Jetpack: The Swiss Army Knife Plugin for Your Website

Of all the WordPress plugins you might consider using, beyond those required for a WordPress for Toastmasters setup, Jetpack should be on your short list. It’s active on every Toastmost.org website but requires some additional configuration.

Useful features of Jetpack:

  • Social media sharing buttons
  • A contact form
  • A basic site stats utility for monitoring traffic to your website
  • Additional content formatting blocks and sidebar widgets
  • Enhanced photo galleries and sliders

The Jetpack plugin is made by Automattic, the primary corporate backer of the open source WordPress.org project and the operator of WordPress.com. It allows independent Websites to take advantage of services from the WordPress.com network — including some that Automattic charges for. For a Toastmasters club website, I recommend you stick to the free features.

When you activate Jetpack, you will be prompted to connect to or create a WordPress.com account. Expect to see lots of prompts encouraging you to sign up for a paid subscription to the Jetpack service. Instead, I encourage you to sign up for the basic plan.

Jetpack setup screen
Jetpack setup

Once you have made the connection, you will be able to turn on various Jetpack features. For example, in the screenshot below, I’ve turned on the display of social sharing buttons but chosen not to use the feature that automatically shares new blog posts on social media.

Jetpack options screenshot
Configuring Jetpack options

The Site Stats feature is a nice way of seeing whether content to your site is growing and which pages or posts are attracting traffic. For example, this snapshot for Online Presenters Toastmasters shows that my article on launching screen sharing more smoothly in Zoom is attracting interest, even though it’s more than a year old.

Jetpack traffic stats screenshot
JetPack Site Stats

Deciding what to turn on is a matter of taste, and I’m not going to attempt to explain all the many options, but here are a few resources: