Jetpack

“Hear it from us first”: Why every site should run Jetpack

Jetpack is a WordPress plugin that helps you optimise your site on various fronts: traffic, development and user experience amongst others. There is one feature however which I feel is critical: Jetpack Monitor. Simply put, Jetpack Monitor keeps tabs on your site and alerts you the moment that downtime is detected.

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Like a lot of people who work in web, before I joined the Jetpack team I did quite a bit of client work: both freelance and at agencies. For me the absolute worst thing in this business is receiving a call from a client, most likely while you’re relaxing on a beach or just waking up, desperately asking you to fix her site because she’s losing money, clients or brand value while her site is down.

Jetpack Monitor might not do away with the frantic scrabbling you’ll need to do to fix the site but it will put you back in the driving seat. Because you get notified first you can turn the tables around and call your client yourself, calmly saying “Hey, as I’ve been keeping tabs on your site I noticed it just went down 10 seconds ago. Don’t panic, I’m on it.” At times the problem might even be a trivial one meaning that you can actually call your client and say that its already sorted!

Of course the same applies if you maintain your own site. You’ll get notified by us rather than by one of readers (or customers) making it more likely you can fix the problem before it affects too many of your users.

That’s it. With Jetpack Monitor, if your site goes down, you’ll hear it from us first.

Its entirely likely, indeed desirable, that you will turn this feature on when you install Jetpack and then never think about it again. But if, for whatever reason, your site or your client’s site does go down you will be thanking your lucky stars this feature is enabled.

Try Jetpack for yourself by connecting it to your site or by downloading the plugin files directly if you prefer that route. Oh, and do let us know in the comments if you have any questions or suggestions.

Posted in Features | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

How to improve your User Experience using Jetpack

Jetpack has a ton of features (more than 30) that help you improve your WordPress site or blog in many ways – both for yourself as administrator as well as for your readers. Today I’m going to focus on eight Jetpack features that you can use to improve the User Experience of your site so that visitors find it easier to navigate and stick around longer.

Performance and Stability

It can seem like a no-brainer but the absolute worst user experience when visiting a site is when the site doesn’t work at all or takes a long time to load. Jetpack comes with two must-have features that stop this from happening:

  1. Photon
    Turning on Photon means that all your images get automatically served to users from the WordPress.com content delivery network (CDN) which means faster images for your readers (and less load on your host). To turn it on all you have to do is go to the Jetpack page in your blog dashboard and click the Activate button for Photon. And if you’re a developer, you can also speed up your theme with Photon.

  2. Monitor
    All sites go down once in a while. It could be your database, your host, some rogue code – whatever the reason, your visitors don’t really care, they just want to see your stuff! Jetpack Monitor will keep tabs on your site, and alert you the moment that downtime is detected so that you hear it from us first.

 

Mobile Devices

If you keep tabs on your traffic you’ve probably noticed you’re getting more and more visitors browsing your site from a mobile device: smart phones and tables of all shapes and sizes. Jetpack provides two features that help you make the reading experience on these devices significantly better:

  1. Mobile theme
    Jetpack comes with a responsive theme that works instantly on all mobile browsers. It also comes with various options and settings that enable you to choose exactly how you’d like your mobile browsing experience to work.

  2. Custom CSS
    Jetpack’s Custom CSS feature lets you tweak your site’s appearance to your heart’s content in a way that doesn’t break your theme when an upgrade is released. In addition, you can also create custom CSS for your mobile theme, further refining your mobile experience.

 

Interaction

Finally the last set of features deal with enabling your visitors to interact with your site, content and the community in a smoother fashion:

  1. Likes
    This feature puts a “Like” button on your posts and is a way for people to show their appreciation for your content. Enabling it is a short two-step process.

  2. Related Posts
    This feature pulls relevant content from your blog to display at the bottom of your posts. If the feature is enabled, a section of related posts appears just underneath your Likes (if you’ve turned these on). Just activate the feature from your Jetpack dashboard to turn them on but you can also customize how they display.

  3. Infinite Scroll
    Infinite scroll simply means that when a visitor scrolls to the bottom of your posts page Jetpack will automatically load the next set of posts without requiring clicking on any buttons. Activating it is similar to “Related Posts” above but not every theme supports it.

  4. Jetpack Comments
    When someone reads an article on your site and wants to comment, they can now use one of their existing social networking accounts to post a comment. No longer do they need to create yet another account and profile! You can also customize how Jetpack Comments display.

 

That’s it! Eight Jetpack features that can help your visitors have a more pleasurable experience when visiting your site. If you’ve not used Jetpack before, read our step-by-step installation guide here to try it out for yourself.

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

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