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Jimdo - first hand experience

Jimdo (www.jimdo.com) is a do-it-yourself website builder site, designed to suit a wide range of technical abilities. For beginners who want to have a go at creating their own site, there are over 100 templates to choose from to get you started, complete with an easy to use tool bar. For those who have an understanding of HTML or CSS, it is possible to change and insert your own code to create a website that is unique to you. All levels are catered for!  It is also good to note that Jimdo make great efforts to help you get your site readily visible on Google with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), and that the priced packages give you access to statistics so you can monitor the number of visits your site is gaining.

 

Signing Up

In order to get to grips with Jimdo, I decided to try their free package, which allows you to create your website, learn how to use the tool bar, insert content etc. with no commitment to a priced package. If you decide you are happy with the service, upgrading to one of their packages is quick and easy, with a handy link in the tool bar. I really liked that they put no pressure on you to upgrade to one of their other packages, as some free trials I have used in the past have a tendency to prompt you every time you log in!

Signing up to Jimdo took a matter of minutes, giving me more time to work on the website. All I had to do was click “Create your free website” on their homepage, follow 3 easy steps and I was ready to get started. I was asked to select a template (which you can easily change via the tool bar at any time). Once I’d made my selection, I was prompted to enter an email address, password and a name for my website. In the free version this will appear as […].jimdo.com. If you have opted to go straight for the Jimdo Pro or Business package (although the Pro package is more than adequate for most therapists) Jimdo will organise the purchase of the domain name for you, meaning that your web address will appear as […].com.

Editing My Site

This was only the second time I had ever attempted web design, but Jimdo’s layout is extremely user friendly and not at all intimidating, with a single tool bar running down the right-hand side of the screen. I found navigating my way around the website editor really quick and easy without much practice. The website looks exactly the same in editor mode as it will to potential clients, making editing easy. Clicking on existing text boxes allowed me to quickly edit my text. Replacing images was also quick and easy, by clicking on the image, “upload” and then selecting an image from my files.

Making additional changes such as font, font size and colour was achieved by clicking “style” and the item I wanted to edit. This opened a new tool bar along the top of the screen with options for me to choose from. “Style” also allowed me to make changes to my background, browsing through Jimdo’s extensive library of images and patterns (most of which I really liked!) or you may upload your own image, which I chose to do, as it meant that despite using a template, my website was still unique to me. At no point during any of this did I need to use Jimdo’s help centre – the whole system is beautifully simple and very intuitive to use. 

I also really liked how easy it was to remove an image or text box if I decided I no longer wanted it: simply click on them, and an easy to use tool box will appear around the item, giving the option to realign or delete it. I found replacing it with something else equally easy.  Selecting “add elements” allowed me to choose from an impressive range of options including a text box, picture, video, a contact form (great for allowing potential clients to contact you through the site), store items (for any therapists who wish to sell items through their site), columns for multiple blocks of text and/or images side-by-side, a photo gallery or just a simple horizontal line to break up a page. One simple tool bar gave me everything I needed to create a fully functioning site!

Adding pages was simple. “Edit navigation” allowed me to add, organise and rename my pages. The resulting pages were automatically linked together for me, making it easy to test that everything was working as it should be, with very little effort.  Another benefit that Jimdo has over some other website builder sites is the highlighting of spelling errors and typos, making them much easier for you to spot and ensuring that no silly mistakes go unnoticed. This was a feature that I really appreciated, as it made proofreading much, much quicker.    

Once I’d created the majority of my content, I decided I wasn’t completely satisfied with my choice of template, so I decided to see just how easy it was to change it. The “Style” option allowed me to browse through other template options and preview how they might look with my content. You can change as many times as you like until you have a result you are completely happy with, which I thought was incredibly useful, especially if you don’t have a concrete idea of how you would like your site to look! The templates are designed with different businesses in mind, meaning that not all of them will be ideal for therapists. However, with so many to choose from and the option to preview, it didn’t take me long to find one I was happy with.

Although I didn’t need any help (everything about Jimdo is so straight forward and intuitive!) I decided to have a look at the help centre, to see how well it compared to other websites. I was not disappointed. If at any stage you have questions, or problems creating your site, Jimdo’s help centre is very well thought out, with everything explained in user friendly terms. There are videos to help you get started, an easy to use search bar and a comprehensive set of FAQs. You can also search for answers by topic such as “domain” or “tutorials” and there is a handy list of quick links at the bottom of the page. Since signing up to Jimdo, I have also received several emails with handy hints about creating my website, things to include to help make me easier to find on Google etc. The emails have been useful, and I have not been bombarded with them (an element of signing up to anything online that normally fills me with dread and my inbox with information I don’t really need). 

Useful Additions

In terms of social media, Jimdo has everything covered. It is easy to add links to your Google+, Facebook and Twitter pages, and they even provide the option to add a blog – ideal for keeping clients up to date, promoting articles you may have written or making recommendations. Adding a blog to my website was really easy. I simply clicked on the blog button, typed my entry and hit “save” – and that was it. My blog then appeared on my homepage. This is the one thing I wasn’t completely happy with, as I feel it would have been better organised and “cleaner” if Jimdo automatically created a new page for the blog. However, this is a change you can make yourself, so it isn’t the end of the world!  You can also add shop items to your website, if that is a feature you feel would benefit your business.

The website has been optimised for iPhones and tablets, giving you the reassurance that your page will appear properly to the many potential patients who browse the web on their mobile devices. There is even a Jimdo app for the iPhone and iPad, allowing you to edit and manage your website on the move! I think this is a particularly useful feature, as it allows you to update features such as the blog even when you are out of the office or away from a computer.

Summary

Overall, I was extremely happy with Jimdo.  It is user friendly, and it is possible to produce a professional-looking site in relatively little time, regardless of your level of computer knowledge. For beginners like myself, the wide choice of templates and simple, intuitive tool bars allow you to get great results without having to pay a professional web designer. I also like that they have made provision for those familiar with HTML and CSS, making it possible to make a totally unique site. Despite the fact that I didn’t need to use it, I was very impressed with the comprehensive help centre. The integration of videos, contact forms, shop items, social media links and blogs mean that therapists should have all the add-ons you might need to help promote their business. Jimdo also works hard to help you optimise your site for Google searches, meaning you get the most from your new website. I think that for how easy everything is to use, the great features and the use of a domain name, I would happily pay for the Jimdo Pro package, as it is great value for money and should give most therapists everything they need to help promote and build their business. 

Price: As of February 2015, Jimdo offers 3 price packages:

The Free Package allows you to create and edit your website, and have it hosted as a .jimdo.com site.

Jimdo Pro - £60/year. Great value for money, plenty of storage allowance and gives you access to all of the add-ons that a therapist is likely to need.

 

Jimdo Business - £180/year. Gives you large amounts of storage, the ability to own multiple domains, email accounts etc. Probably more suited to bigger businesses or a larger practice.