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Have you ever found yourself lost on where to start when it comes to new software, gadgets, apps or plugins? Well, the Jetpack plugin for WordPress is a powerful tool for any website but its features can be overwhelming to get started with. Just getting it installed is different from most plugins since you need to link Jetpack to WordPress.com.
Then there are the default modules that Jetpack recommends blanket enabling. Don’t you just hate it when you install new software and it installs a bunch of extras you don’t need? Stuff that clutters your space and causes confusion. Stopping you get the most out of this valuable plugin.
Imagine what it would be like if you could jump right in and get the most important features working first without anything extra. Giving you a solid foundation. So you can focus on just adding what you need when you need it.
And guess what? This guide will show you exactly how to install the Jetpack plugin with minimal fuss and confusion. Helping you enable the most important features that are vital to any site.
So here we go!
How To Install The Jetpack Plugin
Login to your WordPress.com account.
On the left-hand menu go to Plugins > Add New.
Search for Jetpack in the search box.
The plugin will look like this:
Click on Install Now.
Wait and once complete click Activate.
You will be prompted to Connect Jetpack to WordPress.com.
Click Set up Jetpack.
Another screen will show up confirming the website and account you are about to connect to Jetpack.
Double check the details and switch to a different account if required.
Otherwise, click Approve.
Jetpack will complete the setup and will let you know once everything is ready to go.
The Jetpack Plugin Recommended Features
But before you click Activate recommended features I would suggest ignoring it. Yes, that’s right – ignore it. You can do this by clicking the little grey cross to the top right of the Activate recommended features button.
Why? You wonder. Well, by default clicking on Activate recommended features will activate the following:-
- Sharing – Which includes sharing buttons.
- Subscriptions – Allow visitors to get updates to comments and posts.
- Gravatar Hovercards – Shows extra details from Gravatar profiles.
- Contact Form – Allows you to add a contact form to posts and pages.
- Carousel – Creates improved image galleries that have a carousel/slider style.
- Tiled Galleries – Allows arrangement of images into different styles like circles, mosaic, thumbnails etc.
- Lazy Images – Only loads images just before they scroll into view saving on page load.
- Photon – Serves images that meet certain requirements through the Jetpack plugin’s CDN.
- Monitor – Get notifications by email if your website goes down.
- Related Posts – Show related content at the bottom of a post to entice visitors to browse your website for longer.
- Single Sign On – Allows single sign on to any of your Jetpack Plugin enabled sites.
Chances Are You Won’t Use Most Of The Recommended Features
In fact, out of these 11 modules, only 2 (Photon and Monitor) are ones every website needs. The rest are subjective and should only be enabled if you are using them.
The whole point of the Jetpack plugin modules is that you can activate only what you need to avoid using extra resources. So it makes no sense to blanket enable a bunch. If you want it done properly you are best doing it yourself.When you first install the #WordPress Jetpack plugin, rather than enabling unnecessary features. Enable these modules that are vital for every #website. Click To Tweet
Even if you somehow decide you want all 11 modules enabled (in which case feel free to click Activate recommended features). There are several security features you will need to activate manually to get the most out of the Jetpack plugin.
In fact, why don’t you let me talk you through the most important Jetpack modules any website should have enabled?
And if you need more information on the other modules Jetpack has then I recommend this post on Jetpack’s modules. Which you can follow along with and disable or enable each module one at a time depending on your needs. You might be surprised what extra features Jetpack has to offer!
Ready to activate the most important Jetpack features next?
The Most Important Jetpack Plugin Features To Activate
Ok, so here are the Jetpack plugin modules every website should use. Note: Check any settings that might already be enabled and disable them if you don’t know what they are or if you don’t think you will use them.
Jetpack Plugin CDN (Photon)
Let’s go to Jetpack > Settings > Writing.
Under the Discussion tab.
Toggle on Let readers use WordPress.com, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ accounts to comment. This will allow more visitors to add comments with their existing logins.
Edit the Comments headline and Colour scheme as needed. Remember to click Save Settings once done.
Under Traffic make sure Site stats show as Collecting valuable traffic stats and insights. This will show you a useful graph of page views on the main dashboard.
You should also turn on Generate XML sitemaps unless you are already using another plugin to do this, such as Yoast SEO.
And most importantly under Security.
Toggle on Monitor your site’s downtime.
If you click on Configure your notification settings it should redirect you to another page. Which shows it will send notifications to your WordPress.com email address. You can click on this to confirm which email this is.
Make sure Block suspicious-looking sign in activity is switched on.
Click the downward arrow to expand the options and click on Add to whitelist which will add your IP to the list of Whitelisted addresses. This will help to protect your login, but also help to prevent you getting locked out if you enter the wrong password several times (We’ve all been there!).
See why it’s important to go through the settings yourself? So many people just click on the Activate recommended settings button which activates this module. Only to find themselves locked out of WordPress when they accidentally enter the wrong password too many times. All because Jetpack percieves these failed login attempts as suspicious! Definitely, something you want to avoid.
Again, click Save settings before moving on.
Spam Protection – Akismet
Last and most importantly you’ll want to activate the Jetpack plugin spam protection which is linked to Akismet.
Setting Up An Akismet Account
Go to Akismet’s website here.
Sign in using your WordPress account from the top right
You’ll be asked to pick your plan.
If you pick a paid plan you will need to enter payment details and pay before continuing.
Once payment is complete you will be asked to enter the Site URL for the website you want to protect.
You should also enter your Contact Info.
Click Continue once done.
Akismet should then generate an API Key for you.
Copy your API key, this is the line of text blurred out above.
Installing The Akismet Plugin
Head over to your WordPress.com account.
Using the left-hand menu go to Plugins > Add New.
Search for Akismet in the search box.
Akismet should be the first plugin that shows up.
Click Install in the top right corner and then Activate once complete.
Connecting Akismet With API Key
In the left-hand menu, you’ll find Akismet under Jetpack > Akismet Anti-Spam. (If for some reason you uninstalled Jetpack, Akismet would appear under Settings > Akismet Anti-Spam.)
You should get the option to add your API key from earlier. Paste it into the box and click Connect with API Key.
You’ll get a message once everything has connected successfully.
Double check your settings to make sure everything is set up to your preferences. Like this:
Click Save Changes once done.
If you return to the Jetpack Dashboard the Spam Protection section should be active and showing any blocked comments. This is also where you can Moderate comments marked as spam.
You should now have the most important features of the Jetpack plugin setup and enabled.
But wait – there’s more! What I recommend you do now, is to explore the modules in more detail by following the comprehensive post 42 Jetpack modules. There you’ll be able to see what other useful features Jetpack has to offer.
If you don’t have a contact form set up yet to process visitor queries then there’s also a dedicated post on how you can use Jetpack’s contact form.
What’s that? You didn’t see anything about a Contact Form in the Jetpack settings screens? Well, that’s because it’s a module that can only be activated or deactivated through a menu buried inside the Jetpack plugin.
This is why it is so important to check out the Jetpack Plugin Modules post since it covers everything in one place. No more sneaky hidden features that you didn’t realise was there!