Jetpack

Interview: How Paul Jarvis works with Jetpack

We got in touch with one of our users Paul Jarvis to find out what he thinks of the Jetpack plugin – how it has helped him and what he’d like to see in a new version. Paul is a freelance web designer/developer as well as an author of various popular books who’s been using WordPress since before he was born.

Paul lives in British Columbia, Canada. You can stalk him on Twitter @pjrvs or read about his books and work on his website.

 

Who is Paul?

paul-jarvis-2

What do you do for a living?

I’m a freelance web designer/developer and author. I’ve built websites for 20 years and written books for the last 4.

What’s the best thing about your job?

I can set my own hours and stop working when I’ve made enough for the year (typically 3-4 months off per year).

How did you first start using WordPress?

I’ve been using WordPress since sometime in early 2004. For client websites, I jumped on the bandwagon early of doing whatever I could to let clients update their own content on their site. This gave me more time to focus on design/development and less time doing tiny updates of content.

 

Thoughts on Jetpack

How’d you first find out about Jetpack?

I live and breathe WordPress so it’s hard to miss things like this! Since I began using Jetpack I’ve installed it on at least 30 sites – practically every site I’ve built for a client since 2011.

What’s the one Jetpack feature you couldn’t do without? Why?

Stats. Both for myself and for my clients, the stats page is such a perfect example of a single screen that gives a ton of information.

What do you think of the the Jetpack setup process: Easy, hard?

Easier now that the setup has been re-designed. The settings are much better now making it quicker to customize what modules I want and which I don’t but I still have to go through disabling the pieces I don’t want (which are the same for every site) for each setup.

What do you value about Jetpack?

Like I mentioned, the stats are great. But other things I use are: sharing, subscriptions, spelling, contact form, related posts. These are all added value for the sites I make for clients.

 

Working with Clients

Does Jetpack affect your work with clients?

Clients all ask for things like easy stats, related posts, sharing buttons – so Jetpack lets me add those things in a few seconds.

Can you think of a cool thing Jetpack helped you do for clients?

I use stats to teach my clients the basis of using metrics for their business. How to look for trends in popular content, how to spot where most of their traffic comes from and how to gauge what content is working the most for them (so they can create more or related content). For a developer it seems like very basic stuff, but for a non-technical client, this is very important for their business.

 

Jetpack Frustrations

What frustrates you about Jetpack? Why?

Previously it was the setup and taking a LONG time to disable all the modules I didn’t want, but now it’s much easier and quicker although it can still stand some improvement.

What would you like to improve?

If there was a way to save my “favourite modules” so on any new install I could pick my profile and those modules were activated – that’d be BOSS.

 

Get involved!

Try it out

If you’ve not used Jetpack before, read our step-by-step installation guide here to try it out for yourself.

Contribute

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

Posted in Contribute | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Indispensable Jetpack features for theme developers

Jetpack offers a number of great features for theme developers that help you cut down both development time as well as load times. Most of these features work right out of the box, but you can also get under the hood to apply tweaks and customisations that really take your theme to the next level.

This article introduces you to:

  1. Speeding up your theme with Photon
  2. Showcasing posts with Featured Content
  3. Automatically loading posts with Infinite Scroll
  4. Instantly applying a Mobile Theme
  5. Customising CSS
  6. Providing Sharing functionality
  7. Integrating Social Links
  8. Showing similar content with Related Posts
  9. Additional resources

 

1. Speeding up your theme with Photon

Jetpack for developersPhoton is a free image CDN offered by Jetpack. As soon as Photon is enabled, it automatically serves the images found in posts and pages from WordPress.com’s speedy servers around the globe.

But did you know that you can use it to save bandwidth and speed up load times for images within your theme, too? You can link to a Photon-ized version of an image by calling the jetpack_photon_url() function. Its quite straightforward and we’ve put together some step-by-step instructions to make it even easier.

 

2. Showcasing posts with Featured Content

Featured Content SettingsFeatured Content is one of Jetpack’s lesser known features. But it’s a really powerful tool for theme development because you can use it to create a completely custom area in your theme for users to showcase posts. The appearance and placement is completely up to you, the theme author.

Your users can then specify which posts to show in that area simply by selecting a tag of their choice. There’s even an option to hide the tag from post meta and tag clouds.

Whether you are building an image slider on your homepage, or want to allow users to highlight specific posts, Featured Content makes it easier than rolling your own custom functionality. You can see a few examples of the feature in action here.

 

3. Automatically loading posts with Infinite Scroll

With Infinite Scroll active, users no longer have to click a link to get to the next set of posts on archive pages. Instead, your theme loads the next set of posts automatically into view when the reader approaches the bottom of the page. You’ve probably seen similar functionality on other sites, and thanks to Jetpack, it’s a snap to add it to your theme.

 

4. Instantly applying a Mobile Theme

Jetpack Mobile Front PageMobile internet usage is growing exponentially and any theme worth its salt should work on mobile devices. That’s why you’ll be happy to know that Jetpack ships with a full Mobile Theme ready-to-go out of the box.

Just use the .mobile-theme CSS class to style the mobile theme or take things a step further and use jetpack_is_mobile to target mobile visitors.

That way you can build the best user experience for your theme, no matter what device visitors are using.

Check out this article on customizing Jetpack’s mobile theme to learn more.

 

5. Customising CSS

If you’ve published a theme before you most likely know that users often want to customize its appearance. Savvy users might create a child theme, but more often than not, users will simply edit your theme’s files directly.

revision_listThat can get messy when you release a theme update that overwrites users’ modifications. But thanks to Jetpack, a much more user-friendly alternative is available through the Custom CSS feature which also includes a revision history.

After activating the feature, a ‘Custom CSS link’ is added to the Appearance menu in the Dashboard. From there, users can add their own Custom CSS, without touching the theme’s files. They can even use their favorite CSS pre-processer, as support for both SASS and LESS is built right in.

 

6. Providing Sharing functionality

The Sharing feature allows you to add social media sharing buttons to your theme. There are multiple display options built in and you can opt to use your own custom styles as well.

In this way you can integrate social sharing buttons in your theme, and keep complete control over their appearance. You can even alter the functionality with some jQuery magic. Our friends over at ThemeShaper have a great article with more information about this.

 

7. Integrating Social Links

Jetpack also makes it easy to include Social Links within your theme. After a user connects their social media accounts through Publicize, you can automatically use links to their accounts in your theme. You can add support with add_theme_support() and then use the Theme Modifications API to pull the data into your theme.

 

8. Showing similar content with Related Posts

Related posts in visually striking modeRelated Posts is one of Jetpack’s newer features. When activated, this adds a section to single posts that includes automatically generated links to similar content.

By default the section appears at the bottom of your content, but you can also move it to the top with a filter. In addition users can add a shortcode wherever they want the section to appear.

This means that you can include styling for the Related Posts section in your theme and then users are able to drop in a custom Related Posts section that matches the rest of their site wherever they want.

 

9. Additional resources

Finally, we’d love to see what you’ve done yourself and what you think of Jetpack. If you have questions, comments or your own tips drop us a comment below! In addition to that, we’re always open to suggestions, so feel free to get in touch. Thanks for flying with Jetpack!

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

Top 5 Best Practices when using Jetpack on client websites

If you’re creating WordPress websites for clients, Jetpack is for you. Jetpack easily adds a great number of features to your client’s websites without the need for a dozen different plugins, reducing the technical debt that you or your client will need to maintain over time.

We recommend these best practices when using Jetpack for a client site that will keep things running smoothly and help you provide a great service to your clients.

This article covers:

  1. Use Jetpack’s Development Mode
  2. Invite your client to connect a WordPress.com account
  3. Activate Jetpack only on the live domain
  4. Use your account when a connection is required
  5. Work with staging sites
  6. How to install Jetpack

 

1. Use Development Mode

Jetpack offers a Development Mode that is enabled when using Jetpack on a localhost. If you’re developing on a development server, you can manually enable development mode.

You can enable this as constant in wp-config.php by adding:

define( 'JETPACK_DEV_DEBUG', true);

or you can add this as a filter in your theme’s functions.php or a development plugin via:

add_filter( 'jetpack_development_mode', '__return_true' );

Use a development plugin
We suggest using a “Development Plugin” that you can use for all of your in-development needs. With a custom development plugin, you can include the Jetpack Development Mode filter and include other necessary tools like the Debug Bar. The added benefit is that it reduces the number of items on your launch checklist and consequently less things to slip through the cracks when launching. The code might look something like this:

Screenshot of the code for a sample development plugin

No matter how you enable Development Mode, ensuring that it is disabled before handing the site over the client is important to ensure your clients aren’t asking you or us why Jetpack isn’t working!

 

2. Invite your client to connect the site to a WordPress.com account

Many site developers will connect Jetpack to WordPress.com with their WordPress.com account for convenience. This becomes problematic however when you end up with hundreds of sites listed on your http://wordpress.com/my-blogs/ page. After your work is done its very likely that for many (if not most) of them you do not need or want access to any longer unless you have a continued relationship with the client. (Even if you do, its a good idea to teach your clients to self-serve so that you’re not a bottle-neck.)

From your client’s perspective, if Jetpack is connected to your account, they aren’t able to manage their Jetpack connection via http://wordpress.com/my-blogs/ or access their enhanced stats via WordPress.com.

Your client may already have a WordPress.com account if they’ve used Gravatar or Akismet in the past so very often its easy to connect Jetpack with their existing account.

 

3. Activate Jetpack only on the live domain

Jetpack connections are based on the URL of the site. Often, we’ll see a Jetpack user write in asking why all of their stats suddenly disappeared or why do their wp.me shortlinks don’t work. Typically, their site was originally connected when it was on a development address and the migration to the live URL didn’t pass back to us.

To avoid this, connect Jetpack to WordPress.com only on the live domain.

 

4. Use your account when a connection is required

With the above practices stated, we realize that development processes can’t always follow the practices outlined above. What if you’re developing off of a feature that requires a WordPress.com-connected feature, like styling our Subscription widget?

While on a development server, you can connect your client’s site to WordPress.com with your own WordPress.com account. The key is to disconnect Jetpack from WordPress.com using the link in the footer of the Jetpack dashboard page at the beginning of the migration to your production server and reconnecting after the site is on the production URL with the client using their WordPress.com account.

By doing this, you’ll disassociate your account from the client site and your client’s site will be connected using the production URL, avoiding the most common pitfalls of client sites.

 

5. Work with staging sites

An increasing number of hosting providers include a staging site, where you can have an exact copy of the client’s site on a separate server. This is great for testing out updates, new features, and more.

Jetpack communicates with WordPress.com through a shared token and blog ID that is stored in the database. When the staging site is copied from the live site, these database values are included. Whenever you deactivate Jetpack, Jetpack communicates with WordPress.com to invalidate the token as a solid security practice.

For you, this means if you deactivate/disconnect Jetpack on the staging site, the same token used on the live site is now invalid. If this happens, simply have the client disconnect and reconnect Jetpack on the live site.

 

6. How to install Jetpack

If you’ve never used Jetpack before and you’re looking for some guidance on how to install it for the first time, you’re in the right place!

There are two ways of installing the Jetpack plugin:

  1. The simplest way is install it directly from your Dashboard. You can find step-by-step instructions here.
  2. Alternatively, if you’re an advanced user, you can download the plugin files (.ZIP) and install it manually.

Finally, if you discover a bug in Jetpack during your development work, please submit an issue or a patch via GitHub. If you have questions or run into problems, drop us a line or leave a comment to share your tips on using Jetpack with clients.

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

How to install Stats and Analytics on your WordPress site with Jetpack

If you run a website you probably want to know how many visitors you’re getting. So, unsurprisingly, Jetpack’s WordPress.com Stats is one of the most popular features we offer! This feature gives you the ability to quickly see how many visits your site gets, what posts and pages are most popular and where your visitors are coming from.

There are many plugins and services that provide statistics, but data can be overwhelming. WordPress.com Stats makes the most popular metrics easy to understand through a clear and attractive interface. Plus, you can use them in conjunction with other analytics plugins and services.

This article covers:

  1. How to enable your stats
  2. View and understand your stats
  3. Configure and customize your settings
  4. What about Google Analytics?
  5. Installing Jetpack

 

1. Enabling your Stats

WordPress.com Stats are automatically enabled when you activate and connect Jetpack to WordPress.com: no additional setup required! (See the last section for help installing Jetpack.)

smiley

How do you know it’s working? We add a little smiley face at the bottom of your webpage like the one on the right. (Note: From Jetpack version 3.1 onwards the smiley won’t be on by default. You can turn it on and off yourself as described in the Configure and Customize your Settings section below.)

If you’re saying to yourself “Whoa! That’s big!”, don’t panic: in fact it’s quite tiny. Here the smiley in its actual size: actualsize

It’s pretty small. However, we do give you the choice of turning the smiley display off: see the Configure and Customize your Stats section below to find out how.

 

2. View and Understand your Stats

Now that your stats are enabled and running, you can view them in a number of different ways with Jetpack.

  1. Add to Main Dashboard
    You can add the stats module to your main Dashboard screen to give you at-a-glance site views as soon as you log in. On your main Dashboard screen, you can enable the Site Stats widget by opening your Screen Options tab and check the Site Stats box.

    jp-stats2-edit

    Then you can see your site visits, most viewed pages, and search terms people used to find your site at a glance. Handy, right?

    Jetpack Dashboard Stats

    The Site Stats widget on your Dashboard.

  2. In-Depth Stats
    Get more in-depth stats from your Dashboard by visiting Jetpack –> Stats from the menu bar on the left hand side. Here you can see information about Referrers, Top Posts & Pages, Search Engine Terms, Subscriptions, and Clicks.

    This is a great way to see what content is popular on your site so that you can write more about the topics that your visitors really like.
     

  3. Enhanced Stats
    WordPress.com Stats

    Country view stats on WordPress.com

    To get even more information on Stats, you can click the “Show Me” button next to the “Did you know you can view enhanced stats on WordPress.com?” text at the top of your Dashboard stats page to view your stats on WordPress.com.

    By visiting your stats page, we bring you even more information about your site including your best total views per day, your all-time views and comments totals, and features like Views By Country which shows you where in the world your posts are being seen!

    You can also look at stats per day, week, and month. Find out even more about the Jetpack Site Stats – including on what we don’t track through Jetpack – on the WordPress.com documentation page.

 

3. Configure and Customize your Settings

Everything we’ve covered up to this point is turned on by default when you activate and connect Jetpack to WordPress.com.

But did you know that you can also do some custom configuration of stats? Go to Jetpack –> Settings in your dashboard, find the WordPress.com Stats feature in the alphabetized list, and click the “Configure” link that appears when you hover your mouse over it:

configure_stats

In the next screen, you’ll see a number of options for configuring your stats. I’ll cover each one more in depth below.

configure_jetpack_options

  1. Admin Bar
    Checking this box will add the stats “Sparkline” to your admin bar when you’re viewing the front end of your site. If you’re in the wp-admin part of your site, this will not display.

    It looks like this (highlighted in green):

    stats_chart

    These lines represent the last 48 hours of page views for the current blog, with darker lines indicating nighttime page views. Each line spans a time period of two hours. The number that appears when you hover over the Sparkline is the overall highest amount of views per hour during the most recent 48 hour period.

    You might ask why you would need this. It’s a great way of seeing you site’s activity at a glance so that you can quickly note any unusual traffic activity when you’re not in your Dashboard.

  2. Registered Users
    You can choose whether or not to track site visits or site page views from logged in users. You can even specify different user groups that you want to track – or not to track – stats for.

    If you want to know how often your Editors are on your website, you can track it by checking the box next to Editor. It’s that simple!

  3. Smiley
    Remember how I mentioned earlier about how you could hide the stats smiley? (Although I’m not sure why you would, it makes the world a better place!) But, if you want to hide the smiley from displaying on your website, then you can check the box here.
     
  4. Report Visibility
    By default, Stats can only be viewed by logged in, Administrator users. This hides stats from other registered users who are not Administrators.

    If you want other user groups (Editor, Author, Contributor, or Subscriber) to have the ability to view stats, you would have to opt-in those user groups by checking the box next to the user group you want to add. (Note: you cannot uncheck stats visibility for Administrator users.)

 

4. What about Google Analytics?

One of the more common questions we get about Jetpack is: “I want to use Google Analytics! Do I have to disable WordPress.com Stats in Jetpack?”

No!

You can use both on your WordPress installation. The benefit of using WordPress.com Stats is that you can see a snapshot of your blog's activity right from your Dashboard. If you want to use another analytics service you can certainly do so. WordPress.com Stats works great alongside Google Analytics and other stats tracking services.

 

5. Installing Jetpack

To see WordPress.com Stats working on your site you will need to install the Jetpack plugin. (Note: Jetpack works with self-hosted WordPress sites. If your site or blog is hosted at WordPress.com you already have access to all Jetpack features!)

There are two ways of installing the Jetpack plugin:

  1. The simplest way is install it directly from your Dashboard. You can find step-by-step instructions here.
  2. Alternatively, if you’re an advanced user, you can download the plugin files (.ZIP) and install it manually.

I hope this has helped you learn more about Jetpack’s WordPress.com Stats feature. If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment below.

Posted in Features | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Jetpack 2.8: Introducing Markdown and Improving Monitor

We’re thrilled to announce that our latest update is out the door! Jetpack 2.8 includes improvements to Jetpack Monitor and also introduces a brand new Markdown module.

Jetpack Monitor Module Card

Improved Jetpack Monitor notifications

Multiple users can now receive Jetpack Monitor email notifications. As an admin user linked to WordPress.com, you can opt in to receive these notifications right from your dashboard. Just navigate to the Jetpack page, find the Monitor module card, and click on Configure. Then, check the “Receive Monitor Email Notifications” setting and save your changes. Now if your site ever goes down you will receive notifications to your WordPress.com linked account email!

Write more efficiently with Markdown

Since introducing Markdown on WordPress.com, we’ve had a lot of requests to bring it over to Jetpack. Well, queue the trumpets, start the drumroll, Markdown is here!

For those who don’t know, Markdown is a quick way to add formatted text without writing out any HTML. Markdown lets you compose links, lists, and other styles using regular characters and punctuation marks. If you want a quick, easy way to write and edit rich text without having to take your hands off the keyboard or learn a lot of complicated codes and shortcuts, then Markdown might be right for you. We do strongly suggest sticking with the “Text” tab in the Editor when using Markdown.

Here is an example of Markdown in the text editor:

Markdown in text editor

And here is that same Markdown converted to HTML in the Reddle theme:

Markdown converted to HTML in Reddle

Isn’t that pretty awesome? You can check out the announcement post over at WordPress.com for more information about Markdown and see our Markdown support page.

Publicize Support for Custom Post Types

For our developer friends out there, we’ve added Publicize support for custom post types, allowing you and your clients to automatically post new entries from any CPT to your social media networks. You’d need to make one small tweak in the code defining the CPT—just add 'publicize' to the CPT’s 'supports' array.

For example, to enable the title, editor, Publicize, and Jetpack’s new support for Markdown: 'supports' => array( 'title', 'editor', 'publicize', 'wpcom-markdown' ),

As always, if you notice any issues with this release, just give us a shout over at the forums or send us a message through our contact form. Thank you for flying with Jetpack!

Posted in Releases | Tagged , , , , , | 29 Comments

Jetpack 2.5: Google Integration, VideoPress, and Facebook Embeds

In the latest update to Jetpack, we have some exciting new features to share with you including integration of Google services and products, adding VideoPress to our list of modules, and the ability to embed your Facebook updates into your blog posts. Let’s take a closer look at each of these new features!

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Posted in Releases | Tagged , , , , | 38 Comments

Jetpack 2.4: Widget Visibility and WPCC (and more!)

We’ve got a great update for you all including two new modules, three new shortcodes, and some updates and fixes to your favorite Jetpack modules!

(more…)

Posted in Releases | Tagged , | 12 Comments

Jetpack 2.3.4

Jetpack 2.3.4 is out! Included are a number of bug fixes and enhancements — from using the freshest Genericon assets to improving many of our translations, it’s the best Jetpack yet.

We’ve also lightened the load by dropping many of the “retina display” versions of WordPress Core assets that core has had come bundled with since 3.5. If you’re still running WordPress 3.4, it may be time to look at upgrading!

For a full changelog, check out http://wordpress.org/plugins/jetpack/changelog/

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

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.

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

Jetpack 2.3: Omnisearch, Social Links, and DIY Debugging

Version 2.3 of Jetpack has launched! New features like Omnisearch, Social Links, the Debugger, and more give you powerful, simple ways to customize and administer your Jetpack-powered site.

Ominsearch

Omnisearch

Omnisearch: one search box, global results. Don’t waste time digging for that one comment with the useful link — or was it a post you saw it in? Search once and get results from all of your posts, pages, comments, and plugins.

It’s also incredibly simple to let other plugins offer search results for when a user does a search. Do you have a plugin to build forms? Let Omnisearch provide your users with relevant points of contact from their visitors. Shopping cart plugin? Use it to find individual orders or products. Omnisearch is easy to extend via WordPress’s native Filters API to create a comprehensive search experience within your Dashboard.

Social Links

Social Links

Are you using a theme that supports Social Links? Now, you can configure your social icons directly from the Customizer (just make sure you’ve connected your social services using Publicize first).

Debugger

Debug Module

Debugging your Jetpack connection has never been easier. Activate the Jetpack Debugger, find out why Jetpack isn’t working for you, and submit a help request directly from your Dashboard. Our support folks can see the test details, helping them hone in on the issue more efficiently.

Other Enhancements

In addition to these features, you can now customize the “submit” button text on contact forms, as well as captions used by slideshows

(We’ve also spent a lot of time fixing bugs. For a complete list of changes, take a look at the changelog.)

If you’re already running Jetpack, head to your dashboard to update to 2.3. Otherwise, download Jetpack today!

Posted in Features, Releases | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments
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