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Career Essentials: Portfolio Website

If you're not familiar with what this is, I can make this very easy for you. Scroll to the top of this webpage, and hit that button that looks like a house. Voila, you're at a portfolio website. For those of us who have a body of work that extends beyond a day job or a sole business, you need a place to house all of that information. Before you dive into the work of creating one, let's explore whether you need it, because it requires a good deal of work up front, and upkeep going forward.

If you're building your career based on a steady progression within one company at a time, you can do a fine job of building your portfolio on LinkedIn. It has options to add some of your finest work, such as a slideshow presentation with a phenomenal project proposal, a video of a talk you give to a group, or any other samples. You can build it like your resume on steroids, and thanks to the recommendation feature, people that you've worked with can say nice things about you (and you can do the same for them). This works best for people working white-collar roles, but can easily be manipulated for others.

If you're building a business, your business' website can house information about you as the founder in an About page. Indeed the more information you can include about your bona fides, the more credence you can lend to your service or product. When you begin to produce additional value-added content, you can branch it out to a blog, but you need to be careful that Brand You doesn't eclipse your business' brand.

When you start creating the kind of contact that you want to leverage in other ways, either to really set you apart as a thought leader, or to monetize, you are going to want to create a portfolio site. Anyone in a creative field, in my opinion, can skip directly to this step, because of the varying types of content channels available to you, and the frequent need to show a portfolio to book gigs and get hired to even conventional roles.

Now that we've made that decision, we have a few more to make, such as where to build and host it. There are a quite a few choices out there, and I'm not here to endorse any in particular, but you should consider a few factors:

1. Cost vs. Value: Compare the offerings on the varying platforms to determine what you're going to get with your dollar, not only considering the tools for building your site, but also how much storage you get. An artist will have a lot of graphics to upload, which means a lot of data, which can increase the price dramatically.

2. User Friendliness. Some website builders make it easy enough my three year old could make her portfolio website (heavy on the crayons). Some only look really polished if you have at least a rudimentary knowledge of how websites work and what makes them work well. You don't want your page looking like an early-00s Geocities page, so pick one that you can work (and if you fall flat in the effort, just give me a call).

3. Domain. The domain is the part that comes between the Ws and the dot com. If you happen to have a name that hasn't already been taken (I knew I would be safe in this regard), you can register your name and make it work very nicely. However, learn from my fail - if your name is difficult to spell, it may be difficult for people to get there. But I'm here, so I'm making it work! N.B. Subscribers - you're getting an extra treat this week: how to get an email address that pairs with your domain at no cost!

Alright, that's a lot to think about, so let's stop there for now. We've got a long way to go before we're done, but we're in it together! Send me your comments and questions as always, and as a bonus, check Instagram for how I carried my branding through to my business card.

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