With 7 million downloads Jetpack is one of the most popular wordpress plugin in the wordpress plugin repository. It is also one of the most recommended plugins to use for any WP setup, whether it is a corporate website, a blog or an ecommerce portal. Since, Jetpack is promoted by WordPress.com itself, it has a very high trust factor which is one of the main reasons for high download count. Jetpack is like a combination of plugins, some are essential while some are not so essential features. Depending upon your requirements you can select which features to use and which to ignore. Currently Jetpack has 30 such features. Each of its features is a very well thought idea but it adds extra bloat to your website which may impact you on user experience and SEO.
Since there are so many features for users it is really a hassle to know about these features. Understanding most of these require technical know/how which many WordPress users are not aware of.
This post will help you understand these features and let you decide which one’s you really need and which one’s you do not need. We’ll also rank these features in terms of essential to nonessential and glad to have features.
Lets begin with the list :
1. Photon : The best feature in WordPress Jetpack. It helps you in speeding your WP setup to a great extent. Any alternative to this kind of service is a paid solution. This is WordPress.com CDN service which serves all your images from WP servers. You save a great deal of bandwidth and decrease your website loading time by good amount.
2. WordPress.com Stats : Easily one of the most essential features to have. It gives you a daily count of visits your pages had and referrer from where users landed to your pages and which pages were accessed most. However, you may not require it at all if you use Google analytics.
4. Spelling and Grammar : This tool checks every post for incorrect spellings and grammatical mistakes before you publish them.
5. Mobile Theme : If your WordPress theme is not responsive, Jetpack provides you with a faster and sleeker solution. Mobile theme for your blog. It has one drawback it can only be used for blogs currently.
6. Jetpack Comments : Now ask your readers to comment on your post using facebook or twitter or g+ or pinterest accounts without compromising on your website load time. You can easily integrate with these social networks for free.
7. Publicize : Spread the word is the motto. As soon as a post is published, it will be automatically Tweeted by your twitter account, Post on your Facebook page and shared on other social networks. No need to manually paste the link to your amazing article.
8. VaultPress (PAID) : Secure your WordPress setup with backup solutions.
1. Subscriptions : Users can subscribe to your blog using their WordPress account. This feature works in conjunction with Posts by email feature and the latter part is more interesting.
2. Posts by email : Best use it with Subscriptions feature. All the subscribed members would be emailed your latest post. If you have a large list of subscribers you can send them your latest post to their email accounts for free. Once again you save $$, if you have more than 2k subscribers then you are actually saving $10/month compared to mailchimp.
3. Contact Form : Provides an inbuilt feature to add unlimited contact form. And gives an interface in WP admin where all submissions are stored. This is used more as a feedback form than a contact form.
4. Widget Visibility : This is one of the required features for theme and plugin developers. It helps in show/hide widgets on selected pages/posts etc. but I do not see this much used around.
5. Shortcode Embeds : If you want to embed Youtube videos, Vimeo videos, Soundcloud audios then this feature is helpful and you do not need to install any plugin for this.
6. Custom CSS : Another way for CSS developers to override theme CSS. One of the most required features for devs as it helps in keeping you CSS changed intact even after theme update.
7. Extra sidebar Widgets : All the widgets like Twitter followers, Facebook facepile etc.. under one roof. Once again these features in jetpack are faster than any other widget because the scripts required for these widgets are served from WordPress.com CDN. So, if you use any such widget, you should use Jetpack sidebar widgets and save on your bandwidth and increase your site speed.
8. Enhanced Distribution : Shares your latest post and comments to search engines for faster indexing.
Good to have Features
1. Notifications : Notifications in WP Toolbar and WordPress.com account. Like a short summary of the current page. The missing part is I am not always online on WordPress.com and when I login to my WP, I go directly to admin panel and check the stats.
2. Likes : If you want to have a like feature in your theme. The missing part is that there is no widget like most liked post where this could have been really used.
3. Carousels : With this feature you can add a Fullscreen slideshow like a gallery. The missing part here is it has only one skin which is dark.
4. Omnisearch : You can search for anything from your WP admin panel, pages, posts, comments etc. The missing part it is only in WP admin.
5. WP.me Shortlinks : Create automatic shortlinks which you can paste in your twitter message or send accross.
6. Infinite Scroll : You blog page can be converted into infinite scroll with user not requiring to use pagination at all. The missing part is not many themes are compatible with this.
7. JSON API : A must requirement for mobile app devs. You can easily create an app for your WP site and login to your WP admin account via secure oAuth 2.0. The missing part it is only for developers.
9. WordPress.com Connect : Users logged in WordPress.com can directly comment to your site. Well, not many people are online in WordPress.com.
10. VideoPress (PAID) : Upload and embed your videos from external resource. Required feature if you have tutorials, training videos for a paid project.
Non Essential Features
1. Google + Profile : Shows Google + view. Optional if you’re an avid user of Google + . Personally, I am not a fan of G+.
2. Beautiful Math : Only required to show maths.
3. Mobile Push Notifications : Only works on Apple devices.
Off all the plugins in WordPress repository, none of the plugin will give you so many features. So many features can never could have been accomplished by a single plugin and can not be maintained by a plugin author. It requires a top notch team to have build such a plugin and maintain it.
Bottom line : Jetpack. Well, its not a plugin its a plugin bundle. Definitely a must have.
What remains to be seen is there is not a single WP theme built around this popular plugin and using its features to its potential, JetPack. This is one area I would be diving into in coming few weeks. Building a theme which utilises WP jetpack features. Well I have to rebuild VibeThemes.com, this seems like a nice idea !