Here are some tips and links to help you build a simple, non-creative, portfolio website.
1) SAVE ALL YOUR CLASSWORK
The first step to building a good portfolio site is having something to show on that site. So, save your homework assignments!
In the past, I always recommended saving your assignments (mostly written assignments) to Scribd.com. But, Scribd has changed dramatically, and it doesn’t work like it used to. So, I recommend these Scribd substitutes:
- SlideShare.net — This is your best bet! It’s owned by LinkedIn.
- Google Docs — Docs.Google.com Store all kinds of different documents here: Word files, Excel files, slideshows, images, etc.
- Flickr.com — Store photos here and/or your design work (in jpg format)
- Use YouTube or Vimeo to host your video projects
- Use SoundCloud for audio projects.
2) FREE AND EASY WEB-BUILDING SITES
You need a website! Don’t even question this, you need it. Here are some options for you. [Note: if you want to build websites for a living, do not use any of these suggestions — build your website “from scratch.”]
This is your best bet, but be prepared for a learning curve. The benefits start with a simple integration of a branded URL for only $17 per year (sign up for this from the beginning, as you are starting your “blog” — it’s more difficult to add this after your site is already built.) WordPress also automatically creates a mobile version of your site, and even an iPad version, if you’d like. You’ll have dozens of templates to choose from, and options to add a custom header, if you’d like. Be advised: If you are looking for a design job, do not choose a template that already is heavily designed — choose a plain template (like 2010) and add your own custom header that showcases your design. If you spend several hours playing around in WordPress, you’ll get the gist of things — it’s well worth your time! (Hint: you probably want to start out with a playground site and experiment with “pages” and “posts” until you understand the difference!)
- BenNuelle.com — A good example for broadcast students.
- MaddiePospisil.com — Creative and strategy documents.
- ErinFunk.com — Erin has continued to build out her site after graduation. See her SlideShare plug-in resume.
- AbbieVoorhies.com — Design heavy.
- AdInk.org — See this page to see how SlideShare.net content can be embeded.
- TimGillissen.com — Another branded URL; this site has a nice large photo, so if you’re a photographer, you can check out Tim’s approach to showcasing photos. Note: Tim uses the advanced version of WordPress, WordPress.org, so you may see features here that aren’t available on the free version.
- JacquieLamer.com — And then there’s my WordPress site.
- Adding audio to WordPress: See this Soundcheck theme and this WordPress help page.
- First: start by going through the guided portfolio builder at SquareSpace.
- SpacesSquared.co.uk — This site hosts several good examples of portfolio sites build with SquareSpace.
Wix has some similar tools as Weebly and WordPress.
- Nelson Butler
- Kaci Guerra
- Ivory Lacina — HeyIvory.com
- Whitney Hall — https://whitneynikolehall.wixsite.com/mysite
- 5 HTML Wix examples, and also here, created by Wix professionals.
- Devin Albertson — Sports Media
Not as powerful as WordPress, but using some of their new templates, you’ll have a nice framework for your portfolio site. And, it can be “automatically” formatted for mobile devices. The site you’re on now is made using this tool. As you can see, you can add navigation items and a custom header. You can embed documents (see the “Internships” page) and videos (see QR video below). Like WordPress, you’ll have to experiment with “pages” and “posts” — they are two different methods of posting content, and there are advantages and disadvantages to both. The site you’re on now uses primarily “pages” — each navigation tab above is created using a “page.”
- SmittenBlogDesigns.com — I don’t have a lot of Blogger portfolio sites to link to, but this one is neat, because it’s not only been custom designed, it is a site about Blogger design options, so you might get some ideas here! This site is made primarily with “posts,” but there are some “pages” that are evident in the navigation tabs.
- NWjobs.blogspot.com — This site! This site is made primarily using “pages” not “posts.”
- Video 3xamples: Wendy Whelan and Megan Davis
This is a quick and easy way to bring together all of your social sites, so it’s possible to use this as your one-stop web site.
- Shelby Simpson’s site.
- Here’s my site. This site recently added a widget for WordPress, so you can show a summary of your About.me items on a WordPress site.
- Angela Bode’s About.me site.
• Very easy ways to have an online “portfolio”
For simply the easiest approach to having an online “presence,” try these:
- SlideShare.net: You can upload your work (and you should) but just use this as your one-stop website. (You need to use a site like this, anyway, to host your documents, so you can just have this be your first/starter portfolio site!) Kayla Yehle Here’s mine.
- LinkedIn.com: You should have a LinkedIn account anyway, so why not just upload documents to it and use this as your one-stop web site? Ali Stott, Brandon Painter, Annastasia Tuttle, Nathan Matt, Kaci Guerra, Mark Ludwig, Tim Hannah, Kyle Miller, Tim Mottet, Kayla Yehle, Sydnee Arnold, Here’s mine.
- SoundCloud.com: If you’re a broadcast major, particularly audio emphasis, you’re already familiar with SoundCloud. But have you thought about just using this as your “portfolio” site to showcase your audio work? Here’s a good example: SoundCloud.com/BenNuelle
- YouTube.com: Of course, if you’re a broadcast major, you’ve got a YouTube account with all your work. You can just use your YouTube account as your “portfolio” site, like this, and Brandon Painter, Tim Hannah,
- Vimeo: Mark Ludwig
- Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/153456898@N08/Annastasia Tuttle’s photo stream
- Scribd.com: This option no longer works, but I’m keeping it here in case they revert back to their previous format. See my example at: Scribd.com/jplamer.
CargoCollective and BehanceNetwork are places where designers can showcase their work. They aren’t really portfolio-building software-based sites like the ones above, they are more like designer communities. But, they’re worth mentioning here because you may find these useful if you are a designer. Some of these services also are plug-in options at Flavors.me and About.me. For broadcast majors, post your credentials at StaffMeUp.com.
- See Mel Hogan’s page at Behance.net.
- See Chance Parson’s StaffMeUp page.
- Try Carbonmade.com.
- Student journalism portfolio tips.
- Here’s a good student “about” page.
3) GET A NICE PORTRAIT PHOTO TAKEN
Upload a nice photo. Don’t use a photo where you crop out other people, that looks weird. Have a photo taken that’s well lit, very basic background, and pose professionally. Put the photo on an “About” page, and not too big. If you put a huge photo of yourself on your homepage, that might send a message that you think the way you look is your most important feature. Put your skills front and center — you want to be hired for your skills!
4) ADD SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
Add at least one social media link to your portfolio site — at minimum, this should be LinkedIn. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, get one. If you use Twitter for professional posts, then add a Twitter link to your site. (If you only use Twitter for personal posts, don’t link to Twitter!) Ditto for Pintrest. Don’t link to your Facebook account — but expect the HR manager to find you on Facebook!
Egon Heidendal has a good example of this in his “Contact” area of his web-based portfolio, and you can add these tools easily in several of the template sites.
5) BRAND YOURSELF
Buy “your name dot com” so that the address of your online portfolio is easily found. The simplest way to do this is through WordPress (see above). But, you also can buy relatively cheap domains at GoDaddy.com (secure your domain for at least two years — five is better!). Once you own the domain, simply forward it to your Blogger, Wix, Google Sites, or other template-built page. For some tips on branding yourself across your site, your resume, and business cards, see what some AdInk’ers put together for a recent “Brand Yourself” information session: AdInk.org/BrandYourself.
6) CONSIDER A GOOGLE VOICE NUMBER
Consider establishing a Google Voice number that will only be used for your job search. It’s free, and messages can be transcribed and emailed to you or send via text. This means your personal phone number doesn’t have to be published online, but you’ll get messages pronto!
7) RESEARCH PORTFOLIO SITES
Do some research for more ideas on building simple, web-based portfolios. This eHow page is just one example that will help you come up with ideas for building a simple site! See this site for a list of blog-portfolio examples. Here’s a slideshow on the same topic.
8) MAKE A COMPELLING “ABOUT ME” PAGE
Here are some examples of good “About Me” pages.
9) MAKE AN ELEVATOR PITCH
An elevator pitch is a short (60-second) summary of who you are and why you should be hired. Here’s an example on YouTube. You can embed YouTube videos into your LinkedIn profile, like this.
And now for some website inspiration…
Check out what these two students did to apply at Droga5.
Here’s how to get attention when you really, really, really want the job! www.dearlisarudgers.com
Here’s what your Bearcat competition is doing to apply:
And now for some LinkedIn inspiration…
And now for some QR inspiration… (THIS is how to use a QR code!)
QR CODE – Content-rich Resume from Victor petit on Vimeo.
Note this: Advertising professionals know how and when to use QR codes — if you choose to incorporate a QR code onto your resume or business cards, they will scrutinize your decision. Be sure you know how and when to use these. For example, don’t use a QR code unless your web site has a mobile version.
Don’t use a QR code on a resume unless you’re doing something clever with it, like the video above. Why not? Well consider this: why would you want someone to see your work on a tiny screen when they’re likely sitting at their desk when they see your resume? Wouldn’t your work look better on a big monitor? So, just put your URL on your resume! Leave the QR code for situations when the person you want to visit your site might not be at a computer — for example, on a business card.
• Some from-scratch Bearcat portfolio sites
Here are some portfolio sites of NW graduates who have built their sites from scratch.
Fede Stura’s site: MadocDesign.com
Egon Heidendal’s site: egonweb.nl
To help you get started with your resume, go to my Resume help section!