But somewhere between the vision and the final result, there can be a few false starts. Personally, the sheer number of templates to choose from was enough to trip me up when I built my own site. Start throwing in photos, widgets, and text...and before you know it, your homepage feels like a jumble of different elements.
As an editor, I always recommend that people create an outline before they start to write, and the same is true for your website. Just like a good essay has a thesis, an introduction, and a conclusion, a good website has certain elements.
Jimdo website Marks & Hemment, based in Spain, provides a great example for us to walk through. Using the template Zurich, the website clearly lays out what the company is, what they do, and where you as a customer should go next to explore their site. See how they do it in the infographic below:
[Download the Infographic]
Of course, there’s no one way to do things—in fact, part of the fun of building a website is the ability to be creative. But if you’re feeling stuck, I really encourage you to try out this model and see if it works for you and your users.
Note: If you don’t have a logo, there are some low-cost options available. We recommend using 99designs, where you can sponsor a logo competition and get entries from many different designers. If you need something right away, you can also purchase a pre-made logo from their logo shop and have it customized within 24 hours.
In some cases (like for an online store), you may want to use more specific subpages that are nestled under your main navigation, and some templates offer drop-down menus that can help. But rather than just trying to cram as many pages into your navigation as will fit, take the time to really think about the most necessary parts of your website. Only include the essentials in your top navigation.
Let’s say you’re not an online store, but rather a professional or freelancer. You won’t display products here, but you can talk about your main services offered, or your main strengths. Just like with an elevator pitch, you only have a few seconds to describe your value proposition. So if you have one chance to impress or interest visitors, this is where you would do that. With only a few seconds, what would you choose to feature?
Keep in mind that most visitors won’t scroll down this far, and if they do they will most likely be skimming. Just because you have the space doesn’t mean you have to use it—simple, compact homepages can often be very effective.
Extra credit if you can include photos—either of the people saying nice things about you, or of your product in action. According to B2B marketing company Pardot, “one of the most persuasive pieces of content that a consumer will view is a testimonial or a review by a another product user.” If you're new to customer testimonials, check out Jimdo U.S. CEO Stephen Belomy's tips for getting started.
Even so, don't treat the footer like a dumping ground for all the information you didn't want to put elsewhere. Stay choosy about what makes the cut, since your footer will also appear on every page of your website.
Don't forget! When you're ready to take the plunge, your business should really have its own custom domain name and email address. Set these up quickly and easily with a JimdoPro or JimdoBusiness upgrade.
Content Editor at Jimdo
Maggie joined the team to craft the voice of Jimdo for all products and marketing channels. In her previous work, she edited for organizations covering the environment, cities, and sustainable business. When she's not adding serial commas, you can find her camping with her husband, cooking, and reading New Scientist.