AWS Startups Blog

Jimdo Can Turn Anyone into a Website Developer                                          

Fridtjof Detzner, Christian Springub & Matthias Henze of Jimdo

Fridtjof, Christian & Matthias

Germany natives Fridtjof Detzner and Christian Springub learned to code practically before they learned to drive—and it’s a skill that served them well as teenagers, when they began building websites for individuals and businesses. From there, it dawned on them: Why not figure out a way for clients to update and create sites themselves, minus the next-to-impossible coding part? Together with their friend Matthias Henze, they got to work in a barn on Detzner’s parents’ farm. And in 2007, Jimdo was born.

Since then, over 20 million websites have been produced around the world—many by creative types like photographers, illustrators, fashion bloggers, and makers of ceramics, sunglasses, even jewelry crafted out of broken skateboards. According to Dennis Benkert, an infrastructure engineer at Jimdo, typical users are small- to medium-sized companies; they’re the ones who may not have the budget to outsource their website (or the bandwidth to dedicate hours upon hours to doing it themselves). So, Benkert says, “We enable users to create websites without having to know anything about technology at all. They’re trying to build up a business, and we want to help them.”

Jimdo has two products, Jimdo Dolphin and Creator. With Creator, customers can choose from ready-made templates and take advantage of drag-and-drop functionality. You can add products for an e-commerce shop, choose a blog function or integrate Jimdo’s new live-chat app to make connecting with customers even easier.

Don’t want to DIY at all? Jimdo Dolphin is an AI-driven website builder that can whip up a site in mere minutes by asking some questions, sourcing information from Google, and linking to social media accounts. It can pull information you have from different places, like your social media text, photos, logo, business hours. Then the AI system combines it all into a new website that’s ready to go. If you don’t have any content, they create it for you based on your answers. The structure, text, design, and all the extras you might need for your particular business are all set, and then you can change things around as you like. Once you’re online, Dolphin continues to help you out with SEO tasks and giving you tips to improve. So it’s not just about making a beautiful website but also about making it successful and useful for your business.

If you’re a restaurant owner, for example, Dolphin will know to add necessary tabs like menus. In fact, Paul Seiffert, another infrastructure engineer, touts Jimdo’s expertise in this particular industry. “Restaurants are a market where we are pretty strong at predicting what kind of content they want to see on the website,” he says. “This use of machine learning technology is one thing that is going to be important for Jimdo in the future.”

A key part of the company’s success is how much it values feedback from its community. It’s common for customers to receive surveys and get invited to meet-ups—and they are even invited to stop by the Hamburg headquarters for in-person support. According to Benkert, “We are stepping out of our comfort zone regularly to see the products that we built from the other side.” And the information they receive, he says, helps them “make the product even more accessible to the developers. Maybe we need to add another feature, or maybe we need to make it easier to use.” Jimdo stays connected to its users in other ways—namely through its 8 Days blog, which runs articles for entrepreneurs on topics such as starting and growing a business and building an effective website.

Hiring the right team members has also been crucial. “One thing we look for in everybody we hire is the will to learn new things,” Seiffert says. “The curiosity to learn, combined with a fearlessness to actually approach new topics, is most important when hiring engineers.” And today, with its 200 employees split between offices in Hamburg and Tokyo, it’s safe to say that Jimdo has come a long way from its start in a farmhouse in northern Germany.

Michelle Kung

Michelle Kung

Michelle Kung currently works in startup content at AWS and was previously the head of content at Index Ventures. Prior to joining the corporate world, Michelle was a reporter and editor at The Wall Street Journal, the founding Business Editor at the Huffington Post, a correspondent for The Boston Globe, a columnist for Publisher’s Weekly and a writer at Entertainment Weekly.