How to Boost Site Engagement with an Optimized Sidebar

One key task that dedicated blog owners eventually need to address is how to boost site engagement. While encouraging your visitors to engage in discussions by leaving comments and showing them related posts can encourage them to interact with your site, there are a few other tactics that you can implement to increase their involvement even more.

Jetpack offers different sidebar widgets that can help keep readers on your site for longer periods of time, and can even increase your following. On the other hand, too many widgets can clutter your sidebar, which might lead to the opposite effect: poor user experiences.

As such, you need to be strategic about which widgets you add to your sidebar. Today, we’ll review three Jetpack widgets that will present your visitors with compelling information without overwhelming them.

Continue reading → How to Boost Site Engagement with an Optimized Sidebar

Posted in Website Design | Tagged , , | 3 Comments
Enhancing the WordPress author page

What to Consider When Changing Your WordPress Theme

You’ve been thinking about changing the look of your site for a while now. You found a WordPress theme that you like, but you’re a bit nervous about what will happen to your site after you activate the new theme.

You’re overcome with questions: Will you lose any of your site data? How do you pick and customize a new theme? How will a new theme impact your site layout, and will widgets that you installed remain intact?

There are many things to consider before making the switch to a new theme. Knowing what to look for is half the battle, but we’re here to help guide you along the way.

Let’s explore exactly what you should keep in mind when changing your WordPress theme to make it a smooth transition.

Continue reading → What to Consider When Changing Your WordPress Theme

Posted in Website Design | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Website Customization: Renaming Sections on Your WordPress Site

Website customization is one of the best ways to ensure that your site reflects your brand’s voice, style, and personality. It typically involves incorporating your brand’s colors and fonts, uploading your logo as the header image, adding a background design, and including branded images in your posts.

However, the branding process of site development doesn’t have to stop with the basics. There are a few extra customizations that can get overlooked, even though they’re some of the easiest ways to add an extra touch of personality to your site. One of these customizations is the ability to rename site sections.

Today, we’ll explain why you want to rename your site sections, and the various tools and widgets available to customize the different parts of your website.

Continue reading → Website Customization: Renaming Sections on Your WordPress Site

Posted in Website Design | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Enhancing the WordPress Author Page with Jetpack

If multiple contributors write for your blog, your readers might want to know more about whoever wrote the articles they’re reading. Additionally, your writers will want to get the recognition they deserve. To satisfy your readers and writers with a single solution, you might want to create a WordPress author page.

A well-crafted WordPress author page allows site contributors to present their credentials and affirms their professional clout, as they can share personal information about their writing experiences and links to their portfolios or past work.

Today, we’ll learn why author pages are beneficial, and how you can use Jetpack to create WordPress author pages that will make your contributors proud to write for you.

Continue reading → Enhancing the WordPress Author Page with Jetpack

Posted in Tips & Tricks | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Enhancing the WordPress Author Page with Jetpack

Three Small Changes That Will Increase Subscribers

Engaging content keeps your new readers on your site the first time, but it’s up to you to keep them coming back for more. One of the best ways? Encourage them to subscribe to your content.

You might think you need to do something drastic to gain subscriptions, but small changes can have big impact. This is especially true if you’re just starting your site or are new to growing a subscriber base.

Let’s take a look at how you can earn more subscribers with three small but effective changes to your site.

Continue reading → Three Small Changes That Will Increase Subscribers

Posted in Tips & Tricks | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Three Ways to Keep Visitors on Your Site Longer

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.

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.

Screen Shot 2017-08-16 at 10.46.45 PM

To start using Related Posts, visit Settings → Traffic → Related Posts and activate Related Posts.

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.

For example, with Jetpack, you can show your most popular posts and pages right in your sidebar, along with thumbnail images.Use the Top Posts & Pages widget to promote your content with the most views.

Screen Shot 2017-08-16 at 10.44.49 PM.png

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 Recent Posts widget, a Categories widget, or you could generate a tag cloud to help people find content.

Highlight your content with image widgets

Another fun way to advertise your content is with image widgets. You can add temporary images linking to interesting posts, popular products, or to items currently on sale.

Use this feature to create your very own advertisements right on your site. The visual cues will direct a reader’s attention to the posts and products you want them to explore. This can be very useful for eCommerce sites, service providers, and websites offering special promotions.

Screen Shot 2017-08-16 at 10.51.18 PMScreen Shot 2017-08-16 at 10.50.32 PM

Communicate with clear navigation

It’s important to remember that if your content isn’t linked in your menu or promoted on your homepage, your visitors won’t find it. Make sure everything is easy to access by creating 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 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 here.

Screen Shot 2017-07-28 at 1.35.13 PM

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. The best way to build your following is to use Jetpack’s Related Posts, Top Posts & Pages widget, and custom menus to make it easier for them 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.

Posted in Tips & Tricks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Jetpack 4.9: New Widgets and Many Small Improvements

Following last month’s big redesign, we focused this next release on a few new widgets and several performance improvements and bug fixes.

New Widgets

This release makes three new widgets available for use on your site:

  • EU Cookie Law Banner widget: allows you to display the standard confirmation required by EU law that gives site visitors the ability to accept site cookies.
  • Flickr widget: allows you to show a stream of images from a Flickr account.
  • Internet Defense League widget: allows you to add a widget for visitors to show their support for the Internet Defense League.

These widgets have been available to WordPress.com site users for a while. Their inclusion in Jetpack further improves compatibility between the two platforms, particularly for users choosing to switch from one to the other.

Improvements and Bug Fixes

Included in this release are a number of small fixes and changes to improve compatibility and robustness, including:

  • Removing unused code and increasing our unit tests and overall code coverage.
  • Plugin updates now trigger the in-built WordPress maintenance mode for additional security.
  • Protect doesn’t conflict with other plugins using the login form and better supports IPv6 addresses.
  • The Contact Form doesn’t auto-activate if Ninja Forms is already activated.
  • Fixed a problem where some Tiled Gallery images were appearing distorted when using Photon.
  • Better MultiSite support for Stats and displaying full list of sites.

Full Changelog and Thanks

As always, the changelog provides the full list of updates and changes in this release. We value—and respond to—your feedback so please get in touch or leave us a comment on this post with any questions or suggestions.

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 Duthie, Brandon Kraft, Daryl L. L. Houston, Derek Smart, Elio Rivero, Enej Bajgoric, Eric Binnion, Filipe Varela, George Stephanis, Ian Dunn, Igor Zinovyev, Jacopo Tomasone, Jeremy Herve, Jonathan Sadowski, Joseph Scott, Kerry Liu, Lance Willett, Marko Andrijasevic, Martin Remy, Michael Turk, Miguel Lezama, Payton Swick, Rob Landers, Rocco Tripaldi, Sam Hotchkiss, Stephen Edgar*, Thomas Guillot, Xiao Yu, Yoav Farhi.

* Special kudos to these Jetpack users who helped us find and squash these bugs!

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

Posted in Releases | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments

Hook of the Month: Customize Modules, Shortcodes, and Widgets

Whether you’re a blogger, a business owner, or a developer – Jetpack comes with many different features you can use to build your site, write your posts, and promote them. However, you may not use all of these features. This month, we’ll discover how to use filters to customize the list of features added by Jetpack.

Photo: Andrewfhart / Flickr

Photo: Andrewfhart / Flickr

Use filters to customize the Jetpack features available on your site

Posted in Code snippets, Tips & Tricks | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jetpack 4.0: WP 4.5 Customizer compatibility and more

The new Jetpack introduces improvements for better performance under the hood and to allow you work faster.

Real-Time Widget Customizing

WordPress 4.5 shipped with a new feature, Selective Refresh: if your theme supports it, widgets refresh in the Customizer as you edit them, letting you see changes instantly without refreshing the entire page.

We’ve updated Jetpack widgets to leverage Selective Refresh, and now they’ll update in real time as well!

VideoPress Made Simpler

A new tool lets you edit VideoPress shortcodes right in the Editor, with a fancy new modal window containing key playback options:

VideoPress modal in Editor

Plus, videos placed in the Editor now adjust themselves to your theme’s content width, so you can more accurately see how it will look in your post or page when published.

WooCommerce Sharing

Use WooCommerce? You just got sharing options for each of your products:

Jetpack sharing buttons placed below "Add to cart" button

Social icons are now placed under the “Add to cart” button in singular product views, making it easier for customers to share your products with their friends and fans on social media.

First-Time User Support

We’ve done a better job explaining the benefits of Jetpack and connecting it to WordPress.com when the plugin is installed but not yet connected.

We also added handy links to shortcode documentation to convey the types of media you can quickly and safely embed.

Performance

Jetpack protect helps safeguard your site against brute-force attacks, and now it’s got more muscle behind it. We’ve updated the code and routines that verify your site is protected to be more efficient. For folks using the Contact Form module, sweeping spam submissions out of your database is now faster.

And there’s more

Custom Content Types: a new CSS class on Testimonial featured images — has-testimonial-thumbnail — allows you to customize Jetpack custom post types as you see fit.

Theme Tools: improved schema.org microdata for breadcrumbs gives search engines an easier time knowing what page they are on, and how that page relates to the other pages in your site hierarchy.

Widget Visibility: get granular with your widget display:

Widget Visibility UI

Select widgets and specify to show or hide them right from custom post types, in both single and archive views.

We also fixed some issues…

  • Comments: we fixed a mistake where a comment subscription checkbox appeared on custom post types — despite the fact you couldn’t actually subscribe to those types of comments.
  • Contact Forms: we fixed a bug where the telephone field (which can only be added manually) rendered incorrectly, breaking some forms in the process.
  • General: we blocked direct access to the Jetpack_IXR_Client class which caused fatal PHP errors in some server setups.
  • Shortcodes: we removed the frameborder attribute in the YouTube embed code. It was deprecated in HTML 5. Unminified responsive-videos.min.js in order to address a false positive virus alert in ClamAV. Expect it to be re-minified in 4.0.1 once we resolve the issue with ClamAV.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to 4.0:

Alex Kirk, Barry Abrahamson, Bernhard Reiter, Biser Perchinkov, Brando Meniconi, Brandon Hubbard, Brandon Kraft, Christopher Finke, Dan Walmsley, Derek Smart, Drew Butler, Elio Rivero, Enej Bajgoric, George Stephanis, Igor Zinovyev, Ivan Kristianto, Jeff Golenski, Jeremy Herve, Jesse Friedman, Joey Kudish, Lance Willett, Matt Wiebe, Michael Cain, Miguel Lezama, Mohammad Jangda, Patrick Rauland, Philip John, Richard Muscat, RC Lations, Rocco Tripaldi, Sam Hotchkiss, Tammie Lister, Thomas Guillot, Weston Ruter.

Update April 21, 2016

We’ve released 4.0.2 that fixes a fatal error that was caused by Jetpack not being able to find a library directory.

Posted in Releases | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments
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