February 2012 Blog Archive


Wed

29

Feb

2012

Design Tutorial: Fonts, Colors and Spacing

 

Popular wisdom has it that website visitors don't read, they just skim. We're optimistic that there are still readers out there on the web, but there is certainly a lot you can do to make your texts more readable, better looking, and just plain nicer. We went behind the scenes with the Jimdo design team to learn some tricks (and no-no's) about web typography.

 

Contrast

Text is readable in combination with the background color. Very light colors on a light background are difficult to read, as is green text on a red background.

 

Background color and text color should complement each other.

 

As a rule of thumb, lighter backgrounds are easier on the eyes than dark ones. And while you are considering how to combine text and background colors, remember that some colors go well together and some do not.

 

There are several good tools for finding color schemes that look great together: try Color Scheme Designer and Kuler for starters.

 

 

 

Font size and line height

To change the text style on your JimdoPage, log into your site and click on the Style button on the SiteAdmin bar.

 

 

Before you start changing the font size from normal to itty bitty, keep in mind that some potential viewers to your site may have difficulties reading very small texts. So while bigger is not always better, it's a good idea to keep font size at 10 points or larger.

 

As for line height, this setting adjusts the vertical spacing of each line of text on your site. 120% is the standard height; anything larger will increase the white space around your text and make it easier to read.

 

Don't forget one of the main advantages of online writing over print: there are no length limitations, strictly speaking. If your text runs a bit longer because you increase the white space and font size, this is not a problem.

 

 

Headings

The purpose of a heading is to announce the content below and to separate one topic/subtopic from another.

 

If your heading is too big, it can overpower your content and seem out of place. If your heading is too small, however, it doesn't do what it should: make clear to the reader what a text segment is about and where it begins.

 

Pro tip: To make headings easier to recognize and give them an extra "oompf", you can modify the CSS (using the "Edit Head" function under Settings). The following code condenses the letter spacing and increases the top margin, making headings more effective:

<style type="text/css">

h1,h2,h3 {
letter-spacing:-1px ;
}

h2,h3 {
margin-top:20px ;
}

</style>

 

Have fun with the suggestions - hope they help you make your website texts even better!

 

 

4 Comments

Tue

28

Feb

2012

Five Sites from Jimdo's First Moments

Have you ever wondered what some of the first JimdoPages looked like? We certainly have! To satisfy our curiosity and as part of our birthday festivities last week, we dug around in the archives (well, databases actually) and found five sites that have been around almost as long as Jimdo itself has been.

 

So take a peek at these sites and wish them happy birthday as well -- they're celebrating too!

 

 

Sitehttp://www.doodlescape.net

Created: May 2, 2007

 

Sitehttp://kyokushinshrine.

jimdo.com

Created: April 5, 2007

 

Sitehttp://francescofontanesi.

jimdo.com

Created: March 28, 2007

 

Sitehttp://bonbu.jimdo.com

Created: March 22, 2007

 

Sitehttp://julian.jimdo.com/

Created: March 20, 2007

9 Comments

Mon

27

Feb

2012

The Form Element Gets a Makeover

Although our birthday celebration is over, we still have one major gift to give away! Today we're launching a completely redesigned Form element for all users.

 

We've listened to your requests and ideas for improving Jimdo, and in the last few weeks Jimdo developers were hard at work completely remodeling one of the core Jimdo elements.

 

The new Jimdo Form element is fully customizable and more flexible than ever. In this post we’ll walk you through what's new in the Form element.


Here's how it works:

New design, new functions, new capabilities


Start by adding a new Form element to your Jimdo site. Notice anything? That’s right, it looks completely different than before. Hover over a line in the form – for example, ‘Message’.

 

See the up arrow, trashcan symbol and + symbol on the top right? You can use these buttons to add, delete or drag and drop content within the Form element to customize it completely.

 

 

Once you click into one of these Form sub-elements, you can change it around completely. The settings and options here help you ask the questions you want and get the answer form you want from visitors.

 

The Label field is your prompt to visitors: you can enter an entire question here or just a word.

 

The Question type bar lets you select what kind of data you want from the user: a name, a number, an email address and more.

 

Check the Make required? box to do just that: require visitors to complete a response (otherwise the form will not be sent).

 

Let's take it on a test run, shall we?

Let’s imagine we have a vacation rental in Florida we want to advertise. The new Form element allows us to gather all the information we need from visitors to our website.  The best way is to set up a form for reservation requests. We start by customizing one field for name, one for the email address, and one for the message (using the Text, Email Address and Text Area types).

 

1. Add arrival and departure dates

Now it’s time to add a date module to our booking form. When you scroll over the Question type icons, you'll see a description of what they do.

 

We choose Date and change the label to "Arrival Date". After we save it, repeat this step to create a line for "Departure Date".


2. Add a number field

Now we click on the + sign and add a new form component - this time a Number field. We could use this for the number of people staying at the apartment, for example.


You can also set a “Minimum” and “Maximum” – in our example, if you only want to rent to a certain number of people.


3. Add a drop-down menu

Now let's create a dropdown menu in the form to allow people to choose where they want to stay.

 

When you add a Dropdown List to the form, two options are already filled in for you. To add more options, press the Return key on the last line and the cursor will move down to the next empty line.

 

To enable selecting more than one option, be sure to check the "Allow multiple selections" box.


4. Customize the confirmation message

Your custom form is almost finished! All you have to do now is decide what message you want your users to see when they click on the "send" button (or whatever you decide to name it - just click on the button to change the text here, too!).


You can also change the position of the question labels, choose where the form submissions should be sent (email address) and switch the CAPTCHA on or off.

 

We hope you enjoy the new Form element - and are looking forward to your feedback.

22 Comments

Fri

24

Feb

2012

Thank You for Five Great Years - Save 25% on JimdoPro and JimdoBusiness

We’re wrapping up an exciting week here at Jimdo, and to be honest, turning five feels great! We hope you've been having as much fun as we have, and thought the only proper way to celebrate today is to say “thank you" to all our users all around the world.

 

Without you, there would be no Jimdo. And since in the European tradition it’s always the birthday boy (or girl) who buys drinks or dinner for friends, we're giving away loads of presents today: 25% off JimdoPro and JimdoBusiness from today until Sunday. So anyone who has been thinking about upgrading to Pro or Business, now's the time!

 

Just log into your site and click on the upgrade link, then enter this code:

 

JBT-GOZ-SZH

 

If you don't have a JimdoPage yet, click on the "Sign up" button on the top right!

 

(Read up on how to cash in your discount here.)

 

New templates for everyone

But you don't have to order anything to get a gift today. We've just added six new templates to the Jimdo Layout library. Check them out here:

 

JimdoBusiness layouts

Jimdo template B4129
B4129
Jimdo template B4120
B4120

If you look closely at the Pro templates P4127 and P4194 and the Business template B4129 above, you'll might notice that they are fluid and adapt to fit the size of your screen. Perfect for the new Columns element!

 

Also check out template P4194 below: the 'sidebar' is actually at the bottom! One more reason to upgrade!

 

JimdoPro layouts

Jimdo template P4127
P4127
Jimdo template P4194
P4194

JimdoFree layouts

Free template F4192
F4192
Free template F4111
F4111

Here's to the next five years together!

 

PS - Don't forget to check out the 3 Founders blogging on five years of Jimdo.

 

14 Comments

Thu

23

Feb

2012

Here From Day 1: Talking to the 'Five-Year Five'

Five years, 60 months, 1825 days - that’s how long Jimdo has been around. It's also the length of time some of our team members have been with us. Svenja, Janina, Soenke, Martin and Boris have been here since we set up shop – and helped ’teach Jimdo to walk’, if you will. Our 5th birthday is reason enough to sit down for a tete-a-tete.

1. Describe Jimdo in five words or less:

 

Soenke: The world’s best website builder!

Svenja: Whirlwind world-dominating website...wellness!

Martin: Professional, funny, forward-looking, likeable, friendly.

Boris: Best job in the world!

Janina: Simply build individual websites – fast!

 

2. Can you remember anything about your first day of work?

 

Soenke: Classic! I was late for work. I wanted to get in at 9:00 but got stuck in traffic. So I whipped out my mobile phone and called to say that I’d be 5 minutes late. On the other end of the line was Christian Springub, who just let me talk and said something along the lines of “See you when you get in”. Little did I know that he simply didn’t care (and still doesn’t). But a better story was the night we went out for dinner after I signed the contract to start at Jimdo, a few months before my first official day. There, live in the flesh was Scooter - or at least the frontman, HP Baxxter. You can imagine the looks on the faces of my new bosses when I said “What up, HP” – you see, they didn’t know Scooter. :-)

Svenja: I remember it like it was yesterday. :) Martin and I started on the same day - Janina came two days later. Meeting the team was a rather quick affair (there were only seven of us in total). At any rate, it took me longer to figure out how to work the coffeemaker than it did to remember names of people in my new team. We all went out for lunch together at an Italian restaurant (we should try that again - that would be a funny sight), and by the next morning I already knew I was in the right place.

Martin: It started with a trial work day or two, just to see if I could cut it as a trainee. I was extremely shy and inexperienced, but I was curious and very motivated after my disastrous time at college. The day or two turned into two weeks, and before I knew it I was a trainee here – everyone was happy with the situation. Back then, you could count the number of team members on both hands. The atmosphere was relaxed and very collegial – it’s really incredible that we’ve been able to keep up this kind of working atmosphere over the years.

Boris: We’d arranged to meet that day at 9. I called ahead to say that I was going to be a little late. On the phone Fiona tells me that Spring, Fridel, Matze (“the bosses") and Soenke are on their way to Cuxhaven to “hack” something together. A little later I had Spring on the phone, who said he had no idea that I was coming in, and asked me if I wanted to join them. Back in those days, my house was on the way to Cuxhaven. Before I knew it, they came by to pick me up. That’s how my first day at work started – on the farm owned by Fridel’s mom. Right there where everything started. It was unforgettable.

Janina: I remember – that was in the old office in Gas Strasse. The whole gang was in great cheer and chaotic in a good way. I felt at home right way!

 

3. What was the greatest moment for you in the 5 years you’ve been at Jimdo?

 

Soenke: The single greatest moment? That has to be my visit to the San Francisco office.

Svenja: It’s impossible for me to go with one single moment. Some pretty great times were had at our “school trips” to Neuwerk, including mudflat walks and sleepovers in the hay loft with the entire crew. And one highlight from the last few years, anyway, was to finally get JimdoTV off the ground.

Martin: For me, the absolute moment of glory was finishing up my training. Strutting into the middle of the office with a huge grin after final exams and plopping down a crate of Astra; my team members hugging me and cheering all around me - that was a pretty cool feeling.

Boris: Ah, there were definitely several. One of the greatest moments was when Jimdo decided to part ways with a very important business partner because the “cultural chemistry” just wasn’t right. That was a very brave move.

Janina: There have been a lot of really crazy ideas that actually get carried out, just for our benefit – which is great. Two of the latest ones are Sam, our chef, and the Jimdo van bought by the 3 founders for us to use!

 

4. What does Jimdo mean to you?

 

Soenke: In a way it’s like a child that I helped raise somehow.

Svenja: It’s more than just a place to work. Sure, it's a job that I like doing and which gives me a lot of personal freedom - but even more than that I always find myself smiling because this space and the Jimdo team feels more like a family than just an office.

Martin: For me, it’s like a multi-colored playground where I can give my creativity free reign and simply make cool stuff.

Boris: I think Soenke hit the nail on the head. Another thing: working at Jimdo and the people here has had a very positive influence on my life.

Janina: Working together with a lot of creative people, and having a lot of fun doing it.

 

5. Finally, what do you want to wish Jimdo for its 5th birthday?

 

Soenke: Dear Jimdo, I hope you stay successful and stable - and hack out a ton of great features! Now for the bosses, Fridel, Matze and Spring: you guys have really built up one of the coolest companies in the world. It's a lot of fun working here and an honor to be a part of it.

Svenja: I wish Jimdo all the best on this birthday - stay the way you are and keep it up, and nothing can go wrong!

Martin: Here’s hoping the coming five years are at least as incredible as the last five. Go Jimdo :)

Boris: Dear Jimdo, I wish you even more success and to keep the wisdom and courage to make the right decisions at the right time and to keep doing the right things.

Janina: Jimdo, I wish you all the best, health and success, lots of new friends - and a huge birthday cake! Keep those creative juices and great ideas flowing!

 

7 Comments

Tue

21

Feb

2012

5 Years, 5 Million Websites, 5 Fun Facts

If there’s something you’ve always wanted to know about Jimdo, today might be your day. We’re offering a rare peek behind the scenes: a colorful birthday infographic. This time around, the data doesn't come from the number of websites around the world, but from a bit closer to home: the Jimdo team :-)

 

Hope you enjoy it!

 

PS: What you see on the right isn't the whole thing: just click on the image to see the rest!

Click to see the entire infographic
Click to see the entire infographic

12 Comments

Mon

20

Feb

2012

High 5 - Celebrating 5 Years of Jimdo, 5 Days Long!

Jimdo celebrates its 5th birthday

Get ready: Jimdo is turning five years old this week! Even though our actual birthday was yesterday, the party will really get rolling today. We have a lot to share and some things to give away, too. Just read our blog every day this week to find out more.

 

We’re not going to tell you exactly what we have in store -– after all, it is a birthday and there should be some surprises. But we are giving away a few presents and sharing a bit about how Jimdo has grown over the past five years. Besides, the Jimdo founders Matthias, Christian and Fridtjof will be talking about their own personal highlights and a few employees who have been here since day one will tell their stories, too.

Now that we’re five years old, it only makes sense to admit to ourselves that Jimdo is not really a start-up anymore -- but that doesn't mean we're too old to nosh on some birthday cake. That's how we kicked off our birthday week in fact: with Jimdo birthday muffins. At headquarters in Hamburg, we ordered them from a cool Jimdo site, Munich-based Muffin Manufaktur. In the US office, we picked up and devoured some tasty treats from San Francico's worker-owned co-op bakery Aizmendi.

 

We’d love to share some of them with you, but we ate them all up! They were simply too tasty to resist. But stay tuned the rest of the week, there's lots going on in our blog. It's great to have you help us celebrate.

 

There just wasn't enough room for all the candles.
There just wasn't enough room for all the candles.

So let's get started with the first present of the week: Jimdo swag! We're giving away five sets of Jimdo accessories: bags, magnets, mugs and more: to people who comment on this blog post. Comments will stay open until Friday morning, when we're giving away another great birthday present (hint, hint!).

 

Three cheers for Jimdo users from the five-year-old birthday boy!

 

63 Comments

Thu

09

Feb

2012

SEO Hints from an Expert: Interview with Nicole Bonholt

One topic in particular seems to interest and perplex our users: search engine optimization. While our support team does a great job fielding these queries, we thought it would be a nice touch to have an expert give a few tidbits of advice to our readers, especially since we have one in our Marketing team: Nicole Bonholt. We asked her to share a few ideas on how to make Google, Bing and Yahoo love your Jimdo site.

 

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

 

My name is Nicole Bonholt, and I've been in the "SEO business" for a few years now. I worked for websites like the German recipe site daskochrezept.de and golocal.de, and now I'm here to focus all of my SEO powers on optimizing www.jimdo.com. After all, my title is SEO Superwoman. ;-)

2. Can you explain to us mortals what SEO is all about and why it is important?

 

SEO is extremely important for people with websites because it helps sites get found on the Internet. Imagine for a minute there was no such thing as search engines: if you were looking for a dentist in the town where you're living, how would you find one? It gets even harder when you think about the glut of information available on the Internet. Search engines work for us, to sort through the mountains of websites and find relevant results to a query.

 

Since there are almost always lots of websites about a particular topic, this means that SEO is necessary for your site to get found by search engines.

 

3. Sounds complicated. What can I do to get my site ranked at the top of Google?

 

Actually, it's pretty easy: just make sure that the website contains relevant content about the topics users are searching for! That means first and foremost creating a great website for users. From the point of view of search engines, a website is relevant for search engines if it delivers a result that meets the need of the person searching.

 

In concrete terms, this means content should be:

- unique

- interesting

- and should match the search term

 

This is one reason it doesn't make any sense to copy someone else's content (besides the obvious legal reason). If a search engine crawler finds duplicate content at two different URLs on the internet, the offending site is usually removed from search engine results very quickly.

 

After content, relevant backlinks are very important. Backlinks (links to your website from another site) are read by search engines as recommendations. Search engines interpret more links to your website to reflect more relevant content.

 

4. What are some no-no's in search engine optimization?

 

Search engines use robots ("crawlers") to find website content. With a Jimdo site, this is easy to do, as Jimdo websites are in easy-to-read HTML. Some websites, however - and some website builders - use other technologies like Flash, which search engines are not able to read.

 

5. What are the first steps every Jimdo user should take to make their website search engine friendly?

 

Start by adding the information every search engine displays in results: the page title and page description. You can change these by clicking on Settings and then on Page Title and Page Description under the "Search Engines" heading. Because both of these texts appear in search results, keep in mind what you want people to see when they do find you. Does the description make you want to click on the link? Does the title include at least one keyword?

 

And while we are on the topic of keywords: if you're serious about SEO, you should take the time to research keywords for your site - every individual page of your site. What other words do users search for? Are there alternative spellings you can check? You might consider asking your friends or colleagues for ideas here. Once you decide on a few for each page, you can enter them on the Tags (keywords) section under Settings.

 

6. All right, so now we know where to start. Do you have any suggestions where readers can go for more information?

 

Sure. The starter guide from Google (PDF file) is a great place to get started. After all, who better to ask about how search engines work than Google? The information here is usually enough for smaller websites.

 

Because keywords are so important, you might want to do a bit more research using the Google keyword tool. By comparing the number of search requests for different keywords (and getting suggestions on new ones), you can optimize your own content.

 

If you want to get down to the nitty gritty, try the free Beginner's Guide to SEO by SEOMoz. There's more information there than you'll probably need, so you can pick and choose.

 

Thank you for the interview, Nicole!

 

My pleasure. Also check out our own Jimdo guide to SEO, with a lot of basic information in an easy-to-digest form. And if you want more information, sign up for one of our webinars.

 

3 Comments

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