WordPress + Jetpack Review and Tips

I’ve used WordPress since 2009 and Jetpack since the beginning of May, 2018. I love content management. As an artist and author, it makes the most sense. However, there are a few things that aren’t obvious. I’m still learning a lot about features, especially for the combo of WordPress + Jetpack. The point of this article is to show what certain features mean for rest of us, who are not developers or computer scientists.

Here’s some tips that I’ve learned so far.

Jump to:

WordPress

Jetpack

WordPress

I started using WordPress only for the responsive capabilities. I’m not a developer and I can’t write PHP code to save my life. It was the damn viewport that kept snagging. So I gave in and installed WordPress for one page. I’ve long-since expanded and now my entire site is managed by WordPress.

Site Language

This is your targeted audience. Choose the language that best suits your site.

From WordPress dashboard > Settings > General > Site Language

Now, WordPress is American CMS, so it stands to reason that a lot of views are American, and the default language is English (US). Bad news, there really isn’t any such thing as country specific CMS. Good news, you can broaden your horizon by changing the Site Language.

My site is set to English (Canada), because I’m Canadian. Tons of traffic comes from the US, but there’s a lot that comes from many countries. So far, I’ve received traffic from Canada, US, Brazil, United Kingdom, Poland, Italy, India, and Philipines.

If you want to target an American audience only, then Site Language > English (US)

More bad news, Jetpack will nag you about Site Language if it’s not set to English (US). I ignore it. More about Jetpack later.

WordPress Categories

Categories are for site navigation. They should be set up so the viewer can search and find what they’re looking for, using the built-in search feature. Categories rarely show up in search engines.

WordPress Tags

Tags are miniature search engines. They show up in any possible search. Tags need optimization far more than categories.

In other words, tags are keywords.

I’ll use my site as an example.

In google, I searched using the keywords “lily dark art gallery.” Lo and behold, there I am, first place.

WordPress Lily Google search

Let’s take a closer look at the url. The text t the end is the tag, which I also use as the Slug.

WordPress Lily tag

You’ll notice the word “tag” isn’t used. No one can see that the text in the url is a tag until they visit your site. In fact, I don’t think anyone notices. So I guess you can say Tags are invisible miniature search engines.

Choose the keywords so that your tags can be found.

Having said that, “lily dark art gallery” is a very specific keyword search. The chances of random strangers online finding the art gallery page based on that keyword are slim, and I know that. I want my blog to be the most search-able content on my site, but that’s just me. Yet, if people search for “art gallery,” mine just might show up.

WordPress 404

If your categories or the tags aren’t attached to a post or page, they show up as 404 pages in search engines. The best thing to do is delete all unused Categories and Tags. Problem solved.

Oddly, I never had a problem with 404 pages until I starting using Jetpack.

Jetpack

I’ve seen a lot about Jetpack. There are plenty of articles about the paid plugin. However. the free version is useless, and failed to give me a reason to install it. But, Jetpack is now included with my web host package, so now I’m using the plugin.

Jetpack + Premium Theme

If you have a Premium theme, like I do, there will be a lot features already built in. As a result, I had to disable a number of Jetpack features, because the two cancelled each other out.

Here’s a list of disabled features that are provided with my theme. I contacted web host support, but they redirected me to Jetpack support, who tried to redirect me back to web host support. I received no support help whatsoever.

So I manually tested each one, one at a time, until my theme finally worked. It was tedious and I gave JetPack Support a negative rating. It’s their responsibility, and they failed.

Be forewarned, if you have both Jetpack and a Premium theme, there will be incompatibility issues.

Here’s a list features I disabled, in case that helps anyone.

WordPress Dashboard > JetPack > Settings

Under Writing tab the following are disabled:

Images
Lazy Load
Enable JetPack Mobile Theme

Everything else works just fine for me.

Spelling and Grammar

My vision is not what it used to be. I’ve been told my vision is “normal.” I’m near-sighted now, due to permanent damage caused by a bad case of optic neuritis. So I wear glasses and everything’s fine. I appreciate any tool or aid I can use to continue managing my life. I was looking forward to extra help from Jetpack’s Spelling and Grammar feature.

In all fairness, it does help catch minor typos I didn’t see before. And, um, that’s it. Jetpack is also included with my web host, but if I had to pay for it, I wouldn’t bother. There are plenty of free plugins that do the same as each feature.

Let me get something out of the way. Despite Jetpack’s constant screaming, passive voice isn’t wrong. If every site wrote in 100% active voice, we’d all sound like desperate used car salesmen.

A) There’s nothing wrong with passive voice.
B) There’s nothing wrong with using your own voice.
C) Past tense doesn’t automatically mean passive.
D) If you need a plugin to write for you, maybe question why you’re writing in the first.

I’ll give you the perfect example of a good passive voice.

It was a dark and story night.

Take that, Jetpack.

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