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Creating a Site: What You Need To Know!

In the centre is a laptop. A mobile is on the right, a cup underneath the mobile. On the left, is a notebook and pen.

Thinking of creating your own site?

Maybe you are like me, a writer who wants to share your thoughts, not only on writing but on other things too—current affairs, films, travel. Or maybe you want to get people to a venue you hire on a regular basis. Maybe you are trying to sell your creations and you feel that a website would be a great source to use. But where do you start building your site?

As an aspiring screenwriter and a graduate in Creative and Professional Writing, I am part of some creative writing groups. A member from a group connected to my university asked 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 imagine a lot of portfolios need to be updated frequently. 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 more user-author communication via comments and post sharing. Something that’s rarely seen on a website.

Websites

Websites are used for static information. The information rarely changes after the initial setup. Therefore, it’s less maintenance than a blog or portfolio.

All the content can be found in the navigation panel. So, 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.

Sometimes, you do have to constantly promote, but at least WordPress gives beginners a helping hand. Here is a view from the edit mode of my old Weebly site.

Disability is us homepage. The site banner of the site is below the menu bar. Three columbs are below the banner.

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 sites

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 website types 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

I hope you have found this post useful. Please do let me know how your own website building goes and do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to guest post on Little Sea Bear. While you are here, why don’t you look at how I plan to keep Little Sea Bear up-to-date?

~Shannon

And please don’t forget to follow us on here, on facebook or on twitter.

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