How To Configure Jetpack For Your New WordPress Website! Part 1
Jetpack is a common and versatile plugin that is extremely handy for automation (automatically posting/sharing to your social accounts) seeing your traffic stats at a glance and recognizing which posts are outperforming others so that you can make important marketing decisions. Before starting, make sure you’ve created a Jetpack account. This is what will connect your site to WordPress’ bonus features.
Here’s the Jetpack dashboard. As you can see, I’m freshly connected and have no stats to show yet. I haven’t configured any of my settings and the internet is my playground. Let’s look at how to configure Jetpack for your new WordPress website!
I typically leave this off because it irritates me, however if you want to see fewer things when you log into your website that’s totally cool. The WordPress.com Toolbar shows up at the top of your screen, where it says “Howdy, NAME”! I prefer to leave this off because I can see more interesting things in the default toolbar, specifically my 24 hour stats, a quick-add button to write a blog and additional plugins you may choose to add.
“Write posts or pages in plain-text Markdown syntax” is a personal choice depending on how you write. Here’s what Jetpack says:
“Markdown lets you compose posts and comments with links, lists, and other styles using regular characters and punctuation marks. Markdown is used by writers and bloggers who want a quick and easy way to write rich text, without having to take their hands off the keyboard, and without learning a lot of complicated codes and shortcuts.”
Want to learn more about Markdown? Here’s a handy link!
In the interest of keeping your WordPress journey worry-free, I will suggest keeping this function disabled. I have a feeling you won’t notice it unless you’re a big fan of Markdown already!
“Check your spelling, style and grammar” is a handy tool. You should leave this on.
“Speed up images and photos” is a feature I love and I recommend leaving this on. Jetpack has a Content Delivery Network (CDN) which leaves a cached version of an image on a server that is geographically closer to the person looking at your website. That means that your images load faster and your customers don’t become impatient while your page loads. More about CDNs when we get to Cloudflare. I know there are so many random names but trust me, I’ll cover them!
Edit: I have discovered that this feature actually prevents Google from seeing your featured images. So when you decide to start enabling structured data and highlighting for rich cards, Google won’t be able to pull your images and your site will be less likely to show up properly in search. The more you know!
“Display images and galleries in a gorgeous full-screen browsing experience” doesn’t mean that your images take up an entire page or full screen. It just means that if you look at the page that hosts your image, it’ll have a black background like this:
“Host fast, high-quality, ad-free video.” Don’t worry about this, we’ve got it covered in your theme. Also you have to pay for it. Let’s not pay extra for stuff we don’t need, amiright?
Custom Content Types
“Testimonials” This is pretty self explanatory what with the description right below. If your theme has a testimonials section (you would see that in the sidebar where all the other WordPress tools appear) you can use this testimonials shortcode wherever you want to in your website to make testimonials appear.
“Portfolios” Similar to the testimonials content, except for portfolios, you can use this to throw a portfolio anywhere in your website. Depending on your specific needs, you may choose to configure Jetpack to use these, or not.
More about custom content types and Jetpack shortcodes here.
“Infinite Scroll” is used to continuously load more and more and more blog posts for eternity. Depending on your theme, infinite scroll may or may not work. It’s also a preference! Some people hate it, some people love it.
“Enable the Jetpack Mobile theme” This is my enemy. I really dislike the Jetpack Mobile theme. It overrides the theme that exists on your website and replaces it with a very ugly looking standard WordPress blue and white plain ugly thing. Try it if you want, but like… no. The other elements in this module don’t matter because the Jetpack Mobile theme is ugly so it’s irrelevant. I’m here to make you look good. 😀
Publish Post by Email
This is a nifty module you can use if you choose to. It doesn’t give you nearly as much functionality as posting from the back-end of your site, and truth be told – I’m not sure why you would post by email if you’re hooked up to the internet and have access to your website anyway. Ok I take it back – I don’t think this module is really that nifty, unless you wanted to write something very short with absolutely no styling. So I’m sure by now you’ve guessed I don’t use this. If you’d like to configure Jetpack to use it, go for it!
We’re Here to Help
Jetpack is so nice, they’ve put together zillions of articles about how to use their product! You’ve already seen a few throughout this overview but in case you wanted access to it from your website, this is what it looks like. They also give you an option to upgrade here. I’ve never had to upgrade, most of what they offer you can get for free with different plugins.
Get WordPress Apps for Every Device
I actually love this! I have the app on my phone and I can see stats on individual posts really quickly, which is great when I’m super excited about something I’ve just written. The app has also come in handy when I’ve needed to wait for small pieces of information before publishing and had to go out (shopping). The app lets me add the little details into my almost-complete post and then hit publish! Done! So great! Definitely get the app. It is your friend. Use the same login credentials you set up your Jetpack account with.
That’s it for part 1 of how to configure Jetpack for WordPress! Next up we’ll tackle the second tab of Jetpack: Sharing.