20
Apr

Okay, I’m back talking about that budding portfolio site of yours.

You can read about other online-presence goodness with the warning not to be an ass on the internet and why are you hiding on the internet?. Then some online portfolio goodness with why you have that blog to begin with and what to do with that portfolio blog you already have.

I can hear some of you frantically tweaking your Blogger blog to make it a little more functional as a nice portfolio site. That’s great.

But I want you to see what else is out there.

Because a Blogger blog is just that. A blog. And maybe a blog isn’t the best way to show off your best work that is your portfolio.

What am I getting at?

Static Pages.

Blogger doesn’t have a static page option. And that, in my opinion, is what makes it a less desirable choice for a portfolio site.

If you made some of the tweaks I suggested in my last post on your Blogger site and are happy with it, cool. But if you want to take it one step further and still keep it FREE, read on.

First, a little Blog 101

I call this whole site a BLOG. And it is. That is its main function. What you are reading right now is a POST. Every new entry I write is a post, not a blog (just so we’re clear on that).

Look above at my tabs. There is Home which just brings you back to my posts (because that’s how I’ve set it up).

Then there is Downloads (which has my fantabulous new storyboard template pack displayed…got it yet?), Resources (which I really have to beef up a bit), Work With Karen (because, you know you want to), About Karen, Contact and Archives.

All of these tabs lead you to static PAGES. Pages are meant to stay put, whereas posts, get moved down the line every time you add a new one. Like you might be doing now on Blogger when you post a new video or sketch.

Like I mentioned before, a real portfolio should be a showcase of your best work. Do you think you should be adding new sketches every week and calling that your best work? No, probably not. You want that best work to be organized, static and easy to navigate.

If you choose to have a blog on your site, by all means put up those sketches! But they should be the gravy and your best work is the tofurkey and potatoes. Know what I mean?

Say hello to PAGES

Where do you get pages? Unfortunately not on Blogger. But you can get them at WordPress.com and Weebly.com. And probably some other places, but since I’m no ‘blog-guru’, this is all I’m focusing on right now.

I was only going to focus on WordPress.com because I knew it pretty well. I started this blog on there and stayed for two months before moving to my own hosting. (I’ll talk all about that stuff next time. Just keep in mind, it involves some moola.)

But then one of my readers brought Weebly.com to my attention and it looks like it will do the trick too. I haven’t tried it myself, but here’s Maureen’s site (thanks for the tip!) and Rufin’s site (also on Weebly.com).

See how clean and organized they are?

And no extra visual ‘noise’ to take the viewer away from you, you, you.

With both of these services you can create static pages along with a blog, or just have the static pages (or just a blog but we’re trying to get away from that here, right? Right).

You can set a static page or the blog as your ‘home’ page. Or you can not have a blog at all and set it up just to be a static site.

One thing that appealed to me about Weebly was its ‘no sidebar’ option. This keeps the pages very clean and your attention on the content. You can add a sidebar if you like though.

I don’t think you can eliminate the sidebars completely from WordPress.com (not sure though), but it may just depend on what theme you choose.

Yes, lots o’ themes!

Both of these services have a number of themes to choose from. With some themes, you just type in your site’s name and it will show up in the header, and with others you can upload your own custom banner.

I prefer this option for artists. It really lets you customize your little ‘home on the web’ and make it your own.

There are limitations to these sites, of course (being free and all).

I know on WordPress.com you can’t put up any ads or make money on your blog with affiliate links or anything (if you don’t know what those are, don’t worry about it). If you break the rules, they can shut down your blog.

Keep that in mind.

It looks like you can put adsense ads on a Weebly.com site, but for a portfolio I wouldn’t recommend it.

For each of these free options your site will be called ‘yourportfolio.wordpress.com’ or ‘yourportfolio.weebly.com’ just like Blogger does.

For both sites you can remove that and have your own domain name pointing there…but it’ll cost ya. I’ll touch more on that stuff next time.

There are other upgrade options for both (with cost), but I won’t bore you with that here. Check out the features and support pages for these two free website services.

WordPress.com Features

Weebly.com Support

Now, you don’t have to rip down your Blogger site right this minute!

I just wanted to open your eyes to a more professional looking way to showcase your portfolio without breaking the bank. (And FYI: in WordPress.com you can import a Blogger blog.)

I’m just saying check them out.

Poke around a bit.

Read up.

Try them out.

You can always shut them down if the service is not for you.

And if you are using one of these services for your portfolio, let us know in the comments.

Show us your stuff!

_._._._._._._

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Category : Career Advice

Comments

chris kawagiwaNo Gravatar April 21, 2009

Thanks for some significant options to consider before i buy up a gig of webspace….! : ]
In the process for transitioning to a static site, making the cut for what makes it into the “best of” gallery is becoming a task unto itself. Blogger allows pages for…well forever~ I think this is a good thing though, makes one solidify their taste, even in their own work.. since ‘if everything is important, then nothing is’~ 😛

Dead EndNo Gravatar April 21, 2009

What do you think of portfolio sites like Carbonmade.com and shownd.com? Is it inappropriate to use these sites like these?

eddieNo Gravatar April 21, 2009

Hey Karen good in yo face info again. (which a lot is common sense) but enty-way… thanks for sharing.

Although I still like to see an artist OG’s pieces as well vs. an online portfolio… then again if it’s done totally digital I guess online would be the original. (ahhh I’m old school and still use good ole pencil and paper first :). my two bit. laters

JeffNo Gravatar April 21, 2009

Great pointers! As someone whose job it is to track down up-and-coming artists/animators/etc. and interview them, I’m often floored by how disorganized many of their professional sites are. If I have to parse through 20 pages of “did you see BSG this week?” posts to find out a) who you are, b) what you’re up to, and c) the work that best represents you, I’m not gonna bother.

Karen J LloydNo Gravatar April 21, 2009

@ eddie – Oh, don’t worry. I think you SHOULD have a portfolio you can *touch* as well. In this day and age you really need both. Though….uh…I don’t have an online portfolio myself. *ahem*

And my real one is basically stacks of storyboards sitting in a banker box…

So this is basically a “do as I say, not as I do” kinda thing. 🙂

(And I prefer paper and pencil too)

@ Dead End – Well, first off I barely know about any of those sites! I’d have to do some digging on that. But in general, I don’t have a problem with them at all as long as they are legitimate. (www.Behance.net is another one)

They are usually a ‘network of artists’ and maybe employers go to those sites, which is great. If it was me, I would have my OWN portfolio with my OWN hosting, then join a few of those networks.

Who says you can’t? So have your ‘home base’ with your own domain to put on your resume and business cards, then if you join any of those networks, link back to your own site and vise versa.

I would say read the fine print too. Make sure they’re not trying to ‘own’ your work or anything. And maybe just put a sampling of your portfolio on them and have the rest back at your own site?

The more places you can be *found*, the better, I say.

@ Chris – Well, don’t abandon that web space just yet. 🙂

Like I said above, I personally think the best option is to have your own domain and your own hosting. Then it is yours, yours, yours!

I was just exploring the free options first, for the all the broke students out there. I will talk more about this stuff next time. It’s just that there are some costs involved.

But I think it’s the best way to go. This IS your career after all. It’s a wise investment (and doesn’t have to totally break the bank either).

K

Karen J LloydNo Gravatar April 21, 2009

Hi Jeff and THANK YOU!

It’s so great to hear it from the other side. I can just imagine how frustrating it must be for those doing the hiring.

So a good lesson: If you have the portfolio that is clean, organized and easier to navigate and the other guy has a big, jumbled mess…guess who’s going to get the call/email? (Even if they are a better artist, if gives off a bad impression)

Presentation and organization goes a long way, people. 🙂
K

Rufin LutaoNo Gravatar April 21, 2009

Whoa! Thanks for the praises K and putting me up there as an example, cringes*. Weebly had exactly what I was looking for when I decided to finally ‘re-dress’ my portfolio site, and maintain blog entries as well. One could definitely benefit from the time/money through this approach. Great tips, & pls keep em coming

starving artist inc.

BootsNo Gravatar April 21, 2009

This is a great series, Karen, even for an old technophobe like me. I haven’t updated my portfolio in twelve years and the thought of having to put one together digitally was unsettling. It’s nice to see the different options.

Now if you could only fix my laziness, I’ll have one up in 5 years.

(P.S: “tofurkey and potatoes”??? Unforgivable.)

Karen J LloydNo Gravatar April 21, 2009

@ Rufin – You’re very welcome. It basically came down to good timing on your part. I just heard about Weebly, then you commented and had a Weebly site…so why not link to it? (Plus you did a nice job).

I think there’s lots of people working at Starving Artist Inc. these days! 😉

@ Boots – Hey, glad you’re enjoying them. I’m so focused on helping the newbie students that I forgot there’s a whole bunch of working pros that probably haven’t gotten their stuff online yet either.

A very good reminder.

Yeah. Laziness. You don’t see MY portfolio site around here, do you? 😉

(And I will admit I haven’t actually *tried* tofurkey, OK? It’s pricey stuff!)
K

DmitryNo Gravatar April 22, 2009

awesome info…its about time i change up my website for something simpler and more professional looking. I got a lotta weeds growing in my web garden that i gotta pull anyway…hell i need a whole structural makeover! Thanks again!

Karen J LloydNo Gravatar April 22, 2009

Hi Dmitry,

So glad you’re finding the info useful!

Weeds…eww. Must get rid of those weeds for sure. Good day to start…being Earth Day and all. 🙂
K

MaureenNo Gravatar April 23, 2009

Really glad my tip was helpful! =)

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