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.

Posted in Releases | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

WordPress Support Stories: When a Theme Update Goes Awry

Updating your WordPress theme is a normal part of site maintenance. Switching themes or even updating current theme files on a self-hosted WordPress site is a major change that should only be done with a full site backup, just in case something goes awry. Need proof? Read Les Tokar’s story.

Les publishes reviews and articles about solid state drives (SSD) and other data storage technologies on his two sites: TechnologyX and The SSD Review. What he thought would be a smooth theme upgrade quickly derailed, but a quick restore saved his site, his search engine ranking, and his income.

The Miracle Worker

Tonight we completed a theme upgrade that had taken the better part of a week to fine tune. Our website is a business that employs several and does very well. At 9:00 p.m., we followed the new theme’s instructions on how to import sample data.

What the update never told us was that it created a new website on top of ours. It imported dozens of pictures and pages and went live immediately. To share just a bit of what we endured, we had to pull automated posts off of each of our 23 social connections (FB/Delicious/Twitter etc.,) as the theme update auto-posted to all.

Next, Google picks up our content within three seconds of posting. Google realized something was wrong and dropped us from their rankings within 10 minutes. We went from hundreds of visitors at any one time to eight-nine within minutes. Long story short, we used Jetpack’s site restore for the first time and it worked quickly and perfectly. What little we have invested doesn’t compare to its value tonight alone. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

— Submitted by flamenko

Big changes like a WordPress site design overhaul can quickly go wrong for various reasons. It’s important to prepare for any situation with a complete site backup you can restore quickly and easily. Every minute your site’s offline reduces your business success. For site owners who generate revenue through their sites, downtime or hacking can mean a loss of data, income, brand credibility, and even search engine ranking.

Jetpack offers daily and real-time backups. There’s no cap on backup size, and three simple ways to restore your site.

  • If your site has several things wrong with it and you’re unable to pinpoint the problem or you’re migrating your entire site, a full restore will get you back on track.
  • You can also choose to do a faster partial restore or perform a single-file restore for common mistakes like accidentally deleting or messing up your CSS file.
  • Not sure what you need? Jetpack priority support is here to guide you through the process in your moment of need.

Jetpack offers security, backups, and easy restoration. Most importantly: expert and priority support when you really need it. Learn more.

Posted in Support Stories | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on WordPress Support Stories: When a Theme Update Goes Awry

The Jetpack Personal plan: affordable site security, backups, and spam protection

As a site owner, you rely on your website to attract customers and earn money — regardless of whether you run a high-traffic, e-commerce site or a “brochure” site for your restaurant, consultancy, or small business. The new Jetpack Personal plan is an affordable way to safeguard your site’s content, data, and code from hackers and spammers, so that your site is always up and running when your customers arrive.

Introducing the Jetpack Personal plan

Our new plan protects your site at a much lower price — providing the security essentials you need to keep your site safe from hackers and spammers.

Learn more about Jetpack’s Personal plan

Posted in Features | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Securing your Site with Jetpack

jetpack-security

Website security is important, although it can seem daunting or tedious — it doesn’t have to be. These six simple and effective best practices will help you protect your WordPress website from malicious, unwanted attention (hint: Jetpack can help!).

Continue reading → Securing your Site with Jetpack

Posted in Security Series | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

New Plugin Browser

We are thrilled to announce the launch of the new Plugin Browser for your Jetpack sites. Now, you can install plugins from the WordPress.org plugin directory on all of your Jetpack sites from a single interface. You can also manage updates, and remove plugins you no longer need.

New Plugin Browser

New Plugin Browser

Until now, Jetpack sites with Manage enabled were only able to activate previously-installed plugins and set those plugins to autoupdate. Now, you can install new plugins as well as remove any plugins that are no longer being used.

In addition, we have dramatically improved the detailed view for a single plugin. You can see the compatibility with WordPress versions, ratings, descriptions, changelogs, and more!

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WP Super Cache ready to be installed.

 

Pro tip: If you find yourself browsing the WordPress.org plugin repository and want to install the plugin on your Jetpack site, you can just replace the .org in the URL with .com and be taken to the new Plugin Browser where you can install the plugin with a single click. You will need to be logged into your WordPress.com already for this to work.

 

Posted in Releases | Tagged , , , | 8 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

Automattic Acquires BruteProtect

I’m excited to announce that Automattic has acquired BruteProtect, a plugin and service that protects your sites from malicious logins, saves server resources so your site runs faster, and keeps all your sites on the latest and greatest versions of WordPress core, plugins, and themes.

The plugin and service are currently available, but over the coming months we’re going to build their functionality into Jetpack and retire BruteProtect as a standalone thing.

BruteProtect also has a premium service that starts at $5 a month per site — effective immediately, that will be free for every BruteProtect user and Jetpack-enabled site. If you’re already a BruteProtect subscriber we’ll be in touch soon to send you a surprise thank you for your early support. You can download and get started with Jetpack here.

The BruteProtect team is based in Bath, Maine and they’re long-time contributors to the WordPress community. We’re excited to see them join forces with the Jetpack team and up the level of security, protection, and peace of mind we’ll be able to bring to the millions of sites already using Jetpack.

Though Automattic is known for its consumer-facing services like WordPress.com and Jetpack, the infrastructure behind them is the bottom part of the iceberg. Taking services to web-scale is another one of Automattic’s specialties, whether it’s the 8 billion Gravatars we serve every day, the Simperium sync service, or the countless spam that Akismet has blocked (and time it has saved).

This is internet plumbing: when it works it’s completely invisible, and we love that. We’re now pushing 450 terabytes of data a day from 9 datacenters around the globe.

Welcome, BruteProtect! You can read more about the acquisition from Sam on their blog.

Posted in Milestone | Tagged , , | 12 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 increase your blog’s traffic with Jetpack

Jetpack comes with a set of features specifically designed to help you increase your site’s traffic and grow your audience. That is after all the reason we build websites and blogs and write content – for people to see them, read them and enjoy them 🙂

Jetpack helps you tackle this along two fronts: attracting new visitors to our sites and encouraging the existing ones to keep coming back.

 

Getting more traffic

Its worth mentioning what countless people have said before: writing well-written, useful and targeted content is eighty percent of the job. Neither Jetpack, nor any other plugin, is a silver bullet that can ever be a substitute for that. However, if you’ve got that nailed, these features will help you with the other twenty percent:

  1. Publicize
    Jetpack PublicizePublicize simply automates what you probably do already: posting your articles directly to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and a few more social networks. Once you set this up (about 5 minutes usually) you can sit back and not worry about this and focus on writing great content while your friends and followers read what you’ve just posted.

  2. Sharing
    The Sharing feature, when enabled, places share buttons at the bottom of your blog posts. This allows (and encourages!) your readers to share your content with their own networks giving you broader reach. Currently we supprt Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Digg, LinkedIn, Google +1, Print, and Email. Additionally you can define your own custom services.

  3. Site Verification
    Verifying your website with external services like Google, Bing and Pinterest. This means you will be rated as “safe” by these services (e.g. by getting a “Verified” badge) and gives you to access advanced features (e.g. Webmaster tools).

  4. Enhanced Distribution
    At WordPress.com we have a service called “Firehose” which is a stream of the public data (public posts, comments, etc.) that flow through WordPress.com as well as Jetpack blogs that enable Enhanced Distribution. The firehose in turn is used by companies and people to display your content at which point they are required to link back to your blog. This means that you get both traffic back to your site as well as building up quality back-links.

  5. Google+ Profile
    Sharing_Settings_GoogleLastly, when you activate and connect this feature you connect your blog and with your Google+ accounts. Now, displayed below your posts, will be a link back to your Google+ profile, a Google+ follow button and a link will also be added to your Google+ profile allowing Google+ users to find you more easily.

 

Keep them coming back

The other side of the coin is staying in touch with the visitors who’ve seen and read your content so that they don’t forget about you and come back to see what else you have to say. You may not necessarily want to use all of these of course as it depends a lot on the kind of site or blog you’re running. But because Jetpack makes it easy to turn these on and off some of our users opt to try things one at a time to test out their effect.

  1. Jetpack Comments
    Comment Module NotificationsComments are a great way of enabling your visitors to join the conversation. It can be a pain for them however to have to creat a new account if its their first time visiting your site. Jetpack Comments enables your visitors to use their existing WordPress.com, Twitter, or Facebook accounts when commenting on your site making it more likely they’ll do so.

  2. RSS Widget
    RSS is used by millions of people to keep track of blogs they like. When you enable Extra Sidebar Widgets in Jetpack you can show widget that allows you to add links to your blog’s RSS feeds in your sidebar. This makes it easy for your readers to stay updated when you post new content or receive new comments.

  3. Likes
    Likes MetaboxLikes allow your readers to show their appreciation for your posts and other published content. They will then be able to review their liked posts from their WordPress.com Reader which will remind them your blog exists and encourage them to come back.

  4. Subscriptions
    Easily allow any visitor to subscribe to all of your posts via email through a widget in your blog’s sidebar. Every time you publish a new post, WordPress.com will send a notification to all your subscribers. Depending on their preferences this notification will either show up on their WordPress bar (top right) or they will receive an email directly in their inbox.

  5. Notifications
    Example of a comment Push Notification from the WordPress for iOS app

    Example of a comment Push Notification from the WordPress for iOS app

    Finally, this last one is for you, the site owner. With Notifications enabled you will be instantly notified when somebody comments on any of your posts or previous comments. This means that you can instantly comment back making your interaction with your readers feel more personal and in real-time.

 

And of course, Jetpack also gives you great stats so that you can see the effect of your work! 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 Tips & Tricks | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Say Hello to 200 Themes

Jetpack Professional now bundles 200+ Premium WordPress themes,
alongside business class security tools, and marketing automation.