The free Jetpack plugin, which connects to WordPress.com and enables Stats, Comments, Sharing Tools and Contact Forms, has been officially updated to Version 2.1.
In a January 7th blog post, blogger Cheri Lucas announced the changes to WordPress.org users by saying, “After we announced media changes on WordPress.com, some of you asked when these new WordPress.com features would be available for self-hosted WordPress sites.
Well, wait no more! The latest features brought to WordPress.com — such as tiled galleries and slideshows — are now available for WordPress.org users with self-hosted sites through the Jetpack 2.1 release. You can now show off your images in gorgeous photo mosaics and slideshows that integrate seamlessly with the Carousel module.”
The Jetpack Changelog includes several major improvements to the popular plugin, such as new versions of the Publicize, Sharing, Photon, Contact Form and Infinite Scroll Modules.
Self hosted WordPress site owners can take advantage of one-step functionality via the Jetpack plugin without having to bother with researching and downloading several extensions in order to get the job done and make it possible to achieve the exact same level of back-end flexibility as WordPress.com users.
There are well over a dozen features that come standard with the free Jetpack plugin, including the all new Tiled Galleries function that grants the option to display images in three new styles: tiles, squares and circles.
The square and circle-shaped formats have the extra bonus of showing captions while a specific image is being moused over; saving an enormous amount of space while allowing for additional information to be published.
The Jetpack plugin also provides a way to make use of WordPress.com Stats. If you’ve ever wanted to have a detailed rundown of the total number of visits to your pages along with search summaries, then the Stats feature is a great way to gain administrative control of your website while looking for ways to increase its traffic.
Mobile Push Notifications represent a great way to receive real-time notifications on your Apple device (such as an iPhone or iPad). This function will give you the ability to moderate comments on the fly. As long as you have correctly setup the application on your device, you will know immediately when a new comment has been made on a post you have published.
Finally, the Publicize feature is extremely useful in getting the word out on several social media platforms without actually having to manually go to all the sites in which you have accounts activated. The one-step process to social media sharing is what makes Publicize such a popular aspect of the free Jetpack plugin.
Comparing WordPress.org To WordPress.com
Lucas (pictured) took the time to give a basic explanation of the differences between the .org and .com sites in her latest blog post, explaining that “WordPress is a free open source blogging software that powers many blogs and sites; over 60 million users have chosen WordPress to create and run their homes on the web. These WordPress.org users have self-hosted sites — in other words, users download and install the software on a web server, and pay a fee (generally $7-12 a month) to a web host, such as Bluehost or Go Daddy, to keep it up and running.
WordPress.org users with self-hosted sites can upload themes, upload plugins (such as Jetpack), run advertisements, edit the database, and even modify the PHP code that powers their sites. While a self-hosted site requires more technical knowledge to set up and run, you have complete control over it.”
For those who would like to give the all-inclusive plugin a try, you can do so by clicking the following link to Download the latest version of Jetpack.