Jetpack Groupie

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The following is information shared by Christian Nelson at Paragraphics-Geostar about a surprising Jetpack plugin experience. Christian and Steve Teare are friends and bashers of Jetpack for some time.

“Whenever possible, avoid the all-in-one plugins.” >

“Is Jetpack bloated, and slowing things down?” >

jetpackChristian: Even though we both think Jetpack’s bloated and all that … I’ve always thought that one of these days I would try one (or more) of the JetPack modules.

Today that finally happened … and I *love* it.

I’m working on (what started out to be) a simple blog-centered web site for one of my old customers.

One of the things that was driving me crazy for the last couple of days was finding a way for her to publish a post and then have a notification of that post show up on her Facebook page.

Simple, right?

That’s what I thought.

But actually … it turns out that it’s a bit more complicated than I thought it would be … and I researched for hours, looking for plugins that would do that … but every one of those plugins seemed overly complex, had bad reviews, didn’t seem to work, etc.

Just as I was getting really discouraged, I stumbled upon a reference to the Publicize module of JetPack. I read a couple reviews on it, and it sounded great … I found a couple tutorials on YouTube, and it seemed easy.

So I installed it on one of my test sites this morning … set it up … connected it to a FaceBook account I never use … set up a fake post on my test site … published the post … and amazingly enough it worked!!!

It set up a really nice thing on the Facebook page … an image (featured image from the post) … the first several lines from the post, and a link to the post.

And … it can also do the same thing to automatically send post notifications to Twitter, Linked In, and several other things like that.

And my customer doesn’t have to do anything to make it happen.

Cool!

Free. Easy to set up. And it actually works! (At least for now).

Hurray for JetPack!

Questions and Answers

Steve: How much page weight did the Publicize feature add? Can you check it with Yslow (plugin off and on) for comparison? I’d like to know that number.

Christian: OK. I ran my test blog through GMetrix … ran it three times with JetPack activated (only module activated was Publicize) … then ran it three times with JetPack deactivated … here are the averages:

With JetPack turned on:
PageSpeed: A 95%
YSlow: A 90%
Page Load Time: 0.7s
Size: 108kb
Requests: 13

With Jet Pack turned off:
PageSpeed: A 93%
YSlow: A 97%
Page Load Time: 0.5s
Size: 41.4kb
Requests: 5

Steve: So the most significant changes using Publicize (only) are the addition of 200 millisecond load time and 8 HTTP requests. That is many requests but the overall difference in page weight was only 66.6K. That is about the equivalent of loading a Google Font.

That means if you have a performance budget of two seconds, the rest of your home page needs to load in 1.8 seconds. This is realistic and doable – if you have selected a fast theme and optimize images.

Christian: Whatever the load time, the fact is that I need a plugin that will do this, and no matter which one I choose they’re all going to add weight.

Steve: Right. So the only downside is the time involved deselecting any preselected Jetpack modules that are unneeded. I’m not sure how many that would be nowadays. I’d guess 20 to 30. Is that close? Let me know if that is right.

Christian: Actually, that’s not right. There *are* a lot of modules … probably twenty or thirty … but when you install JetPack only two or three of those modules are activated by default. So you don’t have to turn off twenty or thirty modules … just turn off two or three and then turn on Publicize. No problem.

Steve: Tell me if you evaluated this plugin: NextScripts: Social Networks Auto-Poster plugin is a standalone replacement (supposedly) for Jetpack’s Publicize module. I have never tried it.

Christian: I mentioned that I had looked at several plugins of this type, and found them all wanting. They all seemed too complicated to set up, when I looked in the “Support” tab in their WordPress.org listing there were always tons of problems listed and not much response from the developers of the plugins.

When I was about to give up, I discovered JetPack, and there were some very clear tutorials for it, it was easy to set up, and so far seems to work great.

And … of course it can do a lot more than what I’m using it for. In addition to sending notifications to Facebook, you can easily choose among a ton of other social networks to send notifications to.

And … it’s also easy to set up those “sharing” buttons that will appear on your posts … so that people who want to “share” with their Facebook followers or Twitter or even send e-mails to “share” your post can click the appropriate icon (Facebook) or whatever to do that.

It’s cool.

I also like to imagine that, since it’s created and supported by Automattic, that it’s going to be well-tested, it’s going to stay up to date, might be less likely to conflict with things, and there’s no need to worry about if I might need to upgrade to a “Pro” version.

In other words, I’m in love.

Steve: So I looked at Network Publisher plugin. 600k download size. 6,000+ installs.

My gut says no standalone plugin will beat the speed of the Publicize module.

Christian: OK, there *is* one thing that someone might consider a hassle. You have to connect with a wordpress.com account before JetPack will run. Not a problem for me, because I already have an account, but some people will consider that to be a lot of trouble … but my reasoning is that it’s *NOT* a big deal, because the account is free, it takes only a few minutes to set up, and if you’re using Publicize that means you already have accounts here and there anyway, so what’s the big deal about having one more?

As is the case with any other kind of thing, it’s possible that something will happen to make me think Publicize is a piece of crap … but all I can say is “so far so good.”

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What others think of us:


"Hi Steve, Thank you so much for that insightful review! I appreciate the time you took to explain the issue of the website I'm working on. I'll be looking into some of the recommendations you have and advice that you have given." skiveworks.com, Singapore

by - Jaaze Lim