As a big fan of WordPress, I spend a lot of time looking through the thousands of plugins available for the platform. I try to find the most useful, most powerful and most innovative of them to use on my own sites and those I manage for clients.
While certainly not the newest or the shiniest, Jetpack is certainly one of the most useful.
It was originally designed to supercharge blogs hosted on WordPress.com but was soon converted to work with self-hosted sites that use WordPress as a platform. It is now available as a plugin and often promoted as such within WordPress itself. The plugin has a number of different functions that can help boost your blog if used correctly.
What’s in the box?
The different elements of Jetpack are contained in three feature sets, Performance and Security, Traffic Growth and Tools. I don’t use all of them as not all are relevant to my needs, but I use quite a few.
On this and other sites I manage, I tend to use:
Photon ? To speed up images. It uses the WordPress.com CDN to speed up the loading of images. As loading is a contributor to Google ranking, this should speak for itself.
Protect ? This element helps protect your blog from brute force attacks by blacklisting IPs across the entire WordPress.com network.
Single Sign On ? If a site is a social one, this allows users to sign into the site with their WordPress.com login.
Site stats ? A bit like NewStatPress but with less detail. Useful if you don’t want to use other plugins to track traffic and metrics.
Sharing ? Makes comment sharing easier. All blogs should have something like this.
Publicize ? Automates sharing posts on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Yahoo and Linkedin. Saves time at the publication stage.
Related Posts ? Can show a Related Posts box on a page to increase engagement and keep people on the site.
Enhanced Distribution ? Shares your content with third party content services and spreads it around a bit. Not sure how effective it is, but the potential is too much to ignore.
Automatic Updates ? a useful tool that keeps all your plugins updated. I try not to use too many plugins at once but this saves time nonetheless.
As well as these tools, there are another 30-odd minor ones. I don’t pay much attention to them so they tend to work in the background.
So how to these tools boost your blog?
They take care of a lot of the background tasks in publishing content. They automate some boring jobs and help keep your website running smoothly and loading fast. The ability to automatically post new content to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is very useful too as it leaves you more time to create great content and to interact with those you’re communicating with. Both are the primary goals of any content marketing campaign.