The Jetpack plugin brings many of the WordPress.com features to your self-hosted site, and helps to expand and improve your site’s functionality. Jetpack comes with several features you can use, and also helps with your site’s security, but for this post I want to concentrate on those elements in Jetpack which helps to improve the experience of your visitors, and engage them to read more, or come back when you post something new.
Once you have installed and activated Jetpack (and connected it to your WordPress.com account), you will find it in your WordPress dashboard, as the second title in the menu on the left of your screen. Point to Jetpack, then click on settings to find the topics addressed below.
When you want people to read your posts, you also need to promote your blog. One of the ways to do this is to share your posts on your social media accounts. You can do this manually, but you can also let your site work for you, by sharing your new posts automatically. The ‘publicize’ feature in Jetpack helps you to do that. Now for most posts a featured image is use, and this is automatically shared to the social media platforms. Make sure whatever image you use, doesn’t violate the Terms of Service of said media platforms. For instance, Facebook doesn’t allow nudity, and it will get you suspended if you share nude image, even if there’s only a hint of it.
How to activate: In settings click Sharing and then under the heading Publicize connections slide the button at Automatically share your posts to social networks to the right so it turns blue. Right under that, click ‘connect your social media accounts’ and follow the steps to connect your accounts.
Just imagine someone liking your post so much, that they want to share it with the followers on their own social media accounts. Now of course they can copy the link, but why not make it easier for them by adding sharing buttons to different social media platforms at the bottom of your posts? Buttons you can choose from are: Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Pocket, Email, Print, Telegram, Whatsapp and Skype. You can choose all of them, or only a couple.
How to activate: In settings click Sharing and then under the heading Sharing buttons slide the button at Add sharing buttons to your posts and pages to the right so it turns blue. Right under that, click ‘configure your sharing buttons’ and on the next page, click ‘edit sharing buttons’ and click the buttons you want to add. Don’t forget to save your changes!
Many people come to our blogs, read what we have written or look at an image, and don’t know how to comment on it, but they want to let us know they have visited. Sometimes they do have a comment, but others have said it already, and they don’t want to add yet another duplicate comment. They do, however, want to show you they liked your post. You have to make it possible for them to do so, by adding a like button at the bottom of your post.
How to activate: In settings click Sharing and then under the heading Like buttons slide the button at Add like buttons to your posts and pages to the right so it turns blue. That’s it, done!
When a reader enjoys your post, they might want to read more of what you have written. They might browse through your menu to find more posts, but you can also make it easier for them to find something that’s related to what they have just read. You can do this by adding related posts to the bottom of your post. The related posts feature is automatically placed under the sharing and like buttons, and Jetpack does the necessary calculations and analysis to decide whether posts are related or not. All you have to do is to activate this feature.
How to activate: In settings click Traffic and then under the heading Related posts slide the button at Show related content after post to the right so it turns blue. You can then choose from two additional options: Highlight related content with a heading which puts the word ‘Related’ as a heading, or your meme might allow you to add a different heading; and Show a thumbnail image where available which does exactly as it says, and just makes this related post feature look so professional. At the bottom of this blog
If your theme allows you to change the word ‘Related’, there will be a link at the bottom of the block with the heading ‘Related Posts’.
If there is one thing I always look for when I like what I have read on a blog, is how to subscribe to the blog. Since life is so busy, I don’t have time to visit all the blogs I like every day, and I like to get an email alert when something new has been posted. That way I can leave the email in my inbox and not forget to read the post.
There are a couple of ways you can allow people to subscribe to future posts. One is to add an option underneath your comments section, and the other is to add an option to your sidebar. My choice will be to do both.
How to activate the feature under your comments section: In settings click Discussion and scroll down to the heading Subscriptions slide the button at Let visitors subscribe to new posts and comments via email to the right so it turns blue. You have two more options under that, for visitors to subscribe to your site, and to comments. Just activate both of them.
How to activate the feature under your sidebar: In your WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance > Widgets and look for the widget Blog Subscriptions (Jetpack). Add this to your sidebar widgets. Go through the different sections of the widget, and change what you want to change, for instance the title of your widget. At the bottom you can choose to click to show the number of subscribers to your blog.
Downtime monitoring by Jetpack
It’s incredibly irritating when your blog is offline, for yourself, and also for your readers. If you are like me, you want to know when your blog can’t be reached, and if this happens too frequently, you might want to contact your host, or switch hosts. There was a time when my website would go offline for three or four minutes a couple of times a day. I contacted my host, they checked and noticed my site was on a server that had a couple of very high trafficked sites on there. They moved my site to another server, and the problem was solved. However, I wouldn’t have known that my site was offline for short times several times a day, had I not used this feature.
How to activate: In settings click Security and then under the heading, click Downtime monitoring. Slide the button at Get alerts if your site goes offline. We’ll let you know when it’s back up, too. to the right so it turns blue. You can configure your notification settings by clicking the link at the bottom of this block.
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Jetpack offers more features than only the above, so make sure you browse through the different settings. Use what you feel would enhance the functionality of your site. If you have any question, please let us know. We are here to help.