I created my first portfolio website as a class assignment in film school. It felt so professional to have some online real estate to call my own (that wasn't just a free blog from Blogger)! Flash forward a few years, and I couldn't do business without my website. Social media pages are helpful too, but nothing beats a personal site that you can have full control over. A personal portfolio website gives you a place to display your work online, where potential customers, clients, and employers can easily see it.
Running a small business is all but impossible without a website nowadays. And if you are a performer or a freelancer, a website is a a must for booking more gigs. If you're in a creative field - an actor, filmmaker, musician, writer, crafter, or artist - you can display creative work in ways you never could on paper. For some job applications, a portfolio website is even a requirement.
But before you get into the nitty-gritty of themes, domains, and plugins (and before you spend money), here's where to start.
1. Gather your best work and digitize it.
Depending on your creative medium, you might need to take photographs of your art, record you music, edit a demo reel of your acting work, etc. Make sure your work examples are high-quality, and that photographs are professional looking, clear, and bright. A portfolio is all about quality over quantity. Even if you don't have a lot of work to show, make sure you choose only your best. And if you do have a lot of work to choose from, feature the type of work you'd like to do more of.
2. Write your About page.
This needs to be really good, because an About page is generally the 2nd most visited page on any website. Write with personality - be you. Stumped for what to say? Some ideas are: professional accomplishments, educational background, what drives you creatively, personal/family details, quirky fun facts. This is one major place on your website that your voice needs to shine through.
3. Decide what sections you want to have on your site.
To start with, you'll definitely need a Home page, About page, Contact page, and a page for your portfolio of work. If you have different types of work, you could organize it on different pages, by category. (Example: If you're a voice-over artist, you could have one page for audio books, and another page for commercials.) In additions, some other pages you could have are: a blog, a photo gallery, a services page, a sales or product page, a testimonials page, a resume page, a press/media page, etc. Think about WHO will be visiting your website. What will they need to see before they decide to hire/purchase from you?
4. Decide a few basic details for the design of your site.
Do you prefer a one-page site, or a more traditional layout? What are two or three main colors you'd like? Do you want a site with lots of photos, or with more space for written content? These choices will help you as you look for a website theme (i.e. template).
5. Decide on a domain name.
This is the "www.yoursitename.com." You could choose to use your name as your domain, or you business name if you have one. But if those are common and are already in use by someone else, you might have to get creative with your domain. Before deciding on one, put the name in Google and see what other sites turn up with similar names. Will your site be able to stand out from these, or do you need something more original? You can research and purchase a domain name on several different domain registrar websites, and one of the most well-known ones is GoDaddy.com. If you build your website with a platform like Wordpress or Wix, you can purchase your domain there, at the same time you purchase your web hosting plan, and save a little money.
Do these 5 steps, before you purchase a web hosting plan or domain name, because those purchases are annual subscriptions. So it's smarter to get these tasks out of the way before you start paying for annual plans.
There are great platforms out there for building your own website, like Wix, Wordpress, or Squarespace. But if you want to get your site up and running quickly, without the time and hassle of learning how to do it yourself, I can help.
I'll provide questionnaire guides that make it super-easy for you to make design
choices for your website. In addition a website custom-built from scratch, you can get help with copy-editing and proofreading, branding, and graphic design, and social media integration for your website. 5-page websites start at $300. Email me to find out more!