You’ll often hear that you shouldn’t have too many plugins on your site because it can slow your site speed down. But you should not be afraid to use plugins, and the WordPress Jetpack plugin should definitely be on your shortlist.
A plugin for WordPress is simply a bundle of code that adds functionality to your website. You don’t have to know anything about coding to use them. All you have to do is click a few buttons.
But you should practice some discretion when choosing plugins for your WordPress blog.
I shy away from plugins that have only a few hundred or thousand installs. Look for ones with a proven track record, read the reviews, and make sure the developer is updating the plugin regularly.
One plugin that I use on all of my sites is WordPress Jetpack. It’s especially useful for new bloggers because it can handle some of the things that might be overwhelming for you as your just getting started.
Plus the Jetpack plugin comes with lots of cool free features.
I’ve never used the paid version of Jetpack so I’m only going to talk about the free features that I love.
However, there are lots of other features that might be a good fit for your blog so there are some links for additional information at the bottom of the post.
1. Use JetPack Stats to promote popular posts
Sure you need to have Google analytics, and Jetpack stats should not take the place of that. But it’s a lot simpler to find everything you want to know quickly with your Jetpack plugin.
See the most important information on one screen.
When you’re looking at your daily stats, Jetpack will show you which posts are getting the most views, where your visits are coming from, which search terms are sending you traffic, and even which external links are getting clicks.
That’s a ton of great info you get with just a glance.
Some tips for using this feature to the fullest:
- See where your traffic is coming from and share the referral source if appropriate.
- Share top performing posts across all social media outlets.
- See which of your affiliate links are getting the most clicks. Share those posts and add similar affiliate links in other posts.
- Take note of what search engine terms are sending you traffic and write posts about a similar topic.
2. You can use the publicize feature to automatically post to social media outlets.
Writing an SEO optimized post is one thing, but most of us don’t make it on the first page of Google as soon as we hit publish. It can take a while before Google finds and ranks your post.
The fastest way to get people visiting your site is to share it on all your social media accounts.
You should begin sharing your post immediately after you publish it. The publicize feature sends your posts to all your connected networks right away.
This should definitely be in addition to your social media sharing strategy and not a replacement. But it’s great for making sure you don’t forget to get your posts out to the sites that you don’t use as frequently, like Google+, for example.
Sending your post out to Google+ gives you a boost in Google rankings. Why? Because your public posts on Google+ are searchable, so when people in your network search for keywords you’re writing about, your G+ shares show up on the first page of results!
Even if you don’t have many followers on G+, it’s still worth posting your articles there. Check out why here.
3. Improve site speed
I know there’s a rumor that Jetpack will slow down your site, but that’s not really true. Sure, every plugin you install adds to the load time, but this one offers a couple of options to improve site speed.
Jetpack will host your images on their CDN and lazy load images for improved mobile speed.
Here’s where to turn on these features:
Simple, beautiful, and relevant, this is one of the easiest ways to get your visitors to click around and visit more of your posts while they are on your site. Simply turn it on and you’re done.
4. Create a community with comments and subscribe options
The Jetpack comments function is easier for readers to use and has a better design than the default WordPress comments. Plus there’s an option to subscribe right in the comment box.
Even before you have a killer opt-in and mailing list, you can let your readers know when a new post goes live with Jetpack subscriptions.
The subscriptions feature will automatically send your readers an email every time you publish a post. And you’re not limited to getting subscribers via comment subscriptions. WordPress Jetpack comes with a widget you can add to your sidebar.
5. Let Jetpack check your spelling and grammar.
Don’t put out posts with lots of misspellings and typos! Sure everybody makes a mistake once in a while, and even your spell or grammar checker can miss some things, but…
Publishing a post with lots of errors makes you look unintelligent, lazy, and hurts your credibility.
Before you publish your post, you can use the ‘Check ABC’ feature to check your spelling and grammar. It will quickly read and highlight problems, give you suggestions to fix them, and explain why that text was flagged.
The spell and grammar checker will also remind you to double check for errors before you post, so you get a chance to fix any errors before it goes live even if you’re not in the habit of running a spell check.
Those are my favorite features, but there are many more ways to use Jetpack for your blog.
Here is a complete list of features from Jetpack.com.
For information on installing and setting up the Jetpack plugin, read this in-depth article.
So tell me, do you use Jetpack for WordPress? What do you love about it?