Site Building

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As an aspiring screenwriter and an undergraduate student in Creative and Professional Writing, I am part of some creative writing groups. One of them is connected to my university and one of the members were looking for tips on portfolios, blogs and websites.  After a conversation, she suggested I make a post about the three kinds of sites we talked about. Portfolio, Website and Blog.

Portfolio

When someone says they have a portfolio website, my mind immediately sees a site similar to Adobe’s Behance. They are great to show off a gallery of photos and artwork but are not great when it comes to a large quantity of text. That doesn’t mean they are useless or irrelevant, it completely depends on what you are looking for.

Like a blog, I would imagine a lot of portfolios would need to be updated frequently, and so this helps build followers and stats. These are more aimed at artists. People hoping to sell their artwork, such as photographs, digital art, sketches or crafts.

Often, the portfolio builder will include some form of reader or feature page where people can find your latest posts, advertising for you. I also find that they have a more user-author communication via comments and post sharing. Something that is rarely seen on a website.

Websites 

They tend to be used as static information. This means that it doesn’t need to be maintained often once it is fully set up. All the content can be found in the navigation panel. You can have a separate page tab for all of your site’s content. Have more influence on the layout of individual pages, add columns or tables and depending on the builder, edit the HTML. You can also edit while in the preview mode.

Websites are great if you want to have control of individual pages, but they’re not a blog so the information you put on them doesn’t change that often unless it is for something like a venue, e.g The Royal Albert Hall.

This can mean a personal website that is built for your CV may get neglected easily. I’ve been in that situation with my old website Disability Is Us. It looks tired and awful. It also means you would have to constantly promote the content to build up stats.

Update: I figured out how to redirect my old site to this site – here is a view from the edit mode of my old weebly site. 

Screen Shot 2017-11-20 at 10.10.01

Blogs

These are great for day-to-day writing. A bit like a longer version of my least favourite social media site, Twitter. They need to be used and updated on a regular basis and are open to the public.

Just like portfolios, they need to be updated on a regular basis to increase followers and stat views, and the chosen builder will have a reader section for others to find your blog.  Blogs can be any topic you like but are usually text-based with maybe 1 or 2 images. They also have the user-author communication via comments and post sharing just like the portfolio. Essentially, a blog is a text-based portfolio. I am currently using wordpress.

Hybrid

Most sites are a hybrid now. You can have a blog-website hybrid, a blog-portfolio hybrid a website-portfolio hybrid and it’s great. The blog-website hybrid is great for people who want their site to mainly have static information but have a section that constantly changes, giving the viewer more up-to-date information that would not work well on a static page.

The blog-website hybrid is great for people who want their site to mainly have static information but have a section that constantly changes, giving the viewer more up-to-date information that would not work well on a static page.

The blog-portfolio hybrid is great for artists who want to sell their work and give insight into their profession, hobbies and crafts. This engages the reader with the work that is being displayed on the site. This means the site will be changing constantly due to the gallery being updated with new artwork and the blog engaging the reader.

The website-portfolio hybrid would be great for some static text and show the artists work as they are created and uploaded to the website. The portfolio add-on may also make it so that part of the site is advertised for them.

 Conclusion

None of these are better than the other. They all offer different things, so it completely depends on what you are looking for. It is good to think about what kind of site you want, how you want the site to be promoted and what kind of audience you want to attract.



Tips

  • Keep the site looking like it can breathe.
    • Use your judgement on this.
      • Is it too cluttered, the text scattered everywhere, hardly any white space or border?
        • If yes change the theme to something more cleaner and less overwhelming
    • Does it have columns and do they work?
  •  Think about the audience you want to attract
    • The member I was speaking to wanted to show some of their written pieces and asked if they should do a static website or a blog. She could do either depending on what she wanted. If she wanted people to be engaged, she could write a blog post on the creative process of each piece and ask the reader about the piece. The piece could also be put on a static website, defined by genre or some other form.
      • Who do you want to attract and how do you want them to engage?
  • Keep to a schedule
    • I’m back at uni now, but my aim was and still is to post on every Monday, Thursday and Saturday. I feel this helps followers know when your next post will be.
  • See when you get the most views and post accordingly
  • Using it for a CV?
    • Don’t let it get neglected, if there is a 6-month gap where you haven’t posted (blog), they’ll probably notice.
  • Advertise on Social Media

 

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