Making a personal website gives you a platform to display for projects and side passions to a perspective employer or anyone who happens to be googling you. Panelists Azita Houshiar, Annie Malarkey, and Christine Cha discussed what elements should go on a website and tips and tricks to building a great site in the session “Your Name on the Small Screen: Build A Stellar Online Portfolio with Any Background” at FindSpark’s Find & Follow Your Passion Conference.
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Houshiar, a freelance illustrator and writer, and blogger for Fig and Quince, uses her site to display her artwork and projects. “Having a website should be a corner stone of your online branding strategy,” she said. A website should be the manifestation of your “elevator pitch,” only you get to control how you and your work come across. This takes out the spontaneity and nerves and allows your work to speak for itself.
How to Build Your Site (Without Running Away Screaming)
Annie Malarkey, Strategic Partnerships Manager at Wix, is the first to admit making your online portfolio is a daunting task. But she broke it down into a few easy steps.
- Define Your Goals. Before opening your laptop, take out a piece of paper and a pencil and make a list of things that you want to come across on your site; this is time to think about you.
- Don’t get overwhelmed
- Think about your audience
- Think about your personal brand– who will see my site and what do I want them to see?
- Do your research. Sift through other sites and pick out what you like, make a document with links to all of your favorites.
- Build Content.
- Write on paper, don’t type, your about me and one eye-grabbing line.
- Pick your categories: about me, portfolio, contact and social links, etc.
- Choose your photos and videos that will add to your site.
- Include your personal links to other work and sites
- Complete this checklist:
- Include your personal links to other work and sites.
- Contact information is displayed. Recruiters are not going to work very hard to contact you; make it easy for them.
- Resume in text and PDF. This way key words from your resume will help Google find your website (but you should still have a downloadable PDF version).
- Special projects—you have the chance to show-off, take it. Keep everything in one place.
- “About Me” section with a professional headshot and your bio. This will be your virtual handshake and first impression.
- A link to your blog to increase your blog’s SEO.
- Remember: the more content you create, the better. As you change, your website can and should change as well.
Tips, Tricks and Guidelines
Christine Cha, Community Outreach Manager at Wix, shares her tips for making a great site.
- Focal points will help you prioritize what people will see. Don’t make every focal point big and bold; if focal points compete it is difficult to see any at all.
- Use big, beautiful images; this is not only for artists, any kind of personal website should be visually appealing. Pull people in with interesting pictures.
- Use these three ways to crate huge impact:
- Don’t be afraid of white space, give it breathing room. You don’t want people to feel cramped and overwhelmed while looking at your site.
- Steal all the ideas you find in the Internet. Find a beautiful site and try to copy it exactly; this will be a great learning experience and help you create a sleek look you know you will like.
- Hint: if you find that you are putting so much that you need boxes and lines, your site is too cramped. Boxes and lines should not be for organization, just decoration.
- Set mood by setting limits on color and fonts
- Select color pallet with three colors max. The pallet will set the mood for your website. Once you find a color you love, make it your color by copying down its tag number and include it on everything from business cards to your blog.
- Fonts can also change the feel of a site. Choose a family of three fonts for your titles, subtitles and body text. The title font is for your headers only and can be a little more creative. Subheads and body text should be super legible and sleek. Remember people are looking for someone professional and dependable; pick a font that will be taking seriously.
- Tools for easy photo editing:
- Get inspired: visit these sites to see some great examples.
Have you built your own website? Share your link or tips below.
Special thanks to our partner: Wix
Special thanks to our partner Wix.com. Wix enables you to build a free and professional website, just the way you want it. With an HTML5 drag-and-drop website editor, designer-made templates, and tons of features, Wix gives you the tools to launch and manage your online presence. Click here to make your free Wix account and visit wixontheroad.com to find a free Wix event in your city!