.3: PHP 7.1 Compatibility, Ad Placement Control, and Visual Editor Improvements

Today’s release of Jetpack 5.3 includes support for PHP 7.1, greater control over the placement of your ads, and several enhancements to the experience viewing and managing your Jetpack site with the WordPress.com visual editor.

Here’s everything you’ll find in this update.

PHP 7.1 compatibility

Sites running PHP 7.1.x with opcache enabled will no longer have any issues when managing their Jetpack site from WordPress.com.

Choose where and how you display ads

Jetpack Premium and Professional customers now have more control over the placement of the ads on their site. We’ve added new options to control where ads appear, along with the option to show multiple ads if you wish.

Visual editor improvements

When managing your Jetpack site from WordPress.com (and using the visual editor), you’ll now have the option to preview it without leaving WordPress.com.

We’ve also updated the WordPress.com Toolbar to include a link to your comments in the My Sites menu.

Various bug fixes

Finally, we’ve resolved a few smaller issues and bugs, including:

  • Addressing compatibility issues with plugins using TinyMCE.
  • Fixing Contact Form submission emails for sites hosted by SiteGround.
  • Fixing an error with the Sitemaps feature when posts or images had special characters in their titles.
  • Re-adding a filter for the Widget Visibility feature that was accidentally removed.

Full changelog and thanks

The changelog provides the full list of updates and changes in this release. If you have questions or feedback, please get in touch.

Install Jetpack on your site or upgrade your current version today and let us know what you think.

Thank you to the contributors to this release:

Andrew Munro, Artur Piszek, Ben Dwyer, Brandon Kraft, Copons, Daniel Walmsley, Derek Smart, Derek Springer, Devin Samarin, Elio Rivero, Enej Bajgoric, Eric Binnion, Filipe Varela, George Stephanis, Igor Zinovyev, Jacopo Tomasone, Jeff Bowen, Jeff Golenski, Kirk Wight, Marcin Bot, Marek Hrabe, Marko Andrijasevic, Michael Turk, Miguel Lezama, Mohammad Jangda, Nicole Kohler, Richard Muscat, Rodrigo Iloro, Ryan Kanner, Rocco Tripaldi, Shaun Andrews

Posted in Releases | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments
screen shot of the new jetpack contact form

Jetpack 5.2: New Contact Form Experience

Jetpack 5.2 brings you a brand new contact form experience, a better explanation of our recommended features, and several performance improvements.

New Contact Form

Jetpack’s Contact Form for WordPress is one of our most popular free features. And with good reason: it’s the simplest and most effective way of enabling your readers to get in touch with you be it for praise, complaints, requests, or suggestions.

And now we’ve made it much simpler and faster to use.

screen shot of the new jetpack contact form

The new Jetpack contact form is now easier to use.

The next time you add a contact form to a page on your site you will see a new visual interface right inside the editor instead of a popup. Enjoy a full editing experience including adding and customizing fields and labels, re-ordering them by dragging, and easily setting email subject lines and recipients.

To edit, simply click on the form itself, and hit the “edit” icon. You can edit or remove the existing fields, or add new ones by going to the bottom of the form and clicking “add field.”

screen shot of new jetpack contact form

Click on the contact form and then the “Edit” icon in order to add new, change the order of, or delete fields in your form.

Simply drag and drop your fields to organize their order the way you want them. Click “Update Form” at the bottom when you’re done to save your changes.

screen shot of new jetpack contact form

Click “Add Field” at the bottom of your new contact form to add new fields. Click “Update Form” to save your changes.

Recommended Features

When you install Jetpack on a new site, we recommend activating certain popular features that are most valued by our users.

We’ve now improved this experience to better showcase and explain what the features and how they benefit your WordPress site.

Performance Improvements

We’ve also streamlined and reduced weight (file size) of the plugin as well as fixed bugs and introduced enhancements for stability. All these are under the hood ensuring a smoother Jetpack functioning with each version.

Full Changelog and Thanks

The changelog provides the full list of updates and changes in this release and if you have feedback please get in touch as always.

Install Jetpack on your site or upgrade your current version today and let us know what you think.

Thank you to the contributors to this release:

Alexandru Bucur, Anthony, Artur Piszek, Ben Lowery, Brandon Kraft, Daniel Walmsley, Derek Smart, Donncha Ó Caoimh, Drew Butler, Elio Rivero, Eric Binnion, Filipe Varela, George Stephanis, Igor Zinovyev, Marko Andrijasevic, Michael Arestad, Michael Turk, Miguel Lezama, Mohammad Jangda, Payton Swick, Richard Muscat, Rob Landers, Stephen Edgar, Thomas Guillot

Pro Tip: Personal plan customers benefit from priority support and faster assistance.

Posted in Releases | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Jetpack 4.0.4: Security Update, Bug Fixes and Improvements

Jetpack 4.0.4 is now available for download and includes some important security updates, bug fixes, and improvements. We recommend that you update your sites to the latest version as soon as possible.

Continue reading → Jetpack 4.0.4: Security Update, Bug Fixes and Improvements

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Jetpack 3.9.5 and 3.9.6: Maintenance Releases

WordPress 4.5 will be released in a few weeks, and we’ve made updates to Jetpack to account for the significant changes that will be introduced in this new version of WordPress.

These updates have involved making sure that certain Jetpack features work properly in the Customizer view, namely adding support for selective refresh. Big thanks to @westonruter for contributing the code!

Other enhancements and bug fixes:

miguel

  • Contact Form: no longer calling the datepicker method if it’s not available.
  • Single Sign On: settings checkboxes now honor filters and constants that restrict certain sign-in modes.
  • Shortcodes: fixed a problem with Gist fetching.
  • Shortcodes: fixed invalid HTML5 markup in YouTube embed code.
  • Shortcodes: made Vimeo links work properly in case of multiple mixed uses in one post.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to 3.9.5:

Christopher Finke, Derek Smart, Elio Rivero, Igor Zinovyev, Jeremy Herve, Matt Wiebe, Michael Cain, Miguel Lezama, Mo Jangda, Philip John, Tammie Lister, and Weston Ruter.

Jetpack 3.9.6 was also released today to fix an issue with some comments incorrectly rendering video embeds. Our apologies! Consider it an early April Fools’ Day joke…

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Hook of the Month: Customizing Contact Forms

Did you know you could create contact forms with Jetpack? This month, we’ll discover different ways to customize these forms on your site.

Use filters to customize Contact Forms on your site

Posted in Code snippets, Tips & Tricks | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments
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