How To Create Content That Keeps Your Readers Coming Back

Publishing content on a regular basis is a great strategy to increase your website’s organic traffic — website visitors who didn’t get to your site by clicking on an ad. But getting those readers is only half the battle.

If you want visitors to subscribe to your newsletter, make a purchase, or engage with your content in any way, you have to keep their attention long enough for a meaningful interaction.

Here are three tips that will help you publish engaging content.

Continue reading → How To Create Content That Keeps Your Readers Coming Back

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New to Blogging? Install These Five Jetpack Features First

You just started a blog and you’re ready to share it with the world. (Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging!)

Lucky for you, you’ve stumbled onto our blog, so hopefully you’ve been given the good advice to install Jetpack. Jetpack is a plugin for WordPress with many features (cough, cough, more than 40) to make your life as a blogger a whole lot easier.

With so many features to explore, where to begin? We’ve got you covered.

If you’re new to blogging (or to Jetpack), activate these five features first.

copy-of-get-people-to-stay-on-your-website-longer_-2

1. Keep your site safe and secure with Protect.

When you’re new to blogging, the last thing you want is to worry about your site’s security. Breathe easy knowing that your site is secure with Protect.

This feature allows you to protect your site against brute force attacks, which sadly, are becoming more and more of a frequent concern for website owners. By enabling Protect, your site will automatically block unwanted login attempts.

2. Spread the love on social media with Sharing.

Make it super simple for your blog readers to share your posts!

Sharing lets you add buttons to blog posts to give readers the ability to share a post to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and a host of other social media/web services to amplify your message.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 7.53.36 AM

3. Keep readers on your website longer with Related Posts.

Help readers better navigate your site by pointing them to related content you know they’ll love based on the blog post they’re currently reading.

related-posts-configs

Related Posts scans all of your posts, analyzes them, and selects at least three related archived blog posts to showcase underneath or above your post. This helps readers figure out what to read next and keeps them on your site even longer.

4. Be the first to know when your website experienced downtime with Monitor.

Ugh. Dreaded website downtime. It’s never fun when your site goes down. Monitor keeps tabs on your site and alerts you the moment downtime is detected.

Fun fact: Monitor checks your site every five minutes and notifies you as soon as a problem arises. We’ll also email you when your site is back up!

5. Make your blog a beautiful place to visit with Photon.

Photos are an incredibly important piece of the puzzle when it comes to finding success as a blogger. Compelling visuals help keep site visitors interested and engaged.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 7.56.40 AM

If you don’t size your photos properly though, you can seriously slow down your site. That’s where Photon comes in handy. Photon is an image acceleration and editing service. What does this mean for you? Less load time on your host and faster image loading for your readers.

Seasoned bloggers, what do you think? Which Jetpack features would you recommend to a new blogger?

Don’t have Jetpack installed yet to try out these features? If you don’t currently have Jetpack, be sure to install it so you can begin taking advantage of all the plugin’s features. The easiest way to install Jetpack is via your site’s Dashboard. Please follow these instructions to install and connect Jetpack.

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The First Time I Used Photon for Business

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

Continue reading → The First Time I Used Photon for Business

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Building a Beautiful Photoblog with Jetpack

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

Continue reading → Building a Beautiful Photoblog with Jetpack

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Jetpack 3.8.2 – Photon and YouTube Shortcode Fixes

Jetpack 3.8.2 is out! In this release, we focused on fixing a few specific and annoying bugs that popped up.

Jetpack – Supercharge your WordPress

Photon:

We fixed a regression created in version 3.8.1 where Photon did not respect some custom image sizes from other plugins or themes. Photon respects all image sizes again.

YouTube Shortcode:

WordPress 4.4 made some changes to the way Shortcodes are parsed, which broke our YouTube shortcode.  We’re now filtering this shortcode to output properly so you don’t need to go back update your shortcodes in your existing posts – we’ve taken care of that for you.

Wufoo Shortcode:

We’ve tightened up security in the Wufoo shortcode.  If you use this shortcode, you should upgrade to 3.8.2 as soon as possible.

Other minor fixes:

We’ve also cleared up a couple very minor bugs with Carousel, Publicize, Google+ widget, and Infinite Scroll.

Contributors for this release include Aaron Graham, Alex Mills, Alexander Concha, Brandon Kraft, Derek Smart, Eduardo Reveles, Elio Rivero, Eric Binnion, Igor Zinovyev, Jeremy Herve, Kat Hagan, Lance Willett, Miguel Lezama, Rocco Tripaldi, Sam Hotchkiss, and Takashi Irie.

Thank you for your contributions!

See full changelog.

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Photon Now Delivers Images Even Faster than Before

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jetpack 3.8.1 – WordPress 4.4 Compatible

With the WordPress 4.4 Release Candidate now available, we wanted to release our fully-compatible version of Jetpack a little early. So here it is, along with some minor bug fixes and accessibility improvements.

Jetpack – Supercharge your WordPress

Photon + Responsive Images

There are some cool things coming in WordPress 4.4, such as responsive images.  To take full advantage of this, we made sure that Photon serves responsive images as well.

Twenty Sixteen

If you’ve had the pleasure of testing out Twenty Sixteen, we’ve included some compatibility styling to make sure Jetpack features such as Related Posts, Share Buttons, Likes, and Infinite Scroll all look great.

Accessibility Enhancements

WordPress made some adjustments to the heading levels in 4.4 to improve accessibility. We scrubbed Jetpack to make sure our heading levels are semantic and accessible to screen readers as well.

More Streamlined

We went through and optimized the images that we display within the Jetpack Admin, which dropped our image directory from 1.8 MB to 856 KB. Every little bit counts!

Bug Fixes

Fixed some minor bugs with Carousel, Markdown, Single Sign On, and Subscriptions.

Contributors for this release include Adam Heckler, Alex Kirk, Brandon Kraft, Chris Wiegman, Derek Smart, Eduardo Reveles, Enej Bajgoric, Ian Dunn, Igor Zinovyev, Jake Jackson, Jeff Golenski, Jeremy Herve, Joey Kudish, Konstantin Obenland, Michael Cain. Miguel Lezama, Rocco Tripaldi, Sam Hotchkiss, Scott Grant, and Takashi Irie.

See full changelog.

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How to improve your User Experience using Jetpack

Jetpack has a ton of features (more than 30) that help you improve your WordPress site or blog in many ways – both for yourself as administrator as well as for your readers. Today I’m going to focus on eight Jetpack features that you can use to improve the User Experience of your site so that visitors find it easier to navigate and stick around longer.

Performance and Stability

It can seem like a no-brainer but the absolute worst user experience when visiting a site is when the site doesn’t work at all or takes a long time to load. Jetpack comes with two must-have features that stop this from happening:

  1. Photon
    Turning on Photon means that all your images get automatically served to users from the WordPress.com content delivery network (CDN) which means faster images for your readers (and less load on your host). To turn it on all you have to do is go to the Jetpack page in your blog dashboard and click the Activate button for Photon. And if you’re a developer, you can also speed up your theme with Photon.

  2. Monitor
    All sites go down once in a while. It could be your database, your host, some rogue code – whatever the reason, your visitors don’t really care, they just want to see your stuff! Jetpack Monitor will keep tabs on your site, and alert you the moment that downtime is detected so that you hear it from us first.

 

Mobile Devices

If you keep tabs on your traffic you’ve probably noticed you’re getting more and more visitors browsing your site from a mobile device: smart phones and tables of all shapes and sizes. Jetpack provides two features that help you make the reading experience on these devices significantly better:

  1. Mobile theme
    Jetpack comes with a responsive theme that works instantly on all mobile browsers. It also comes with various options and settings that enable you to choose exactly how you’d like your mobile browsing experience to work.

  2. Custom CSS
    Jetpack’s Custom CSS feature lets you tweak your site’s appearance to your heart’s content in a way that doesn’t break your theme when an upgrade is released. In addition, you can also create custom CSS for your mobile theme, further refining your mobile experience.

 

Interaction

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

  1. Likes
    This feature puts a “Like” button on your posts and is a way for people to show their appreciation for your content. Enabling it is a short two-step process.

  2. Related Posts
    This feature pulls relevant content from your blog to display at the bottom of your posts. If the feature is enabled, a section of related posts appears just underneath your Likes (if you’ve turned these on). Just activate the feature from your Jetpack dashboard to turn them on but you can also customize how they display.

  3. Infinite Scroll
    Infinite scroll simply means that when a visitor scrolls to the bottom of your posts page Jetpack will automatically load the next set of posts without requiring clicking on any buttons. Activating it is similar to “Related Posts” above but not every theme supports it.

  4. Jetpack Comments
    When someone reads an article on your site and wants to comment, they can now use one of their existing social networking accounts to post a comment. No longer do they need to create yet another account and profile! You can also customize how Jetpack Comments display.

 

That’s it! Eight Jetpack features that can help your visitors have a more pleasurable experience when visiting your site. If you’ve not used Jetpack before, read our step-by-step installation guide here to try it out for yourself.

If you are a Jetpack user already please tell us what you think in the comments and, if you’d like to get involved by writing a guest post about Jetpack get in touch!

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

How to use Photon to serve custom cropped Post thumbnails

The Photon module resizes your site’s images on the fly, without cropping them. However, in some cases you might want Photon to apply a custom cropping when resizing certain images.

In the following example, we will use photon to serve Post thumbnails with custom cropping, and use a different cropping on single pages:

if( function_exists( 'jetpack_photon_url' ) ) {
    add_filter( 'jetpack_photon_url', 'jetpack_photon_url', 10, 3 );
}
function jeherve_display_custom( $content, $post ) {

	global $post;

	// If you didn't define a post thumnail, let's forget about all this
	if ( !has_post_thumbnail( $post->ID ) )
		return $content;

	// What's the cropping and the size of image we should use on Single pages?
	// See http://developer.wordpress.com/docs/photon/api/#crop for parameters
	if ( is_single() ) {
		$args = array(
		    'crop'   => '50,50,200px,200px',
		);
	}
	// resizing on other pages
	else {
		$args = array(
		    'resize'   => '200,400',
		);
	}

	// Let's create a Photon Image URL from the Post Thumbnail
	$feat_image_url = wp_get_attachment_image_src( get_post_thumbnail_id($post->ID), 'full');
	$photon_image_url = jetpack_photon_url( $feat_image_url[0], $args );

	// Let's build the image tag
	$our_image = sprintf( '<div class="post-media"><a class="featured-image" href="%1$s" title="%2$s"><img src="%3$s" class="wp-post-image" alt="Featured Image"></a></div>',
		esc_url( get_permalink() ),
		esc_attr( sprintf( __( 'Open %s', 'dot' ), get_the_title() ) ),
		esc_attr( $photon_image_url )
	);

	// Let's return the image, right before the post content
	return $our_image . $content;

}
add_filter( 'the_content', 'jeherve_display_custom' );

Reference

Posted in Code snippets, Tips & Tricks | Tagged , | Comments Off on How to use Photon to serve custom cropped Post thumbnails

Photon and Themes

Theme crafters often ask whether Photon — the free Image Content Delivery Network module in Jetpack — can be used to speed up page loads and save on bandwidth when delivering images from their themes. The short answer: Yes! Read on for the how-to.

Continue reading → Photon and Themes

Posted in Features, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 20 Comments

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Use code "PRO" at checkout for 50% introductory discount.