How to Create a Professional Portfolio in a Day
Portfolio websites are some of the coolest pages you’ll find on the web. And if you’re hunting for jobs, or want to keep your options open, having a portfolio or at least a basic website with key information for recruiters is a must. Recruiters and hiring managers have come to expect an online portfolio or resume. And better yet, if you want to be discovered, having a website puts you on the map with Google. If you need a portfolio or a refresh on your old one, this post will walk you through the steps.
Step 1. Identify Your Goals and Audience
Before you create a portfolio site, it’s important to nail down these two ideas. If you simply create a portfolio based on what you like, that’s fine, but it may not be effective.
First, establish what your goals are. Is this portfolio a place to demonstrate your work experience and skills for a specific role? Or is it to build an audience around your artwork or writing and even sell some stuff? Those are two very different outcomes with different paths to get there.
Next, who is your audience? If you’re angling for a specific job type, or a significant career change, it’s important to do your homework on the recruiters and hiring managers you’ll be talking to. This means researching and reading job descriptions from the type of companies you want to work for, identifying the keywords and job requirements, and translating that information into a strategy for what goes in your portfolio and how it’s designed.
Step 2. Create a Strategy and Sitemap
Once you feel comfortable with your understanding of the career you want and the people who you want to view your portfolio, it’s time to strategize and map it out. This is a vital step because it will shape the direction of your site design and the content you include.
Depending on your goals and audience, you’ll need to assemble different content and create a navigation structure.
For example, if you’re trying to get a copywriting job, you’ll need to find what types of work and media are common among copywriting job requirements. Then, looking back at your history of work, try to assemble at least one example of each to include in your portfolio.
Aside from the work on your portfolio, determine what other features you’ll need to impress recruiters and managers or prospective clients. For example, if you’re advertising freelance work, there should be an easy way for clients to contact you right from your website. Or if you’re going for a writing position, or any for that matter, writing a blog about your profession can go a long way.
And remember, even if you don’t have the work to show yet, you can always create it. Taking classes with Udemy and creating example portfolio pieces is great experience and shows the scrappiness that a lot of companies look for.
Your sitemap is essentially a more concrete sketch of your strategy. Considering which pieces of work you need, and what information and features need to be included, how do all those pages and features work together, and where are they positioned on your site? What type of visual layout will present your work most effectively?
You can start by mapping out each step on paper, beginning with the home page. Define what you need on each page, and how the pages connect to each other. Keep your goal and audience in mind throughout this step, and don’t be afraid to make decisions. Your sitemap and layout are something you will continue to optimize and tweak over time.
There are many free tools available to help you research your audience, determine goals and assist with your website project.
- Resume builder by uptowork – This can help you create your resume and discover best practices for communicating your skills and experience.
- The best portfolio websites around – Use this list to explore ideas and find well-done portfolios in your industry.
- Trello – Keep all your tasks organized and create a timeline to get your portfolio done.
- GlooMaps – Create a visual sitemap for free and never lose track of your layout.
Step 3. Create Your Portfolio Website
If you have a goal, audience and sitemap concept ready, creating your portfolio website will be a breeze. From here on out, it’s about setting up your basic website infrastructure and making some design choices.
Website Hosting and Domain Name
Even though we all visit websites every day, a lot of us don’t know how that visit actually happens. Websites are basically files stored on servers connected to the internet, which your computer accesses and loads remotely. Website hosting companies provide the infrastructure for storing your website for others to access, and often provide domain names, which are like registered addresses for your websites, also known as URLs.
At MOJO Marketplace, WordPress is our primary tool because it offers amazing flexibility. With open source free and premium plugins, tools, and themes (design templates), you can really do anything without writing any code. And as you learn more and more, WordPress comes in handy for integrating cool technology and marketing tricks.
So once you have hosting, installing WordPress should be a breeze. You simply need to find the one-click WordPress install button provided by most hosting companies. This will be found in your control panel, or cPanel, and it will only take a few seconds. Your host will then email you some log in credentials for WordPress. You can then sign in to your WordPress admin dashboard—where you’ll customize your site and create content—by accessing your domain with /wp-admin added to the end, for example: yourdomain.com/wp-admin.
Choose a Portfolio WordPress Theme
Next, you’ll need a WordPress theme to build your portfolio with. WordPress themes are like templates for your website, which include a user interface for customizing your design, layout, and features. At MOJO we sell premium WordPress themes, which offer much more flexibility, customization, and powerful designs. You can find free WordPress themes, but you often run into limitations within the first minutes of customizing. In addition, many of our premium themes include demo designs which you can import. These will save you hours of work, and can be customized to fit your unique goals.
We’ve assembled our favorite portfolio themes as a starting point, but there are many many options on our marketplace.
Import Your Theme Demo and Customize
If you found a great design, why not use it as a starting point rather than trying to reinvent the wheel? That’s where importing a WordPress theme demo comes in handy. Some themes feature one-click demo imports, and you can get it done in minutes.
Follow these guides to import your demo and start customizing:
Put Your Work on the Map
Once you have a basic design in place, it’s time to get into the nitty gritty of adding your content. Most portfolio themes feature a specific portfolio module where you can add pieces, categorize them, and have automatic formatting applied based on your needs. As you work toward customizing and refining your portfolio, check out these guides to gain more insights: