Jimdo Review (2018) - 12 Key Things You Need to Know
Jimdo markets itself as an extremely easy-to-use website and online store builder that lets you construct a site really quickly. But can it compete with the big players like Squarespace and Shopify? In this Jimdo review, we look at all the platform’s pros and cons, and help you to decide if it’s the right solution for you.
(Many thanks to Sonia Klug for her research into Jimdo, and her contributions to this review.)
Our overall rating: 3/5
1. What is Jimdo?
- buy a domain
- host your website
- sell products online.
You can also use it to manage email accounts (more on that below).
This platform allows you to use ‘out of the box’ templates provided by Jimdo or your own CSS and HTML code. It powers 20 million websites worldwide, which are supported by 200 employees, working in nine languages.
Given that Jimdo is a large and established company, using its platform to build your website is a reasonably safe bet, as the company is likely to keep the product updated to reflect new developments in website design, and is less likely to disappear (taking your website with it!).
2. Jimdo pricing
There are three Jimdo plans available: ‘Free’, ‘Pro’ and ‘Business’.
All Jimdo plans include the following features:
- Access to 40 templates which you can use to build your site.
- E-commerce functionality
- Social media integrations (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.)
- Responsive design (where your website is automatically resized to suit the device it’s being viewed on - mobile, tablet, desktop etc.)
- Blogging functionality
- Photo galleries
- Google Maps integration
- Password protected areas (meaning that you can make certain parts of your site available to certain audiences)
- Contact forms
- Https encryption
- File downloads
As you go up the pricing scale, you get access to more features. So let’s take a look at the key differences between the three plans.
This plan lets you build a 5-page website using a Jimdo subdomain (i.e., www.yourdomainname.jimdo.com rather than yourwebsite.com). It comes with 500MB storage, 2GB bandwidth and https encryption. Interestingly, you also get support on this plan, although you may have to wait a while for it.
Offering support on a free plan is generous, and there is enough storage provided on this plan to host a small to medium-sized website. The bandwidth is adequate for sites that receive a relatively low number of visitors per month. If you plan on offering your visitors large downloads however, you won’t really be able to do this using this plan.
A clear drawback of the Jimdo free plan is that websites created using it might feel a bit ‘cheap’ due to the fact that they are not hosted on a company domain. Additionally, the free plan places a small ad for Jimdo at the bottom of each page, which will make any sites created on this plan feel less professional.
Perhaps most significantly, you can’t really tweak basic SEO settings for any site created using the free plan - you can only edit the title and meta description for the home page of your site.
Ultimately the free plan is good for trying out Jimdo, and might be adequate for users who have no budget and very simple requirements - but it’s not a professional solution and anyone with more serious requirements will need to upgrade to a paid-for plan.
Jimdo Pro - $7.50 per month
This plan includes a free domain name for the first year, 5GB storage, 10GB bandwidth and https encryption.
You also get PRO support, which means you’ll receive an answer to support queries within 1-2 business days. Your website will also be ad-free.
Storage and bandwidth will be adequate for a lot of small and medium-sized business, but having to wait for 1-2 days to get an answer to a query is not ideal if you need to fix something quickly.
Unlike the free plan, you get reasonably good control over SEO in Jimdo’s ‘Pro’ offering - but there are still a couple of important omissions (which we’ll deal with in more depth in the ‘SEO’ section below).
All in all, the ‘Pro’ offering is pretty good value for money - you can build a pretty nice looking site with it without breaking the bank. It’s not a plan for high-end users but it will work fine for a lot of small business owners on a budget.
Jimdo Business - $20 per month
The ‘Business’ plan includes a free domain for the first year, unlimited storage and bandwidth and https encryption. You can use it to sell an unlimited number of products.
On this plan you can avail of premium support, which means you’ll get an answer to support queries within 2-4 hours.
The major differences between the ‘Pro’ plan and the ‘Business’ plans involve e-commerce (you can build an online store with the latter) and SEO (there are no restrictions on that front). We’ll discuss these issues in more depth in the dedicated sections on e-commerce and SEO below.
Email from $12 per year
Business email addresses based on your domain name (for example email@example.com) are only available to ‘Pro’ and ‘Business’ plan holders and cost an additional $12 per year for one email address (discounted rates are available if you wish to use Jimdo to manage multiple accounts).
While this is reasonably good value, Jimdo actually recommends Google G Suite, Outlook or Apple Mail if you’re on shared computers or need or all the features these email clients offer. If you are serious about business email, realistically you will need to use a dedicated solution for this like Microsoft Office or G Suite.
How does the pricing compare to packages offered by other website builders?
Jimdo gets a thumbs up for offering a free plan - several of the company’s leading competitors do not.
And there is quite a lot to like about this free plan - you don’t have to enter your credit card details to avail of it; there is no time limit or pressure to upgrade; you can sell products with it; and whilst the Jimdo ad at the bottom of the page isn’t ideal, at least it is is fairly small and unobtrusive.
Jimdo is on the lower end of the pricing scale for website building products. It’s roughly the same price as Wix, which charges between $5 and $25 per month, but considerably cheaper than Squarespace, which costs between $16 to $46 per month and Shopify, which will costs $29 to $299 per month.
Although Jimdo is be cheaper than some key competing products, it offers fewer templates, features and integrations than them - as we’ll see below.
3. Content management and interface
To build a site using the Jimdo interface, you can choose between two modes:
• In ‘Dolphin’ mode, the system builds a basic website for you, based on your answers to a handful of questions and material pulled from your social media profiles. This only takes a few minutes.
• In ‘Creator’ mode, you build your website yourself, using one of Jimdo’s 40 templates; these allow you to include significantly more features including galleries, background videos, a blog and an online store.
Building a website using Jimdo’s ‘Dolphin’ AI design mode
When you choose ‘Dolphin’ mode, a chat window pops up, asking you a few questions about yourself, the kind of site you would like to build and the style you’d like to apply to it (‘playful’, ‘elegant’, ‘modern’, ‘minimal’ etc.).
Based on these answers, and material pulled from your social media accounts, Jimdo will then build a site for you.
This can be a bit hit and miss – when we tried using this mode, Jimdo built a website for a dog training school, a hotel and – this baffled us the most – the Haringey Green Party (to which we have no connections at all).
Although the resulting site looked professional and took under three minutes to build, the content was fairly irrelevant.
We tried again and asked Jimdo to design a site without using material from the web. This time, it came up with a slicker site (again, in less than three minutes). After that, it was very quick and easy to change text and images and we could easily add two more pages.
Although we didn’t end up with the site of our dreams, it was a perfectly acceptable result.
It’s fair to say that Jimdo’s Dolphin mode is very straightforward to use and that you don’t need any experience using website builders or software knowledge to get a decent-looking website up and running with it.
However, you can’t sell products through sites built in Dolphin mode; it only allows you to make basic changes to your site; and it doesn’t seem to be possible to switch to Creator mode once you’ve built your site in Dolphin.
Building a website using Jimdo’s Creator mode
In ‘Creator’ mode, you can build websites using Jimdo’s templates and a full website builder. It’s also easy to use, but offers a much broader range of features than ‘Dolphin.’ It provides significantly more control over the design of your website, along with e-commerce and blogging functionality.
Overall, Jimdo’s Creator interface is clean, and very user-friendly and intuitive to use, even for people with no web design experience.
A photo editor allows you to set slideshows or videos as backgrounds, and a drag-and-drop tool allows you to move content around your pages reasonably easily. (The drag-and-drop editor is reasonably good, but it isn’t as flexible as some competing products, especially Squarespace.)
If you wish to get your hands dirty with code, you can easily access the HTML and CSS of your Jimdo; this gives you additional control over your site design.
Your Jimdo website is live immediately, unless you create an ‘Under Construction’ page.
Blogging is essential for any business, as it’s usually the main part of a successful inbound marketing campaign, and a key driver of traffic.
Helpfully, Jimdo provides simple blogging functionality on all its plans (the free one included).
This covers the basics reasonably well: you can schedule posts, edit their URLs, and include social media sharing buttons on them.
For reader comments, you can either use the built-in Jimdo system, which is a bit basic, or work with Disqus, which offers more advanced commenting features, such as threaded discussions. It’s also compatible with the Facebook commenting system.
Blog posts can be categorized or archived; they can also be displayed as widgets on the home page or another place of your choice. Readers can subscribe to your blog via an RSS feed too.
As with much else in Jimdo however, blogging functionality is ultimately aimed more at basic users rather than professional ones.
Arguably the most significant omission from the blog is multiple contributor functionality. Because multiple staff accounts are not possible on Jimdo, you can only have one contributor to your blog - thus making it hard to turn your Jimdo site into a professional publication involving a wide range of authors.
Additionally, you can only add categories to posts - other platforms, such as Squarespace and Wordpress, allow you to add both tags and categories to posts (this can help you present posts on your site to your readers in a more tailored way).
Ultimately, although the Jimdo blogging functionality is adequate (especially in combination with commenting tools), it can’t compete against a dedicated blogging platform, such as WordPress. On the plus side however, it is very easy to start blogging with Jimdo - other more professional solutions, notably Wordpress, have a slightly steeper learning curve.
Managing your Jimdo site using a mobile app
Jimdo provides the following mobile apps to help site owners manage their website from a smartphone or tablet:
- Jimdo Creator lets you build or edit a Jimdo site (we are not sure how many users would really want to build a site on a phone, however…).
- Jimdo Live Chat, as the name suggests, lets you provide support to your customers.
- Jimdo Analytics lets you monitor your Google Analytics data.
- Jimdo Boost allows owners of websites created in ‘Dolphin’ mode to view analytics data and access suggestions from Jimdo on how to market their site.
In terms of how these compare to the apps offered by Jimdo’s competitors, most competing platforms come with apps that provide a similar range of functionality (with the exception perhaps of Bigcommerce).
Possibly the most interesting app of the above four apps is the “Live Chat” app - I can’t think of any major competitors offering a smartphone app that provides this functionality out of the box.
It’s fair to say that other platforms - notably Shopify and Squarespace - provide more functionality where management of e-commerce features on mobile apps is concerned. Jimdo’s smartphone apps only allow you to view and manage orders (using its Creator app) whereas the aforementioned allow you to edit products / manage inventory too.
Import and export functionality
A key drawback of using Jimdo to manage a website is that you can’t import or export content or products.
As Jimdo is arguably geared more towards website building novices than professionals, the lack of an import tool is annoying, but not a dealbreaker for most, because it’s likely that most Jimdo customers are building a (fairly simple) website from scratch.
The lack of an export tool is a more serious issue, because if you outgrow Jimdo and need to switch to another platform, you won’t be able to export your content easily and may have to manually enter a lot of content or product data into your new site.
This is of particular relevance to users who use Jimdo for e-commerce purposes and end up with a large inventory of products that they eventually need to migrate to another platform.
Choice of templates
When you start building your site in Jimdo’s ‘Creator’ mode, you are asked if you’d like to build a website, store or blog and, on the next page, what your field is (for example Photographer and Portfolio, Bar and Restaurant, Community and Clubs, Fashion, etc.). You are then presented with a choice of 15 appropriate templates.
Once you have chosen one of the initial 15 templates, you are not stuck with it - you can choose from a total of 40 templates at a later stage if you wish.
When selecting templates, you get to see small thumbnail of each one, but in order to see the full versions of these and get a better feel for them, you need to visit the Jimdo support pages. This isn’t immediately obvious and feels like a rather convoluted way to preview a template.
It’s worth noting here that other website builders offer a far greater choice of templates. For example Wix, which operates at a similar price point, offers a selection of a few hundred templates. Squarespace provides around one hundred very professional-looking templates.
Jimdo’s limited offering in the template department means there may not be one that appeals to you, suits your business or can be configured to accurately reflect your brand.
On the other hand, if just need a web presence quickly and aren’t too fussy, the fact that there aren’t hundreds of templates to scroll through makes things quicker – too much choice can be paralysing, especially if you find it hard to visualize the end result.
Another plus is that you can switch between templates without losing any content, which will appeal to people who are not experienced when it comes to building websites and would like quickly try out a few different looks. Switching templates works a lot better with some templates than others, though.
And of course, if you know how to code, you can build your own templates, facilitated by Jimdo’s design kit.
Quality of templates
Jimdo’s templates are arguably outclassed a bit by those offered by competing products like Shopify and Squarespace, but they are nonetheless professional in appearance and it is definitely possible to put an attractive site together using them.
It’s worth noting that the navigation in Jimdo templates only goes as far as two levels, which may not be enough for users who plan to include a lot of pages or content on their site. That said, most similar products don’t really facilitate complex navigation structures either - the expectation is that two is enough. And from a usability point of view, it usually is.
All sites created using Jimdo are mobile responsive. You can check how the site is going to display on smartphones and tablets by clicking the mobile/tablet icon at the top-left corner of the Jimdo interface.
All in all the Jimdo offering in the template department is solid - the templates may lack a certain ‘wow’ factor that you get from those provided by other website building tools, but they are decent and most users will be able to find a Jimdo template that meets their needs without too much difficulty.
If you plump for the most expensive Jimdo plan (the $20 ‘Jimdo Pro’ option), you get access to e-commerce functionality.
Setting up an online store using Jimdo is a fairly painless process - and you can do it quickly. You can add products, set terms and conditions for your store and create automated response emails easily.
When somebody places an order on your website’s store, you will get a notification on your site dashboard, and via email too. You can easily access store orders and tick them off, or export your list of orders in CSV or XML format if you’d like to process them externally.
You can also track your inventory via Jimdo and specify the number of items currently in stock. If you run out of a particular item, Jimdo will automatically place a ‘sold out’ notice next to it.
Jimdo doesn’t have its own payment gateway, but facilitates payments via PayPal and Stripe. These companies take a small percentage of each transaction, but unlike some competing website building products, Jimdo does not charge any fees for sales made from your site.
Other features that will potentially appeal to those wishing to sell via Jimdo are as follows:
- Easy integration with Google Analytics E-Commerce Tracking
- Coupon codes and gift vouchers
- Built-integration for Facebook ads
Some of the reasons why you might want to avoid Jimdo as an e-commerce solution are as follows:
- Jimdo lets you set only one tax rate, which can make it difficult to sell internationally (and, thanks to VAT MOSS requirements, more or less rules out selling digital goods to consumers based in Europe)
- There is no abandoned cart saver.
- You can’t set up multiple staff accounts to manage your online store.
- You can’t create a ‘buy now’ button for use on external websites or social media profiles.
- You cannot import or export product data.
- Selling digital products involves a long-winded manual process of setting up passworded pages.
All in all it has to be said that Jimdo should not be viewed as a professional e-commerce solution.
It’s fine for users who want to run a small content-based site and sell some products occasionally on the side, but if you’re serious about e-commerce and want to use a hosted solution, you will be better served by a dedicated e-commerce platform, like Bigcommerce or Shopify.
Unlike other site and store building platforms, there’s no ‘app store’ available containing integrations with third-party tools and add-ons to beef up the functionality of your site.
That’s not to say that you can’t integrate your Jimdo site with other tools; many third party apps provide code snippets (or widgets) which can be added to a Jimdo site (via its ‘widget’ or ‘HTML’ elements) to provide additional functionality.
This is fine for adding things like forms, calendars or maps to a Jimdo site (capturing basic data or displaying it, essentially); but if you’re looking for deep integration between a Jimdo site and an accounting, CRM or dropshipping app, you’re likely to be disappointed.
7. Data capture
Jimdo allows you to add forms to your site easily - these allow visitors to message you or subscribe to newsletters.
You can add several different types of field to your form, with one notable exception: a file upload field. If you want to allow users to send you files through your forms, you’re going to have to turn to a third party solution such as Wufoo or Jotform.
Form submissions are automatically emailed to an address you specify; they are also saved in the back end. Unfortunately, there’s no automatic way to send the data you capture via a Jimdo form to an email marketing app like Getresponse, Aweber or Mailchimp.
If you want to do that, you’ll need to grab form code from your chosen email marketing provider and embed it on your site using one of Jimdo’s widget/html elements (which is better than the alternative of manually copying and pasting email addresses into your chosen email marketing tool).
Jimdo provides a basic reporting dashboard which allows you to get top-line stats on your website.
For more in-depth analysis, you can also use Google Analytics with Jimdo, by adding Google’s code to the header of your site.
You can then access Google Analytics data within your Jimdo dashboard, which is convenient, or simply use the full-blown version of Google Analytics.
Jimdo’s pricing plan information seems to give the impression that SEO functionality is only available on its most expensive plan (which would be rather awful if so); however this is a bit misleading, as it is possible to access and edit several on-page SEO elements on its other plans.
On all Jimdo plans you can
- use SEO-friendly headings (H1s, H2s etc.)
- add alt text
- create Google-friendly URLs based on your page titles
- add a page title and meta description to your home page.
On the paid plans, you can also
- edit page URLs
- edit page titles to any page
- add a meta description to any page
However, if you want to create 301 redirects (which are used to tell search engines when a page has moved to a new location) or use robots.txt to tell search engines not to index a page, you will need to be on the most expensive Jimdo plan.
As SEO is such a vital part of running a website, our view is that access to all SEO features should be available on any paid Jimdo plan.
Finally, unlike competing platforms, you won’t be able to add any SEO plugins or apps to your Jimdo site, although you can make use of resources like Google Search Console, Yoast’s Real Time Content Analysis tool, Hubspot’s Website Grader or - and here’s a little plug - the Style Factory SEO guide to help you evaluate and steer your search engine optimisation efforts.
When adding or editing elements of a Jimdo site, a “?” icon is displayed. Clicking on this gives you basic help on the element you’re working with.
You can also make use of Jimdo’s Support Centre when creating your site - this contains useful videos and articles to help you build and edit your site.
Jimdo also provides a useful blog called ‘8 Days’, which deserves a mention here. This well-written and informative blog provides good advice for online businesses, covering key subjects such as SEO, online marketing and automating workflow.
If the above resources don’t meet your requirements, and you need to contact Jimdo directly for support, you can only do this via email - there is no live chat or phone support available.
If you’re on the ‘Pro’ plan, you are guaranteed an answer in 1 to 2 working days; on the ‘Business’ plan, you can expect to receive it in 2 to 4 hours. The email helpdesk is manned between 9am and 6pm CET time, Monday to Friday.
This level of support isn’t ideal - a four-hour wait to get an answer could prove very frustrating (especially if you need to send a few emails back and forth to resolve an issue). And the fact that support is only available between 9am and 6pm CET on weekdays means that if something goes wrong on Friday afternoon, you may not have a fix for it until Monday.
On the plus side, support is provided in nine different languages, which is unusual for products like this (English is often the only option).
Ultimately however it’s a ‘could-do-better’ for Jimdo for its support offering. Several competing platforms provide 24/7 support options across more channels (phone, live chat and social media).
10. Is Jimdo the right website builder for you?
Jimdo’s philosophy is to make the building of websites more accessible or, as the company says, put ‘the power of website creation in the hands of ordinary people’ to allow them to share their passions online.
Their free plan arguably meets this goal – it’s a generous offer, which allows anybody to get a web presence together quickly and easily. For anyone wanting to build a simple website quickly and without too much fuss and deliberation, Jimdo is a good option.
As far as the paid plans go, the main argument for using them is price. For $7.50 a month, you can put a fully functional website together using the platform. This is considerably cheaper than if you were to use some competing building solutions, notably Squarespace (the cheapest Squarespace plan is $16 per month, over twice the price).
And technically, you can get started with e-commerce more cheaply with Jimdo than a lot of other platforms too - the Jimdo $20 per month plan allows you to build an online store, which compares favourably to Squarespace ($26 per month), Shopify ($29 per month) and Bigcommerce ($29.95 per month). That said, the e-commerce functionality is considerably more basic than these products, particularly where Shopify and Bigcommerce are concerned.
So, if your budget is low and your needs are basic, Jimdo is well worth a look. It’s well-suited to small businesses that require a simple online presence and/or shop, but don’t have the budget, expertise or time to grapple with more complex systems.
However, those with more advanced requirements will nearly always be better off using another tool. If you have serious e-commerce needs, dedicated online store builders such as Bigcommerce or Shopify are going to serve you better; and if you are serious about blogging or running an online publication Wordpress is probably the best solution.
11. Pros and cons of using Jimdo
We hope you’ve found our Jimdo review useful; below you’ll find our summary of the key pros and cons of the product.
As ever, one of the best ways to determine whether this solution is right for you is to try it out yourself - you can avail of Jimdo’s free plan here.
Pros of using Jimdo
- It’s very cheap.
- A generous free plan is available.
- It’s easy to use, especially for those without any previous experience of website building.
- You can edit the HTML and CSS of your site.
- You can switch between templates quickly and easily, without losing content.
- All templates are responsive.
- There is a good selection of mobile apps available for managing your site on the go.
- Support is available in nine languages.
- Jimdo is a well-established company with a large customer base, which makes it likely that the company will regularly update its offering and is less likely to fold (thus future-proofing your site).
Cons of using Jimdo
- A rather limited number of templates is available.
- You can only use two levels of navigation.
- Support is limited to email and is not available 24/7.
- There is no import / export functionality.
- E-commerce functionality is not as professional as that provided by other solutions, especially where tax rates and dropshipping are concerned.
- There are no third party apps available.
- You can’t have multiple contributors to a Jimdo site.
You can try Jimdo for free here.
12. Alternatives to Jimdo
There are a lot of similar website building solutions available.
If you’re looking for something similarly priced, but with a larger range of templates to choose from, take a look at Wix. Its e-commerce functionality comes in a bit cheaper too.
Although it’s more expensive, Squarespace is definitely worth investigating. Its templates are slicker and its feature set is more extensive. I find Squarespace particularly good for users who want to build a content-driven or portfolio website (note: if you’re interested in working with the Squarespace platform, do check out our Squarespace Setup service).
And finally, if you're thinking about creating an online publication involving multiple authors and requiring sophisticated content management and publishing functionality, then Wordpress is probably your best bet.
Got any thoughts on Jimdo?
If you've got any thoughts or queries on Jimdo, or have experiences of using the product that you'd like to share, please do leave a comment on this post - just scroll down to post one.
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Other website building resources
Below you’ll find links to some other reviews and resources on website building: