Having been founded back in 2007, Jimdo isn’t exactly a fresh addition to the website builder market. They haven’t yet grown to the size of industry behemoths such as Wix and WordPress, but they have made significant progress in recent years. They have over 200 employees, stationed across North America, Europe and Asia, and a reported 20 million websites have now been created using Jimdo.
So, what does Jimdo offer that its better-known competitors can’t? Why should you opt for the lesser-known company over one of their titanic rivals? Let’s investigate (and, for the record, I’m trying out this website builder for myself. We take our reviews seriously here!).
From the start, I found Jimdo’s own website to be extremely intuitive and well laid out… as you’d hope from a website building company! It’s pleasingly simplistic, with only three buttons along the top taking you straight to the three areas in which you’re likely to be interested: Templates, Pricing and Blog.
Throughout the signup process (which is incredibly quick), Jimdo offer a level of hand-holding which will be perfect for inexperienced website creators. They suggest basic themes based on the type of site you’re creating, and ask whether you’re building a Website (i.e. more of a company site), a Store or a Blog.
In no time at all, you’re picking your payment option (more on that in the ‘Pricing’ section of this review), and selecting a URL. The entire process takes literally one minute, before your basic templated website is ready for you.
Let’s take a closer look at a few different aspects of Jimdo’s usability:
This is the most important factor, by far, when you first come to use a new website builder. If you simply can’t click with the interface, you can easily bounce off the whole thing.
Having said that, I can’t imagine anybody possibly having a problem with Jimdo’s user interface. It’s difficult to imagine where it could possibly be made more intuitive. All of your main options – Design, Blog, Store, Settings, and so on – are clearly displayed on a drop-down menu. Click on one of those, and it takes you to the relevant section, which again is simply and clearly laid out.
Simply put, this is an incredibly intuitive interface, and a massive point in Jimdo’s favor.
Drag and Drop
The drag and drop functionality of Jimdo is… fine, without being outstanding.
At first, it seems to be quite random what you can and can’t drag around the page. Even when you can drag and drop something, doing so feels a little clunky. Doubly so, because there seem to be certain areas, or slots, where it will or won’t let you drop items, and it’s not obvious where exactly they are.
It’s not a deal-breaker by any means, and it’s something you’ll probably stop noticing after a little while, but this slight weakness in drag and drop is surprising given how user-friendly Jimdo generally is.
Jimdo gets back on track with its image editing tools, which are simply wonderful.
Even though I was only creating a test website for review purposes, I still lost more time than I’d like to admit playing around with my photos using its inbuilt tools. One of the best is ‘Color’, which covers warmth, saturation and the like, and made even my amateurish snaps look professional. For more of a quick fix, you can also use the ‘Enhance’ tool, which gives your photo an instant makeover with one of its preset effects, including Scenery, Portrait and Food.
Add in an incredibly easy to use text feature, and the ever popular ‘Focus’ trick (which focuses on one specific part and blurs the rest), and the fact that Jimdo doesn’t crop your photos for you – it allows you to do it yourself – and you’re on to a winner.
Jimdo’s image editing tools are absolutely top-notch.
The basics of content editing – fortunately – were cracked years ago by most popular website builders. Jimdo is no different, with all the basic features you’d expect: easy-to-add text, plenty of colors and fonts, and so on.
That being said – and perhaps this is actually a consequence of Jimdo trying to keep everything as streamlined as possible – text editing options that are actually there, in front of you, are limited. I’ve spent plenty of time using dedicated word processors, so I have all the usual shortcuts committed to memory. Someone who didn’t would have to go and look up the shortcuts for a variety of simple alterations, including underlining text, and making parts of the text subscript or superscript. Those buttons simply don’t exist in Jimdo’s basic text editing tools.
Aside from that, Jimdo’s wider content editing tools are excellent. Adding new elements is a little fiddly the first couple of times, but you quickly acclimatize. Regarding those elements, they’ve done a nice job of splitting up features that might have been rolled into one element elsewhere. For example, you can keep two parallel boxes of text joined, but still operating separately, by using the ‘Columns’ tool. There’s also an extremely handy ‘Text with Photo’ element, for adding… y’know, text with a photo.
In their themes (or ‘templates’ as they’re referred to by Jimdo; it’s just semantics, really), we find another area in which this budding website builder truly excels.
Firstly, it’s important to note that every theme which Jimdo offers is available for free. As you’d expect, they do have other features which are only unlocked via price plans, but the themes don’t fall into this category.
That’s fantastic, because it also ensures that – even if you join up for free – you’re getting the best themes that Jimdo has to offer; not the second-rate ones that you might elsewhere with a free account.
Regarding the number of themes that Jimdo have on offer; well, that’s a little confusing. When you first sign up, you’re presented with only 15 options (all of which are admittedly distinctive, and of an extremely high quality). After you’ve actually created your page, however, you can go to ‘Design’, then ‘Templates’, and you’ll find over 40 options there. That’s strange, and I was unable to find an explanation for the discrepancy, but it’s something to be aware of when signing up.
For beginners, Jimdo offer a particularly user-friendly introduction. They have an excellent in-depth guide, as to how to choose a theme that suits you. They also offer a filter system, which you can use to only see themes with a slide navigation, for example, or ones that have narrow or wide content areas. More experienced website creators will be pleased to see the inclusion of a ‘Custom Template’ feature, which allows you to start from scratch and code your own theme.
Finally, it’s worth noting that – as of 2014 – all of Jimdo’s themes have been responsive. That means that when you sign up today, your website will automatically scale to the user’s device (desktop, tablet, smartphone) and preferences.
Mobile browsing is a pretty big deal, in case you hadn’t heard! In fact, according to some sources, the majority of web traffic now comes from mobile users, rather than traditional computer usage.
Accordingly, ensuring your website is mobile optimized is of crucial importance. It’s fortunate, then, that Jimdo have put a lot of effort into ensuring their websites abide by this requirement. As I mentioned, all themes are automatically responsive. That means that your site will automatically scale to provide extra speed, to fit the size of a mobile screen, and to register higher in SEO rankings that are specific to mobile devices.
In typical fashion, Jimdo have gone out of their way to help new users to do everything they possibly can to make their websites mobile-friendly, above the automatic responsiveness. They’ve provided a comprehensive guide to doing this, which you can check out here.
Let’s get stuck a little deeper into some more of the features you can find in Jimdo’s website builder offering, shall we?!
If you have any kind of digital marketing strategy, or knowledge of SEO, you’ll know how important having a good blog is for your website.
Separate blog sections are included with all Jimdo websites, regardless of price package. The makeup of the blog – the elements, spacing, and so on – is carried out in exactly the same way as the main website design, which keeps things nice and consistent, and shortens the learning curve.
In terms of dedicated features, Jimdo only really covers the bare basics. Everything you need is there – such as including tags, creating custom URLs, allowing comments and adding share buttons. Compared to a powerhouse like WordPress, however, with its endless source of plugins and settings, Jimdo’s offering is fairly limited.
If you’re including a blog as part of your website, and it’s not the main focus, there’s probably enough here for you. If you’re looking to specifically start a blog, there are better options out there.
This is where we start to see some separation, between the paid-for services and those which are included for free.
JimdoPro customers receive one free private email address (e.g. JohnSmith@website.com), and three forwarding email addresses. JimdoBusiness – the most costly account type – allows 20 private email addresses, and unlimited forwarding addresses.
JimdoFree customers? Well, they don’t get any email connection at all. This isn’t actually unusual with website builders, but it’s something to be aware of.
Jimdo has all the basic security features that you’d hope for and expect. Your main website will have free HTTPS encryption. SSL is available for your email account, and for payments if you’re planning to sell from your site.
Based on my own exploration of the site, and from searching the internet, Jimdo does not seem to have any way to create membership systems for your website. There are third-party tools you can install to achieve this, but this review is purely based on what’s currently available from Jimdo.
Depending on what your website is for – particularly for those who want to monetize their sites – this could be a problem. Again, there are ways to get around it with third-party tools, but other website builders like Wix have this included as standard.
Now we’re back in Jimdo’s wheelhouse. They’ve nailed pretty much everything that relates to design, and their offerings for menus are no different.
Menus could not be simpler to create and play around with. Renaming, moving, reordering, and even adding whole new options (and thus new pages) are all extremely easy to do. The same goes for repositioning or changing the look and feel of the menu itself, via Jimdo’s highly flexible themes.
The situation regarding forums is basically the same as that of membership systems. Jimdo does not currently have in-built tools to create a forum. They do, however, have a list of recommended third-party community tools, amongst which are forum creators. A basic Google search will reveal further options for you.
Live Chat Option
There isn’t an in-built option for adding a live chat customer support service. Again, however, it’s easy enough to find third-party tools which can do this for you. For the record, Jimdo recommend using Tidio Chat.
I touched on this already, when discussing some of the features which Jimdo does – and doesn’t – offer.
In short, it may appear a little frustrating at first that their actual website is pretty lacking in features. They’re clearly aware of this, however, which is why they’ve made a big effort to make integrations as easy as possible. It really is as simple as simply finding the widget you want to add (Jimdo have actually made a list of their top 20), copying the code there, adding a ‘Widget/HTML’ element to your chosen Jimdo page, and pasting in the code. Done.
That basically means that you can quickly make up the space between what you’d like your website to feature, and what Jimdo actually offers. Social media sharing, customer support, analytics, an intra-website search; all these and many more are only a quick copy-and-paste away.
I ran a few tests, using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool, to see how Jimdo websites typically performed. To make the exercise fair, I tried five random different websites that had been made using Jimdo, across a variety of sectors and levels of professionalism, and aggregated the scores for both the desktop and mobile versions.
The results weren’t bad, but weren’t outstanding either. For the desktop version, the five websites averaged a score of 73/100 – described by Google as ‘Needs Work’. None of the websites broke out of this category, suggesting that Jimdo’s desktop optimization is fine on its own, but would require a degree of time investment to make it actually work well.
For the mobile version, they also averaged 73/100. It’s worth noting, however, that 2 of the sites scored extremely highly – rating as ‘Good’ – and the other 3 rated as ‘Poor’. This suggests that Jimdo’s automatic mobile optimization might actually not work as well as advertised, and that a significant amount of personal effort may be required to get your mobile site working properly.
If you’re reading this, I’m just going to assume you have a basic knowledge of SEO already. If not… hop onto Google, and you’ll get the idea in a few minutes!
SEO is, of course, crucial to a website’s success. What’s also crucial is that a website builder makes it as easy as possible to improve for yourself, in order to avoid shelling out thousands to an SEO specialist just to get your site off the ground.
Jimdo has a dedicated ‘SEO’ section in the main menu of its web builder. Unfortunately, as soon as you click on that button, you run into a problem; if you’re a free user, at least. Almost all of Jimdo’s SEO settings are hidden behind a paywall, and only available to their JimdoPro and JimdoBusiness customers.
As a free user, literally all you can do is add and edit the meta title and meta description for your home page. That is the extent of the SEO help that you receive from Jimdo. There are plenty of other things you can do for yourself, of course, but that’s not really the point here.
I’m obviously fully aware, however, that many people will be happy to become paying customers. If you are, you get access to a decent range of tools to help boost your SEO. These include adding hidden pages to your sitemap and adding custom URLs to each page.
Jimdo’s built-in analytics software is also only available to paying customers. That’s OK though, because free customers can, of course, simply use Google Analytics to tell them all the same stats they’d get from Jimdo’s tool: daily user numbers, the typical length of each user’s session, and so on.
In terms of static support – FAQs, how-to guides, and so on – Jimdo are fantastic. I’ve linked to a few of their guides already in this review, but there’s truly a wealth of them on their website. It’s genuinely great that they offer this level of support, especially for beginners, for free.
Unfortunately, Jimdo do not have a live customer support option. You can’t phone them, and they don’t have a live chat through which to communicate. The only way to contact them is via message, on their ‘Contact Us’ page.
The priority of your particular query is based on what level of customer you are. JimdoPro subscribers are only guaranteed a reply within 1-2 business days, while JimdoBusiness customers can expect a response within 2-4 hours (during business opening hours). That’s… not great, to say the least. If you can’t figure out how to do something, or have a problem with your account… well, you’d better hope you can find an answer in the FAQ!
Having said all of that, Jimdo’s customer support team are friendly enough and knowledgeable (when you can finally get a hold of them). This impression was backed up by their Trustpilot scores, which consistently rank around 9/10.
Finally, let’s take a look at Jimdo’s ecommerce functionality; a vitally important attribute for any website builder to possess.
Upon initially signing up, you can tell Jimdo that you want to create an online store, and they’ll guide you through the startup process with that in mind. Once your website is created, you can access your shop directly through the main menu.
What you can actually do with your online store scales up considerably depending on which price plan you opt for. JimdoFree customers get the absolute bare essentials, including only 5 store items. JimdoPro customers get a few additional payment methods, the option to set a list price, and 15 store items. JimdoBusiness high rollers receive the ability to add discount codes, direct credit card payments (as opposed to payments through PayPal), weight-based shipping costs, and infinite store items.
No prize for guessing which plan you’ll need to go for, if you’re actually serious about starting an online store.