Relaunch of my portfolio site – part 1: Own portfolio site vs. online portfolio site

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There are beautiful portfolio sites out there in the web and I wanted to redo my portfolio site because like most of the websites of designers my site was:

  1. Quite out of date
  2. Not very compelling any more

The reasons because my site was like this are easy to find. If you are a busy designer you mostly don’t have time to update your site. In the last years I  started a blog and used twitter to engage with my audience, so the time for the portfolio is even smaller. Maintaining a portfolio site is not as easy and there are many big sites where you can upload your portfolio. The question was, what should I do.

Hosting the own portfolio site

The good

  • Once the visitor is on your site all eye-balls are on your projects.
  • You can make a design you choose
  • You are not limited on how many project, what media, how many pictures and text etc.
  • Basically you are in control

The bad

  • Hosting a site is not always cheap, not only the cost of the hosting, but also the cost in time to maintain it (yes you have to maintain it like your pc)
  • You have to be fit to get better results (design wise speaking) than the established portfolio sites
  • You have to advertise your site to get any visitors
  • If you are not a web-programmer you must look for a developer in order to setup the site

Using a portfolio site

The good

  • You don’t have to manage a website
  • The design is optimized for portfolio presentation
  • There are already many users on the site
  • You can use them as a social network and find job opportunities

The bad

  • You are one among many – The distinction between a Pro and a Student is difficult
  • There is advertising which is competing with you for attention
  • Integration with Twitter and other Social Media is only sometimes possible
  • You are limited by the site on how to present your work

Conclusion

You can see that there are advantages and disadvantages as usual when you have to take a decision. It would be easy to say to do both and get out the most of it – but in the end your time should not just be consumed to do your portfolio.

I opted for a self-hosted portfolio site because I already maintain a few sites (like this one) – but will also have some key projects uploaded to the portfolio sites. To minimize the effort of maintaining multiple presences I write the content for my portfolio in a way to reuse it when I need to.

More on how I setup my portfolio site and how I structure it in a future blog post.

(image © Cameron Whitman on Istockphoto)