When it’s Time to Build a Portfolio Website

After a few years of blogging, I noticed the business card situation was getting a little wonky. In any given conversation we could be talking about IFB, The Coveted, eat, sleep, denim.. or Evolving Influence and that didn't even count the times people could be inquiring about consulting, and that certainly does not fit into the editorial calendars of any fashion blog. I had multiple cards, cards with all the sites listed, handing a card from IFB saying I had another site called The Coveted. It was a mess, and don't even get me started when people ask what I do for a living.

 

Coveted Media was an idea born out of trying to consolidate all my web properties as well as a single branded entity. I had set up an LLC under that name and got the web domain, and set up the website as a portfolio to showcase the work I can do. The great thing about this is that I can develop external projects, and grow my career beyond the blogs themselves.

 

When You Know It's Time

You don't have to have a ton of sites, or wait four years like I did. Any time you decide to start your business, it's a good time to set up a website. If you are looking to grow your business beyond your blog, it's important to have a site that showcases your blog(s), provides descriptions of the services and the value you can provide your potential clients so they have have a single resource to view your skills.

 

You Already Have the Skills To Build Your Portfolio

If you built your blog, you have the skills to put together a portfolio site. The truth is, many companies use blog content management systems (CMS) like WordPress.org to power their websites. The trick is using a theme that is flexible enough to communicate that message you want. I ended up using Boast on Woothemes for CovetedMedia.com and stripped it down to adhere to my liking, taking out all the dates and comments as it doesn't function like a blog where new content is posted daily and users come there to interact. Using WordPress to power the site has a lot of benefits, one being updatable on the front end and the back end, two you can create user accounts so others can help manage content to keep things fresh and three it's a hell of a lot easier and cheaper than building your own html site or paying someone else to do it.

 

It's Always a Work in Progress

My good friend Wendy Brandes likes to say, “Perfect is the enemy of good.” In other words, your site doesn't have to be perfect and the most kick ass destination on the internet. The fact it exists is good enough. Have your work listed, a little bit about you and what you can do. Provide enough information so visitors can get an idea of what you're about,  but also provide them a reason to get in touch with you (if that's what you want).

For me, the truth is, I'm still figuring out what I'm good at. There are certain things that have a proven track record, and I have a reputation for (hopefully a good one). Since I'm still discovering what it is that makes my services so unique the website is great for being flexible enough to grow with my career.

 

What Do You Want Your Career to Look Like?

The beauty of building a portfolio site is that you can create a vision for the career you always wanted. It helps to make it a reality once you start making it really happen. Of course, don't make stuff up… it's so important that the portfolio site presents facts like a resume would, because nothing is tackier than misrepresentation. A portfolio site can help shape your career by showcasing the very skills that make your unique qualities valuable.

 

To see what my portfolio site looks like visit CovetedMedia.com and follow me on Twitter.com/covetedmedia to see my external projects!

 

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33 Responses

  1. MARLEY SIMONE

    Great post! I really appreciate all the information you are putting out there because it is truly helping me carve out a path to success. I was always bashful to admit that I myself don’t really know what I am good at perse. I mean, I know what I can do and what my capabilities are and what my strong points are. I know what has lead me to starting a fashion blog and being a stylist, but there are so many other areas that I need to tap into. It is a process and while I work to build my business, ultimately, I’m building a new career from the ground up!

    Thank you so much and keep it coming!

    Cheers!
    S

    Reply
  2. Mikelle S

    This is a really good idea! When I finally start consistently making money from the stuff I do I’ll have to invest some of it into doing this because otherwise you can sometimes come off as being schizo and indecisive lol

    Reply
  3. keira

    Great topic. I was in class learning about social media the other day and the value of blogs are so important, not only to just talk but to interact and make people feel compelled to be involved in meaningful convo’s!

    Thanks for posting!

    Reply
  4. Marissa

    Thank you for this! I’m a freelance writer in addition to being a blogger, and I’ve wondered for a while now if I should add a tab to my blog for an online portfolio. Maybe the solution is to create an online portfolio with a link to my blog? I’m still not entirely sure, but at least you’ve got me thinking.

    Reply
  5. Rachel @ a la Modest

    It’s definitely important to build a portfolio site to put all your works together. I have a lot of different projects and not all of them are fashion-related—thank God they aren’t all! Being well-rounded and skilled in many areas require a portfolio to sum yourself up so that potential clients can be able to see more of your personality and the variety of skills you have.

    Although I have this ideal, I have not updated my portfolio in a long time! I am both a fashion blogger and a web designer, and so I have two skill sets that you will find in my resume and portfolio.

    Reply
    • Jennine Jacob

      oh yeah, the portfolio sites always get neglected the most… but not to worry! everyone is in the same boat! i’m sure it’s presentable!

      Reply
  6. Bella Q

    As usual you share generously what you learn. Thank you! I am glad not only that your are consolidating your brand wit your portfolio site but this helps me figure out a few things- I laughed out loud at the biz cards since I now run 3 website for myself and 1 freelance for a local business, and cards with all the sites, yeah still need to work this out. So thank you for giving me something to think about.

    Off to check out your empire. xo. -Bella Q

    Reply
  7. Mallory

    Your portfolio site looks great! I definitely know what you mean, and it IS sometimes hard to explain to people what I do, since my blog came first, and now I have a shop, where I sell not only the stuff I make, but the stuff other people make too. All that plus any other random projects I have going on. I’ve thought about doing a resume type portfolio site for awhile – maybe I should get off my butt and build it, just in case.

    Reply
    • Jennine Jacob

      thanks! yeah, i kind of felt like i needed a site to legitimize the projects. people approach me about doing random things, and it’s always awkward just because i feel like it’s not legitimate. having he website helps curb that!

      Reply
  8. Vanja Stace

    Great advice, as always. Love Coveted Media site it’s so clean and professional. Great job!

    Reply
  9. Fajr | Stylish Thought

    You are awesome! I love that you say “If you built your blog, you have the skills to put together a portfolio site.” So many times we wait for others to validate us when don’t need the validation.

    Having a portfolio site makes things more concrete and definitely serves a central hub.

    Reply
  10. Kb

    This is a really great post for me! I’ve recently bought a domain for what I want my portfolio site to be but have no idea how I might set it up! WordPress is definitely an option, ultimately I want it to have a different look and feel to my blog but to all be a part of the same thing.

    Reply
  11. Cameron

    This. I was thinking about CM ever since I first saw the name on that C&D from last month, which had me thinking I should follow in your footsteps and roll my own.

    I would love to see an article about incorporating as an LLC, such as how much and where to incorporate, as well as any pros and cons.

    Congratulations on your consolidation madame. Can’t wait to see where this goes!

    Reply
  12. Casee Marie

    “Perfect is the enemy of good,” I love that. And thank you very much for the post, it was a great read and so informative. A few years ago I dabbled in freelance web design and maintained an online portfolio of both my design work and fictional writings, but when I moved on from the design I gave up the site. As I’m growing more and more fond of the idea of publishing a novel it will be great to reestablish a portfolio with the focus on that, and working my blog’s writing into it as well. Dreaming big!

    P.S. I feel rather silly for saying this because you’re the Jennine Jacob so it’s rather like stating the obvious, but you’re a wonderful writer! This post was so well done.

    Reply
  13. sarah

    really good advice. it’s given me something to think about if i decide to start a business and wanted to build up a career 🙂

    Reply
  14. eyeliah

    Great tips (as always). I recently set up a yoga website, it makes me feel much more professional and will be a great resource as my career grows. If I end up rejuvenating The Eyeline or adding another blog I will definitely put together another portfolio site. 🙂

    Reply
  15. de la Pen

    Very insightful post! I have a website for my new company and I page that links to it on my blog. However, I do think I need to put together some type of portfolio site where you can see all my work.

    B/c right now my business’ website is just for info about my company it doesn’t really showcase our work. You’re right, Jennine it’s impossible to have the perfect site, there’s always changes and improvements to be made. Still an awesome post though!

    Reply
  16. Sarah G

    I love the idea of a website as a “portfolio.” It’s so obvious, but I guess I neededto hear it in your words. I paint and sew and….(you get it) I have always felt unorganized in my web presence.

    Reply
  17. Ayanna Scott

    This is a really great article. I too have multiple projects and I find it hard to explain to people how my media, blog and styling company all integrate. I’m so glad to read this, it’s reasuring to know I’m not the only one who would rather have ONE site where ppl can see all of my work, projects and see how my services can benifit their business.

    I find myself taking a deep breath when asked what I do for a living! My biz card doesn’t do ME justice. I purchased my domain name and secure the LLC last month! Yay!

    Reply
  18. Marie Denee

    This is what I needed right now… I have been tabling doing a site like this for a minute because I was not sure just if it was what I needed, but again… thanks to YOUR leadership and amazing generosity of knowledge, I am more motivated than ever! YOU ROCK!!!!

    Reply
  19. Sandra at Debutante

    I need to get on the ball with a portfolio site myself. With DebutanteClothing.com and now VintageFindIt.com, I really would like to centralize everything and show off my vintage sites. I think a portfolio site really extends your personal branding. That is so important to me right now.

    I have owned the domain name DoubleLifeMedia.com for about 5 years because in my little head, I was already a media company. If I don’t believe it who will right?

    But now I feel like I should have a “vintage” name. What do you think?

    Reply
  20. Retro Chick

    That’s a great idea. I’ve just started another website and I’m finding myself in the same situation with business cards! I’ve also started branching out into events management and have been considering consulting. I might have to look into doing something like this.

    Reply
  21. Repius

    It’s definitely important to build a portfolio site to put all your works together. I am using opresume.com provides a free career website you can post your resume and portfolio online.

    Reply