17 Tips to Create Your Own Writing Portfolio Website

We’re living in a digital age. Writers face more competition than ever before to secure, and then cement, stable positions within their chosen industries. A writing portfolio website that clearly promotes your experience and talent, while highlighting your published work, will make this goal more achievable. For the purpose of this article I’ve chosen to use my personal writing portfolio site, The White Padded Cell, as my example. Here are 17 tips to create your own writing portfolio website:-


01. Choose and register a memorable domain name

It’s important to share a little about who you are through your domain name, so think seriously about the name you decide on.  Selecting an original domain name that generates interest immediately prompts the reader to want to investigate and learn more.

Be original and slightly obscure if you want, but make sure you explain the reasons for your website’s name when you build your site if it isn’t immediately and obviously clear. After you choose the domain name that’s appropriate for you, check its availability online and register it.

Why The White Padded Cell

02. Select a Content Management System that suits your design ability

It is important that, if you’re building your own website, you choose the right platform to suit your budget, your web-building ability and your personal needs. There are numerous open-source content management systems available that don’t require HTML, CSS or JavaScript coding knowledge to use.

Personally I use WordPress as it is easy to use and affords its users a variety of web building options. Recent surveys have revealed that WordPress powers close to half of the websites on the internet! There are other options worth investigating though – Joomla, Drupal and Wix are all worth investigating. Ultimately it’s your choice.


03. Consider creating a professional website and blog

A professional website provides validation with future clients. Having your own blog is a way to keep growing your writing work on a regular basis and to publicly present your talents. Post regularly on your blog to ensure continuity. Quality, up-to-date content from another website or blog will always add substance to a portfolio.

My Professional Blog

04. Use concise and simple content and copy

When you’re adding your creative website content and copy, keep the words and sentences in your portfolio short and concise. You are promoting yourself and your experience so don’t overwhelm website visitors with too much gloss. Keep things simple in order to draw appreciation.


05. Be personal but keep professional

Use a professional tone in your portfolio. Your writing portfolio is part of your resume so don’t be overly familiar. Show your personal side with humour or emotion but don’t overstep boundaries – your target audience is made up of people who you’re asking to part with money, so impress them with your professionalism.


06. Use white space

Leave enough white space between your samples and other details. If your prospective customer or employer can see your content easily, responses are likely to be more positive. A cluttered website doesn’t encourage easy navigation.


07. Include a recent photo

Include a photograph that shows what you currently look like and update it every few months. Be as honest and real with your appearance as you are in your writing.

An Up-to-date Image on My Writing Portfolio

08. Highlight your contact details

Make sure your contact details are easily noticeable. After all, you’re looking for work or assignments so a potential client or employer should never have to struggle to find ways to make contact with you.

Personally, I’ve positioned my “Contact Me” page directly underneath my home page to make it stand out. I also provide various links and contact details on other pages to make myself easier to contact.

‘Contact Me’ Details Highlighted

09. Display all your good work

List all of your articles, reports, blog posts or anything else you’ve written. Also, it’s important to include relevant links to these. Try to keep your work in chronological order, from the most recent backwards. This will give any interested parties easy access to view your most recent work and observe how you may have grown over time.

An Example of Listed Work

10. Identify your genres and niches

As a writer it’s great to have a broad genre knowledge but you don’t want to come across as somebody who isn’t expert in the genres you write about.  Make sure your portfolio targets your niches. Display a first class knowledge in everything you write about. Rather leave out any content you think may be ‘wishy washy’.


11. Display your versatility

Potential clients or employers are keen to see how versatile a writer is, and displaying your various niches and genres will show how adaptable and knowledgeable you are. Position the different genres of your writing on separate website pages to make them easy to identify.

A Way of Highlighting Genres

12. Summarise the genres of your writing

The summaries you give as introductions to your genre pages show how well you can create content, and that you understand your topics and your target audiences. Your potential client or employer will notice this.

A Genre Summary Example

13. Create an ‘About’ page

Write a page about yourself. Include why you love writing, and what your other passions, interests and hobbies are. Those reading will appreciate knowing your background and a little about who you are as a person.

About Me Page

14. Include any certificates and references, and your curriculum vitae and resume

Create a page for your resume, your CV and any certificates or references you may have earned. If you are able to, make your CV and resume available for download. This will enhance the chances of prospective clients or employees reading them.

An Easy-to-read, Downloadable Resume & CV

15. Make sure your writing portfolio is mobile-friendly

Before publishing your portfolio, check that it displays well on a mobile. The person visiting may not be viewing it on a desktop.


16. Create dummy articles

If you are new to the profession and lack samples, create some dummy articles for your writing portfolio. These will give any website visitors an idea of your knowledge and talent. They will then have a better idea of what they can expect, should they hire you.


17. Update your writing portfolio website frequently

Once you have published your writing portfolio, don’t neglect it. Update it every time you write new content. An up-to-date portfolio leaves an excellent professional impression and shows how self-disciplined you are.


Summary

A writing portfolio website enables you to display your skills, show visitors who you are and justify why your services are beneficial to those in need. By adhering to some, or all, of the above 17 tips for creating your own writing portfolio website, you can portray yourself in a positive light, and become more in demand for assignments, contracts or employment. Your website is sure to assist you in growing your reputation within your chosen field.

Header image courtesy of Toolfarm

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