So, we’re writers, we aren’t meant for website design, right? WRONG. We can totally rock our own website when building our online portfolio and I will show you how!
Before we get into it, I have a free gift for you. If you are just beginning your writing career or at a loss for what to include in your writing portfolio, my guide to building a portfolio with little or no professional writing experience is exactly what you need. You’ll have a portfolio you can feel great about without even needing to be hired in order to have samples of your work! Check it out:
Thanks to the development of today’s technology and whatever else the internet gods did to get us to where we are today, anyone and everyone can make their own website very easily—and in most cases, for free!
Here are a few website services that I recommend using that are either free or should include a free trial as of this post’s publication:
- Square Space
Any of these are solid options for online portfolios. I have used or tested out all three of these platforms myself and fully recommend any of them (and nope, none of them are sponsoring me in any way).
Lay it all out
So once you choose the platform for your website, it’s time to lay it out! These are the five pages I recommend for your portfolio.
1. Home page
This is a simple page that communicates what is going to be on your website and gives visitors a starting point.
If you’d like to share your education, certifications, other academic achievements, or other related accomplishments, here is where to put them.
3. Writing samples
Link to articles and other samples you have written whether it is a link to a published article or to a document to read your sample. This is also where you can share the link to your blog if you have it.
Tell your visitor a little more about you, your career goals, and your writing passion (kinda like the “about” section in your LinkedIn profile).
Provide your relevant contact information. If you don’t want to display your address, these platforms will have the option to create a contact form where someone can fill it out and submit their information and message to you, and it will be sent straight to your email.
Your website should clearly express everything important about you and communicate why you are the writer to hire for your website visitors. To do this, it has to be clear and organized.
Let’s take a look at some examples for a better idea (you can also watch the video at the beginning of this post for a walk-through of the following online portfolios).
Rebecca Hobson, a writer for Vice, BBC, and The Times, has a clean and professional portfolio that encompasses a lot of what I mentioned above. Here are some elements of her online portfolio that I like (see the YouTube video above for what it looks like. She must have taken it down so I can’t include a link to it anymore booo):
- She has a clean home page with a professional picture of her, it tells you who she is (“Writer”), and clear navigation menu.
- Her work is well organized into categories with clear headings to show exactly what she’s done.
- Her about page has a nice personal touch of her and her child and offers a good background of her to learn more about who she is.
- Her CV/resume page is well organized using proper spacing, font styles, lists, clear headings, and short paragraphs.
- Her contact page is simple with her phone number and email listed.
- Her social icons are visible on every page.
- Her navigation menu is visible on every page.
- When you click on her name, it brings you right back to the home page (a standard feature for most websites and what most site visitors expect).
I also wanted to show you my online portfolio as another example. These are some key features I include:
- I have a simple home page with my name in the header, a headline to show who I am, and two buttons that direct visitors to a couple key pages.
- I have hero images at the top of each page to break up the text and add another media/visual element to each page.
- My writing samples are displayed with an image, title, a couple have a brief blurb about them, and “Read more” text to entice visitors to access my samples.
- I include a link to my author blog in the navigation menu to make it stand out and increase the likelihood of someone to visit my blog.
- My contact page has a simple contact form for visitors to submit a message to me.
- My social icons are always visible in the header and footer of the website.
For me, the simpler you can make your portfolio, the easier it is to navigate and for your site visitors to understand who you are and what you do. You don’t want to make it difficult with confusing navigation, cluttered pages, or disorganized content.
Taking the next step
Now that you have an idea of how to organize your portfolio, what are some of the other essential elements of an online portfolio that can make it stand out and do its job? It takes more than just organization to catch the eye of your prospects. Take a look!