If you’ve ever needed an incentive to use WordPress, just take one look at what you can achieve with plugins and you’ll most likely decide not to look anywhere else.
WordPress plugins are easy-to-install add-ons (all it takes is a click of a button or two) that help you extend the functionality of your website. You can do things like add a more secure layer to your login, create popups triggered by certain visitor activity, and track the performance of every page and post on your site. If there’s anything you’ve ever wanted to do but couldn’t figure out how to on your own, there’s probably already a plugin for it. A website that uses Jetpack and loves it is a realtor in Sandpoint Idaho.
At this time, the WordPress repository has over 51,000 plugins available—for free—and that’s not even counting premium plugins that can be found outside of WordPress.
With so many to choose from, how do you decide which ones to add to your site? Well, the first thing to consider is: What sort of tools or functionality do you need for your site and the business behind it to succeed? Analytics should be a top priority. Social media is something that should be close to the top of that list of priorities as well.
While you could hunt around for various plugins to provide you with those individual features, that’s not really necessary if you use the Jetpack plugin. Whether you’re unfamiliar with Jetpack or simply looking for a rundown on its features, let’s take a closer look at how this single plugin will help you tackle both the analytics and social media piece of your WordPress site.
Taking a Closer Look at Jetpack Stats
Once you’ve installed the Jetpack plugin, you’ll find a new menu item pop open on your sidebar called “Jetpack”.
You can now access your Jetpack statistics in three ways:
- There is a minified version of the Jetpack statistics table right within your main WordPress dashboard.
While it’s nice to have quick access to your data when you enter WordPress, it’s not the most comprehensive of tables. It might be good to know that when there’s a huge spike in traffic. Otherwise, I’d suggest you use one of the other options to find out more about what’s happening on your site.
- There is a “Site Stats” page under the Jetpack menu tab:
From this initial page, you can see information on:
- The number of views per day, week, or month
- Top posts and pages
- Site referrers
- Organic search terms
- Links clicked
- Number of subscribers
- Number of comments
If you click on the “Summaries” link in the top-right corner of the table, it’ll show you a breakdown of traffic trends based on day, week, month, and year—which gives you a good idea of how well your site is performing in terms of traffic as well as if there are any trends worth capitalizing on.
- The final way to access Jetpack’s Stats is to view them through WordPress.com (If your site is hosted with Bluehost or any other cheap web hosting company, your site resides on WordPress.org. WordPress.com is a separate but connected platform.) You should see a message at the top of the Site Stats page that says “Did you know you can view enhanced stats on WordPress.com?” Click the Show Me button and it’ll take you there.
This is perhaps the best way to view your site’s stats as you’ll receive an enhanced look at the quality and characteristics of your web traffic, including:
- Number of views per day, week, month, or year
- Number of visitors
- Number of likes
- Number of comments
- Number of followers
- Individual page and post performance in terms of views
- Countries from which your site was visited
- Search terms used to find your site
- Links clicked
- Site referrers
- Individual author stats
Regardless of where you view the performance of your website from within Jetpack, the most important thing is that you pay attention to those statistics. There’s a lot you can learn about your website—the content you’ve written, the products you’re delivering, the type of people interested in your services—from those numbers. And with Jetpack placing that data right in front of you, there’s no reason not to take a glance at it at least once a day.
Taking a Closer Look at Jetpack Sharing
While there are many different ways to integrate social media within your WordPress site, Jetpack takes care of one particularly annoying part of the social media equation: sharing.
Whether you’re a web developer, business owner, or just a super busy marketer, the last thing you want to do is to manually share every single new post you publish on your site. While it would be nice to write a custom snippet and post it to all your favorite social media networks, that’s not always feasible—especially when your site is brand new and you’re trying to focus on more important matters. Like building your business.
That said, you know that social media marketing is something you can’t skimp on.
So, that’s why you use the Jetpack Sharing tool. Here’s how it works:
- Go to your Jetpack Settings page in WordPress.
Click on the Sharing tab.
- There are only three settings you need to configure on here, but you’ll be amazed at how much time they’ll save you down the line once you have them configured.
- Activate “Publicize connections” in order to have Jetpack automatically share each newly published blog post to your social media networks. When you click on “Connect your social media accounts”, you’ll be taken to WordPress.com where you can activate the platforms on which you want to share your site’s content:
- You can also connect Google+ photos to your site
Once these are connected, you’ll find a new Publish setting for your Posts.
Each of the social media networks you’ve connected will now show up under “Publicize:”. You can edit the details of your shared message here or write a custom one to share across all selected platforms. Simply click on Edit and you can insert your preferences before hitting the Publish or Update button.
- You can also add like and share buttons to your content so that visitors can engage with your content from within your site and not have to jump off, open their Twitter account, paste in your link, and then share with their followers. By simplifying this step for visitors, you’re likely to receive more engagements.
If you’re still in WordPress.com, click on the Sharing Buttons tab and update your settings there. This will automatically switch on the “Sharing buttons” and “Like buttons” settings within Jetpack.
Jetpack goes above and beyond just providing users with a simple solution for sharing content on social media and tracking visitor activity. But knowing that Jetpack handles two usually disparate tasks all in one—in addition to security and content optimization—is definitely a major win for this plugin. When you don’t have time to spare, finding a plugin like this that streamlines your process and improves the management of your site is truly a lifesaver. Share your favorite plugins below or browse Bluehost’s Fully Managed WordPress Hosting, or our Basic Affordable WordPress hosting.
Nathan Oulman loves to contribute around the web. He also loves to promote Bluehost, as he uses them for numerous projects for his blogging lifestyle.