7
Apr

Well, since the ‘blog paranoia’ is riding high, I feel I should continue this little series I have going on.

You’ve had the warning not to be an ass on the internet. Then I posed the question, why are you hiding on the internet? And the next question, why you have that blog to begin with.

Have you given that some thought? Good.

Because now I get into some nitty-gritty. Some practical advice on what to do with that willy-nilly, half-assed portfolio blog you have going on there.

Please keep in mind I am no expert on this stuff. Heck, I even make fun of some people who ‘blog about blogging’ for crying out loud.

And here I am.

Blogging about blogging. *sigh*

Oh well. Some of you need the help, so let’s get cracking.

Even though the last post may have looked like I was crapping on Blogger blogs, I really wasn’t. It’s just that a lot of animation types seem to start out on Blogger.

And guess what? That’s OK. Really.

Again, I want to stress that I am talking to people who have (or want to have) a blog as a PORTFOLIO. Some of you are trying to do it and some of you are doing it wrong.

Why?

Because in my personal opinion (and you know I have one), I think a true portfolio site is better presented as a static site. (Or a ‘combo’ static and blog site, but that will have to wait for now.)

How come?

Because a portfolio should be a representation of your best work. Period.

Is that little doodle you did at the coffee shop a representation of your best work? Maybe not. Is it good enough to put up on a blog-blog? Sure. But in your portfolio? Nah.

See what I’m getting at?

If you want to continue that blog-blog for fun, connecting with people and sharing stuff you found on YouTube and all that, do it.

But for your portfolio, you might want to start another one. Or if your current site isn’t too far off, alter the one you have.

“You mean I can keep my Blogger blog as a portfolio?” Yes, you can.

These tips are if you have no money to spend and don’t want to leave Blogger. I’ll cover what to do if you have a bit of money and even a bit more money in future posts.

So what can you do to make that Blogger blog a better portfolio site?

Quite a few things actually.

1. Give it a good name. Preferably your name. I talked about this in the Why You Hiding post already, but it’s good to bring it up again. If you can get your name in Blogger, do it. Or find a good alternative like “JoeBlowPortfolio” or “JaneDoeArt” or something Google friendly for finding you by name.

2. Have a sidebar ‘About’ with a photo. Put it in the sidebar. Don’t just use that little ‘about’ link to that silly Blogger profile page. Write a good, short bio so people can see it right away and know who you are and what you’re about. Putting up a photo of yourself will show you are a real person. It can have a good impact on the viewer to help us get to know you a bit.

3. Have clear contact information in the sidebar. Give it its own space. The less people have to ‘click’ to contact you, the better. Be smart about it. Don’t put up your home address or anything. Email is fine. But if your email address is “snarkybloodsucker@gmail.com” you might want to get another one. Get your name or some version of your name whenever possible. Look professional!

4. Dump the blogroll and other outside links. Yes, that’s what I said. This is your portfolio. You don’t want to give them any reason to click away to another artist’s blog (well, mine is OK. Put mine on there twice. 😉 ). On a blog-blog, a blogroll is fine, but your portfolio should be all about you.

5. Dump the ads. Tacky, tacky, tacky. No ads on your portfolio please.

6. Remove the timestamps on the posts. It’s not really needed on a portfolio and will give a more permanent feel to it. Check your Blogger settings on how to do this. You can still put a dated copyright notice in the sidebar to show it’s current.

7. Categorize the posts. This is one way to organize your work on a Blogger site. Have a ‘storyboard’ category and put all your boards under it. Have a ‘character design’ one and do the same. Make it as easy as possible for someone new to your site to navigate through your work. This is key.

8. Turn off comments. You don’t need people leaving comments (nasty or otherwise) on your portfolio. Good for a blog-blog, not needed for a portfolio.

9. Get rid of the Blogger navigation bar at the top. Yes, you can do that. Here’s a video tutorial I found on how. How to Remove the Blogger Navigation Bar. Ignore all the affiliate stuff he’s talking about. Just see how to add the simple code to do this. Here’s an article on how to do it too. http://hubpages.com/hub/How-To-Remove-The-Blogger-Nav-Bar

All this is a good place to start anyway. Here’s a few other things to consider:

  • Include a downloadable PDF of your resume and/or portfolio. Have that readily available in the sidebar too. I won’t get into the finer points on how to do that here, but it’s a good option to offer.
  • Make a nice, custom header image for the banner (no naked chicks please!).
  • Only put low rez images on your site. You could also watermark them with copyright notices. People swipe stuff all over the internet. Protect your work as much as you can.

Here’s a site of a buddy of mine who has done a lot (not all) of what I’m talking about here. Give Quinn’s site a look to see how a clean Blogger blog can make a decent portfolio after all.

This post is long enough and I still have more to say. Because a free site doesn’t stop at Blogger. I haven’t even touched on WordPress.

But I guess I will in the next ‘blogging on blogging’ post.

Gads. I’ll be blogging about Twitter before you know it. I must be stopped!

Read the Storyboard Blog by RSS Feed or by email to see if I write about storyboarding ever again.

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Category : Career Advice

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  • Pingback by Designing a Portfolio « The Daily Blahg on October 5, 2009 @ 2:57 pm

Comments

vincent gormanNo Gravatar April 7, 2009

I’m liking all of these ‘internet image awareness’ posts you’re doing. It’s good stuff that anyone with an internet presence needs to consider. Thanks for these.

FriarNo Gravatar April 7, 2009

@Karen

If you keep writing posts like this, soon you’ll be one of the Cool Kids.

Karen J LloydNo Gravatar April 7, 2009

@ vincent – Thanks! Glad you’re enjoying them. Just take from it what you will, and leave the rest. You certainly don’t have to do *everything* I suggest.

It’s just to get people looking at their portfolio blogs in a new light.

@ Friar – I don’t think there is *any* risk of me ever becoming a Cool Kid. Thank goodness. (Cool Kid!!)
K

FNo Gravatar April 7, 2009

@Karen

Next, can you explain to us how Twitter fits into all of this? 😉

Karen J LloydNo Gravatar April 7, 2009

“F”? Is that your new Cool Kid ID?

Oh, I could never explain Twitter in one post. You have to start a *whole blog* devoted to it. It’s really complex like that. 😉
K

FriarNo Gravatar April 8, 2009

Ahhh…”F” was a typo.

I’m still the Friar.

Though I still think you should jump on the bandwagon, and write a six-part series about how social media and Twitter helps storyboard artists.

eddieNo Gravatar April 8, 2009

Hello Karen. I’ve poked around your site and it’s seems like you’re givin’ some “in yo face – how it is type of info”. Good stuff. Well I haven’t been to school, and had one (and I count that a blessing) experience with storyboarding. I’d like to pursue it as a career. Now I will mos def stick around and look through the site but one nugget that you could drop on me would be (Karen fills in the blank) 🙂

Thanks a bunch in advance for your time. Good stee-lo too! peace

chris kawagiwaNo Gravatar April 8, 2009

So… I’ve been taking several of your last posts to heart and am frantically putting together an actual static site– FRANTICALLY i say ~! 😉

Thanks for the example of ‘blog-portfolio’ done right as well. I indeed have seen some people pull off good ones, especially if they’re prolific and consistently high quality.

Karen J LloydNo Gravatar April 8, 2009

@ Friar – I just might do that. Then you can tweet all about it. 😉

@ eddie – Welcome! Yes, I be in yo face alright. 🙂

The one nugget I would say would be to learn to draw well, loose and fast. And watch good animation. And get your head examined. Ha! I kid, I kid…

@ chris – Ooo…I like the sound of that “frantically”. 🙂

No panic, buddy. Even making little, gradual changes is fine and dandy. It doesn’t have to be one big overhaul or anything. But let me know about the great unveiling, OK?
K

GeraldNo Gravatar April 9, 2009

Mz. Lloyd…

I really love this series of posts. Really makes a person think about what he/she/it wants to accomplish with he/she/it’s site.

My blog (of which I have been woefully negligent these last several months due to work) is part of my portfolio site and I’ve often wondered about whether its a good thing to have a blog at all. And its for the exact reasons you cite: is it wise to let a potential client see my inane ramblings and off the cuff sketches just a click away from my finished work? Since it’s part of my portfolio site, I’ve also struggled with the idea of cross-linking with other fellow artists I know. I want to see them succeed as well but the self-serving cut-throat capitalist in me also doesn’t like the idea of giving potential clients other avenues to get their illustrations.

But I do have to say that I have received a few jobs from someone just browsing past blog posts and a random sketch or experimental piece catches the person’s eye. And the cross-linking has resulted in a few gigs as well.

I’m so confused… (crawls into corner and assumes fetal position)

t. sterlingNo Gravatar April 9, 2009

I only have you in my blogroll once, is that ok? And I’d love to read a post about Twitter. I have to admit, I serious doubt I’d be able to keep up with all this social networking. Is it an actual profession to be a social networker and just get paid to stay home to tweet? If I can do that 8 hours a day I would be happy.

(That’s a lie. I love creating things too much to be limited to 140 characters.)

Karen J LloydNo Gravatar April 9, 2009

Hey Mr. Gerald.
Well, you are in a slightly different category than who I intend this series for. I’m going for the beginner with his first online portfolio. You, my friend, are a pro.

But you know what’s funny? (or not) I almost linked to you in my last post along with David, but the only thing that stopped me was that you hadn’t updated the blog in a very long time. It looked a little ‘abandoned’, so I didn’t use it as an example. (But everyone go check out his fabulous illustrations!!)

I’m certainly no expert at this. But for the pro like you, I would say a blog is a *good thing* to have with your site. It just depends on what you do with it. If you don’t update for months on end, it can look like you don’t care. Even once a month update would be fine because when you go, at least you see a ‘March’ and an ‘April’ on there.

It think it’s fine to put up fun, loose sketches on the blog as long as you have your static, professional site along with it. People love to see that stuff. Just be clear on just what kind of off-topic crazy ramblings you really want to put up there. On-topic ramblings can still be OK, I think.

And I also think links to other resources and artists can be OK too on a pro’s site. If you’re established, it can be good Karma. As a beginner, it can work against you.

Just rethink what your blog can do for you. I think going in a slightly educational direction or ‘behind the scenes’ once in a while could really work in your favor. Along with the sketches. (Then again, who am I to tell you what to do??) 🙂

@ T – No, I said “TWICE!” 😉

I don’t think there’s any money in BEING a social networker. But people are trying to make money teaching other people how to *use* social networking.

Yeah, pay them money to learn how to use a free service. Kinda odd, huh?

If I do write a post about Twitter, it would be just to inform the newbies. Not declare it as the ‘second coming’!

And it’s always nice to see a little tweet from the breakfast face. 🙂
K

GeraldNo Gravatar April 9, 2009

Mzzzz. Lllllllloyd,

Dang it! I knew my lax blogging would bite me in the hind-quarters! I could have been an example (said in his best Brando voice…)

But I appreciate your thoughts ’cause it’s actually renewed my thinking on what I want to accomplish with my blog and how to keep it interesting.

One thing I do heartily agree on is your copyright/watermark suggestion. I check of my sight traffic and I find my work adorning people’s sites all over the place, from MySpace to bulletin boards. I now make a point to include copyright and webite info on all my posted pieces. It’s also a good idea to explicitly state (discreetly) that should anyone wish to use your work in a comp or even on their personal site, they should ask permission first. Since placing that statement on my site pages, I’ve actually had an up-tick in people asking permission.

Anyway, I’ll shut up now…

-G

Karen J LloydNo Gravatar April 9, 2009

Mrrrr. Kellllley,

By all means, YES, protect your work! This is really important for you illustrator-types. Ugh, it must suck seeing your stuff all over the place without your permission.

Did you hear about that artist who got sued by a stock image company for his OWN work? Someone snatched his stuff, then reported HIM for stealing it because the company offers moola for ratting people out.

Now he has to hire a lawyer and everything. What a nightmare.

Start watermarking, buddy!
K

MaureenNo Gravatar April 13, 2009

Hi Ms Llyod,

I really enjoy reading your posts! I am an animator and upon reading your suggestions to people (with no money) on how to create a professional looking blog, I simply need to post a comment.

My suggestion for a free way to set up a portfolio static site is http://www.weebly.com. I’m currently using this service and it is so simple to create a webpage out of it. You can click on my URL to take a look. I think that this might be a good alternative to blogs. I upload my videos to Vimeo as I feel its more presentable than a Youtube video =P.

– Maureen

Karen J LloydNo Gravatar April 13, 2009

Hi Maureen!

Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. Especially one as useful as that. 🙂

I haven’t heard of this service before, so thanks for bringing it to my attention. I will talk about other options for sites in future posts and will definitely include this one in the mix.

I just started with Blogger because so many animation artists use it. I don’t think it’s necessarily the *best* way to show a portfolio either.

And I agree that Vimeo and Viddler are probably better options than YouTube for video.

Thanks again! (Go take a peek at her site everybody)
K

Brewing Kit LeyNo Gravatar June 8, 2011

You actually make sense. I love your sense of humor. Thanks for posting.

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