This is the last installment of my building your personal brand online series of posts. I started with determining whether to go with a brand page or a website. I then went into where the best place is to blog.
Now it’s time to go into the best place to build your portfolio. Your portfolio is unique from your blog because it’s a bit more static than a blog, but it’s just as important.
All Roads Lead To You
The best case scenario for you is a visitor to a page on your website. It doesn’t matter how they came there as long as you have what they’re looking for. Once they find what they were looking for (hopefully), there will probably be suggestions on related content.
Related content is great when it’s your related content. On your website all related content (whether a blog post or a portfolio item) is yours and it will drive visitors to the variety of great work you’ve done. No matter where the visitor ends up on your site, they’ll always have a consistent view and an easy way to contact you.
I wanted to open with this description of the “all roads lead to Rome” analogy. You’re Rome when it comes to your website, your blog, and your portfolio all hosted on your own website.
Now it’s time to talk about what your options are, choosing what’s best for you, and ultimately making a decision.
The previous post about blogs talked about a home base for your posts with the possibility of posting them also to other locations to reach a larger audience.
Post portfolio items in multiple locations can get a bit more tricky though.
The previous section covered well why your website is the best option to publish portfolio items in. There’s also the benefit that WordPress makes adding on your own portfolio to your website easy, most themes come with the option built-in.
If you do go the brand page route, your options are just as open as with WordPress, but you easily fall into the pitfalls of a fragmented brand. If someone gets to one of your projects, there’s little chance they’ll make it back to your blog, or your brand page.
I experimented a bit with publishing my portfolio items on various social portfolio websites, but in the end, I found my website to be the best place which regularly brings traffic to my website. It’s easier for me to update portfolio items, keep them updated, and I don’t have to keep track of the same project on different sites.
Portfolio items often need more control and more maintenance than your blog so it gets laborious to publish them on more than one website. I decided to give up all social portfolio sites and I haven’t missed the extra work with little to no benefit.
There is one exception to the social portfolio site though. LinkedIn is an important place to show at least a few projects you’ve worked on. The problem is LinkedIn only allows you to display projects from certain websites, which doesn’t usually include yours. Many of the major social portfolio websites allow you to post projects free though, and work with LinkedIn. Post your most important project or two there and you’ll have something to put on LinkedIn.
You could also just post a screenshot of the project which is what I’ve moved towards. It makes it easy to support and more details are always available on your website which I try to guide people towards anyway.
Social Portfolio Sites
There are many social sites where you can post portfolio items now, and the list grows daily. There are a few I’ve used in the past which were nice to use though.
Here are some suggestions for a place to post a few portfolio items if you chose a brand page or need a place to store the project for posting on LinkedIn:
- SlideShare (dedicated only to presentations and plays very nice with LinkedIn because it’s owned by LinkedIn)
- Here are a whole bunch of other suggestions and their strengths from Mashable.
I must end each section by saying that it’s important to take ownership of your brand. If you don’t take ownership then someone else will. In the beginning, a brand page, a separate blog, and a separate portfolio might be an option. As your brand grows and your presence grows online then you’ll definitely want to move all your brand pages over to your own website.
You don’t want your visitors that you worked hard for to go to another person’s blog post or to your brand page provider’s home page. You are working hard to attract visitors so you want to reap the benefits of that labor.
Build your own brand, your own audience, and experience loyal visitors who comment on your content and get involved with what you’re saying. An audience you build will add more to your writing, discussion, and learning to your personal brand than anybody which is hard to get with a fragmented brand.
You either have your brand owned by someone else and build their brand too or own your own brand.