As your website grows, it becomes challenging for visitors to find exactly what they need. More posts and pages mean more things to search, and more chances of finding irrelevant content. The default WordPress search can strain your server, slowing your site down for everyone.
Have you ever used a new piece of technology and immediately wished you could poke around inside — “How’d they do that?” Us too! Luckily, the open source ethos that informs everything we do means that the guts of the new Jetpack Search are there for the poking.
For a change this big, we also thought it’d be useful to share why we felt large changes to our architecture were necessary in order to improve the search experience.
At Jetpack, our team members are usually busy tinkering under the hood to make sure everything is humming along and our customers are satisfied — but we interrupted one of them for an inside look at Jetpack and some valuable tips and tricks.
Today’s release of Jetpack 5.8 includes several features that have graduated from beta testing. We are very excited to bring them out for you to try.
Let’s take a closer look at what we’ve included in this update, and how today’s additions will help you speed up your site and deliver faster, more relevant content to your visitors — always a good thing!
New search service exits beta
The most exciting news first: all Professional plan customers will now be able to use the new Jetpack search service, which replaces the default WordPress search functionality with an Elasticsearch-powered service. This delivers more relevant results with powerful filtering options and unmatched scalability for sites with large amounts of content.
For sites that have a large number of posts, pages, or products, you will see significant improvements to both the speed of searching through the site, as well as to the relevance of the results returned.
For site builders, you can configure our sidebar widgets so that users can refine their search by any categories, tags, month/year, post type or any taxonomy. For developers, we expose the full power of Elasticsearch under the hood — send custom queries or use our template tags to customize the end-user search experience. Learn more about this feature on our support page.
We received a ton of fantastic feedback from customers who tested this during the early stages, and we’d like to give our heartfelt thanks to everyone who submitted their feedback, test results, and ideas for improving this integration prior to today’s official launch.
Lazy loading images
Sites that have a large number of images — like photo blogs, travel sites, and online stores — have a new feature to try out that may significantly speed things up and lower their bounce rates. We’ve implemented a lazy loading images feature into Jetpack 5.8, which significantly reduces page load times for end users.
Lazy loading images work in this way: instead of waiting for the entire page to load before displaying it to a visitor, Jetpack will instead show the page’s non-image content as quickly as possible (usually instantly). Jetpack then requests and downloads images on the page when the user scrolls down, so they’ll appear right as the user gets to that point on the screen.
Here’s a short video showing the difference between a site with this feature and one without:
Combined with our existing image CDN, this has the potential to speed up media-heavy sites dramatically. We’d love to hear your feedback on it if you give it a try.
Get more for your money with Jetpack Premium
About a week ago, we quietly rolled out some changes to our Premium plan. The keen-eyed among you may have already spotted the changes or new features in your dashboard, but if you missed it, here’s what’s new.
Previously, there were some minor differences in the security offerings between our Premium and Professional plans. But now, Premium customers have access to on-demand security scanning and automated threat resolution.
We’ve also lifted the 13GB restriction on video uploads for the plan, so Premium customers now get unlimited video uploading and streaming services.
Jetpack’s video hosting service is designed and optimized for WordPress, integrates directly into the media library you use on a daily basis, and—best of all—is completely ad-free. It uses the same CDN as our images, so it’s blazing fast. If you haven’t already tried it, now’s a great time to experiment!
Finally, we’ve made all of our SEO tools available to Premium customers. You can now preview and optimize your site content, or get in-depth stats with our seamless Google Analytics integration.
We think all of these additions make our Premium plan an even better value for WordPress users. At just $99 annually, it’s the most affordable way to get best-in-class security tools, super fast photo and video hosting, features that will improve your site traffic and search engine rankings, and so much more.
Not a Jetpack Premium customer? We also have a major improvement coming for Jetpack Personal that we’ll be ready to announce in just a few weeks. Keep an eye on your dashboard for an important notice soon!
Additional enhancements and improvements
Finally, here are a few smaller changes we still think are worth mentioning:
Support has been added for site language and timezone settings.
We’ve improved the display of noticesinside the Jetpack dashboard.
The GettyImages shortcode has been updated to use the new format required by GettyImages.
For Premium and Professional customers using our ad program, we’ve now enabled the ads in the header by default. We’ve also added filters so you can control the display of the ads via code.
If you have any questions about these changes or feedback on the new features, please get in touch and one of our Happiness Engineers will gladly lend a hand.
Install Jetpack or upgrade to 5.8 today to see just how fast your site can go!
Thanks to the contributors to this release:
Adam Zielinski, Alex Mills, Anna Magdalena Kedzierska, Bernie Reiter, Daniel W. Robert, Daniel Walmsley, Derek Smart, Derek Springer, Elio Rivero, Enej Bajgoric, Eric Binnion, Greg Ichneumon Brown, Igor Zinovyev, James Nylen, Javi Alvarez, Jeff Bowen, Jeff Golenski, Jeremy Herve, Joell Lapitan, Jon Surrell, Marin Atanasov, Matt Wiebe, Michael Turk, Miguel Lezama, Mikael Korpela, Nicole Kohler, Oscar Lopez, Peter Westwood, Richard Muscat, Rob Landers, Rocco Tripaldi, Rodrigo Iloro, Sam Hotchkiss, Sanket Parmar, Scott Hartley, Simon Prosser, Stephen Edgar, Umang Vaghela, Victoria Holland, Jonathan Sadowski, and Philip John.
Let’s take a closer look at what we’ve included in this update, and how it’ll help you run a faster, more successful site.
Enhanced Ecommerce Tracking support for Professional plan customers
Jetpack Professional customers using WooCommerce and needing some in-depth Google Analytics reports will be happy with this release: we’ve now added support for Enhanced Ecommerce Tracking, which gives you deeper insights into product page activity, shopping cart additions and removals, and purchase data.
In Google Analytics, navigate to Admin and choose the account you want to enable Enhanced Ecommerce for.
Click Ecommerce Settings and toggle both Ecommerce Settings and Enhanced Ecommerce Settings to On.
Return to Jetpack and visit Settings > Traffic. Toggle the settings below the Google Analytics label on or off to track (or not track) features like add to cart events, product impressions, and the checkout process.
Enable these ecommerce settings in Jetpack to hook Google Analytics into your online store.
This feature still requires some code to enable and customize, but it can provide a great search experience, especially for sites with a high number of products or posts. You can see a custom faceted search UI in action on KFF.org, a WordPress.com VIP site which was our initial launch partner for a similar search product in 2013.
There are currently 200 sites using Jetpack Search in production. Here are some interesting stats we can share with you:
More than 10 of these sites have 100,000+ visitors per month.
Some of these are WooCommerce sites with hundreds or even thousands of products.
In fact, 20% of the sites using Jetpack Search are running WooCommerce!
20% of the sites testing this feature are non-English — this is great to see because we support any language, and also do custom analysis for 29 languages.
If you’re a Professional customer, are interested in Elasticsearch, and/or want to serve faster results to your visitors, please give it a try and let us know what you think. We’ve been getting some helpful feedback so far:
Until now, when filtering content, our image content delivery network (CDN), Photon, removed width and height attributes from image tags. This was done to make sure images were never distorted, regardless of how they were being inserted into a post or page.
We’ve now improved this process and will avoid removing those attributes when we can. Photon will preserve these attributes in tags present in slideshows, galleries, custom (non-Jetpack) galleries, and individual images.
The affected shortcodes are:
Full changelog and thanks
As always, the changelog provides the full list of updates and changes in this release. If you have questions or feedback, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to lend a hand.
Alex Kirk, Allen Snook, Brandon Kraft, Chris R, Daniel Walmsley, Derek Smart, Derek Springer, Elio Rivero, Enej Bajgoric, Eric Binnion, George Stephanis, Hew Sutton, Igor Zinovyev, Jacopo Tomasone, Jason Caldwell, Jeremy Herve, Jose Jaureguiberry, Mark George, Mark Samman, Marko Andrijasevic, Michael Turk, Miguel Lezama, Nick Daugherty, Oscar Lopez, Philip John, Rocco Tripaldi, Rodrigo Iloro, and Umang Vaghela.