249 – Manage All Your Jetpack Sites with WordPress.com
Is there a plugin for that?
With more than 50,000 plugins in the WordPress repository, it’s hard to find the perfect one. Each week, I will highlight an interesting plugin form the repository.
For more great plugins, download my 50 Most Useful Plugins eBook.
Captain Forms is another contact form creator. If Gravity Forms isn’t for you, then I’d definitely check out Captain Forms.
Manage All Your Jetpack Sites with WordPress.com
In today’s episode, I share all of the things that you can manage on your self-hosted Jetpack sites with the WordPress.com Manage Dashboard.
- Publish posts or pages from one dashboard
- Manage all of your plugins, including updates
- Increase the security of your WordPress installations
- Create custom menus for all your sites
- Manage your publicize options
Full TranscriptBusiness Transcription is provided by GMR Transcription.
On today's episode we are going to talk about how we can manage all of our Jetpack-enabled WordPress sites with the new interface at WordPress.com right here on Your Website Engineer podcast episode number 249.
Hello everybody. Welcome back to another episode of Your Website Engineer podcast. My name is Dustin Hartser and today we have another great show in store for you today. I'm actually on vacation this week and I am heading down – or I'm actually in Florida right now with my family. My wife and my daughter are with me along as my parents. We are there just kind of enjoying some time out in the sun at a hotel, just kind of soaking up the sun and swimming just a little bit one last time before it starts to get cold here in Ohio.
Today we are going to be talking about how we can manage all of our WordPress sites right within the WordPress dashboard, the WordPress.com dashboard, that is. But before we get to that we do have a few announcements. Even though I'm not here and I'm recording this a week ahead of time there are a few things that I wanna talk about and share with you today.
There is a site out there – and all of these will be in the show notes for episode number 249. And there was an article out there that happened on – it's on WPD.com and it talks about the top ten fastest loading WordPress sites or WordPress themes for fast-loading sites. I thought this was pretty interesting and an interesting article. I'm gonna link to it. And it shows you the different themes that are out there. The very top one is called Avada and I believe is a theme [inaudible][00:01:19] theme. And then it ranks them. It shows then their GT metrics score, their pingdom results, the Google Page insights. And then it just kinda goes down there and shows the price of the theme and whatnot.
So if you're looking for a theme that loads Uber Uber quick, this would be a site to look at. And it's the WPD.com and there's a link in the show notes. One of the – I think the third one – let's see, let me scroll down here – yeah, the third one is the Genesis Framework. So I think that's pretty interesting. And it's based on the different – how fast the page loads with just kind of a generic demo-type content on the website. So I thought that was pretty interesting. That's an interesting article that you can take a look at.
Another thing that I wanted to mention and make sure that you knew of, if you're a WordPress designer and you're building websites for clients, please note that the – with the new site icon that came out in WordPress 4.3, that's that little icon that's turning an image into a fabicon or a fabicon or however you say it. It's a little square image that appears in the upper left-hand corner of your browser or the right-hand corner depending on your browser. But it is – you can see it in Chrome, you can see it in Firefox.
But since that's now being built into WordPress itself, you no longer have to have that function built into your theme. So if you're building themes you may want to leave that out. And it looks like by 2015 they're gonna make sure that that is no longer in themes in the WordPress repository or by – did I say 2015? I think I meant by the time it gets to WordPress 4.5, so in two releases they'll make sure that all of that old code is no longer there. So there's a link to a WP Tavern article that shows what you can do if you can – you can basically say a function, you can add a function to your theme that says, if it doesn't have a site icon than you can display the old fabicon feature. So that's kinda cool. And then all of that code will need to be removed by WordPress 4.5.
And lastly, it was a huge honor to be listed on this list, but at 99Robots.com they have a top 99 WordPress Influencers of 2015, a big long list with 99 different WordPress influencers, the top one of course being Matt Muliwagen and [inaudible][00:03:15]. And they just kinda go down based – they're all listed based on the number of Twitter followers that you have. And so I thought that was kinda interesting way to rank people based on their Twitter followers.
But – so if you're interested in finding some cool people to follow on Twitter, these would be 99 people that have some really great information about WordPress. And so I'm on the list. I'm down in the seventies. It looks like they've – since I looked at the article originally they've taken off the numbers and so I'm down towards the bottom. But – and it's kinda just an honor and privilege to be one of those influencers in the WordPress space. And so I greatly thank 99Robots.com for including me on the list.
Is there a plug-in for that? Yes. There's always a plug-in for that. That's the next section of the show and this week we're going to talk about a plug-in that is kind of a different one. It's on in the WordPress repository. It is a – it's a premium plug-in and it's called a Captain Form. And I thought this was kinda interesting so I thought I would just share with you.
But Captain Form is a form-builder with super powers, they call it. That's why it's the captain. It looks like kinda – it almost looks like a Superman logo but it's an F instead of the S or whatnot. But Captain Form is a WordPress form-builder that enables users to create a variety of forms and surveys right within their dashboard. It is a plug-in in the beta face right now, so they're looking for people to test it. And so if Contact Form 7 isn't for you, this is something that could possibly work for you, is a different type of plug-in that you can use to create forms.
And it's a free download right now. I guess with the beta version it's free and it gives you some really cool things. It integrates with different things like PayPal, [inaudible][00:04:46], DropBox, Brain Tree, let's see, Get Response, Exact Target. You can – I guess you can start for free. You can have three forms with up to 15 fields and you can have up to 500 SSL encrypted submissions every month. And then it goes up to $35 per year and that's unlimited forms. It's unlimited fields and then it's just based on how many actual submissions that you get.
So if you're interested they have a – it looks like they've got live chat right here on their website. If you have some sort of question that you may have and you wanna check out more, you wanna learn a little bit more about Captain Forms head on over to CaptainForm.com.
All right. Today we are going to talk about different services, or the main one we're going to talk about is a different service at WordPress.com that we can manage all of our WordPress-hosted sites. But there are a few other ones that're out there that I just wanted to kinda mention real quick at the top of the show.
There's Infinite WP. This is a way that – or a website that you can go ahead and log into one place and you can manage all your WordPress dashboards. And it is a way that you can go in and just make things – make sure that everything's updated and all those things along those lines.
We wanna make sure that we're keeping our sites up to date. And to keep them up to date the easiest there's a few services that're out there that can manage all of our websites at one time. These are great if you have multiple WordPress sites. It's also great if you are a developer and you're trying to manage a bunch of different sites. You can go in and you can log in and you can update all the sites in the next version or update all the plug-ins or things like that.
So the Infinite WP is free. It has one master password and you basically get one-click updates, you get plug-in and theme management and backup and restore. And then you can have premium add-ons or you can do an enterprise solution and it just does all of that. I don't know a lot about Infinite WP but I just wanted to mention that that is an option as well.
The other option that's out there is I Theme Sync. You can basically use this to sync all of your sites and get them all in one dashboard. And then from there then you can manage all the different pieces of the puzzle.
But today what I really wanted to focus on is using WordPress.com for doing this. And so this will work if you have WordPress.com sites or Jetpack enabled sites and they're all connected with the same user name. That's really the big key here is you need to have all of your website connected to the same WordPress.com user name. That way all of the things are easy to manage.
I know there's a lot of people that have one user name for one site and then another user name for another site, another user name for a third site. And then you have to log in and log out of WordPress.com every single time and it makes it a little bit more cumbersome. It's all about having one user name, one password and then you can manage everything.
So if you have a WordPress.com user name, you've got a Jetpack-enabled site or multiple Jetpack-enabled sites what you wanna do is you wanna head on over to WordPress.com/sites. And then from there it's gonna give you a list of all of the sites that are connected to your account. And then from there you pick one of the sites. I'm gonna find one of my self-hosted sites. It's actually – we're actually gonna talk through how I can keep YourWebsiteEngineer.com updated.
So we'll go ahead and click on that and it's going to be bring us into a stats page for our site. That's kinda the main landing page. Once we're there then we can switch between sites. And you've got – on the left-hand side you've got a lot of your dashboard items. Honestly, it looks a lot like WP Admin but it is in a blue WordPress.com interface.
And so you kinda land right there on the stat side. You see how many views you have for the current day and then every day, you know, up until the last 30 days you can see how many visitors you have for the day. You can see the people that are coming on and what posts they're viewing. You can see your most popular page. You can see the countries that viewers are looking at your site from. You can see all of this right from that landing page. It's that landing page for YourWebsiteEngineer.com. That's what I'm looking at and that's on WordPress.com of course.
And you can see your top refers, you can see the links that people are clicking on. You can see the search terms that people are using to find your site and you can see your authors. You can see all that kinda stuff right here in this view. You can change your stats view from days to weeks, to months, to years to see how your site's doing in general. I can see – like if I look at years I can see the last five years and this is all the data that I have, or I guess it's the last three years since I've had a Jetpack – this user name connected with my Jetpack site. But I can see all that data at a moment's notice right there.
You can notice on the – in the left-hand side bar when you're looking at this you also have the ability to view site and view WP Admin. These will open new tabs and then allow you to see your sites as users see it. And you can log directly into your WP Admin dashboard, which is really nice as well. So if you're trying to do some management of your sites you can say, oh, I wanna log into the WP Admin site. You click on that and it opens a new tab and you're good to go.
Then you can also add blog post pages and media. The blog post and pages you can edit with the new WordPress.com editor which means that you won't leave the interface. You can just add your text and it'll automatically go out and do exactly what it needs to do. And then the media will actually open up the media section of your WordPress dashboard on your self-posted site.
You can also customize your themes and menus. This is pretty cool. The menu section is really neat because the menus is a little bit different than how you manage them within WordPress, your self-posted site. But you can do all of this right from this dashboard. Maybe you want to go ahead and move your menu items around or make adjustments or things like that. You can all do this from this dashboard. So that's kind of – those are some of the things that you can do within your site.
I want to explain today how you can use this to manage your entire site and how you can manage your different sites so you can do different things. So, what you can do as you slide on down the menu – so we've talked about the top couple things. There's an area that's called publish. There's one called look and feel and there's one called configuration. And this is where kind of the meat and potatoes are. This is where you can do a lot of really cool things.
So you can set up your sharing options and so you can set up the options to automatically publish to Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Tumbler, Path. And those are the social networks that you will automatically – once you hit publish, once one of these connections are made, as soon as you publish the post it'll automatically go out and post to those social networks, which is pretty cool. Like, if you ever wanted to manage that you can do that all from right here.
It also gives you the ability to add sharing buttons so at the bottom of your site if you wanted to have buttons that say share this on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn or whatever, you can go ahead and add those right there within this dashboard. And again, these are a lot of the settings that you can get right inside of Jetpack. Some of these are settings that are inside the settings area of your WordPress dashboard.
And I know that the features aren't 100 percent the same. What you can do in the dashboard of WordPress or the WP Admin of your self-posted site, these are – by far they're very, very similar but they're still a little bit on the different side. But if you're looking to manage multiple things then you want to – you can use this WordPress.com dashboard.
You also have the ability to change all your settings. You can go to general, writing, discussion and security. These are all things that you can do within this WordPress.com dashboard. The cool part is when you have Jetpack Protect enabled; you can actually add IP as white lists so – which is really cool. It also shows you what your IP address is. And so if you wanted to say I always wanted to be able to edit from this particular IP address, you add that to the box. And then from there every time that you log in from that IP address it will recognize you and you won't have to – you know, it's just another way to make certain that all the rest of the IP addresses that are out there are getting blocked and they're not allowed to log into your site.
So that's cool. That's inside this area. You also can turn on Jetpack Scan which will scan your sites for known security threats, which is pretty nice. That's a newish feature of Jetpack. And then you also can turn on Jetpack Monitor which will send you an email alert every time that your WordPress.com – or anytime that your WordPress site goes down you get an email notification from Jetpack that lets you know that your site is down.
So you can do those settings and those tweaks. Those are the few things – Jetpack settings that you can control within this dashboard. But the real power, and I think what's really, really cool is how you can manage your websites' plug-ins right from this dashboard. I think this is really cool and this is one of the cool new features of this WordPress.com dashboard.
So right now you can go in and you can see which plug-ins need updated. They've got like a little – a yellow banner underneath. It's got like a circle around it with two arrows and it says a newer version is available of certain plug-ins. And so you can go ahead and you click on that button and it will automatically update your plug-ins.
One of the other cool parts is you have the ability to activate and deactivate. These have little – they look like on/off toggle switches. So if you wanted to deactivate a plug-in you just deactivate it or you can activate it. And there's a switch in there that you can actually turn on auto updates. And so if you're interested in just, oh, I just want my plug-ins always to be updated to the latest version then you can click that auto updates button and it will automatically update the next time a new version of the plug-in comes out, which I think is pretty neat. It's a neat way to manage these things.
And if you wanted to get rid of a lot of plug-ins at one time, there's a manage button at the top and you can click one, two, three, four plug-ins at a time and you can say deactivate or auto update. So if you wanted to select all of them and auto update, you can click that and you can do that all in one shot, which is pretty cool.
Now a thing to note is that the premium plug-ins don't have that ability to auto update. So like Gravity Forms is a premium plug-in. There's no ability for me to auto update that because the way that that updates is a little bit different so you can't auto update. These are only plug-ins that appear in the WordPress repository. They can have this auto update turned on.
And so if you wanted to turn one off then you just have to go ahead and you click a button and you click that toggle switch and it turns that plug-in off. No big deal there. it's pretty simple. It looks actually really cool and then it gives you a green bar across the top that says, successfully deactivated mail poet. And what the cool part too is about how this works is – and this is all kinda built on this API – this REST API that we talked about last week. And the cool part is since it is not really running PHP and when you click that activate, deactivate button, it happens instantly. Almost like when you now update plug-ins, when you update plug-ins in WordPress you click the button and it kinda spins a little bit and then it says updates, the page doesn't refresh, this is how it works on here as well.
Now in your WordPress dashboard when you are in the WP Admin in the plug-in section and you click activate or deactivate or disable or delete, any of those, it has to refresh that page and it takes a while for all those things to happen. This is very, very slick and it happens very, very quickly. So I really like that. I think that's one of the cool things that has the ability to do and use this interface and makes it much more quicker and it just seems like it's much more snappier, and that's what I really like.
There's also an area where you can search for specific plug-ins. If you wanted to just click and you wanted to find a specific plug-in and learn more about it you can do that. Let's see what else you can do here. If you actually click on one of the plug-ins it pulls up the – it actually pulls up a new window. It doesn't refresh the entire page. It just refreshes the section and then it pulls in – I'm looking at the [inaudible][00:15:23] plug-in right now and it shows the [inaudible] banner, that big banner that happens in the WordPress repository. It shows that it was updated two months ago. It has a five-star rating and review. It shows the description, installation instructions, change log, all that kinda good stuff is all built right in there.
Again, it's super, super snappy. You click on the plug-in. It pulls in the information. It shows if there's an update available. It gives the different five-star reviews or the different reviews that are out there. It links to the WordPress repository. You can see the plug-in homepage. You can see how many downloads a plug-in has specifically had. You can see all of that good stuff right there within this WordPress.com dashboard, which I think is really, really cool. And it just – it feels so good.
And the cool part too is I believe – and I don't have my phone with me, otherwise I would check right now – but if you go to WordPress.com/sites and do this all on your phone, you can manage all this stuff from your phone and it looks and feels responsive. It looks like a new version, a more snappier version of WordPress, which I really like. I think it's really cool.
So remember, if you want to do something like this, if you wanna manage all of your sites from the WordPress.com dashboard, you will have to have the same WordPress.com user name. And then all of your sites will be connected with Jetpack, connected with that user name. So as long as you're doing those things then it should work. You should be able to manage and see all of your sites.
I think it's really cool that I can also use my WordPress.com sites and I can manage those. Granted there's not a lot of managing because you don't add plug-ins and you don't have to update things. But the ability to be able to go to one place, click one button and say, I want a new blog post and start writing on my personal blog which is at DustinHartser.com and you can do the same type of resources. You can do the exact same types of things when you're working with WordPress.org type sites.
And so I think that's awesome. It's really cool and, yeah, so that's what I wanted to share. Remember you can do this with – there's several other solutions out there but I think that WordPress.com is the sleekest most elegant service. And I'm really excited to see where it's gonna go in the future because I know that they're just scratching the surface on how we can manage multiple sites. And this is going to be something to keep an eye on in the future, for sure.
So that's going to wrap up this episode. Thanks so much for tuning in. Next week we've got episode number 250. Yeah, really excited about that. It's hard to believe that it's been almost five years that I've been creating this show each and every week. I love it and I'm just so excited about WordPress and the future of where it's going. So I'm going to continue my vacation and I will see you next week and we'll talk about something WordPress related, of course. Until then, take care. Bye-bye.