By Suzette Franck, WordPress Evangelist Lead at Media Temple
In my last article, Supercharge Your Website with Jetpack: Part One of Three, I wrote about the basics of Jetpack: what it is, a rundown of the applications included, how to install, and how to connect it to your WordPress.com account to enable all of the awesome features. In this second post of this series, I will cover the rich social media features that are included as a part of Jetpack and how to get the most out of them.
Summary of Jetpack Social Features
Using the built-in social features of Jetpack, any blog owner can easily and effortlessly get their message out to the broadest audience possible. Blog Subscriptions allow users to subscribe to your content and receive notifications of new posts via email updates. Publicize automatically publishes your content to popular social media networks. Sharing allows visitors to help to promote your content with a click of a button, and Extra Sidebar Widgets give you the tools necessary to display your Twitter Feed, an image, or an RSS link in your sidebar.
Blog subscriptions allow visitors to subscribe to your blog and receive a nicely formatted email when you make a new post. There are two places where they can subscribe. The first place is when making a comment on a post. Below the comment form, you’ll find that there is a new option to subscribe to posts or comments:
The second method is via a widget that you can add to the sidebar:
Once a user has submitted their email address, they are first sent an email to confirm their subscription. After they have confirmed, they will be sent an email every time you make a new post. Below is an example of what this email looks like:
If you would like to see all of the email addresses of those that have subscribed, you may do so by going to Jetpack → Site Stats. Scroll to the very bottom on the left, where you will see the following Subscriptions box:
Clicking on the underlined “Blog” link will present a list of subscribers’ emails along with the date that they subscribed.
More information on Subscriptions can be found at the official Jetpack site.
Publicize allows you to automatically share your posts on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Yahoo!, and Linkedin. To access the settings, go to Settings → Sharing and you will see the following screen:
You will need to add a new connection to each account that you’d like to make available when posts are published. Once the account has been connected, you will notice additional “Publicize” settings near the publish button:
By clicking on the “Edit” link, you will have the option to exclude some or all of the accounts, and change the link text that is shared (by default, it is the title of your post):
More information about the Publicize feature can be found at the official Jetpack website.
Jetpack Sharing appends social media icons to the end of your posts and/or pages. You can specify the style of the buttons that you would like, rearrange the order, and choose from the official buttons or alternative versions (smaller icons, with or without text). The social buttons included are Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Digg, LinkedIn, Google +1, Print, Email, and Press This (on Multisite only). In addition, you may also define your own social network services by specifying an icon and url. To access and configure the sharing buttons, go to Settings → Sharing where you will see the following screen:
To enable Sharing, you must drag and drop the desired services from “Available Services” to the “Enabled Services” box. The button style can be selected below that, with these options: Official buttons, Icon + Text, Icon only, or Text only. Most of the official buttons include a counter as part of the button, but you can always see a live preview of the social icons below the Enabled Services. You may also configure where you would like your buttons to show, along with the sharing label and whether the link opens in a new window or not.
Here is an example of what this configuration would look like on the bottom of a post using the Twenty Twelve theme:
Jetpack Comments allows visitors to make a comment using one of their existing social network accounts. The available social accounts to connect to are Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress.com. This feature is disabled by default. If you would like to use it, you will need to go to Jetpack and then find the Jetpack Comments card and click on the activate button:
Once activated, users will see additional options when clicking in the comments box:
If you’d like to change the greeting text, “Leave Reply” or the color scheme of the comments form, you can do so by changing the settings in Settings → Discussion.
Extra Sidebar Widgets
Besides the Subscription widget that is added when you enable Subscriptions, there are a few other handy widgets that are added when you install Jetpack: The Twitter widget, the image widget, and an RSS links widget.
The Twitter widget shows off the latest tweets by the specified Twitter username. It has a variety of different options that can be set under Appearance → Widgets when adding the widget to your sidebar:
The best thing about this Twitter widget in particular is that the Tweets will be displayed in a style that matches your theme:
The image widget allows you to add an image’s url to display on your sidebar along with other basic information, such as Widget title and Caption.
Below is an example of how this configuration will look on your live site:
RSS Links Widget
The RSS Links Widget allows you to add a link to your blog’s or comment’s RSS Feed in your sidebar, along with some different color and size options:
This shows up as:
In the next and final chapter of Supercharge Your Website with Jetpack: Part Three of Three, I will discuss the image performance enhancements in Photon, how to interpret the WordPress.com Stats, how you can put the Contact Form to use, and how to set up the Image Carousel to automatically display a full-screen slideshow for your WordPress galleries.