Well I may as well finish off this series about online portfolios and the like.
Then those of you who are digging it can know all the information I want to share. And those who are bored to tears can say, “Uh, thank Gawd that’s over with!”
So there was the online-presence stuff with the warning not to be an ass on the internet and why are you hiding on the internet?. Then some online portfolio stuff with why you have that blog to begin with and what to do with that portfolio blog you already have and some other free website options you have available.
Which takes us to the last steps in an online portfolio.
The ‘Not Free’.
Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it sounds. We’ll take it in baby steps.
If you have a bit of money to spare, I would suggest you invest in a domain name. It could be your name, a business name or something else. For a personal portfolio, it’s probably a good idea to have your own name registered.
But it’s up to you.
If you go with something else, just make it easy to remember and easy to spell.
Don’t be clever, be clear.
The best test is to tell the name to someone and see how they would naturally spell it. Using “2” for “to” may not be the best idea. And dashes can be a pain in the ass too.
Put some thought into this before you buy one.
Then when you’re ready, you can use any number of domain registrars. There are tons of them. You can get a domain for a year for under $10.
One word of caution is to find out what the second year costs.
I got burned on this when a certain company *coughyahoocough* suddenly decided to up their renewal costs to $35 a year! Out of nowhere!
I switched to a much saner hosting service, Dynadot and am quite happy with them. And no hidden costs looming about. Check them out and shop around.
Like I said, there are many others.
Now put that domain somewhere.
If you are quite content with your Blogger site, you can point it there and look a little more professional. Here’s how you can to that. I believe it’s free.
Now, without getting too technical, you should know there’s a difference between FORWARDING a domain and MAPPING a domain.
When you forward it, you’re just telling your domain to point somewhere. But then the actual domain will still show up in the browser (like “yoursite.wordpress.com”).
When you map it, you change more settings so that your registered domain name will show up in the browser (the one you bought).
You need to do more technical things to map it, but it’s really not as difficult as the free services make it out to be. They tell you that so you will register your domain with them (usually at a much higher cost than Dynadot or GoDaddy. Don’t fall for it).
Yay, you have a domain! Now what?
Well, if you have a little more money, you can make the jump to paying for hosting and truly owning your site. You have full control over your portfolio and can do whatever you want with it.
I think it’s a good idea if you are serious about your career.
Hosting costs are really reasonable when you shop around. I’m quite happy my hosting service. I use Canadian Web Hosting and not just because they’re based here in Vancouver (which I think is great).
The price was right. It’s Canadian dollars, so it’s good for Canadians (and maybe Australians too? Aren’t we in the same boat money-wise?).
And Americans can save a bunch with the crappy (for us) exchange right now. It has one-click installs for WordPress and other applications just like GoDaddy has. And it starts as low as $3.95 a month.
But shop around and find one you like. Don’t think you can afford that? For your career?
I mean, come ON.
How much was that new iThingy you bought?
Once you have hosting, you can stay cheap by using WordPress.org as your platform. This is different than WordPress.com (the free hosting site). You have to install it yourself and upload stuff and use an FTP thing and maybe work with a bit of code and all that.
I found it really helpful to start with the free WordPress.com site to get my feet wet. You can’t really screw it up.
Just keep in mind there’s a bit more to screw up in the self-hosted one. There is definitely a learning curve there!
But the up side is there are lots more features and many free themes to choose from. And premium themes too (which cost money).
They lay the groundwork for your content though. You don’t need to know much about web design or hire a designer to get a decent looking site up quickly. And you can edit everything yourself.
This is what my site is built on. I figured it all out and I’m old. Ish.
And I didn’t know squat about HTML.
So there you go. It can be done!
Got a bucket of money laying around?
Then you could hire a web designer and get something unique and very cool done for your portfolio site. Or maybe you know how to do all that yourself. Cool!
Just remember to still keep it clean, easy to navigate and not overly complex. All that Flash stuff can look nice, but it’s also a pain in the ass sometimes.
Don’t use it just because you can.
This post is long enough isn’t it? Hmm…maybe I’m not totally done with this subject.
But I’ll take a break from it for a while, okay?
Just remember you don’t have to run out and do all this now. Get your feet wet with a free site if all this scares you right now.
You can take those baby steps when you’re ready. Or not.
The important thing is get something up. That works and looks nice.
Back to some ‘story stuff’ next time so I can stop feeling like a “blogger who blogs about blogging”.
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