Blogspot vs. WordPress vs. Tumblr

WordPress vs. Blogger vs. Tumblr

Free Artist Websites

Home

Free blog hosts are a great resource for artists who want to create their own portfolio or website online. Below I have provided a short summary of three of the most popular free blogging hosts: Blogger, WordPress, and Tumblr.

Blogger / Blogspot

Blogger by Google hosts free blogs using the format www.(yourname).blogspot.com. Blogger is useful for setting up a working journal or studio blog about your practice, updated as you add new images or news to it. It is more suited to a journal or conventional blog format where you can post news, pictures of work, the progression of works in progress—rather than a formal portfolio.

The disadvantage of Blogger and the reason it is not good for a “formal” portfolio or artist’s website is that by default, you cannot have a static landing page. It is technically possible to alter the code to change your Blogger blog to a static page, but you need to edit the template in HTML. If you are up for the challenge, Blog Help gives a good explanation here.

Blogger allows you to “monetize” your blog, should you choose to put advertisements on it.

Here is an example of an artist’s blog on Blogger, works by Claudio Rodriguez Valdes, using a non-static landing page.

WordPress

WordPress hosts free blogs using the format http://(yourname).wordpress.com. Like Blogger, the templates to choose from are non-static, although the process involved in creating a static landing page is much simpler, the instructions provided by WordPress themselves here.

WordPress offers a wider range of aesthetic choices in its free templates. The dictionary of themes can be found here.

WordPress does not allow you to run advertisements on your site as Blogger does.

Alyson B Stanfield’s ArtBizBlog has a great guest post by Kim Bruce which explains steps (including making your landing page static) for how to use WordPress to manage your portfolio.

Here is an example of an artist’s blog on WordPress, Creativity + Connection by Mary Bennett.

Tumblr

Tumblr hosts free blogs using the format http://(yourname).tumblr.com. Unlike Blogger and WordPress, Tumblr is much less customizable unless you are familiar with HTML. Because of this, Tumblr is only good for most people if you like one of their existing templates and the features built into that template.

Generally, Tumblr’s templates are quite simplified in design and features, but this can be an advantage for you if you want a clean, simplified website.

Tumblr makes sharing content easy between bloggers, as you can “re-blog” other Tumblr posts with one click.

Here is an example of an artist’s blog on Tumblr, works by artist Julia Mai.

The only two website services…

Internet for Artists: Why We Only Recommend Two Website Services

Steve Lambert's website, created with WordPress
Steve Lambert’s website, visitsteve.com, was built in WordPress.

There are dozens of services and software to use in building your web portfolio, but Creative Capital’sInternet for Artists (IFA) team only recommends two.

It’s not because we’re unaware. We research every tool we come across and we’re told about them all the time. Still, we recommend that participants in our workshops use either Squarespace or their own installation of WordPress software (not WordPress.com). Nothing else.

We have good reason for only recommending these two solutions and we think you will agree with our reasoning below. However, if your site is currently serving your needs and goals well, we are not necessarily encouraging you to immediately rebuild with these better options. Just know that these options are available when the time comes.

There are many factors we weigh when making these recommendations. Here’s a few high points:

No. 1: We want you to have flexibility.

Many artists we have worked with are unable to maintain their own web presence because they have no control, no support, and no where to turn but to a “webmaster” who has disappeared. They’re essentially stuck and we don’t want that to ever happen to you.

WordPress is currently the most popular way to build a website, so there are literally millions of other WordPress users out in the world. A vibrant and healthy community has emerged around this free (as in free beer and free as in freedom) software success story resulting in an abundance of tutorials, themes, plugins and support. If you’re not able to do the work, you’re assured you can easily find someone (paid or volunteer) who can fix a problem that might be beyond your skill level or available time. If someone you’re working with doesn’t work out or disappears, you’ll be able to find someone else who can jump in very easily.

Squarespace is an established commercial service with professional support. Their service ranges from $8-24 per month. They offer ease of use, great tutorials and customer service, as well as a user community, online workshops and support forums. In fact, their customer support has reached legendary status among the IFA team. They even let an artist that one of the IFA Leaders, Eve Mosher, worked with come into their office (in NYC) and helped him set up his site. (No promises…)

No. 2: Your site should look really good.

Not any old template will do. Your artist’s portfolio has to look polished, simple and essentially invisible—it should not distract from your art work.

Of course, we all have our tastes and particularities—there’s not just one good looking website.

WordPress offers two paths towards this vague direction of “looking really good.” The number of free and paid themes that can change the look and feel of a WordPress-created site is quite literally innumerable. You’re sure to find something that will work or may even be perfect for you. Most paid themes offer great features for a one-time purchase price anywhere from $20-$100. If you go for paid themes, shop around and look at reviews as some are better than others and provide different features.

The other route is a custom theme. This can be lightly customized by you as a user, if your changes are minor like colors or fonts, or heavily customized by yourself or a contract designer/coder. Because WordPress is Free Software under the GPL license, you own the software and the themes too so you can make any changes you like. Or you can contract a designer/coder to make your changes to the theme for you.

Squarespace also has a collection of professional looking themes with a variety of options, as well as the opportunity to incorporate custom coding from yourself or a contracted designer familiar with the platform.

Needless to say, there are no ads, credit lines or other distractions with building a site with these two tools.

minusspace.com_.png
The website for the artist-run gallery Minus Space (minusspace.com) was built in WordPress.

No. 3: Openness is important.

Yes, you can put all your portfolio images into any old web service, but nearly all don’t want you to leave. At Creative Capital we’re only going to recommend tools to build your site that play well with others.

Again, we don’t want you to be stuck. (See Number 1.) There are plenty of online services that make it easy to publish on the web, some that are even marketed towards artists. They make the boundary for entry as low as possible, but the way to the exit may be difficult, or not exist.

You always basically own your work—you made it, you own the rights—but not every service allows you own the data you enter into their system. Whatever service you use today, you may not want to use in the future. Or that service may shut down. Your data needs to be easy to migrate to another system.

With Squarespace, they make it easy to import and export your data. They seem to understand that locking you in to their service for life is not what will keep you paying for it as much as making a quality product that makes you want to stay.

With WordPress, you own your data and the software itself. You can import and export your WordPress database whenever you like. And because WordPress is so popular, most respectable competitors now and in the future (like Squarespace, for example) will have a method for importing WordPress formatted data.

WordPress actually goes one step further because you own the software. It’s not a user license where you read (or don’t) pages upon pages of a user agreement and hit “agree.” You literally own the software once you have it and can change it as needed. You may never take advantage of this, but it means that others can. And in the future they can make tools to alter it and allow you to move or reconfigure your data in ways we can’t foresee or a for-profit company may not have any interest in.

Data portability is important. We won’t recommend a system that locks you in.

No. 4: Your site needs to be extendable.

You need a site that can grow with you, not a short term band-aid for your web presence.

Another thing we like about WordPress and Squarespace is this: These tools can support you as your career progresses. As you have more work and pages, or become more popular and require more robust hosting or caching solutions, or need another site or a blog for a side project, these tools can manage all of it. You won’t hit a wall and need to abandon the structure in order to move forward. These solutions will work for you at any stage of your career.

For example, artists from high school students to Jay-Z (not kidding) use WordPress to communicate with their audiences online. They use the same, free software. (See others using WordPress here.)

Squarespace hosts sites for artists, businesses, bloggers and musicians. They also give you access to all the HTML, CSS and Javascript so you can customize it and backup those customizations, if you like. They even offer code snippets (for Squarespace 5) for common modifications.

Another example: Three years ago you may have just started thinking about mobile phone accessibility for your site. In that time, Squarespace has added mobile versions to every theme they offer. WordPress has multiple plugins and themes to choose from that have this feature.

You will not outgrow WordPress or Squarespace and watch your website implode just as your career is exploding.

patrickpaine.com_.pngBrooklyn artist Patrick Paine built his website (patrickpaine.com) using Squarespace.

No. 5: Your software needs to be easy to use.

Of course, your website has to be easy to use. The lower the barrier to posting and updating, the more likely you are to use the site and benefit from actively communicating what you’re doing to your audiences. I can’t emphasize how important this is. There should not be another person who stands between you and your website. It doesn’t matter if it’s a trusted friend or a web professional. You need to be able to update your site yourself.

When I started creating my own artist portfolio online in 1999, this meant learning HTML, how to use servers and FTP, and a bunch of other technical stuff I could put you to sleep with. This is no longer true and it has not been true for about 10 years. This means you can focus on making your work instead of learning how to build websites from scratch.

In fact, today it’s entirely possible, without exaggeration, for you to have your portfolio up and running within a weekend.

So what exactly does “easy to use” mean? It’s relative. We all have different skill levels and any new project, be it in your art practice or building a portfolio online, has a learning curve. You’ll need to do some research, learn how the system works, and allow yourself to make a few mistakes along the way without getting discouraged. This is true of every option available for building a site.

The reason we like WordPress and Squarespace is because they are proven to be simple to use for most people. With some 60 million websites worldwide powered by WordPress, the interface has been refined to the point that it is friendly and accessible. If you hire someone to set it up for you, maintenance and regular posting are as simple as logging in and filling out a form or sending mail on the web. Squarespace works similarly.

In fact, it can be even easier.

The new Jetpack Post by Mail feature means, once the site is set up, you can just email your updates and images to a specific, custom address and WordPress will post them automatically.

Squarespace also shares this feature as well as being designed to be as intuitive as possible, letting you navigate your site and edit it on the fly.

Both options offer mobile phone applications so you can post a photo or text from anywhere.

These features make it very convenient to update your site, and as a result, your site is more likely to be a current reflection of your practice.

No. 6: We have high standards.

The above are some of the key reasons we recommend these tools. WordPress and Squarespace are on the leading edge. There are other tools and there are lengthy reasons why we don’t recommend them. I won’t go into any side-by-side comparisons here (or in the comments, sorry). However, armed with this information, you can compare the features and values I mention above and see the differences with other services yourself.

Are WordPress and Squarespace able to do everything you’d ever need? Are they perfect? No. But they are really, really close. Our bar is high and these two meet it.

Which is right for you: WordPress or Squarespace? I can’t give a definitive answer so you will have to explore them yourself. WordPress involves a little more set up—you register the domain and find a host separately, your run your own updates, but you own the software and it costs a bit less. With Squarespace, you can be up and running faster and there’s no maintenance, but you pay a modest monthly fee. The differences in the end are negligible and have more to do with personal tastes or values. So see for yourself!

Note: I’ve received nothing in exchange for these recommendations. There are no affiliate links in this post.

Tips for your online Portfolio

Creating an impressive interactive portfolio

You’ve built some amazing sites, so what’s the best way to show off this work to a hiring manager? Here are some inside tips from an interactive design recruiter.

Don’t reinvent the wheel. Sites like Carbonmade and The Looptake the hassle out of creating your online presence.

Show big, beautiful graphics. Large graphics grab attention. To preserve work that’s likely to change over time, take screens shots and animate them to keep the site interactive.

Keep it simple. Your web portfolio is still a website and must function as such. Be sure the usability is up to snuff. For example, avoid tiny thumbnails or navigation that is tough to see. The hiring manager should be able to find your work in two seconds (and find it again to show someone else). If they have to hunt for it, they won’t.

Make it focused. It’s easy to throw everything up on your portfolio, from your latest vacation shots to your kids’ portraits. Leave those personal tidbits to your Facebook page. Your portfolio should highlight your best work and your work only.

Go for the heart. Pick your best pieces that engage and connect emotionally, not analytically. Heart vs. brain stuff is what design is all about, and that is exactly what you want your prospective employer to do when looking at your portfolio.

Keep it updated. I know, I know, you’ve been so busy working you don’t have time to add new projects to your portfolio. Prove to hiring managers that you’re up on the latest interactive design skills by keeping your portfolio current. (This will give you a great excuse to put off some more dreaded tasks, like folding your laundry.)

Tell your story. Share some brief context about your thought process behind the creation of each piece, your role in the project, and what the outcome was for your client. This demonstrates that you’re not only a skilled designer, but a thoughtful marketing practitioner and business person who understands that design exists to drive revenues.

And let your clients tell your story. Solicit testimonials from previous clients that you can highlight throughout your site.

Check out the competition. Look at other portfolios at sites like KropBehance, and Coroflot for ideas and inspiration.

QA. Check out the site on multiple browsers and platforms to make sure it consistently performs well. And be sure to periodically check your links.

Free Online Portfolio Sites

http://vitamintalent.com/vitabites/top-free-portfolio-sites/

 

We asked our staff one short and sweet question this past week: What are the best free portfolio sites on the web?

Keep in mind that many of our staff see 100 or so portfolios each and every week. So we’re here to share the fruits of their hours spent gazing into monitors at portfolio sites of all shapes and sizes. Of course, if you’re an Interactive Designer nothing beats having your OWN portfolio site with a brand and user experience created by you. But for many folks out there who don’t have the time or skills to start from scratch, there are several great options (and did we mention they’re free?).

But back to our question. We tallied up the responses provided by our excellent agents and present you with the best sites to showcase all your hard work without spending your hard earned money. You can thank us later.
1. Coroflot (36% of the votes)
http://www.coroflot.com/
Coroflot

No surprises here. Billed as “the largest, most established, most diverse pool of professional creative portfolios in the world,” no one doubts that this is one massive site. Launched in 1998,Coroflot hosts over 1.4 million creative images for over 150,000 creatives. There are no membership requirements, invites, or application processes. They also have a very nice and well-integrated job board. Bonus!

2. Behance Network (20%)
http://www.behance.net/

behance

Many of our agents will been attending a sampling ofBehance’s 468 Online Portfolio reviews taking place around the world from May 14th through 21st, but the site’s been on the radar for lots of creatives since they launched in 2006. Garnishing millions of pageviews a month, Behance lets you create a truly stunning portfolio connected that’s connected to the design community via activity feeds, groups, collections, etc. Not only is this site beautiful, it’s a truly effective tool to build your portfolio.

3. Carbonmade (16%)
http://carbonmade.com/

carbonmade

What started out as one designer’s frustration at the pain and expense of putting his illustration work online, Carbonmadehas turned into home for nearly 400,000 portfolios. Though it doesn’t have the social media bells and whistles that Behance and Coroflot have, the fact that it’s a straightforward portfolio site that’s incredibly easy to use makes it appealing. Plus, it’s got a unicorn on the landing page, come on, that’s worth bonus points. Carbonmade offers a “Meh plan” that includes 5 projects and 35 images for free.
4. Cargo (12%)
http://cargocollective.com/

cargo

Cargo offers their members a stunning way to create freestanding personal websites with their own URL, but it comes with a catch: you must be invited to join. Don’t be too disheartened, Cargo awards memberships to a number of people who contact them and share their work with the staff. The site is divided into both a front side, which is the public website, and the back side, which connects them to fellow Cargo members.

5. Dribbble (4%)
http://dribbble.com/

dribbble

Much like Carbonmade, Dribbble began as a side project, this time for Rich Thornett and Dan Cederholm, one of whom felt he was a pro basketball player trapped in the body of a software developer (which explains the running basketball theme throughout). Designers share small screenshots of designs and apps they’re working on which can either be arranged in a portfolio or explored by screenshots that can be grouped bypopularity, “debuts” (new submissions), or keywords. Users can comment and critique individual pieces. A really great, very easy to use site.

If you’re looking for a more in depth review of the technical side of some of these sites, Erik Hans Rasmussen has a great post over at Vandelay Design on what makes them tick.

And remember, you can have several portfolio sites. For instance you can keep your Behance one even after Cargo offers you another. And with so many options and so many people looking for work, we’d recommend getting yourself out there. Recruiters actively troll these sites looking for new talent, and it’s a great way to get exposure to more opportunities.

Digital Portfolios

Source: http://www.wlu.edu/career-development/students/professional-online-presence/digital-portfolios-and-professional-websites/how-to-create-a-digital-portfolio

How to Create A Digital Portfolio

When creating your digital portfolio, it is important to keep it focused, visually engaging, and easy to navigate. This way you can impress employers quickly and with impact. Learn more tips for creating an impressive digital portfolio.  Not sure how to get started? Read The Fun, One-Hour Activity That Will Help You Land Your Dream Job.

1.) Consider your audience

Determine what kind of digital portfolio you would like to create based upon who will be reading it. Ultimately, your portfolio should answer the question, “Why should I hire you?” for employers. Think about what skills, career aspirations, and goals align with your preferred industry and structure your portfolio accordingly.

Read more about what employers are looking for in a digital portfolio.

2.) Choose a building resource

There are many free resources for creating your digital portfolio. However, be sure to select a resource that provides a format most appropriate for your preferred industry.

Below lists resources that accommodate any career interest, and you may also choose to build your own website using programs such as WordPress, GoogleSites, or Webs.

  • Wix
    • build your personal website using portfolio and resume & CV template
    • includes helpful features like site analytics and traffic generating tools
  • Seelio
    • designed for “the everyday college student” to accommodate any career interest
    • includes a network that connects employers with the students directly
  • VisualCV
    • create and manage one or multiple online resumes to target specific job interests
    • set up as a traditional resume format but you can add videos, links, references, and other information you would like to highlight on the right side of the page
    • users may also access company VisualCV pages to learn more about advantages for working for a particular company and opportunities it may be offering

Suggested: Purchase a custom domain name

You want to make it really easy for potential employers to find you and remember your site. The best way to do this is to purchase a domain with your name in it. It’s more powerful to have “yourname.com” as the URL instead of your name after a slash or period.

Purchasing a custom domain can only cost you less than $10 per year if you use a site like GoDaddy.comor DomainsMadeSimple.com.

3.) Generate your content

Your digital portfolio will usually consist of the following pages/sections, however, their organization may depend on the building resource format you choose.

Homepage

  • Make it clean and simple
  • Include name, school, and major
  • Think of this as your pitch to employers- a short paragraph on how your passions, skills, major, and/or experience make you a valuable asset to employers
  • It may be helpful to mention (depending on your portfolio’s design) how to navigate the page
    • For example, “You can find my resume and recent work at the bottom of the page.”

About Me

  • A more personal and detailed version of your homepage section and can include:
    • Photo of you – avoid awkward profile pics
    • Where you’re from
    • School
    • Major/Minor
    • Relevant work/internship experience and briefly what you did
    • Relevant involvements on/off campus
    • Contact info
    • Any other information you feel it is important for employers to know about you

Selected Works

  • Include your best and most relevant work
  • Average is 10-20 works
  • Organize NOT chronologically, but by theme
  • Always put your best examples FIRST
  • Add subheadings in addition to the title of the work
  • May include:
    • projects
    • written articles/papers
    • videos
    • websites
    • presentations
    • Any other work you would like a potential employer to see

Resumes

  • Include a PDF version of your resume
  • Adjust your resume to fit the particular portfolio theme your are developing
  • If you choose to use a CV, make sure it is formatted correctly

Other

  • Quotes or testimonials from professors or other recommendation figures
  • Articles or other write-ups you are featured in
  • List of skills/programs/languages