Jetpack Plugin by WordPress.com – Setup

You may be wondering if you should even install the Jetpack Plugin by WordPress.com. I did mention in my article “WordPress Theme can affect Plugins Needed” that there are strong voices out in the WordPress world who would advise against the use of this otherwise seemingly wonderful Jetpack plugin.  I myself was iffy for a while but have now gone ahead and am using it.

You can read more about the pro and dissenting voices in the References section below.

I am choosing to go with Jetpack (for now) because

  • they offer many easy features (I am always for easy) and I miss them when I don’t have them
  • I like to minimize the number of plugins I need. As I said in “Essential WordPress Plugins“, the Jetpack plugin encompasses three other recommended plugins: Subscribe to CommentsSidebar Widget, After the Deadline
  • when new features become available to Jetpack, you will be notified automatically on your WP admin area and will be added automatically.  (Though this may be good for some of us, it is also understandable why other users don’t like this.  It adds to the “bloat” of your site without you having much say-so.)

 

Setting up the Jetpack Plugin

So if you also decide to install the Jetpack plugin, here are some setup/configurations steps that I have researched and may be useful to you too.

Sidenote: I will assume you already know how to, and have installed the Jetpack plugin.  Now you just have to activate the Jetpack plugin.

 

The first thing you will notice when you try to (re)activate the Jetpack plugin is that you will get a notice informing you that you have to connect to WordPress.com (because this plugin uses the cloud technology from WordPress.com)

jetpack connect to wordpress

To activate Jetpack, connect to WordPress.com

Note: you will need to create a WordPress.com account if you don’t already have one.  You just have to follow along with the simple instructions when you click “Connect to WordPress.com”

Once you have done that, you will see “Jetpack” on the left column in your WP admin area.  Below is a snapshot of a portion of the screen when you click Jetpack.

jetpack plugin wordpress dashboard

What Jetpack looks like in WordPress Admin area

The above screen capture only shows a portion of all the available features from Jetpack plugin.  As you can see, there are many choices for you to make.  However you might also notice that a number of the features are already switched on by default (which is one of the complaints levied against the Jetpack plugin – it automatically activates these features.  That means that it implements code that changes the functionality of your site.)

Only the ones with the blue “Activate” buttons have not been automatically added.

Top Recommended “Necessities” from the Jetpack Plugin

Based on some of the recommendations from the proponents of Jetpack, the following are the “Necessities”

Tip:

To get to the settings of each feature from the Jetpack plugin, you normally click the “learn more” button which will open up a drop down section.  You can also choose to deactivate any of the features this same way.

 

Publicize feature and Sharing feature

Click the “Publicize settings” to set up your connections to your social networks etc.

wordpress jetpack plugin - publicize

Jetpack plugin – Publicize

I have connected mine through to my Facebook, Twitter (though I cannot seem to connect it to the correct Twitter account!), and LinkedIn.

The great thing about this Jetpack Publicize feature is that when activated and configured, social sharing buttons will show up at the bottom of your posts.  (You can also choose to not show these social icons in the edit area for each specific post. There is a “show sharing buttons” checkbox towards the bottom.)

jetpack publicize share icons

Share icons at the bottom of post; courtesy of Jetpack plugin

What I love even more, or as much as those sharing icons, is that while in the edit mode for your post, you can choose to have your post syndicated over to your social accounts.  You can see the Publicize settings to the right of your edit-post section.

Below, on the left you can see that there is no Publicize option when Jetpack plugin is not activated. And on the right, you can see the Publicize options when JetPack is activated.  You can untick if you don’t want a particular post to be syndicated to any of your social networks at the time of publication.  You can also choose to change the Custom message.

wordpress nopublicize nojetpack

Without Jetpack, there is no Publicize option in edit mode

wordpress publicize with jetpack

Publicize options in edit mode with Jetpack plugin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jetpack Comments

Here is another Jetpack feature I just love.

Without Jetpack plugin, this is what the comments area looks like (at the end of each post):

wordpress comments with no jetpack

What Comments area looks like without Jetpack plugin

 

Now look what it looks like with the Jetpack Comments feature enabled:

wordpress comments with jetpack

WordPress Comments area with Jetpack Comments enabled

You can see that this will encourage readers to leave comments because they can choose to be notified if there are replies to their comments.  Great feature!  (How many times have you left a comment at someone’s site and never knew if anyone appreciated your comments because there was no easy way to find that site again?)

 

Contact Form

Before Jetpack, one had to rely on plugins like Contact Form 7 plus Simple Captcha to create an easy contact form for your site.

With Jetpack plugin, you can place easy contact forms anywhere.  (I choose to use it only in my Contact Me page.)

jetpack contact form in edit area

Jetpack’s Contact Form button in every edit area.

 

With Jetpack’s Contact Form feature activated, you can choose to include a Contact Form in any specific page or post.  You will find that “Add Contact Form” button at the top of the edit area for each post/page.

Like I said, I have mine mainly in one place – my Contact Me page.

This is what my Contact Me page looks like when I deactivated my Jetpack plugin:

wordpress contact form with no jetpack

Contact form with Jetpack plugin deactivated

Now, with my Jetpack reactivated, my Contact Form is so much better and easier on the eye!

wordpress contactf orm with jetpack

Contact Form with Jetpack plugin

 

 

Enhanced Distribution

This feature from Jetpack plugin is automatically activated.  It helps notify (pings) search engines like Google, Bing when you publish/update your site.

I have deactivated this feature because I already have the WordPress SEO (by Yoast) plugin which does the same thing.

WP admin >> SEO >> XML Sitemaps

 


JetPack other Great Features

Shortcode Embeds

They are really useful if you want to embed a variety of things like YouTube videos, Flickr, etc.  This feature is activated by default.  To find out how to embed the various media, just click on “Learn More” and then the links in the Jetpack dashboard/page.

jetpack shortcode embeds

Click on links to get help for embedding media via Jetpack

 


 

Jetpack’s Features that I Deactivated

Custom CSS

I actually like this CSS editor as it makes adding your own custom css so much easier.  However my Genesis child theme (Prose) already has it’s own Custom CSS:

WP Admin >> Genesis >> Custom Code

 

Unfortunately, Jetpack and Genesis write my custom css independently of each other.  So as it is more likely for me to deactivate Jetpack plugin (for whatever reason) than for me to change my (paid) theme, I have decided to minimize confusion and deactivate Jetpack’s Custom CSS.

 

Posts by Email

I deactivated this feature mainly because I don’t think I will be using it anytime in the near future.

 

Gravatar Hovercards

Deactivated because this is a feature that I don’t quite get the benefit of this.  The less active features, the less bloat, and therefore the better for the site’s performance.

 

Ominisearch

Deactivated as I already have a search widget from Genesis Framework/theme.

 

Beautiful Maths

Deactivated as I don’t have a lot of equations and formulae on the site.

 

JSON API

Deactivated.  It is more for developers I think.

 

Mobile Push Notifications

Deactivated because I don’t use WordPress for iOS nor WordPress for Android.

 


Bonus Section

How to Use JetPack WordPress Plugin video by James Gladwell (from www.adventuresInInternetMarketing.net).  I found this rather useful.

 

 


References for those who need more:

Pro-Jetpack

Anti-Jetpack

 

 

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Comments

  1. Hey,

    Thanks so much for linking to my article on why I do NOT like WordPress JetPack! I must say that you wrote an excellent and informative article for anyone who IS interested in using JetPack, though! Now that you’ve linked to my article, I have found this blog and love it. Can’t wait to check out other articles!

    Thanks so much and have a great Monday!

    ~ Jupiter Jim

  2. Helena Asmus Lim says:

    Hi again Jupiter Jim,
    I should be the one thanking you for providing great content on WordPress and in this case, specifically about Jetpack by WordPress.com plugin.

    I remain quite contented with Jetpack for the moment and I hope the “discussion” between Joost and the Jetpack team, together with the feedback from knowledgeable people like yourself, will go towards making the Jetpack team produce better and less bloaty code.

    I totally understood your sentiments re. not using Jetpack but I must say that Jetpack offers an incredible array of features that are super easy to implement. So if their behind the scenes coding improves, then this plugin can only continue to increase in popularity.

    As of today, Jetpack already has over 6 million downloads and hopefully with improvements (less database bloat, less conflicts with other plugins, allow users themselves to activate individual features), Jetpack can become even more useful to more people.

    You have a wonderful day too Jupiter Jim and good luck with Pretty Links Pro. (Please do keep me updated from time to time, as to how that is going. I went over to your site in the hopes you might have written up about it. Maybe you still will?)

    ~ Helena

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