5 Free Resources to Help Build Your Website

When you move into a new home, you might initially have everything you need. A couch, bed, dresser, and all your favorite knick-knacks. But as you start unpacking and making the place your own, you realize there's a lot more you'd like to add. The same can go for your website.




If you're looking for tools to make your website even better, you're in luck. We know all the best resources to improve your site and the best part is—they're free!


1. Images

It’s no secret that a beautiful font and awesome images are the key ingredients to any well-designed website. Here’s just a few reasons why you shouldn’t skimp on the quality of images for your site:


On to the fun stuff. Where do you get free photos for your website?

If you don’t have product photos, or any images of your own, use stock photos to add visuals to your site.


There are many places to get beautiful and free images for your website. Here are some of our favorite sites to find beautiful images that are free for commercial use:


Stock image examples There's a growing list of websites where you can find high quality, royalty-free stock images for your website.


How to create images for your website

If you don’t have images of your own or you want to go beyond plain photos, you can use a tool like Canva to create images. Or if you have a budget to work with, you can use a design service like 99designs and get a professional designer to create banner ads, landing page designs, and more for your site.




For more information on images read our posts Where to Get Beautiful Images for Your Website and How to Optimize Images for Better Design & SEO.


2. Widgets

Just like there’s an app for practically everything these days, there’s also a widget for almost anything you might need for your site. Booking, calendars, forms, clocks, live chat, music playlists, social media...if you're looking to add some more functionality to your website, there's probably a widget to help you.


Don't let the thought of HTML code steer you away. It’s actually very easy to add a widget to your Jimdo website. Start by adding a new Widget/HTML element. Grab the HTML code from the widget provider of your choice and paste it into the Widget/HTML element on your site. Hit Save, and you’re all done!


Read our post on 20 widgets to improve your website to see our recommendations and follow instructions on how to add them to your website.


3. Icons

Think about all the icons you see in your daily life: traffic signs (do not enter!), social media icons (the famous Facebook like), and common icons on your mobile and desktop devices like the home button or trash bin. We rely on icons to guide us throughout our day. Icons can also serve as visuals for your site if you don’t have photos of your own to use.


icons The good news is that if you want to use icons, you don't have to create them from scratch. There are lots of websites where you can find well-designed icons that are available for free.


Where do you find icons for your website? You can create custom icons that match the style of your branding at one of the following sites:


Read more about icons and how to put them on your website in our post on Free Website Icons.


4. SEO Tools

What’s the point of having a website if no one knows it exists? One of the most commonly-asked questions we get from customers is how to improve their site’s SEO. There's no one-size-fits-all answer, because each site needs different improvements and keywords to help move to the top of Google’s search. But there are definitely some free tools available that can help you along the way:
  • Google Webmaster Tools (Google Search Console): Think of Google Search Console as your website’s therapist. It points out your website’s issues and helps you correct them. It’s a free tool that will notify you of any crawl errors, make sure your site is indexed, and tell you what your most linked content is.
  • Google Adwords Keyword Planner: Choose your words wisely. This isn’t just a good practice in life, it’s an important part to the success of your website. Google Adwords helps you pick the right keywords to put on your site to increase your site’s visibility in searches.
  • MozBar: The MozBar, or SEO Toolbar by Moz, is a plugin extension available for Chrome and Firefox. This is a useful tool to see what your competitors are up to and get ideas for improving your own site’s SEO.


Learn more about our Top 5 Free SEO Tools and the 7 Common Mistakes Beginners Make with SEO.


5. Google Analytics

When it comes to the fun scale, many people put Google Analytics at the far end of the spectrum. Numbers, data, analyzing—take me back to picking out images!


But Google Analytics is an important asset to your website. You can find out how your visitors are finding your website, view in-depth statistics, get a breakdown of your site’s audience, find out what other sites are driving traffic to your site, and see a breakdown of how well individual pages of your site are performing. And by regularly checking on your site’s analytics you can drastically improve the success of your site over time.


Here’s the good news. It actually is simple to set up Google Analytics for your site. And once you play around with it for a little while you’ll find it’s not as hard as it looks. You get to see which pages are getting the most clicks, which product pages are performing the best, and make changes to your site and actually see results. And all of this is, of course, free!


Google Analytics


For a primer on how to set up Google Analytics on your site, read Google Analytics 101: Get Started in 3 Steps and Google Analytics 101: Basic Metrics and Reports.



Melissa Myers

Content Marketing and PR at Jimdo


Melissa joined Jimdo in August 2014 to support social media, public relations, and the blog. She has experience in marketing ranging from event management to content marketing. When Melissa isn’t drafting a blog post, you can find her watching stand-up comedy, attending a concert, or rooting for the Oregon Ducks.





Meet our Reinvention Month 2015 Winners!

Similar to our amazing outpouring of entries last year, the 2015 Reinvention Month was a huge success. We are so thankful for our active Jimdo community members and we loved seeing everyone's websites. I'm proud to announce this year's batch of winners and honorable mentions and hope this showcase of websites can be inspiring to everyone out there.


Grand Prize Winner (Apple Watch Sport): Pack 23, Burlington, CT

Pack 23, Burlington, CT


Website: www.ctpack23.com
Template: Berlin
Analysis: Cub Scouts Pack 23 stood out from the crowd by demonstrating an amazing active website that uses just about every feature in Jimdo and more. They somehow found a way organize a ton of information, a blog, several forms, password-protected areas and third-party widgets like a Google Calendar into a clean and useful navigational structure. I think this is a great example of how to make a large website on Jimdo.


First Runner-Up (JimdoBusiness subscription): Turning Leaf Ecological Farm

Turning Leaf Ecological Farm


Website: www.turningleafecofarm.com
Template: Berlin
Analysis: Turning Leaf is a great example of how to take a beautiful logo and extend the look throughout the entire website. I really like the way they handle the selling of their weekly vegetable boxes and lead their customers through the purchasing process. We also liked their About Us page that helps visitors get to know them and their values. I just wish we had an office in Ontario so we could subscribe!


Second Runner-Up (JimdoPro subscription): Trakimavicius



Website: www.trakimavicius.com
Template: Rio de Janeiro
Analysis: Professor Virgilijus "Virgis" Trakimavicius used the large hero-area in the Rio de Janeiro template to create an impressive portfolio website and showcase his amazing drawing and paper cutting artwork. The website shows off his extensive body of work, several news clippings from media around Europe, and also gives the media and potential clients and customers an easy way to contact him.


Honorable mentions:

We couldn't leave out some of the other exceptional sites entered in our contest! From musicians to artists to online shops, we loved seeing how you are taking your Jimdo sites and making them truly unique.


LizzieLin Designs deserves a special mention for doing a great job upgrading her website from an old template to Prague, while Mommy Track Fitness is one of the more robust blogs that I've seen on Jimdo with her own system for promoting blog posts on her page. You can see some of the same tricks in our recent article about blog posts.


Website: www.lizzielindesigns.com

Template: Prague


Website: www.mommytrackfitness.com

Template: Helsinki


Rise of the Designers

This year differed from last year as we had a lot of submissions from professional designers. If time is an issue, a great way to reinvent your website is to reach out to some professionals.


The very extensive online wool marketplace Sweater Chalet was originally designed by one of our Jimdo Experts called Pops Digital.


Website: www.sweaterchalet.com

Template: Malaga


read more





10 Jimdo Websites Using the Rio de Janeiro Template

This month on the blog we're showcasing some of our favorite new templates as part of our Reinvention Month contest. Our Support Team member Aeramis made the case for beautiful Barcelona...this week I'm going to counter with the Rio de Janeiro template.


10 Jimdo websites that use the Rio de Janeiro template


If you're on the hunt for a new Jimdo template, here's why I think you should give ravishing Rio a chance:
  • All about images: if you have some great photographs, Rio is the perfect template to show it off.
  • A simple, user-centered navigation bar: Rio's got nothing to hide, and that includes subpages and dropdowns. That's why it works best with a simple horizontal navigation (and websites that don't have a huge number of pages.)
  • Lots of room on each page: With Rio, the "sidebar" is actually on the bottom, so nothing gets in the way of the space for your images. You have a really wide content area to work with, and any links or icons you need can go at the bottom of the page.
  • A flexible header and logo area: As you'll see in the examples below, websites use Rio's large header for a prominent logo, a tagline/slogan, or both...and then some websites leave the area entirely empty. It's up to you.


Tips for getting along beautifully with Rio:

The Rio template certainly is striking, but there are some tricks to getting along well. Below I've compiled a list of 10 real-life Jimdo websites that are pulling it off really nicely. What do they have in common? You'll notice a few best practices:
  • Jimdo Rio de Janeiro TemplateHigh-quality images: Rio de Janeiro is made for full-width background images, so it's best to take advantage. Other templates use background images too, but they often show a smaller portion of the image, or have an overlay covering part of it. Not so with Rio—your image is there for everyone to see, flaws and all. For this reason, we recommend that background images be at least 2000 pixels wide. If you're not sure what that means, check out this primer on optimizing your website images. If you don't have the right images yet, try some of our recommendations for free stock image sites.

  • Background slideshows: Why settle on just one photo in the background when you can show off more? Many of these examples use a slideshow in the background. You can set one up yourself by selecting Background from the Style Editor and then choosing the Slideshow option.
  • Consistent coloring: Many successful websites pick one distinct accent color and use that throughout in headings, buttons, horizontal lines, icons, and links. The result is a uniform, polished look that really pops, especially when the rest of the site is kept in simple shades of black, white, and gray. Learn how to implement a similar color scheme throughout your entire site in just a few steps.

  • A simple, one-line navigation: Rio de Janeiro looks its best when the horizontal navigation is short and sweet. If you need a lot of dropdowns, subpages, or if your navigation is breaking onto two lines, then you should probably seek a different template that can hold more content, like Barcelona.

  • Using the Columns Element for body text: Because Rio has such a wide content area, it helps to break up your text into Columns rather than having it stretch all the way across the screen (line lengths that are more than 60 characters long can be difficult for people to read on screen.) To do this, add a Columns element, and then put a Text element in each column.


Real Jimdo websites using the Rio de Janeiro template

Click on the images below to tour the full websites.


1. Studio 23

Example of Jimdo template Rio de Janeiro
Interior design firm Studio 23 has wisely chosen the background images for their slideshow—notice how each photo complements the beautiful light blue color they’ve chosen for their menu, headings, and icons. They’ve also made sure that their logo, in white, is still clearly visible as each image rotates behind it. Consistent coloring throughout plus some unexpected but easy-to-read fonts ("Text Me One" and "Exo 2") complete this lovely look.



2. Unger Music

Example of Jimdo template Rio de Janeiro
The first glance at this website, you see a striking logo on an orange background. Then it fades out into a beautiful black and white slideshow of different musicians. How did they get this effect? Simple: their logo on an orange background is actually the first image they uploaded in their background slideshow. Very clever. Notice how they’ve also made their headings, links, and horizontal lines match the orange of their logo, and clearly organized their pages with columns and a white background for an uncluttered, professional look. This example goes to show that you can never go wrong with black text on a white background, and just a subtle pop of color.



3. Ferme de la Moissonnière

Example of Jimdo template Rio de Janeiro
Now that I know it’s possible to stay at a real working cheese farm in France, I don’t want to go anywhere else. Ferme de la Moissonnière is a family business that makes three kinds of cheese and also allows travellers to stay at the farm. Their welcoming website makes great use of Rio. The navigation bar is simple, they don’t use a lot of text, and they use a charming font for headings ("Alex Brush") that complements their logo. I also love the little sketch of a milk pail that they've drawn over their background photo before uploading it to their site. Bonus points for the cute cow favicon!



4. Ella Don Photography

Example of Jimdo template Rio de Janeiro
On this website, the photographer Ella Don introduces a portfolio that makes a real impact. The slideshow of background images immediately gives you a sense of the breadth of the work, from weddings to sporting events (to Steve Wozniak riding a Segway...who knew?) In this example the website has a navigation that’s entirely transparent, but this works because the color of the links is easily visible over the background images.



5. Antonio Brown

Example of JImdo template Rio de Janeiro
This website for Pittsburgh Steelers player Antonio Brown actually hides the navigation bar entirely, and builds out most of the content right on the homepage. How does this work without looking cluttered or confusing? They keep the text to a minimum and use the Button Element and graphics to guide visitors down the page. This website also uses strong branding and color (love that Steelers yellow!) to make everything look clear and consistent.



6. Bob Casneuf

Example of Jimdo template Rio de Janeiro
This website for landscape architect Bob Casneuf starts on the right foot with a creative, playful logo front and center. It’s interesting to me how he uses almost the same yellow as the Antonio Brown website to equal effect. It’s a great color to highlight headings and give the site a consistent look. I also like the way he uses Columns on his homepage to break up his text. Great finishing touches include the custom favicon and the leaf images he uses as as horizontal lines (to get this effect, he uploaded a simple graphic as a Photo Element). His website reflects everything you would want from a landscape architect—a good eye and attention to even the little details.



7. Wedding Visuals

Example of JImdo template Rio de Janeiro
Though this website may seem simple, on closer inspection you can see that it really has everything a photographer’s website needs: galleries, testimonials, an About section, and an easy way to get in touch. The result is a minimalist, modern look, complemented by the choice of font (Advent Pro).



8. U.G. Irajpanah

Example of JImdo template Rio de Janeiro
This website looks so unique that you might need to look twice to recognize the Rio de Janeiro template. In this example, graphic designer U.G. Irajpanah has used one striking, monochromatic image for the background. It gives a first impression that makes you want to know more. Normally you see header text center-aligned, but in this case it’s offset to the left, which is an unexpected move that adds visual interest to an otherwise minimalist site. The use of font Courier New really completes this look.



9. Bauernkate Klein Thurow

Example of Jimdo template Rio de Janeiro
Beautiful photos, consistent coloring, and picking just the right font—are you sensing a trend here? This bed and breakfast in Germany has created an inviting website that makes you want to put your feet up and stay a while. Check out the way they’ve used a Columns element, text, and photo elements to create a varied page with visual interest to describe their different offerings—much better than just one long, text-heavy block! And it can be hard to choose from over 600 Google web fonts, but they’ve done a great job here. They’re using Doppio One, Diplomata SC, and IM Fell Double Pica.



10. Alina Atzler Photography

Example of JImdo template Rio de Janeiro
This example comes from Jimdo’s very own Alina Atzler, who works as our tireless Product Manager by day, but is actually an accomplished wedding photographer too! One thing I like about Alina’s website is how carefully she’s chosen her background images. Notice how each one has its focal point to the side, so that her centered logo never blocks out the photo’s subjects. It’s a nice trick that means her background images never distract or clash with the rest of her site. With such lovely photos to show off, she’s wisely kept everything else simple. She keeps a white background with black text, and lets her photo galleries and collections speak for themselves.


Want to try Rio de Janeiro on your own website? Go to Templates in your Site Admin to open the Template Selector, then choose Rio de Janeiro from the list. Don't have a Jimdo site yet? Start a free site with the Rio de Janeiro template here.


If you have a wonderful Jimdo website (using Rio or any of our other new templates), don't forget to enter it in our contest before the end of September to win an Apple Watch Sport or other great prizes!




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.





5 Signs Your Website Needs a New Template

As we focus on templates this month, we've talked about how to pick the perfect template and showed examples of some templates in action. But you might also wonder if the template you currently have is the right fit.


5 Signs You Need a New Website Template


There are some common symptoms of wrong-template-itis: navigation trouble, sidebar issues, and more. Is your website suffering from any of these problems? Let our Template Doctor suggest some solutions for a template reboot:


The symptom: Your sidebar is much longer than your main content area

Diagnosis: Different pages of your website are going to be different lengths, some shorter, some longer. But your sidebar stays the same no matter which page you’re on. This means you might find yourself with a web page that looks like the example below—the sidebar is much much longer than the content area itself.


For your users, it will feel a little silly to have to scroll down to see the rest of your sidebar when you’ve run out of stuff to look at in the main area of your website. As you can see in the example below with the San Francisco template, it feels a bit unbalanced.


website with sidebar that is too long San Francisco template


Treatment options:
  • Try rebalancing the amount of information in your content area vs. sidebar: Because they appear the same on every page, sidebars are usually reserved for the really important information—your contact information, social media buttons, maybe a blurb describing who you are. Take a closer look at your sidebar and you might find stuff there that isn’t essential and that you could put in the main content area of another page, for example on your About page. That way your sidebar and content areas will be closer to the same length.

  • Switch to a template with a sidebar on the bottom: With Jimdo templates, the “sidebars” can be on the left, right, or the bottom. Sidebars on the bottom actually provide a bit more flexibility for you. On the one hand, they aren’t as immediately visible as sidebars on the left or right. But, they do give you more space for more elements, and they will look good no matter how much content you have in the main body of your web pages.


    Try: Berlin, Cairo, Miami, Malaga, Zurich. You can use the Template Filter to search for templates by sidebar.


Website with sidebar on the bottom Berlin template, with the sidebar shifted to the bottom.


The symptom: Your logo is getting squished to one side and you can’t make it as big as you want

A lot of businesses have invested in beautifully designed logos. But when it comes to building their websites, they find that this nice logo is somehow stuck up in a corner and not getting nearly the attention it deserves. Or their logo has writing in it and suddenly it’s too small to read clearly.


Diagnosis: If this is happening to you, the likely culprit is that you’re using a template with a very small logo area. (See the example below, with the Reykjavik template) Some people have no logo at all, or they have a minimalist logo that they prefer to keep small. For those people, templates with small logo areas are perfect. For people who want to display bigger logos, a different template will be in order.


Template with a small logo area Some templates like Reykjavik have a very small area for your logo.


Treatment options:
  • Switch to a template with a larger logo area. Once you’ve switched, you should re-upload your logo at its original larger size so you don't lose any of the image quality. You can also choose if you want the logo to be aligned to the left, right, or center.


    Try: Florence, Prague, Melbourne, Berlin, Riga


The symptom: Your horizontal navigation menu is breaking onto two or more lines.

The Diagnosis: Horizontal navigation bars are great for websites, but they work best if you keep all menu items on one line. People often pack their navigation bars full of different options, which seems like a good idea at first (why not offer your visitors everything up front?) but actually can be overwhelming for users and make it harder for them to find what they need.


In the example below with the Rome template, I’ve put so many menu items in my navigation that it’s covering three different lines. For someone visiting my site for the first time, this navigation is pretty tough to take in at a glance.


Rome template with too many options in the navigation menu Rome template with too many options in the navigation menu.


Treatment options:
  • Try to get your navigation items to fit on one horizontal line: Edit your navigation so that some of your pages are subpages. For example “FAQs” and “Our Team” could both become subpages under “About Us.” All of this reorganizing can be done by going to your Edit Navigation menu.


Navigation menu with dropdown Rome template using subpages and a dropdown menu instead.


  • Switch to a template with a different kind of navigation: If you don’t want to cut your menu down, a different template might be a better fit. Many of Jimdo’s templates offer vertical navigations, split navigations (see below for more details on those), or dropdown menus that are better for websites that have a lot of content and pages.


    Try: Bordeaux, Dublin, St. Petersburg, Amsterdam, Malaga, Rome


The symptom: There’s a big empty area on the side of your website and you can’t get rid of it

You’ve set up your navigation, you’ve put in all your content, but you’re noticing something weird—there’s all this blank space on the side of the web page. You’re not sure what to do with it or how to get rid of it. There's two possible issues you might be running into:


Diagnosis #1: You’re using a template with a left or right sidebar, but it's empty.
If you don't put any elements in your sidebar, the space will still be there...just empty. If you find yourself with a sidebar that’s going unused, you’re losing a lot of real estate on your website. See the examples below with the Amsterdam and Dubai templates:


Treatment options:
  • Add some content to your sidebar: Fill up that sidebar with some evergreen content that should appear on every page (like your contact information or social media links).

  • Switch to a template with a sidebar on the bottom, and leave it empty: Remember that with Jimdo templates, you can’t “delete” a sidebar—it’s a fixed part of a template. So if you don’t want space for the sidebar on the side, you’ll need to switch templates. Once you choose a template with a sidebar on the bottom, you can leave this area empty and it won’t interfere with the overall design of your site. In fact it probably won’t be noticeable at all.


    Try: Riga, Copenhagen, Rio de Janeiro, Zurich

Diagnosis #2: You’re using a template with a split navigation, but you don’t have any subpages.
If you’re using the templates Chicago, Bordeaux, Hamburg, Madrid, Lille, or Hong Kong, this diagnosis could apply to you.


These Jimdo templates have what are called split navigations. This means that part of your primary navigation will show up at the top of the page in your header, and any subpages will appear in a menu further down on the left or right side of the page. Split navigations are great when you have a lot of pages, a multilingual website, or a large store, because you don’t have to struggle with long, complicated drop-down menus.


But if you’re using one of these templates and you don't have subpages, you may end up with some empty spaces that you don’t want. Here’s how it happens:


Below is an example using the Chicago template. In this view I’m on my “Store” page. The primary navigation is at the top like normal, but my subpages underneath Store (Coffee Beans, Tshirts, etc.) appear in a green menu on the right. This is great, and makes my store items really easy to navigate.
Split navigation with the Chicago template Chicago template with subpages


However on another part of my website that doesn’t have any subpages, this design doesn’t work as well. When I go to my "Location & Hours" page, which doesn’t have any subpages underneath, you can see that the green menu disappears and leaves me with a blank space on the right.


Split navigation with the Chicago template Chicago template without subpages


Treatment options:
  • Switch to a template without a split navigation: Templates with split navigations like this are really designed for websites with lots of subpages. If you only have one or two subpages, or you have some pages with subpages and some without, then this might not be the right template for you.


    Try: Verona, Prague, Helsinki, Osaka


The symptom: you’re using an old Jimdo template from before August 2014.

Last year, Jimdo released a new Style Editor and over 30 new, modern templates. If you’re still using one of the old Jimdo templates, you’re missing out on lots of new features and customization options. The new templates also follow more of the recent design trends, so your website will look entirely up-to-date.


Diagnosis: How do you know if you’re using an old or a new template? Click on the Templates icon in your Site Admin to open up the Template Selector. On the far left, you’ll see your current template highlighted. If this has a number underneath, like 4505 or P321, you’re using an old template. The new Jimdo templates are named after cities.


Old template are identified with numbers. New templates have city names.


Treatment options:
  • Upgrade to a new template: Take advantage of the new designs by updating your template. To try out the new templates, go to Templates in your Site Admin. Choose a template you like and select Preview to see how it will look on your site. The change will only become public once you hit Save, so you can try out many different templates before choosing the one that’s right for you. More information on how to do this is in our Support Center.


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10 Jimdo Websites Using the Barcelona Template

If you're following along with our Reinvention Month contest, you know that September is the perfect time to update your website (and maybe even win an Apple Watch Sport)!


As you hunt for the right template, I suggest taking a closer look at Barcelona. This understated template is easy to design and works well with all kinds of sites, from portfolios to online stores.


Jimdo websites that use the Barcelona Template


Highlights of the Barcelona template

Most websites that use Barcelona tend to rely on eye-catching photos while keeping the template simple and clean. That's why it's no surprise that a lot of artists and online stores are drawn to the Barcelona template.
What I love most about this template is how versatile it is—you can go from a simple and clean look to something more industrial and heavy with just a few clicks, change of images, and adding a background. This means that no matter what your brand is like, you can adapt Barcelona to look just right.
Jimdo Barcelona Template
Here's some things I love about Barcelona:
  • Plenty of space for a logo at the very top: If you've got a logo you love, this is the perfect template to show it off.
  • Allows for an eye-catching custom background image: Experiment with a high-quality photo here (at least 2000px wide is best). Or use a solid color background and the template still looks great.

  • Has different template variations both with the top colored bar and without: Gives you several different looks to choose from before you even start designing.

  • Horizontal navigation right below the logo is clear and easy to read: It also includes a dropdown menu for your subpages. For best results, I suggest keeping your navigation to one line and using the dropdown menu for subpages as needed.

  • Structure that can handle a lot of pages—or just a few: As you'll see in the examples below, Barcelona works well for all sizes of website, from online stores with many products to a small website with only three pages.

  • Sidebar at the bottom below the content area: Putting all this information at the bottom of your page rather than the side gives you plenty of space in your content area for photos, text, and other elements.

To show you these qualities in action, I've put together ten examples of Jimdo websites from around the world that are looking beautiful with Barcelona. Take a closer look and see if this template will work for your site, and click on the images to tour the complete websites.


1. Caroline Bech

Jimdo website using Barcelona template


Our first example is Caroline Bech’s portfolio/resume, an actress from Amsterdam but currently residing in London to follow her dreams. She sticks to simple fonts and a neutral color scheme that happens to match her photos, giving her website an overall clean look. Right away, she uses a striking image on her homepage to keep the website from being too plain.



2. Vianne Fotografie

Jimdo website using Barcelona template


Similar to Caroline’s website, Vianne Fotografie focuses on her photography and less on text. Even with the white background, the images gives just the right amount of color to bring the website to life—even her About page relies on cute graphics to describe herself and her interests. The very little text you see in her navigation and blog gives her website a bit of an edge as it is not your average sans serif font (she's using the font "Abel").



3. Oh So Pretty Design

Jimdo website using Barcelona template


Just like the previous examples, this design studio’s website takes clean to a whole nother level by doubling down on white. They've made the background white and their footer as well, for a nice minimalist look. This studio focuses on using beautiful pastel colors and crafty images to make their website stand out. They also use a great mix of both serif and sans serif fonts to differentiate between headings and body text. Although it is still a work in progress, we definitely like the direction they are heading.



4. Sami Garra

Jimdo website using Barcelona template


Handy craftswoman Sami Garra uses the template Barcelona to sell her super-cute-to-boot crafts and goodies. Instead of the white look, she uses a light shade of gray for her background and offsets it with bright, fun colors to match her products and personality. She also cleverly uses the navigation to have her online store in both Spanish and English—a great use of the template.



5. Paul Bird

Jimdo website using Barcelona template


This shop website for handmade jewelry really uses Barcelona's large logo area and simple navigation to its advantage. The result is clean, modern, and easy for customers to use. We also love that they've included photographs from their workshop and a page of Soundcloud music files to help describe their inspiration.



6. Barber Shop Rosario

Jimdo website using Barcelona template


This barber's website has broken away from the typical plain-colored background and adds an image of her barbershop to stand out from the rest. Rather than being distracting as you might think, she adds a blur effect and a subtle pattern overlay to help visitors focus on her content. She also shows how simple a Barcelona website can be and still be a success—her website only has three pages!



7. Eleaxart Shop

Jimdo website using Barcelona Template


Eleaxart is an online store that sells clothing and accessories to teenagers. They use a lot of the Jimdo elements to their advantage: To display images next to each other, they placed them in a Photo Gallery element. They eliminated too much scrolling for shoppers by placing products side by side with the Columns element. They also placed their top/new products on the home page to give shoppers an idea of their shop’s style. Along with that, they display many great pictures of their products throughout.



Frei Beutler

Jimdo website using Barcelona template


This streetwear store uses the random background feature to make their website stand out from the rest. However, instead of using the typical background image that is full width or height, they only add an image to the top portion to make it look like a header image. You can see how they have three different background options by navigating through their pages, or simply by refreshing your browser. Awesome! The font they're using, "Advent Pro," really helps complete the look.



9. É-sens

Jimdo website using Barcelona template


Similar to Frei Beutler, É-sens cleverly uses the background slider feature to switch between beautiful images that perfectly relate to their products—all natural beauty oils for relaxation. Not only did they find a great way to enhance their website with the background feature, they also used the Style Editors’s color picker to their advantage: When one of the images falls behind the content area, you can ever so slightly see a light white background so that text can still be legible. They also use a great shade of green that is transparent enough to see the background image behind it—an amazing touch and use of the built-in tools.



10. No Pierdas Tus Libros

Jimdo website using Barcelona template


This example shows that you don’t need the fancy backgrounds or photos—all you need is a great color scheme and eye for design. No Pierdas Tus Libros beautifully sells their book stickers with neutral colors and a bright pink for just the right amount of pop on the website. From the color scheme, to the minimal icons, to the way images and text are displayed, even the font choice ("Open Sans Condensed")—everything about this website is put together wonderfully.


Want to try Barcelona on your own website? Go to Templates in your Site Admin to open the Template Selector, then choose Barcelona from the list. Don't have a Jimdo site yet? Start a free site with the Barcelona template here.


If you have a wonderful Jimdo website (using Barcelona or any of our other new templates), don't forget to enter it in our contest before the end of September to win an Apple Watch Sport or other great prizes!


Aeramis Fularon

Aeramis Fularon

Customer Support Geek at Jimdo


As a Customer Support Geek, Aeramis strives to help Jimdo's customers by sharing her web expertise. She is a talented graphic designer, and she works on a number of web projects in her free time. When she isn't answering your questions about Jimdo, Aeramis loves to travel and eat good food.





How to Use a Template with a Left or Right Sidebar

This month, we're running our Reinvention Month Contest to find some of the best Jimdo websites using our new templates. If you're still using an old template, now's the pefect opportunity to upgrade to a new look!


Lots of people redoing their site ask us about their sidebar: why is it there, and what should go in it? Though sidebars can be a bit puzzling at first, they are a great way to display important information about you—and fast.




In this post, I'll go over some of the basics on choosing a template with a sidebar and show real-life examples of Jimdo websites with sidebars that work well.


Is a sidebar right for your website?

To start your template search, I recommend making a wish list of what you want your site to look like. That way, it's easier to pinpoint the right template when you see it.


For example, say I have my own online shop for selling photographs. Here’s my wish list. I want:
  • My website to be completely black and white to match the style of my black and white photographs.
  • My logo to go at the top left corner of every page of my site.
  • A large photo on my homepage that will rotate my top selling photographs.
  • A shop page that shows all my photographs for sale.
  • A place to put my contact info and follow buttons for my social media channels.
  • A contact page so current and potential customers can contact me.
  • An About Page that has a picture of me and a brief explanation of my style and how I got into the business.


Now, that I have an idea of what I want out of my site, I’ll start looking for a template that can match my wish list. How do I do this? Focus on the features.


For more template tips, check out How to Pick the Perfect Template for Your Website.


If you’ve browsed through Jimdo’s template filter you might have noticed that some templates have similar features. One of these features is the sidebar.


The sidebar is your secondary content area. It usually looks like a narrow strip on the side of your website. The cool thing about the sidebar is that it shows up exactly the same on every page of your site. But what that also means is that, you guessed it...you only want to put things here that you want to show up on every page of website—like contact information, social media links, or any other “can’t miss” items.


The sidebar can show up on the left, right, or on the bottom of your site. Many people like to have a template where the sidebar is located on the bottom of the page so it serves as the footer. In this post, I’ll focus on templates with a sidebar that sticks true to it’s name and shows up on the right or left side of the template.


Jimdo Template Riga The St. Petersburg template has a sidebar on the left (highlighted in red).
Jimdo Template Riga The Riga template has its sidebar on the bottom (highlighted in red).


Why bother with a sidebar?

  • It’s more noticeable. If your website is for a restaurant or shop, for example, this is a great place to put your hours, phone number, and address. People naturally gravitate to the sidebar for this kind of information, so you can make their lives easier by putting it right where they are expecting to see it.
  • It saves you time. If you have any information you know you want visible on every page, put it in the sidebar. That way you don't have to reinvent the wheel on every web page you create.
  • It creates a consistent look. It not only saves time to use the sidebar, it looks consistent. If you upload the same content manually on each page you might not get it the same position, with the same font size, or in the same order. Using the sidebar ensures it will look exactly the same on each page.
  • It's a good tool for blogging. If you're blogging a lot, a sidebar is a great place to put a brief blurb about you, links to recent posts, a search bar, social media buttons, and even affiliate links.


Of course, a left/right sidebar won't be for everyone:
  • Using a sidebar cuts down on the amount of space in your main content area. If you have a portfolio site or want to display full-width photos, it's better to pick a template with a sidebar on the bottom.
  • If you don't think you need a sidebar anywhere on your website (on the side or on the bottom), choose a template with a bottom sidebar and just leave it empty. Note that the "leave it empty" approach only works with bottom sidebars. If you choose a template with a left/right sidebar and leave it empty, there will still be a big empty area on the side of your website.


Here are four examples of templates that have sidebars on the right:


Template Variations Click on the "Variations" button in the Template Selector to see more sidebar options.

Other templates with sidebars on the right or left include:
  • Reykjavik
  • Dubai
  • Hong Kong
  • Lima
  • Madrid
  • St. Petersburg
  • Verona
  • Prague
  • Cape Town


With many templates, you can choose whether your sidebar is on the right or left side by selecting the template variation you want in the Template Selector.


Real Jimdo websites with winning sidebars

What do successful sidebars look like on real websites? Here are examples of real Jimdo sites created with Dublin, Helsinki, San Francisco, and Amsterdam templates to give you some inspiration.



Template: Dublin



Why we love Dublin:

  • The Dublin template has a navigation and sidebar grouped together. You can just use it as your navigation or include additional information below like your store’s hours or social media icons.
  • It’s compact. If you don’t have a lot of text and images to fill your site, this template makes it easy to make your site look complete with just a few lines of text and one great image.
  • Easy to build on. If you like the style but have a lot of content, that’s no problem too! You can easily add more elements like images, videos, and text.
  • Perfect for a subtle logo: The logo on Dublin’s template goes at the top right corner of the site. This is a nice option if if you want it to be more subtly placed on your site, or don’t have one at all. (In which case, head over to 99designs and get one!)


Here are examples of sites that use the Dublin Template:


Brand designer and (food) photo stylist Edith Vervest uses the Dublin template for her site. Blickfang Fotografie uses the Dublin template for its photography site. .


Brand designer and (food) photo stylist Edith Vervest uses the Dublin template for her site. Chef and TV Personality Ryan Scott uses Dublin for his professional website.


Brand designer and (food) photo stylist Edith Vervest uses the Dublin template for her site. Brand designer and (food) photo stylist Edith Vervest uses the Dublin template for her site .



Template: Helsinki



Why we love Helsinki:

  • Helsinki is a classic template with everything you need for a business website.
  • The navigation goes across the top and is easy to use.
  • The logo and header area are prominently displayed at the top of the website and not off to the side.
  • Helsinki's good looks shine through even if you don't have a lot of large photographs
  • Helsinki is incredibly flexible, and even lets you put your sidebar on the bottom if you want to switch it up.


Here are examples of sites that use the Helsinki template:


This is an example of a Jimdo website using a Helsinki template. Stationery and event company Feier Papeterie & Event Styling use the template Helsinki.


This is an example of a Jimdo website using a Helsinki template. This chiropractic clinic uses the Helsinki template for their business’s site.



Template: San Francisco



Why we love San Francisco:

  • You can use a big, powerful background image.
  • San Francisco has four colorful variations to choose from.
  • With its strong structure, San Francisco can be a great template for blogging.
  • The template is compact, so if you don’t have a lot of content to fill on your site it won’t look empty. But if you do, you can easily add more elements.


Here are examples of sites that use the San Francisco template:


This is an example of a Jimdo website that uses the San Francisco template. Blackbird Digital Books uses the San Francisco template.


This is an example of a Jimdo website that uses the San Francisco template. Travel blogger Sarah Richard uses the San Francisco template. You can also read her post on how she uses her blog to travel the world.



Template: Amsterdam



Why we love Amsterdam:

  • With it's subtle shadows, this template puts the focus on your main content area, while still providing the benefits of a sidebar on the right.
  • The header allows for a nice display of your logo and title.
  • Amsterdam is a great template for your business website. Keep the design and content in your sidebar simple and low-key so they don’t distract from the main content area.
  • Amsterdam’s variation has a fixed navigation at the top that’s always visible as you scroll down the page.


Here are examples of sites that use the Amsterdam template:


This is an example of a Jimdo website using the Amsterdam template. Kaplan Pediatrics uses the Amsterdam template.


This is an example of a Jimdo website using the Amsterdam template. How do you say very beautiful in French? Tres bèau! Restaurant Au Jardin des Saveurs uses the Amsterdam template.


Now that you know how sidebars can work, why not try one out on your own site? Once you've upgraded to a new template, we'd love for you to enter our contest and show off what you've built! If you have any other tips for using a sidebar, let us know in the comments below.


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Update Your Jimdo Website Template and Win!

Millions of websites have upgraded to a new Jimdo template. Have you?


enter jimdo reinvention month contest



Last year, Jimdo released our new Style Editor along with more than 30 modern, streamlined templates. It was our biggest product update yet. Since then, lots of Jimdo customers have upgraded to new templates to use all the newest designs and features.


But some of our customers are still using the old Jimdo—or should we say the “vintage” variety. It’s a nice option, but with nowhere near the functionality of the new version. Below we've got some reasons (and a contest!) that might convince you to make the switch.


Reasons you'll love the new Jimdo templates

Maybe you have a template you like and you want to stick with it. Or you just haven’t found the time to make the change. We get it—and rest assured that you can still keep your old template if you want to.


But, there are some definite perks to choosing a new template:
  • Better for search engines: The new templates are structured to give your SEO a boost, so more visitors can find your website;
  • New features: You’ll get access to all of our new features as they are released, including new photo galleries, slideshows, buttons, background images, full-width templates, dropdown menus, and more;
  • Easier designing: You’ll get to use the new Style Editor, which is faster and more intuitive;
  • More customization: You’ll have more options to customize the fonts, colors, and layout of your site.


Just a few examples of websites using our new templates are below:


Jimdo Template Malaga Malaga Template


Jimdo template Rome Rome Template


Jimdo Template Dublin Dublin Template


Jimdo template Miami Miami Template


Jimdo Template Cape Town Cape Town Template


Jimdo template Dublin Dublin Template


Jimdo template rio de janeiro Rio de Janeiro Template


Jimdo Template Barcelona Barcelona Template


Jimdo Template Hamburg Hamburg Template


How do I know if my template is new or old? If you signed up for Jimdo after August 2014, you’re automatically using a new template. If you’re not sure, it’s easy to check. Log in to your website and click on Templates in your Site Admin. This will open the Template Selector. The first thumbnail on the left will show your current template. If it’s named after a city like Chicago or Malaga, it’s new! If it’s called by a number like F4045 or P4240, it’s, well….how do we put this delicately? It’s old.


Jimdo Template Selector Jimdo's Template Selector


Ready to take the plunge? Here’s how to choose a new Jimdo template

To try out the new templates, go to Templates in your Site Admin. Choose a template you like and select Preview to see how it will look on your site. The change will only become public once you hit Save, so you can try out many different templates before choosing the one that’s right for you. More information on how to do this is in our Support Center.


To help you choose the right one for you, we recommend reading How to Pick the Perfect Template and looking through our Template Filter.






Starting a Blog with Jimdo: Part 2

Promoting blog posts on your website

Earlier this week I talked about how to create each individual blog post using Jimdo. All by themselves, these blog posts are just like standalone pages of your website. Next we need to find a way to get website visitors to find and read the posts and connect each post in a blog roll.

Create a Blog with Jimdo Part 2
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Starting a Blog with Jimdo: Part 1

Blogging, the act of posting regular updates about a particular topic on a website, is one of the most popular methods of publishing on the internet. By looking at some of the statistics from the largest blogging platforms, we know that there are at least 250 million blogs on the internet today. These range from teenagers ranting about video games in their bedrooms to massive, multi-author sites like Boing Boing or even a site like Huffington Post which demonstrates the blurry lines between a blog and an online newspaper. When it comes to building a blog on your Jimdo website, you’re probably looking for something squarely in the middle of those examples.

Starting a Blog with Jimdo Part 1
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Your Go-To Guide to Creating the Best Nonprofit Website

There’s no mall for nonprofits or charities. There are no fashionably dressed mannequins to attract customers; no coupons or one-day sales to drive foot traffic.


The internet is the nonprofit’s shop window. It’s the way that people find a charity dedicated to the issues they care about. It’s how prospective employees or volunteers discover opportunities. And it’s how donors may decide where to put their money.


Best nonprofit Websites


So a well-designed website is one of the top methods for how a charity can generate attention, promote its work, build trust, and elevate its impact. Follow the advice below to create the best website for your nonprofit.


1. Getting started with your nonprofit website

Too many people create a website without first considering why they need a digital presence in the first place. Start with some basic questions—the answers should inform every aspect of your text, photography and design choices.


  • Who is my audience? Some nonprofits may have a hyper-local focus or niche mission—such as a neighborhood soup kitchen or urban farming initiative—and in turn, a very specific demographic they’re trying to reach. Larger, international nonprofits may consider several groups of people as their audience. Virtually all nonprofits list donors and prospective donors as part of their primary audience. Keep in mind that many members of the donor community will not be well-versed in your work or mission; make sure web content is accessible to all audience members by avoiding jargon and technical language.
  • What are my goals? Identify your top three-to-four goals for your website. These goals should also support your overall mission. Commons goals could be: Expand our membership or donor base; raise our profile in emerging markets; acquire more signatures on our petitions; or increase our followers on social media.
  • Who will manage the website? Creating a website is just the first step in establishing a digital foothold—it’s a living piece of multimedia that must also be maintained over time. Make sure someone is responsible for reviewing content at least every three-to-four months to ensure it is relevant and up-to-date.


Note: Jimdo provides free website hosting for your not for profit or charity website. It's free now and forever, but you can always upgrade to JimdoPro for a very affordable custom domain name (website address) and other great features.


2. The building blocks of the best nonprofit websites

A nonprofit’s website may hold hundreds of sub-pages, depending on the scope and history of work. Divide this content into two buckets: Primary information and secondary information.


Primary information is the most important and high-level, and should appeal to the broadest of audiences. Ask yourself the question: If someone didn’t know anything about my organization, what would I tell them? This primary information should be accessible on your homepage “above the fold,” or before the point at which visitors need to scroll down to see more of the page.


Secondary information is any content that readers will need to dig a little deeper to get. This can be hyper-detailed content that would only appeal to niche audiences, such as landing pages for research papers, sub-projects within a larger body of work or theme, or very detailed descriptions of your work on a particular topic or in a specific region of the world. It can also include archived or dated material, such as descriptions of inactive projects, past events, or previous campaigns. You can still link to this information from primary content pages, but it should not have a presence on the homepage.


Primary or homepage content will vary depending on the organization, but a general rule of thumb is to give visitors easy access to information on what the organization is, what it does and where it works, the impact it’s made, and how people can get involved. Some of this information will be displayed on the homepage itself; other parts should be accessible via large links or menu items at the top or side of the page. Some best practices apply to these top-tier pieces of content:


Example of not for profit website design This example, using Jimdo's Berlin template, shows a simple navigation with a dropdown under "About Us."


Elevator pitch: This one- or two-sentence description quickly and succinctly lets first-time visitors know who you are and what you do. Considering the fact that roughly 55 percent of users spend 15 seconds or fewer on a webpage before navigating away, it’s important to include this snippet high up on the homepage.
A few examples of elevator pitches include:


  • Conservation International: “We’re working to ensure a healthy, productive planet for everyone. Because people need nature to thrive.”
  • Greenpeace: “Greenpeace and people like you are a people-powered movement fighting for a green and peaceful future for our oceans, forests, food, climate and democracy.”
  • Feeding America: “Our mission is to feed America's hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger.”


In addition to an elevator pitch, you may also want to include a short tag line near the organization’s logo. A tag line, even shorter than an elevator pitch, uses only a few words to describe a not-for-profit’s mission. A few examples include:



About: Include a prominent “About Us” menu item on the homepage that links to a longer description of the organization’s mission and work. This text—roughly three to four paragraphs—should answer questions like:
  • What does this nonprofit do?
  • What impact does it make in the world?
  • How long has it been around?
  • Where does it work?
  • What is its approach, and how does it differ from other organizations that work on similar issues?


Be sure to include hyperlinks to other relevant pages—it’s a great way to help readers find more comprehensive “secondary content” on your website.


For a more robust “About Us” presence, consider including a drop down menu under the main tab to other relevant high-level pages, such as “Mission and Values,” “Staff,” “Jobs,” ”History,” or “Contact Us.”


Examples of calls-to-action on your not-for-profit website In another example, you can choose a template (like Chicago, shown here) that has a vertically-oriented menu. Whatever you choose, it’s best to keep your navigation menu as clear and short as possible.


Impact: It’s important to show visitors your work, not just tell them about it. Include a menu item that features stories of impact or outcomes that can be attributed to your organization. Common headings for this type of tab include "What We Do,"" "Our Impact,"" "Success Stories,"" or simply, "Our Work.""


Multimedia can enhance these stories. Research shows that the brain processes visual data 60,000 times faster than text—be sure to include powerful photographs or videos of your work in action. You can also consider displaying examples of impact via a gallery or interactive, embeddable timeline (such as those from Tiki Toki, Dipity or TimeGlider) to create a more dynamic look and feel.


Get Involved: A call-to-action is an essential part of any effective website—especially for nonprofits, which are dependent on financial and volunteer support. Make it easy for visitors to find out how they can make a donation, volunteer, find a job or become a member. This is also a great place to include newsletter sign-ups and social media buttons. You can use Jimdo’s Button element to create a call-to-action that matches your site.


Examples of calls-to-action on your not-for-profit website Your footer or sidebar can hold your calls-to-action: social media icons, a newsletter signup (this one from MailChimp) and a prominent Donate button using the Button element.


3. Building trust and transparency

If you’re attracting new visitors and potential donors, they want to know if they can trust you to spend their money wisely. There are many ways you can show that your nonprofit is a worthy, reputable cause. Include links or dropdown menu items on your “About Us” page to content such as:


Testimonials: Just like with a business, testimonials count for a lot. Think about including first-person accounts from people you have helped or donors you have worked with. These can be written testimonials, or short videos of people describing how your organization helped them.


Charity ratings, badges and certifications: Add the icons of any larger organizations you belong to, or any certifications, charity ratings, or awards your group has received. Your sidebar, footer, or About Page would be a good place to put these.


show your nonprofit financials on your website If you qualify for certain charity rating systems, adding their badges to your site is a good way to show off your stellar reputation.


Financials: Many successful charities and nonprofits share information on their finances, showing where their funding goes, who their donors are, and what percentage goes directly to services as opposed to overhead or fundraising. You should also state whether you are a tax-deductible 501(c)3 organization and provide your Federal Tax ID Number.


show your nonprofit financials on your website This simple pie chart from the ONE Campaign breaks down where their money goes—and can help potential donors know that their money will be well-spent.


News: Include a list of recent press releases and media advisories your organization has disseminated, as well as links to news articles that mention your nonprofit. If your organization is especially engaged in media outreach and receives frequent coverage, you may want to include a dedicated “News” or “Media Center” tab on the homepage. Make sure to list at least one staff member journalists and other visitors can contact for more information.


4. Other best practices for charity websites

Now that you’ve got the right information architecture in place, consider employing the following strategies and web best practices for your not-for-profit website.


Start a blog: A blog is a great way to consistently talk about your work, impact, organizational updates and expertise. Many nonprofits will feature a “Blog” tab in their topline navigation so that visitors can easily find timely web content. Publishing at least one post a week can also act as a hook for attracting people to your website through search engine results. According to Nonprofit Hub, business-to-business companies that blog generate 67 percent more leads than those that don’t.


Use a custom domain name: Your own custom website address (www.your-organization.org) helps show that your charity or cause is the real deal.


Keep the design clean: It may be tempting to crowd your homepage with lots of text and information, but resist! Visitors respond to a clean, easily navigable design and layout. Use white space. Keep text light. And use hyperlinks to direct readers to more comprehensive, topic-specific content.


Include visuals: More and more nonprofits are creating visually driven homepages. Compelling photos, videos and infographics help convey your message without cluttering the page with too much text.


Focus on your writing: Your homepage and web content can be major hooks for attracting new supporters. Many visitors will arrive to the site without much knowledge of who you are and what you do. Don’t scare them off with wonky, technical lingo or poorly written prose! Use plain language. Keep sentences to 35 words or fewer. Watch out for spelling and grammatical errors. And avoid passive voice. For more writing tips, check out 11 Golden Rules of Writing Content for Your Website.


Add a "Donate" button: Assuming one of your goals is to collect donations on your website, it’s easy to install a widget on your website to do so. We recommend the PayPal widget—it’s simple to install on your website and connects directly to your PayPal account. Make sure you have a prominent link in your top navigation to Donate. If that’s what people want to do, you want to make it easy for them.


Promote, promote, promote: The old movie mantra “If you build it, they will come” is only partially true on the web. Make sure you’re promoting your web content through social media, e-newsletters, in your email signature and on printed collateral like brochures and postcards.


Now, with an effective, well-structured homepage and website, you’ve got a major tool to help attract new supporters, elevate your work and help change the world!


Sarah Parsons

Sarah Parsons


Sarah is a freelance writer based in Silver Spring, MD. Her work has also appeared in Popular Science, Audubon, OnEarth, GOOD, Grist.org, Inhabitat.com, and several other publications. When she's not creating compelling online content, Sarah enjoys reading, cooking, watching bad reality TV, and pampering her dog, Clancy.