Using Jetpack for WordPress
Jetpack is many plugins in one.
Built by Automattic, the people behind WordPress.com, JetPack offers around a dozen features including comments, statistics, social bookmarks and more.
They only have one plugin you need to pay for at this point. It’s easy to see they are planning to add more of those, but the free ones work well and are adequate for a lot of websites.
Step 1: Install
Jetpack actually comes already pre-installed with many new installation of WordPress. This is because Automattic have reached an agreement with several hosting companies to include JetPack in their automatic installations.
If you don’t have Jetpack already, you can install it from your WordPress admin area. Go to Plugins, then clck Add New.
Step 2: Activate
You will need an account with WordPress.com to actually start using the features.
- If you don’t have one already, go to WordPress.com and create an account.
- Inside your WordPress site, click the Jetpack link on your dashboard menu.
- Click Connect to WordPress.com and login using your account.
Step 3: Configure
After connecting to WordPress.com you’ll be returned to the dashboard. You’ll see an overview of all available features.
- The Learn More button will give you a brief description of what each one does. There aren’t a lot of details or instructions. These are very simple add-ons.
- Most of the features are enabled automatically and will have a Configure button.
- Comments is not enabled automatically and you can click the Activate button to use it. This one isn’t activated by default because you may already have a comments plugin activated.
- The other feature not enabled automatically is VaultPress which is a backup service from Automattic that you need to pay for.
Here’s what you have to work with in each row:
- Statistics, Comments, Subscriptions, Social Network Sharing.
- Backup (commercial), Contact Form, Spell Checker, Gravatar Hover Cards.
- Extra Widgets, WP.me short links, Short code embeds, Mathematical expressions.
- Carousel, Enhanced Distribution.
Here’s how to start using Comments:
- Click the Activate button in the Jetpack Comments area.
- Now click the Configure button in the Jetpack Comments area.
After activation, all of the Jetpack plugins are accessed a little differently.
The Jetpack features are designed to be tightly integrated with the core WordPress features. Wherever possible, they have integrated configuration settings with other standard settings. Most controls become part of an existing configuration page like Jetpack Comments, which is now part of Discussion (under the Settings menu).
However, there is also a new Jetpack link at the top-left of the dashboard:
Deactivating individual Jetpack features is different than with an ordinary plugin. You can remove the entire Jetpack from the Plugins page just like an ordinary plugin. However, if you do that you will remove all of the features. You can deactivate individual features this way:
- Return to the Jetpack dashboard and click on “Learn More”.
- The Configure button will change into a Deactivate button.
Now you have seen all there is to the operation of Jetpack itself. We’ll take a quick look at the popular optional plugins and a few details .
Using Jetpack: Comments and Social Features
These three features work well when used together.
- Comments enables your visitors to use their WordPress.com, Twitter, or Facebook accounts when commenting on your site.
- Subscriptions allows any visitor to subscribe to all of your posts via email through a widget in your blog’s sidebar. Every time you publish a post, WordPress.com will send a notification to all your subscribers.
- Sharing provides standard Facebook / Twitter / Linkedin sharing options.
This is what a post looks like with Jetpack’s three social features activated:
Using Jetpack: Contact Form
Jetpack provides a contact form which can easily be customized to fit your needs. When a user submits your contact form, the feedback will be filtered through Akismet (if it is active on your site) to make sure it’s not spam. Any legitimate feedback will then be emailed to you, and added to your feedback management area.
- Everything you need to configure the contact form appears after clicking the icon:
Using Jetpack: Extra Sidebar Widgets
- RSS Links Widget lets you easily add post and comment RSS feeds to a sidebar on your theme.
- Twitter Widget shows your latest tweets within a sidebar on your theme.
- Facebook Like Box Widget shows your Facebook Like Box within a sidebar on your theme.
- Image Widget lets you easily add images to a sidebar on your theme.
Using Jetpack: Carousel, Widgets and More
Here’s what Jetpack added to the site that is immediately obvious.
- Carousel: The photo gallery is created using the native WordPress gallery feature, but with Jetpack, clicking a window opens a full-screen, slide viewer.
- Subscriptions to content
- RSS Feed links in a widget position
- Twitter posts
- An image from the gallery
- Facebook Wall
- Share and Like buttons
Using Jetpack: Other Features
- Statistics – WordPress.com Stats makes the most popular metrics easy to understand through a clear and attractive interface.
- Spelling and Grammar – The After the Deadline Proofreading service improves your writing by using artificial intelligence to find your errors and offer smart suggestions.
- Gravatar Hovercards – Hovercards enhance plain Gravatar images with information about a person: name, bio, pictures, their contact info, and other services.
- WP.me Shortlinks – Instead of typing or copy-pasting long URLs, you can now get a short and simple link to your posts and pages. This uses the super compact wp.me domain name, and gives you a unique URL you can use that will be safe and reliable.
- Shortcode Embeds – Shortcodes allow you to easily and safely embed media from other places in your site. With just one simple code, you can tell WordPress to embed YouTube, Flickr, and other media. Enter a shortcode directly into the Post/Page editor to embed media
- Beautiful Math – LaTeX is a powerful markup language for writing complex mathematical equations, formulas, etc.
- Enhanced Distribution – Jetpack will automatically take the published content from your blog or website and share it instantly with third party services like search engines, increasing your reach and traffic.
- VaultPress – With a monthly subscription, the VaultPress plugin will backup your site’s content, themes, and plugins in real-time, as well as perform regular security scans for common threats and attacks.
Thanks for this article. I have jetpack installed since long but never have activated the comments/feedback feature. This is great as it adds more security to the site. I have no Captcha function in my theme so this comes in handy. It’s a great plugin after all!
Is there any danger to install the Jetpack comment system? I have a number of valuable comments to keep. Does it overwrite or delete any existing comments?
Do the feedback page and comment pages have a captcha function to protect against spam? I found Akismet is *too* effective for it declares all comments, 100%, as spam. That’s not what it is meant for which is why I canceled my subscription with them. If it doesn’t filter effectively, then better having a captcha system, as you have it on your site here.