by Rachel Smith
20 October 2019
I once had an editor say to me, “If you’re not online, you’re pretty much invisible.” Gulp. But, he was right – that’s the reality of our industry. My online portfolio is a few years old now and it’s not the easiest thing to update – so I see the appeal of these quick, easy site builders and portfolio platforms. Make a cuppa and get your new site sorted in an hour or two; it’s that easy.
Authory This is a platform built just for journalists and it’s quite a cool option if you don’t have a self-hosted portfolio of your own. It backs up every article you’ve written, even if the online outlet deletes it from their website. It’ll also search and find new articles and add it to your Authory page. You can create collections of articles – like ‘interviews’ or ‘health pieces’. And readers can also follow you via the platform and be notified when you’ve published something new. It costs $8/month if you pay annually in bulk.
Muck Rack Journalists and PR professionals can create a free profile here – and your clips, outlets and social media accounts are updated regularly. Once you’re verified in Muck Rack’s directory, you can track how your work is being shared, keep up with your colleagues’ updates, get targeted releases from PRs in your niche and find career opportunities. Cons? The interface is a bit blah, to be honest.
Journo Portfolio There’s a free plan here (10 uploads) or you can opt for a Plus plan ($5/month) with unlimited uploads or a Pro plan ($10/month). Pro gives you a https certificate, custom domain, unlimited uploads and pages, back-ups, password-protected portfolio and more. There are lots of beautiful templates to choose from, too.
Pressfolios This platform is aimed at journalists, reporters and editors, promising to get you online fast (no coding required). Prices start at $9.99 a month (for 250 story uploads) or $14.99/month for unlimited story uploads, back-ups and more. An easy way to start if you’re not super-technical, but you want something slick to show potential employers.
Contently Its blog for freelancers is hugely valuable and that’s what initially lured me to this US content agency, which is always looking for journalists with strong credentials and high-profile clippings. I know some Australian journos get a lot of regular work through this platform, but I’m not one of them (despite having a profile for years, updating it quite regularly and working in similar fields to the call-outs they post). When building your portfolio, the site will search for your articles via domain names you plug in, but if nothing is found you need to enter URLs manually. (The opposite can happen too, where the site will pull in heaps of stories from a domain name that aren’t yours, so check your profile carefully.) Also, if older stories disappear from where they originally ran, they do from here too, you’ll need to update your profile.
Squarespace This website builder is famous for its beautiful themes – many people think they are superior to those available on WordPress.org. So if you want something you can create fairly quickly, this platform’s drag’n’drop capability (and the chance to code when required) could be the ticket. Top points for being able to achieve gorgeous, professional results in record time.
LinkedIn. Still not a member of this glorified online CV site? You should be – I’m often approached for work on LinkedIn. I also send my LinkedIn URL to potential employers far more than I do my personal online portfolio. The more connections you have and the more updated and targeted your profile, the better. It’s also really easy to export your profile in a CV format, too, by clicking ‘edit’ and ‘export to pdf’.
About.me If you favour the minimalist approach, you can build this one-page site in half an hour – all you need is a great holding pic, a short bio and links to any social media accounts you hold. For inspiration, don’t forget to take a peek at the most popular About.me pages – I’m sure Richard Branson is on here somewhere. It’s free for a basic page but if you want more features, it’s $6.58/month.
WordPress The big cheese of millions of websites and blogs. The content management system is intuitive and super powerful with loads of plugins, themes and ability to customise, but this isn’t a put-your-site-up-today option. (You may want a web designer to tweak bits and pieces for you). Opt for self-hosted WordPress.org – far more professional.
Wix Several years ago, Wix got a bad rap for creating sites that that struggled to rank on Google, but I’ve heard that isn’t so much a problem anymore. And for beginners who want a proper website to showcase their work as opposed to a splash page, Wix is a pretty easy option thanks to drag’n’drop functionality and lots of optimisation options. The only drawback is, you can change your theme once your site goes live – which is a pain if you get bored with your site and want to refresh it with a new theme every couple of years.
Clippings.me Easy to customise and another great way for any online newbie to showcase their work as a writer, journo, blogger, designer etc. An online portfolio created here is showcased in the directory and there’s a US / UK jobs board to check out, too.
Have you already got a website? Or do you use one of these? Leave the URL in the comments – I’d love to check it out!
Main image: Nathan Dumlao