Plugin Review: Jetpack by WordPress.com

With a name like “Jetpack,” who could resist trying out this plugin package? And what could be better than FREE?  Jetpack by WordPress.com is a set of free plugins from Automattic.

The nice thing about Jetpack is that it is a set of some of the most popular plugin types, including stats, twitter feed, and social sharing buttons.  With the package, you only really have to install one plugin to get them all.  Kind of like Lord of the Rings for WordPress Plugins. 

Here is a brief description of the eight included plugins in Jetpack:

WordPress.com Stats

If you were to ask a random sampling of WordPress users to list what plugins they use, I am certain nearly every list would include stats.  The WordPress.com stats are designed to be simple, concise, and effective.  To quote Automattic’s own description:

There are hundreds of plugins and services which can provide statistics about your visitors. However even though something like Google Analytics provides an incredible depth of information, it can be overwhelming and doesn’t really highlight what’s most interesting to me as a writer. That’s why Automattic created its own stats system, to focus on just the most popular metrics a blogger wants to track and provide them in a clear and concise interface.

Key stats made better by the fact that they run on WordPress.com’s servers so you have no additional load.

Twitter Widget

This is Wickett Twitter Widget, a simple to configure widget that will display your twitter feed in the sidebar (or any other widget enabled area of your blog).

WP.me Shortlink

An efficient (and tiny) URL shortener that lives in your WP admin toolbar, from WordPress.com so you have less of a risk that your redirector of choice shuts down some day.

Hovercard Gravatar Popups

How about those cool gravatar popups?  Yeah, they’re included.

Sharedaddy

The Sharedaddy plugin is a popular plugin for putting social sharing links at the bottom of your posts.  Easily customizable.

LaTeX

The one feature that is likely to be used the least in this package is WP LaTex.  This is a plugin that will format and allow you to put math equations into your posts.  A great feature for me as I do financial freelance writing.  It’s probably not something that most bloggers are using, but it’s there if you need it.

After the Deadline

This is one great feature that I find really helpful.  How many times have you hit the “Publish” button, only to realize your post was riddled with errors, spelling and grammar mistakes, and other things you’d like to change?  For me, it is rare that I don’t catch something right after I’ve published.  After the Deadline runs a check when you hit publish and if any of the fully configurable options are flagged, it gives you a message asking if you’d like to review what it caught or continue to publish.

Shortcode Embeds

This gives you some nice shortcodes to easily embed YouTube, Digg, Vimeo and more.  It also has an archive shortcode that allows you many parameters to choose from and easily create lists of posts to include anywhere on a page.

According to Jetpack.me, there will be more features added in the future, which should be easy to implement via the wordpress.org plugin upgrade process.

I’ve linked the above descriptions to the individual plugins included in this pack.  But I would suggest that you just download the whole thing as one plugin.  It’s designed to be useful, easy to use and configure, and free.  And we all like free, right?

Get Jetpack by WordPress.com at wordpress.org or jetpack.me.

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