Jimdo Review

Officially launched in 2007, Jimdo is a site building platform that is quickly growing in popularity – with 15 million websites already created with it.  The main headquarters are in Hamburg, Germany, with offices in Tokyo and San Francisco as well.  Servers are located in USA, Germany and Japan.

Jimdo Website Builder

Pricing for Jimdo’s site builder and hosting range from free to $20 a month.  Jimdo has also recently added an “Elite” package which offers a dedicated account manager, monthly coaching sessions and quarterly audit reports to monitor and track site success. Elite packages are limited and the cost is $80 per month.  In addition, Jimdo offers a free 30 day trial period for paid plans (not a money back guarantee like many others do).

Jimdo websites are created in HTML5, are search engine optimized and mobile compatible.  In addition to the PC version of the site builder, users have access to the Jimdo App to use with either iOS or Android devices (available in the Apple Store or on Google Play).

Jimdo offers it’s versions of standard website features such as e-commerce, blogs, social media integration, contact forms, maps and directions, image and photo gallery displays, embedded videos and the ability to install external and third-party applications.

There is one thing that Jimdo offers that makes them stand out from many of the other “do-it-yourself” site builders – the ability to utilize custom coding.  Users have access to the CSS and HTML code for templates, allowing for advanced customization and adding code within the body of the pages.

Through the use of custom codes, there is a great deal of flexibility in the final look, content and functionality of websites built with the Jimdo platform.

Ideal For

Jimdo is powerful enough for just about any small to mid-sized business website. No matter what your business is, Jimdo will be able to provide you with your site’s needs. Jimdo also offers many e-commerce features, which are what you need if you would like to add an online store to your website.

Jimdo offers complete access to CSS and HTML, so with the right coding knowledge (or hiring someone who has it) the platform can be used to create websites for all types of business. Also, websites are not limited by the built-in templates and users can select third-party Jimdo compatible templates or hire someone to create a website template from scratch.

Because Jimdo uses “embedded coding” for the installation of third party applications, businesses within different industries can use external plug-ins specifically designed for that type of business.

For example, restaurants can install the Open Table App to take reservations, as well as apps to display menus and schedule food delivery. Websites for the hotel and hospitality industry can use the Trip Advisor app or any one of a number of apps which make it possible to book a room right from your site. Musicians can install apps that display playlists and sell downloads such as Spotify, SoundCloud or iTunes to sell downloads. Photographers can use their choice of photo gallery displays and can install apps from sites like Flikr. Does your site need the ability for scheduling and booking appointments? Want to post an event calendar, post survey or sell digital products? Yes, there are Jimbo-compatible apps for that (as well as a whole lot more)!

User Friendly

In terms of user friendliness, Jimdo can be looked at in two ways – ease of use for the beginner with no knowledge of site building code and the ability to use custom coding.

Looking at the latter, Jimdo stands out from the competition because, simply put, most others don’t offer this option.  For people who have a basic understanding of html code, or want to hire someone, this makes it possible for almost complete customization of your website, plus the ability to add just about any external application as long as you have the right embed code.  Needless to say, this flexibility is quite a “friendly” touch.

Now let’s talk about the actual site building process.  Jimdo uses “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) functionality meaning that while you work on your website, changes appear automatically and where you put them.   This allows for easy viewing of your site while it is in progress.

If you have used other platforms that utilize more of a drag and drop style, getting used to how the Jimdo editor works may take a little more time but once you get the hang of it, it is actually pretty easy to use.  As you are building your website, Jimdo offers a wide selection of step-by-step instructions and video tutorials whenever you need them.

The first step to building your website is choosing a template but the good thing about Jimdo is that if you change your template, any work that you have done will transfer when you make the switch.

Adding new sections or features to your Jimdo site operates a bit differently from builders that use a pure “drag and drop” approach.  With Jimdo, you click an area on the page where you want to work and you will be given the option to “add an element.”  This will reveal a box that displays the different elements that can be added directly from the dashboard such as columns, text, photos, social media, headings, forms and video.  At the time of this review there were 26 available elements broken down into four categories – Basic, Advanced, Store, and Social.

Jimdo User Friendliness

Once you have selected the element you want to add, you will be given the option to edit settings, modify the element content, and move, copy or delete the element.  One of the elements that you will use quite frequently to set up the layout of the content on your site page is the Columns module.

Adding external, or third party applications, with Jimdo is different from site builders who have these apps “built-in.”  In order to add an app (or widget as Jimdo calls them), you need to use the generic “Widget/HTML” element.  While this process on Jimdo requires a few more steps than most site builders, it gives you a lot more control over the different plugs in’s and services that you can use.

Features

Jimdo offers some good basic features that come standard with all the plans, even the free version,  including blog creation, HTML5 compatibility, contact forms, Google Maps, embedded videos, mobile websites, the ability to add external widgets and apps, and online store building (yes, JimdoFree users can have up to 5 store items!).

But Jimdo offers one feature that many other DIY site builders don’t – the ability to use HTML and CSS coding.  By using custom code, there is much more flexibility in how you can make your site look and what you can add to it.

Another feature that Jimdo offers is a mobile app that let’s you edit and design your site from a mobile device or tablet.  This is great if you are on the road with some extra time on your hands to work, or if you see something that you want to fix right away.

Templates & Designs

In August of 2014 Jimdo took a huge step forward in the site building world by updating their templates to ones that are more modern looking, and they continue to add new templates.  The choice of templates is limited for free users but it’s a good place to start.  When you first sign up, not as many templates are displayed as when you access the site builder – and there are even more available for paid plans.

Jimdo Templates

Templates are grouped in four categories – business, store, portfolio and personal, or you can select a blank template if you want to start from the ground up.  There are more customization features available with paid plans, such as creating a custom footer, but even with the free version you can build a professional looking and highly functional website.

Not all of Jimdo’s templates are considered “fully responsive” but they all come with the ability to activate a mobile version and use a mobile editor for the ones that are not already mobile ready.  Jimdo offers a cool feature that most other site builders don’t – the ability to add videos and slide shows to the background of your website.

While the availability of pre-made templates with Jimdo (at the time of this writing) may be less than what some others offer, Jimdo allows access to the HTML and CSS for all templates so they can be completely customized to meet your needs.  If you don’t know how to do custom coding, you can hire someone to set up the template to make it look exactly the way you want it to.  You can also create a completely custom site template from scratch using code.

Storage Space & Bandwidth

Unlike many other site building and hosting platforms, all of Jimdo’s plans include unlimited bandwidth which means that you never have to worry about how much traffic your site gets or how much “data activity” users are conducting when they visit your site.

The amount of file storage space that you have depends upon which plan you subscribe to.  JimdoFree comes with 500 MB of storage, much more than many other free plans offer.  JimdoPro users have access to 5 GB of storage and with JimdoBusiness storage space is unlimited.

Mobile

Depending upon the template that you use, Jimdo’ sites are either already optimized for mobile or you can activate a mobile version in the settings.  Once activated, you have access to a mobile editor to modify the mobile site.  When you use the editor, it will compress your website so that it can be viewed on smaller screens.

You can’t add new elements from the mobile editor – this can only be done from the PC version.  However, you do have access to the CSS code, so if you want the mobile version to have a different look, you can do that.

All mobile versions of Jimdo’s sites are optimized for e-commerce, so they are ready to go for online sales through mobile devices.

JimdoPro and JimdoBusiness users are also given a Mobile Express Page which can be set up to display the most important information from your website in a single, easy to navigate page.

Plug-Ins & Apps

At first glance, it may appear that Jimdo is limited in what you can do with installing plug-ins and external apps.  If you look at the dashboard, under the Apps section, you will only see four external plug-ins – Dropbox, QR codes, Google Analytics and Twitter.   There are also built-in applications within the site editor to create custom forms, add Google Maps, embed videos, add pictures and create photo galleries, integrate social media connections and add a blog.

But Jimdo doesn’t stop there…

The truth of the matter is that with Jimdo there is just about no limit to apps that you can use on your website.  This is because Jimdo allows the usage of custom code within its website, just about any where you want to put it.  Jimdo refers to plug-in apps as widgets and to install them, you use the “Widget/HTML” element.  From there, you copy and past the third-party embed code, click and save.  Not only can you install widgets in specific locations on your website, but you can also use applications that apply to the entire website by following the step-by-step instructions.

The first step to exploring the types of widgets that work with Jimdo is to take a look at the apps created specifically for Jimdo called POWr plug-ins.  At the time of this writing there were 38 plug-ins available – form builders, social feeds, ecommerce, galleries and sliders, digital downloads, graphs, reviews, comments – and much more.

Jimdo Plug-Ins & Apps

Don’t find the tool that meets your need or have a specific application that you want on your website?  All you need to do is take the embed code from that service and put it into the Jimdo embed HTLM element.  Need help? Jimdo offers step-by-step instructions and video tutorials.

Not sure what’s available?  Jimdo has a Resource page that showcases some of their favorite tools and widgets, all compatible with Jimdo, which can be used to add functionality and improve your website.  It is important to note that these are all third-party service providers (some have actual partnerships with Jimdo) and may incur separate fees.

Social Media

Because of the ability to add custom html with Jimdo, as long as you have the code (or hire someone who knows how to get it), the options for adding social networking functionality to your website are quite open.

To make things easier, Jimdo has a few social media tools available using the “add elements” feature in the site building dashboard.  In addition, many of the templates come with a space already set up for social media icons to appear.  You can keep it there, drag it somewhere else or completely eliminate it if you prefer and use something different.

Jimdo offers 5 built-in options using the “add social elements” feature. Depending upon which one you select, you can choose the size, color and shape of social media icons and boxes.

With Jimdo’s social media integration tools, you can add icons and sharing options for top social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Digg, StumbleUpon, Xing, Reddit, nk, Wykop, Yoolink, Vkontakte, Evernote and Tuenti.  You can also add a RSS feed.

Email, Newsletters & Communications

Jimdo’s paid plans come with email accounts that go with your custom domain.  Jimdo mail accounts are provided through a partnership relationship with Rackspace and include webmail access, encryption, forwarding aliases and a spam filter.

Jimdo does not offer a built in newsletter function so you will need to use an external provider such as MailChimp, INinbox, iContact, Constant Contact or one of the many other great email marketing companies available.   The same is true for communications such as Live Chat – you will need to use an external service, many of which offer free apps, and embed the appropriate code in to your website with the “add element” function.

E-Commerce

While Jimdo doesn’t offer as many advanced features as website building platforms designed specifically for online stores, what it does offer is powerful enough for small and mid-sized businesses that require ecommerce functionality.  As mentioned previously, free users can use the Jimdo store module to sell up to 5 items – something not offered by most other DIY site building platforms.  All of the Jimdo plans offer PayPal as an integrated payment option, and the premium plans allow for additional payment options.

When setting up your Jimdo store you can –

  • Set payment options
  • Configure shipping costs
  • Set shipping locations (including whether you will allow for international)
  • Establish your Terms of Service and Return Policy
  • Set up customer emails
  • Configure your checkout forms
  • Determine whether you will offer discounts

The level of customization for each of these features will depend upon whether you are using the Pro or Business Package.

In order add products to your website, you use the “Store Item” element and then customize the text, images, prices, descriptions, categories and other settings. With Jimdo e-commerce you can also manage your orders and inventory right from your dashboard.

Jimdo Online Store

Image, Video & Photo Gallery

Jimdo offers many different options for displaying images, embedding videos and creating photo galleries – some which are built-in to the editor and others which require use of external apps (installed in to yours site using the add Widget/HTML element).

Jimdo only offers very basic editing of photo size and cropping within the site builder but you can install Jimdo Photo Editor Plugin from POWr for more advanced editing features.  Pictures can be uploaded to the Jimdo image module from computer files or Dropbox.

Jimdo Image Gallery

Jimdo offers two built-in elements for adding galleries and videos to your website.

Photo Gallery – Within this element you can enable Lightbox for a slide show, select layout (horizontal, vertical or grid) and add slider (with options to set speed, autoplay and whether or not to show thumbnails). There are limits to the file size that can be uploaded, depending upon the plan you have.  The maximum file size for JimdoFree is10MB.  The size per file increases to 100M with JimdoPro or JimdoBusiness.

Video Player – Jimdo comes with a basic video player built in. You can’t do a lot of customization to the player. You can’t change the frame or match colors, but you can set the size, alignment and aspect ratio.  This player requires that videos be hosted elsewhere so you will need the link, for example YouTube or Vimeo.

For sites that only require basic photo galleries or video players, the Jimdo site elements will work fine.  If you require more functionality or advanced options, you will need to add another tool or application to the site.

Blogging

Jimdo offers integrated blog functionality that can be used to create a good, albeit basic, blog for your website.  For sites with a very active blog as a central feature, make sure that you select a site template that works well for a blog.

Setting up a Jimdo Blog works a bit differently from most site builders, but there are step-by-step instructions and video tutorials to walk you through the process. Jimdo automatically generates an RSS feed for your blog and you can create a template for future blog posts, making on-going posting more efficient.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Traffic Generation

By design, Jimdo websites are automatically optimized for search engines.  For people who don’t have a lot of knowledge about search engine optimization, Jimdo offers SEO tutorials than can help you construct your site for the best site ranking potential.

Many free versions of other site builders don’t allow any metatags but with Jimdo free, you can add a home page title and description (which will then apply to your website globally) and you can preview your Google Listing.  JimdoPro and JimdoBusiness users can modify the metatags for individual pages.  In addition, paid users get an XML sitemap which makes it easier for search engines like Google to index your website.

Site Analytics

All Jimdo plans come with Google Analytics integrated into your website which makes it nice to be able to see your Google statistics right from your dashboard.  Advanced statistics, separate from Google, are available with JimdoPro and JimdoBusiness plans.

Jimdo Site Analytics

Jimdo’s advanced analytics let you monitor your website traffic by page views, page impressions and site visits.  You can view data by day, month or year.  You will receive information about the referring sources such as links on other websites and specific search engines.  In addition, you will get information about the keywords people use to find your website as well as what browsers they are using to view it.

All Jimdo statistics can be printed or exported for offline use outside of your dashboard.

Hosting

All websites created with the Jimdo site builder include hosting – and you can’t use any other hosting company.  Jimdo’s reliable hosting includes back-ups, security and upgrades so there nothing you need to worry about – other than building your website.

Jimdo Support

Jimdo prides itself on providing “friendly and personal” customer support to all of its users, regardless of whether they are paying or not.  What differs is the response speed depending upon which plan you are using.

  • JimdoFree – Promises email responses “within a few days”, Monday through Friday, 9AM to 5PM Pacific Time.
  • JimdoPro – Promises email responses within 1 to 3 business days, Monday through Friday, 9AM to 5PM Pacific Time.
  • JimdoBusiness – Promises email responses within 1 business day, 7 days a week, 9AM to 5PM Pacific Time.
  • JimdoElite – Offers a dedicated account manager and responses within 2 hours on weekdays and 8 hours on weekends.

Jimdo also offers live chat support from 9 AM to 5 PM Pacific, depending upon staff availability.

If you are someone who is looking for individualized and personalized coaching, as well as targeted reports, site monitoring and help with making your site the best it can be, the JimdoElite package is available on a limited basis.

For people who are not yet Jimdo users, contact information can be found quite easily by clicking the “Contact Us” link in the site footer.  This may seem like an obvious thing that doesn’t need pointing out, but you would be surprised how many site building platforms either don’t make it as easy to find, or don’t make it available at all.

Jimdo’s customer service teams are based in Hamburg, San Francisco, and Tokyo.  Support is currently available in 8 languages – English, Spanish, German, French, Dutch, Italian, Russian and Japanese.

In addition to direct customer support, Jimdo offers a FAQ database, step-by-step instructions and video tutorials.  They also offer the Jimdo Blog which not only provides information related specifically to Jimdo but it also provides tips for things such as web design, ecommerce, social media and SEO.

Pros & Cons

Overall, Jimdo provides users with a great platform for building a professional website.  While the interface may take a little while to get used to, once you get the hang of it you can create websites that are both engaging and functional.

The fact that Jimdo doesn’t offer a wide range of plug-in applications but rather uses an “insert html code” module can be seen as either positive or negative, depending upon how you look at it.  For people who want simple, readily available apps that are fully integrated into their website, Jimdo is very limited in this area.  However, because of the ability to use html codes, there is almost no limit to the 3rd party applications that can be added.

Some of the pros that Jimdo offers include:

  • Website content and customer support available in 8 languages
  • Complete access to all CSS and HTML coding
  • All plans, including the free one, come with unlimited bandwidth
  • Powerful integrated e-commerce functionality for online stores

And some of the cons:

  • Only offers basic blogging capabilities (and a little difficult to use)
  • Limited built-in image editing (photo size and cropping), but you can add the POWr plug-in
  • No preview function – everything you do is saved to your live website (unless you turn it off)
  • No built-in newsletter so you will need to use external applications

Conclusion

Ultimately the decision on whether Jimdo is the right site builder for you will depend upon what is important to you.  Compared to many other site builders, not only do you get more with the free version than most offer, the paid plans are less expensive overall but you still get comparable (and in some cases, better) functionality and site capabilities.

Installing apps is a trade-off – what you lose in the simplicity of having built in apps that you can drag and drop in to place, you gain with the flexibility that embedded coding offers.

Because of its free trial period for the premium plans, users can create a website with no obligation until they are ready to publish.   This gives you the ability to play around with the different features to see what ones you need, without having to commit to either a website domain or a specific plan.