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Jimdo website builder review

A quirky website builder with some unusual features

New Hero
(Image: © Jimdo)

Our Verdict

Strong in some areas, weak in others – and with a quirky editor – Jimdo will divide opinion. We like the service overall, though, and it's worth a closer look.

For

  • Well-designed editor
  • Capable support site
  • Versatile shipping rules

Against

  • Few templates
  • No global undo in one section of the interface
  • No media library, stock photos
  • The ‘website’ and ‘blog’ interfaces are totally different

Founded back in 2007, German-based Jimdo has grown to be a hugely popular website builder with more than 200 employees worldwide.

The service is targeted largely at the novice user, marketing itself on simplicity. The Jimdo website focuses on how easy it is to “Design a website”, “Sell online”, even “Design a logo” - “You can too! With Jimdo”.

There’s certainly nothing intimidating sounding there.

The Jimdo range starts with its free account. This has some notable limits, including 500MB storage, 2GB bandwidth, only 5 website pages, Jimdo branding, ads, and no support for using your own domain.

But it's not all bad news. You also get HTTPS access, a simple blogging platform, and contact forms.

Pricing

Jimdo’s main page offers the following pricing structure (as of this review’s writing) (Image credit: Jimdo)

The Jimdo Start account drops the ads and branding, and lifts your storage allowance to 5GB and bandwidth to 10GB. There's a free domain, more SEO and site management tools, customer support. It's priced at $9 a month.

Jimdo Grow bumps the storage and bandwidth to 15GB and 20GB respectively, for $15 per month.

There’s even a Jimdo Legal which seems to be essentially the same as Grow but includes a Legal Text Generator - but this increases the price to $20 per month.

And finally, there’s Jimdo Unlimited, which gives you unlimited everything: storage, bandwidth, forwarding aliases, and web store items. Support response to promised to be under an hour. Bonus SEO-related features include robots meta tags and URL redirects, and the store gains features like tag and weight-based shipping, discount codes, custom order confirmations, and more. It's priced at £39 per month, which feels expensive.

If you’re looking to sell products online, you’d need to click on the ‘Online Shop’ part of the pricing plan.

There, you’ll be given 3 options:

Basic, which gives you the store, 0% commission, 10GB of storage, email support and up to 10 website pages for £15 a month;

Business, which offers various products layouts, product variants, discount codes, strikethrough prices, 15GB of storage and 50 webpages for £19 a month;

And VIP which includes unlimited storage and webpages, legal text generator, business listing and professional design analysis, for £39 a month.

Getting started

Tap the Sign Up button at Jimdo.com and the site prompts you to choose whether you want to create a website, shop or blog.

We initially chose the website option, and went with the ‘Create a beautiful website—no coding required’ button (as opposed to ‘The editor for coding experts’.)

You’re then asked a few questions like who this project is for (for yourself or a group), if it’s a family website, for a hobby, or a business, and if you’d like to link your site to your Instagram account.

As part of this process you’re also asked about your preferred style out of six, and a choice of 2 complementary colours based on your selected style.

All these questions can be skipped however because although they help Jimdo select the right template and design for you initially, you have complete freedom and can customise everything later on.

Once done, Jimdo presents you with your website, filled with royalty free images and filler text, ready for you to make it your own.

Editor

Each page is made up of blocks, and you can add as many as you need (Image credit: Jimdo)

Editor

Jimdo's website editor appealed to us immediately with its simple and consistent approach. Just hovering the mouse cursor over any object displayed buttons for common actions: delete, copy, move up or down the page (Jimdo doesn't allow placing objects at exact pixel coordinates, so the most you can do is position them relative to something else.)

Clicking an object displays a larger toolbar with more options. You might be able to edit text, change its style, replace an image, or carry out some other relevant action.

These toolbars are generally very well designed, keeping your clicks and web hassles to a minimum. 

The navigation menu top left of the page keeps track of your site's webpages. In order to edit it, simply click on the Pages menu, further up, top left of the interface. There, you can rename a page, move them up or down the list, indent them one or more levels, hide a page in the menu, delete one entirely or add a new one.

The whole interface is surprisingly easy-to-use. Unlike some editors, you're not clicking on the page, then redirecting your attention to a sidebar, then digging down through that interface to find what you need. Jimdo displays nearly all the options you need upfront, beside the control where you're trying to apply them, and even gives you plenty of tooltips to help you discover what everything does.

Adding objects to a page is very straightforward. Move your mouse around the page and you’ll see a big ‘+’ icon. Click on it to add an item within an existing section of your page, or additional content to your page in the form of a new block.

If you’re looking for simplicity, there’s a lot to like here, and it’s nice to see that there’s even global undo and redo buttons (top right of the interface).

Moving beyond the desktop, it's good to know Jimdo offers specialist apps for creating and managing your site on Android and iOS devices. We didn't test these, but it's handy to have apps available, and impressively high app store ratings (4.2 and 4.4 respectively) suggest that the company must be doing something right.

Setting Up

You can link your site to your Instagram account for photos or use royalty free images if you prefer (Image credit: Jimdo)

Media

The tools to manipulate media are pretty limited. Click on an image, for instance, and your options are as follows: choose a different image, replace it with a video, add one of 6 filters, or zoom in or out of the image (you can then also drag the image around, essentially choose the part you wish to crop).

Changing the image leads you to a menu where you can grab images from Jimdo’s stock of royalty free photos, or upload any you own yourself. Adding a video is done solely by linking to a YouTube or Vimeo URL. There doesn’t seem to be a way to host your videos locally, or link to videos on other platforms aside from those two.

When you choose to add a new block to your page, options appear on the sidebar on the left. In terms of media, you can either choose to add a single image (which would take over all or most of the block depending on the template you’ll choose), or a slideshow.

The slideshows options are very limited. You can add or delete images, replace an image with a video link to YouTube or Vimeo and perform the same limited editing options as described above, but that’s pretty much it.

Other blocks you can add include the ability to add music by linking to a song on Apple Music or Spotify, add a booking form, or a menu.

It’s clear your options are pretty limited, but if you’re looking for templates that allow you to design a page quickly and easily with little to no knowledge of web design, then this side of Jimdo’s service really has you covered.

Activate Blog

Activating a blog for your site is done with a single click (Image credit: Jimdo)

Blogging

We couldn’t find a way to create a blog from the original ‘website’ option, so we created a new site choosing ‘blog’ this time to check this feature out.

The interface is totally different. This time you need to select from one of 15 different templates (the 16th is just a blank canvas).

Once you’ve done this, you’re graced with a pricing structure which is actually totally different than the one advertised on Jimdo’s main page.

Blog Pricing

This blog’s pricing structure is puzzlingly totally different than the one on the main page (Image credit: Jimdo)

Prices range from Free ($0, obviously), to Pro ($9/month), Business ($15/month), SEO Plus ($20/month) and Platinum ($30/month).

The storage and bandwidth are unlimited for the last three, and they also seem to be the only options that allow you to have an online store.

All fee paying tiers are optimised for smartphones.

Blog Template

When creating a blog, you need to choose from one of 16 different templates (Image credit: Jimdo)

Having chosen your tier (we went for Free), your page appears in front of you. If you changed your mine about your chosen template, rest assured, not only can you change to a different theme, you also have come customisability options. All of this can be found in the ‘menu’ section (top right of the interface).

This menu sidebar is also where you get to activate your blog. Once you’ve clicked on the big blue button, the Blog feature is enabled immediately.

Hit the New Post button and a page appears. To the left are places to add a title and a featured image (you don’t have access to a royalty free library here, just to your own images stored on your computer’s hard drive).

More ‘advanced’ options give you the ability to edit your post’s URL, add tags, enable comments, and add share buttons.

It's a solid set of features, though spoiled a little by a poor design decision. These settings are spread across two tabs, 'Basic' and 'Advanced', and if you make a change in one tab, you have to click Save before you can switch to the other. You'll learn to do that, eventually, but it shouldn't be necessary, and we'd prefer an interface which worked as you expected in the first place.

Elements

All elements you can add to your post can be accessed with a single click (Image credit: Jimdo)

You can start writing in your post once you’ve added an element, in a similar fashion to how you create your website as described above.

The list of available widgets is totally different, it’s as if you’re using a different interface than when you were working on the ‘website’ section, which can be pretty confusing at first.

That list is much longer than before, although it still isn’t as lengthy as you'll usually see elsewhere, but there's still plenty to choose from: text, images, galleries, videos, tables, column layouts, buttons, maps, forms, social media tools (Facebook, Google, Twitter), and some more capable add-ons. The latter includes newsletter signup, appointment bookings, a music player, Instagram feed, Google Calendar, and – if you're still not satisfied – integration with POWr plugins allows adding even more functionality, though at extra cost.

It's a decent selection, and although the objects are often relatively simple, there are still some welcome surprises. The contact form doesn't just allow adding new fields and defining which are required, for instance – you can add a Captcha with a single click.

One notable advantage is the very configurable Share bar. Although by default it only allows sharing via Facebook, and Twitter, there's also support for Evernote, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Reddit, Digg, VKontakte, Xing, email and many more.

Overall, while this isn't the most capable of blogging platforms, it's a likeable offering with some appealing and unusual features.

It’s worth noting that on this blogging side of the interface, the editor does have one significant issue: there's no global undo. You can use Ctrl+Z in text fields, usually, and if you make a significant change (layout, color scheme) the interface might ask you to accept or undo it, but otherwise there's no easy way to reverse your recent steps.

Ecommerce

E-Commerce is done very simply: just add a new product as you would a new element or block on a page (Image credit: Jimdo)

E-commerce

Adding a store to a website builder is usually a very big operation. You might have to add a special Store page before being taken off to a full-screen e-commerce manager where you'll apply settings and build a whole catalogue of products.

As we've seen in other areas, Jimdo takes a much more natural, WYSIWYG approach. Adding a product to a page works much like any other website object: move your mouse cursor where you'd like it to go, tap Add Element > Store Item, and fill in the dialog with all the relevant details (name, price, description, images, and more). You'll have the basics done in moments.

This approach won't appeal to users with large numbers of products, as Jimdo isn't providing any overall store layouts – you're left to create your own. But if you only have two or three items to sell, Jimdo's simplicity could be a major advantage. Instead of building a complete web store to handle a couple of items, you can just write about a product on a page, and add the official 'Buy' box and details at the end.

While the end results might look basic, the Jimdo store has some real power under the hood. Just one example: you're not restricted to flat per-item (and additional item) shipping rates. Jimdo Business users get support for tag and weight-based shipping, as well as optional rules for both regions and countries, allowing you to set up whatever charge structures you need.

Jimdo offers more payment options than you might expect, too. Even users on the free plan get support for PayPal, and upgrading gets you access to credit cards (Stripe), invoices, local delivery, local pickup, by mail, payment in advance, and more.

We think it's a very capable product, especially for the price you're paying, and it has many more features than we can cover here. If the store is important to you, Jimdo's support pages give you plenty of detail, without the marketing spin you'll sometimes get on the main site.

Support

Customer support provides a wealth of useful information (Image credit: Jimdo)

Support

Jimdo is unusual in not having an always-visible Help icon within its editor. To reach the web knowledgebase you must click Menu > Questions > Support Centre, which opens the help site in a new browser tab.

We were greeted by an array of helpful options and links. Detailed articles are organized into common categories, such as Basics, Design, Blogging and Store. A Search box helps you find more specific answers, and the System Status page warns you of any general service problems, which is handy if your site is down and you're not sure why. There are also links to useful pages, including password recovery and places to download the Jimdo apps.

Running knowledgebase searches returned plenty of articles, and usually with the best choices at or near the top. Searching for ‘PDF’ returned ‘How to display PDFs on your website’ first, for instance, and searching for ‘Video’ pointed us to an explanation of how to use the video element.

We suspect the web articles will help solve most of your initial issues, but if you run into something more complicated then even free users can contact support via a ticket or email system.

Final verdict

Jimdo doesn't have as many templates or widgets as the big-name builders, but what you get works very well, and the unconventional but smartly designed editor could – once you understand the basics – save you a lot of time and effort. If you can live with its limitations, give Jimdo a try.