Themes & Design Tools
Jetpack is a fantastic plugin by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com. Granted, there are skeptics out there who feel the plugin is a lot of bloat and not worth the effort, their criticisms may be shortsighted or just wrong. The modules that come with Jetpack implement professional grade tools that every website could benefit from. Let’s take a look.
Deciding on a theme for your site is simultaneously liberating and crushingly exhausting. Themes are a beautiful thing, all the magic of a professional site with very little set up. But a lot of themes are poorly coded and become problematic as your site expands. Enter Jetpack themes. These themes are designed and vetted by the team behind WordPress. Each theme is fully optimized for WordPress and all mobile devices, not to mention fully compatible with all Jetpack features. Check out the 165 free Jetpack themes: https://jetpack.com/features/design/themes/showcase/
Hosting videos on your website typically comes with two caveats. You can either host the video yourself and pay for the extra bandwidth or you can use a service that usually displays ads before, during, or after your video.
With Jetpack, video hosting comes with any of the paid plans. This excellent feature uses the same content delivery network used to host images and videos found on many popular websites like CNN and the New York Times.
VideoPress integrates directly with your post editor and medial library creating a seemless experience. Additionally, your videos are hosted ad free, can be high quality, and are displayed at high-speed. Additionally, you can also view stats for individual and overall video plays.
This simple feature is very impressive. Infinite Scroll allows your blog to pull in subsequent posts as your user reaches the bottom of each individual post, creating a seamless transition between your content. Less clicks, less chance of visitors leaving your page. You can also add in optional footers and ‘read more’ buttons if you prefer the feature to be opt-in. This feature is free with all Jetpack installations.
Embedding rich media content into a website can be a bit technical and rather redundant if you have a lot of media to work with. Jetpack allows you to easily embed anything from vidoes to audio to Google Docs with the usage of their brilliant shortcodes. Here is a list of features that are supported:
- Video support for: DailyMotion, Flickr, TED, TwitchTV, Vimeo, Vine, and YouTube.
- Audio support for: MP3, SoundCloud, BandCamp, and MixCloud.
- Document support for: Presentations, Sribd, Instagram, SlideShare, Galleries, and Google Docs.
- Additional support for: Archives, Maps, CodePen, Facebook, Twitter, Medium, Pinterest, Recipes, and more.
Mobile Theme and Editing
Mobile responsive sites are a necessity now. Jetpack has a great feature that generates a mobile version of your site. Additionally, you can also add and edit content from your mobile device with ease.***
A Jetpack powered site has access to the Proofreading module. This is a great feature for any writer or site owner who wants to be taken seriously. Open your content editor and click the ‘ABC’ button. The Proofreader will check your spelling, grammar, misused words, and even style! Complete with colorful error-coding, ‘ignore once or always’ options, and available in English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Arguably one of Jetpack’s most important features, Photon is a powerful Content Delivery Network (CDN) that is worthwhile for every website. Photon serves a cached version of your website’s images enabling faster bandwidth and delivery of your content. Best part, entirely free with no upsells. Just one click and your site is instantly faster. Jetpack is also futureproofed by their implementation of WEBP, an exciting new image format that enables better compression and faster image delivery.
Galleries, Carousels, and Slideshows
Creating a beautiful website is much easier with prebuilt galleries, carousels and slideshows. By implementing these features, you can stylishly include lots of photos in unique patterns. With the Jetpack image gallery, you have access to three new styles, a rectangular tile mosaic, a square mosaic, or a circular grid.
You can easily change standard image galleries into carousels or slideshows with a few clicks, the setup is very simple and handled through the media library.
Jetpack offers a lot of great tools to enhance the look and functionality of your website, next up I will discuss the SEO and Traffic Tools that make Jetpack an essential plugin for your site.