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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.