Fri

19

Aug

2016

Ask the Website Doctor: Your Template FAQs, Answered!

Like any good relationship, it takes some trial and error to find a template that’s just right for your website. Fortunately with Jimdo, you can change your template at any time without losing your work—so think of choosing a template as more like speed dating than any iron-clad commitment.

 

If you’re still using the same template you started with, you get an A+ for loyalty...but you might be missing out on even better options. Let our Website Doctor help you out, with some of the most frequently-asked questions about templates and the answers that will get you matched to the right one in no time.

Dear Website Doctor,

I read that my website won’t be mobile responsive if I’m using an “old” Jimdo template. How do I know if my template is old or new?

 

In August 2014, we updated all our templates and added lots of new options. While you can keep using old templates, using a new Jimdo template comes with a lot of benefits: they are mobile responsive, better for your SEO, and they support all of Jimdo’s newest features.

So, how do you know what kind of template you have? It’s simple to check. Log in to your website and choose Templates from your Site Admin. In the upper left corner you’ll see a thumbnail of your current template. If it’s named after a city, like Stockholm or Tokyo, it’s a new template. Sweet! If it’s named with a number and letters, like F4343, it’s an old template, and it’s time to upgrade.

Note: Even if you’re using a template named after a city, you still might need to log in to accept the most recent mobile responsive update from July. It just takes a minute—and it will guarantee that your website looks its best on all screen sizes!

Dear Website Doctor,

I scroll through the template menu and there are just so many choices, I’m having decision overload! Any advice on where to begin?

 

Yes! We could nerd out on templates and their various advantages all day, but if you’re just looking for a quick way to pick, open up Jimdo’s Template Filter and ask yourself these questions:

 

  • Do you want a big, high-impact photo (also known as a “hero image”) at the top of your website? If yes, try out templates like Rio de Janiero, Stockholm, Florence, Zurich, Bordeaux, Amsterdam, or Cairo. If you don’t want to start with a big photo, other templates will work better with a subtle background image, or no image at all. Try Cape Town, Havana, Dubai, Dublin, Malaga.

  • Where do you want your sidebar to be? Just like your Header and Footer, your website’s Sidebar repeats on every page. You can choose whether this sidebar will appear on the left, right, or bottom of your website. Choose a template with a left or right sidebar if you like the idea of putting easy-to-access information right where people will see it on every single page. For example a lot of people use a left or right sidebar to put their contact information, social media buttons, or a short bio. Try: Dublin, Hong Kong, San Francisco.

    If you’d rather skip the sidebar and keep your content area open, choose a template with the sidebar on the bottom, like Barcelona, Miami, or Riga. The content in a bottom sidebar will still appear on every page, but it will have less focus. You can see which templates have which sidebars in our Template Filter.

Bower Chiropractic uses the right sidebar of the Helsinki template for their contact information and hours.
Bower Chiropractic uses the right sidebar of the Helsinki template for their contact information and hours.
  • Is your website going to have a lot of pages? Or just a few? Websites come in all different sizes, from minimalist portfolio sites with just a few pages to extensive online stores with products galore. Depending on the size of your website, you can find a template that’s just the right fit. 

    If you have a large website with lots of subpages, choose a template with split navigation menus or dropdown menus that will make it easy to navigate your pages and subpages. Try: Bordeaux, Rome, Malaga, Lille, Hamburg.

    If you have a small website with fewer than seven pages, it’s very easy to create a clean, easy-to-navigate menu with almost any template. You can try a template with a slide-in menu like Copenhagen or Cape Town (see below), or one with a short, horizontal navigation menu like Zurich, Stockholm, or Prague.

Dear Website Doctor,

I just switched to a new template, and now there’s a big empty space on the side of the page. What gives?

The problem is most likely that you’re using a template with a sidebar on the left or right side….but you aren’t putting anything in it. So that space is just sitting there, empty.

 

With Jimdo, sidebars can be on the left, right, or bottom of your website. The sidebar is a fixed part of the template, and it will appear on every page, even if you haven’t put any content in it. Which leads you to the problem you’re seeing here in the Amsterdam and Dubai templates:

Amsterdam template with empty sidebar
Amsterdam template with empty sidebar
Dubai template with empty sidebar
Dubai template with empty sidebar

The solution? Try putting some evergreen content in your sidebar. This is usually where people put their contact information, a brief “About Me” paragraph, social media icons, a blog archive—anything that you want to be readily accessible on every page. Check out these examples of websites using their sidebars well.

 

If you don’t want anything in your sidebar, try switching to a template with the sidebar on the bottom, like Rio de Janeiro or Berlin. That way if you leave it empty, it will just blend seamlessly into the footer of your website, with no empty space.

Dear Website Doctor,

I like the idea of a slide-out menu but how do I use it well? I’m worried that no one will be able to find it.

Slide-out menus are the cool kids at the template party. Sleek, minimalist, and a little less approachable than other navigation menus. The reason is that unless someone knows to click on the three little bars in the top left corner (often called the “hamburger menu”), they won’t be able to navigate your site.

Slide-out menu
Slide-out menu: click on the little icon in the top left...
Slide-out menu
...and the menu pops out.

On the flip side, a slide-out menu done well can have quite a “wow” effect. And the hamburger menu is becoming more universally recognized every day, especially as more people use their mobile phones to browse the internet.

Note: Copenhagen, Sydney, Cape Town, and Vienna all have slide-out menus.

So how do you make a slide-out menu work? First, keep your homepage as minimal as possible. That way your visitors’ eyes will see the menu right away. If you distract them with a lot of other content on your homepage, chances are they’ll miss that hamburger like they’re speeding past a drive-thru. For this reason, slide-out menus are typically best for portfolio and artists’ websites that depend on a few striking photos rather than a lot of text, buttons, widgets, etc.

 

Second, pay special attention to the contrast between your menu icon and your background. A busy background image will make it harder to see the menu. You can adjust the color of the hamburger menu icon using the Style Editor.

 

Like the minimalism of a slide-out menu but not ready to fully commit to it? Try the Paris template, which provides a good middle ground, because the menu is small and unobtrusive but still always visible.

Dear Website Doctor,

Jimdo’s Template Filter lets you choose between a wide and narrow Content Area. What’s the difference?

The Content Area of your website is where you have the most freedom and flexibility to position elements any way you want. Think of the Content Area as the “box” that holds your text, photos, and other goodies.

 

Some templates, like Dublin, Barcelona, and Havana, have a narrow content area in order to make room for a left or right sidebar (see above), a vertical navigation menu, or a background image. A narrow content area gives you less space, but it naturally focuses the viewer's’ eyes on the most important parts of your site.

 

Other templates like Zurich, Cairo, and Rome have a wide content area that stretches all the way across the screen. In effect, this provides a wider canvas for you to play around with. Wide content areas tend to be best for displaying large photographs or galleries.

A wide content area may sound like a no-brainer (who doesn’t want more space!?), but with so much space, viewers can get lost or your elements can start looking disorganized. That’s why if you choose this type of template, it’s important to create a solid structure using Columns Elements, Spacing Elements, Horizontal Line Elements, or even Suggested Layouts.  

 

For example, it’s a good idea to use Columns Elements to break up your text into smaller chunks. If your text runs across the entire width of the page, the line length will be difficult to read on a computer screen.

Zurich’s wide Content Area: A line of text across the full width of the page can be difficult to for eyes to follow.
Zurich’s wide Content Area: A line of text across the full width of the page can be difficult to for eyes to follow.
Better to use Columns Elements instead to make your line length shorter and more readable. Your visitors will thank you!
Better to use Columns Elements instead to make your line length shorter and more readable. Your visitors will thank you!

Have more website design questions you’d like to see answered in the future? Let us know in the comments!

Maggie Biroscak

Content Editor

Related Articles:

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Ask the Website Doctor: Your Template FAQs, Answered!
>> read more

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3 Secret Jimdo Templates You’re Sure to Love
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Write a comment

Comments: 11
  • #1

    Jorge (Saturday, 20 August 2016 00:29)

    I agree to everything that has been said on this page. Doctor My congratulations on that thought!

  • #2

    Thaman (Wednesday, 24 August 2016 07:59)

    Thanks for sharing this post Maggie.My doubts are cleared now.

  • #3

    Olivier (Wednesday, 24 August 2016 12:11)

    Congratulations for very clear and helpful explanations on templates. Good incentive to change my 4199 template!

  • #4

    Web Design and Seo Manchester (Monday, 29 August 2016 20:33)

    About columns it's a really nice advice, because the attention of the reader is high in short text.

  • #5

    Miki (Thursday, 01 September 2016 16:51)

    How can I improve my site?d

  • #6

    knife-republic.com (Tuesday, 13 September 2016 12:10)

    Thanks for sharing this post Maggie.My doubts are cleared now.

  • #7

    vik (Monday, 19 September 2016 13:44)

    my doubts, too, fell off

  • #8

    Tamie (Tuesday, 20 September 2016 14:36)

    The templates do not load. No matter which template is chosen, the format stays the same, only the color will change and maybe the the menu, that is it. I have written to tech support and have heard nothing back.

  • #9

    Maggie (Tuesday, 20 September 2016 15:02)

    @Tamie - Sorry to hear you're having trouble! I just checked with our Support Team and it looks like they've replied to your question, so be sure to check your email. I hope that helps!

  • #10

    blender-max (Friday, 23 September 2016 10:17)

    I fully agree with the author)

  • #11

    Cara Pemesanan Glucoblock (Saturday, 24 September 2016 11:36)

    Terimakasih Informasinya, sangat menarik dan bermanfaat :D.
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