Creating an ePortfolio

Hi,  

I am looking to create an ePortfolio.  My background has been in the learning and Development industry in high-tech companies.  I am a certified Instructional Designer, worked with eLearning Project Management and designing, developing and delivering training in different formats.  

I have been stay home mom for about five years (during this time I got my ID Certificate) and am now ready to go back to work.  My question is what are some recommended domains to host my portfolio.  I am looking for something that is easy to use, update etc.  Even if there is a small fee to be paid, that's fine.  

Thanks for your help.

40 Replies
Jerson  Campos

Sejai - There are several different options. I would suggest you buy your own domain and get it hosted with a hosting service company that meets your budget and requirements - bandwidth, email, storage.  The best thing for a ePortfolio, especially if you are going to be updating on a periodic basis, is to make a wordpress site. Most hosting companies have a one click option where it would be automatically installed. There are some free themes (the look of your site) that are geared toward ePortfolios. But be careful with downloading free themes, some of them have hidden links to increase traffics to advertising services. I only trust a few sites with free themes. Or you can buy a professional theme that is updated to work on mobile devices as well. Designing a site with adobe muse is another good option if you don't know how to code. While Wordpress is free, you have to pay for a subscription to use Muse. It's only a 14.99 a month ( i think), but you'll have to renew you subscription if you want to make updates to your website later on.

Also make sure you consider things that you need/want after your webiste is done. Who is going to update it, maintain it? Do you plan on expanding the features? Do you plan on making it available on mobile (no flash)?

Daniel Brigham

Sejal:

I'm a freelancer and have a WordPress site. Pretty easy, especially if you go to www.themeforest.net and pick out a theme that you like (most about $50). A quality web person should be able to put your template/site up in 6-10 hours of time. I host my site on bluehost.com, which is also cheap. Customer service has been good. Something like $7 bucks a month.

What you might find more time-consuming is actually creating the portfolio. If you're curious as to a freelancer WordPress site looks like, you can check out mine www.brighamcommunications.com

I would also recommend checking out Bruce Graham's.

I just went through a website re-design so feel free to PM me with any specific questions.

Michael Heckman

Think carefully about the types of customers you are trying to attract. What do their sites look like? If you expect to convince large corporations that your work product looks and sounds professional, consider working with an experienced designer who can help your site convey the image you want to project.

Doing a cheap site with out-of-the-box templates is sort of like using Word clip-art for your business cards and printing on your home inkjet: It may not make a great first impression.

There's nothing wrong with using Wordpress or Muse, as long as you use them effectively. if you're not a designer or want a professional portfolio immediately, consider spending money on a good set of site templates like Muse Themes or Woo Themes (if you're inclined to learn Wordpress).

There are also some great one-stop solutions out there-- services that combine hosting, design, and content management. One of my favorites is Squarespace. For about $16 a month, you can get hosting, an easy way to build your site, customizable templates that look great , tech support, and your own custom domain.

Jerson  Campos

I'm against using Storyline to create your website. The big reason is because its not search engine friendly if you use the flash version and if you use the HTML5 output some customers may not be able to see it (darn you IE). I'm a big supporter of wordpress for the non-website developers. Getting a nice portfolio theme is relatively cheap and easy to setup. Also the dashboard makes it very easy to update and customize it (varies per theme). Plus it doesn't have to look like a blog at all. I actually custom built my site from scratch. I mainly did it to to try my hand at some advance coding and challenge myself. I do use to refer some people to my previous work and have had some contacts through it.

Tim Slade

Hi Jerson,

I agree with you. I'm very conflicted on the idea of using Storyline to create a portfolio website. Don't get me wrong, it looks cool and it's totally a great way to demonstrate your skills at the sametime. But I think the reason we think it's cool is because we're eLearning people. Although we're able to see why it's cool to build your site in the same software you use to create eLearning, I don't know if a client would connect those dots in their head.

Another thought I had for creating a online profilio is Behance.net. This site allows people to easily create an online portfolio for people to see. A great option for non-programers.

-Tim

Stephanie Harnett

Hi Jerson. Yeah, WordPress is a great choice for those without web development experience. Lots of support worldwide for it, lots of templates and widgets to enhance. Responsive platform.

I guess it also depends on what the purpose is. In my case I wanted to create an active portfolio showcasing the elearning work I do by incorporating video clips of completed projects, links to live examples and by way of developing my site in Storyline, demonstrating my skill with the authoring platform I use to create the elearning I do.

I might miss some people (IE/HTML5) but I'd also miss them if I used Storyline to produce their elearning. That's a small percentage in my world and I'm good with that. However, as you say, if the intent is to reach a global audience, no matter the device, to market yourself, then WordPress or similar makes a lot of sense.

Jerson  Campos

There are actually a lot of government agencies and companies  that still haven't upgraded to the newest internet browser. Most of them stick for to Internet Explorer for some strange reason. One of our clients still uses IE7.  Even IE9 still doesn't support all of the new HTML5 markup.

It also comes down to what you want your final product to look like. There are a lot of things you can do with a Storyline created website that would take a serious coder to do in HTML/Javascript. As far as making sure that you can take full advantage of search engines, contact forms, and other technologies going the traditional way is better.  I'm all for someone doing things on their own and pushing their talents but sometimes getting some outside help is better option.

Bruce Graham

I will be another voice that stands up for a Storyline based site - it all depends what you are trying to achieve.

My "website" is, like Stephanie, an expression of what I do in the tools I use.

Anyone can produce, (or get someone to produce for them...) a wonderful website, and yet the product may or may not be of the same quality. I blog on Wordpress, yet I would probably never use it as my primary "site".

As I have mentioned before, my site does not show up on searches etc., however, if people look on LinkedIn, PeoplePerHour, my Blog, the Articulate site etc. (or even Google "eLearning Bruce"), they will find me, and ways to get to me.

For me, my website is where people generally come to validate descriptions of me that they have found elsewhere. I appreciate that it is a rather unusual way to do things, however, so many people have a website that brings in no/little business that I consciously made the decision to let OTHER PEOPLE build the (niche) sites with all the functionality, contribute to them, let THEIR ranking software do the job for me, with "...a course about me..." be at the end of the line - "my website".

Believe me when I say it is a perfectly successful strategy - I have clients all over the World.

 

It probably takes more work than a website, however, it targets exactly where I want it to target. If someone contacts me after getting to my website, they are (usually) already through the pipeline, and we just have a chat to agree terms and start date.

Many people think the only way to get business is via a "website" - in my usual, slightly experimental way, I disagree.

@ Tim - I would not kill off IE yet:

Bruce

Mike Taylor

I'll echo the suggestion for using Wordpress as an easy to use, nice looking portfolio sight. Depending on how much you want to invest you can opt for the free version via Wordpress.com which limits which themes and plug-ins you can use but still very useful.

Wordpress let's you put things in categories ie. Storyline, Studio, Visual Design, etc if you want to group you materials ilke that, etc.

It's also modular so it's easy to add, edit & remove individual items without needing to republish or worrying about breaking some other part.

Wordpress also handles adapting for mobile browsers etc pretty well too.

I used WP for my grad school portfolio if you'd like to see an example https://tmiketaylor.wordpress.com/

Jerson  Campos

It does all depend on what you are trying to achieve. I think a website created with Storyline can be very good way to pull customers in, but they have to find the website first. Storyline websites (straight from publishing) are not search engine friendly. You can modify the HTML page, but you will have to get in the code. WP has free plugins that let you optimize the page for search engines ( don't pay for SEO, its very simple)

Bruce you already have an established career and are probably widely known for your products. Where does most of your traffic come in? Word of mouth? I took another visit to your site and yes it is perfectly logical to make a demonstration of the tool you use to create  courses as your website. But doing it this way, it makes it harder for newcomers that don't have the established reputation to attract customers who are looking for new clients. I did a quick search for "elearning UK, elearning burce graham, perfect performance, perfect performance elearning" and not once did your website come up in the first 3 pages of the search, only your linkedin profile and your elance profile. If I didn't have a linkedin profile myself, I couldn't see your contact information.  Now this may not mean anything to you, but you might be losing quite a bit of search traffic that could be headed your way.

Why not just include a demonstration in a website that is optimized for the internet. This way you can have the best of both worlds.

Back to my first statement though, It all depends on what you are trying to achieve.

Bruce Graham

@ Jerson.

I think there are possibly 3 different subjects here:

1. An ePortfolio - the original request. For me it seems logical to do that in SL.

2. The "kneejerk reaction" (?) that "I need to have a website....". 5 (?) years ago that may have been the most effective way. I started 5 years ago. I spent 2 years as a sole-trader mainly word-of mouth business, 3 years ago I started the Limited Company, 18 months ago I built the Storyline "website". The vast majority of my work comes because I am found by people at the online places I inhabit - LinkedIn, PeoplePerHour, here (mostly), and word of mouth/recommendation. I also rely on the sales organisations of other clients to "sell" my services.

Point is - my business has grown very well from "no business" to "slow business" to "WOH! business", (just made that up...quite like that ) without a classic "website". 5 years ago my reputation consisted of the word "Who?"

There are other ways to gain business given the multitude of web-based sourcing mechanisms available. I am actively involved in a start-up business where people can go to crowd-source the multitude of staff required to create "eLearning". The staff who will inhabit that crowd may or may not ever need to have a personal website - we aim to give them good quality, and repeat business. Which brings me onto...

3. ...something we have not really considered so far - sustainable business growth. So....you get a website, you get HUGE amounts of business from it, you over-extend, you fail, and word gets out that you are rubbish. We have plenty/too many of those already IMHO. There is a current shortage (I think...) of freelance SL staff - if you over-extend, you will destroy your business. Not wishing to brag or tempt fate, at the moment I do not want/need to get a massive increase in Search hits - I am fully utilised. Jobs and clients come and go, however, I am blessed with an order-book that keeps me fully occupied for 12 hours a day, 6-7 days a week. Virtually none of that comes from the website per se. There's always room for more , it's just that I need to be a better and better project manager!

I am trying to grow my business slowly and surely - using a mixture of pipeline techniques to grow reputation and financial stability. As I grow I am gradually changing my business model from "Bruce Graham" to the "Perfect Performance brand", and employing my own set of trusted skills from other places on as "as-needed" basis - but I did not use their websites to find them, I used word-of-mouth, relationships and web-based community/work tools. No doubt, if I am as successful as I plan to be, then I will need a good, SEO-friendly "corporate" website, however, nothing will demonstrate my SL abilities as well as a SL "story". The one I currently have will be amended, tweeked, changes and morphed. I will need a website to get more work to support the growing staff and business. That is the opposite of what I set up to do. Having alternative business models that reflected the way technology can be used was always one of my motives. Crowdsourcing, micro-businesses and networking are (IMHO) going to be the new way business is conducted, and to be a great player you need to (as Wayne Gretsky said) "..play where the puck is going to be".

Just my 2p worth.

Anyway , Wordpress is great, please sign up for my blog at http://brucemgraham.wordpress.com/.

Bruce

Stephanie Harnett

Jerson, you are looking for answers and I saw a lot of question marks in the previous post.

So here is my take and this is simple - do you want to 'show' or do you want to 'do'?

Do you want to 'push' or do you want to 'absorb'?

Do you want to 'find' or do you want to 'discover'?

Do you want to 'inform' or do you want to 'convey'?

Do you want to be 'direct' or do you want to 'demonstrate'?

It is about how potential clients see you and what you do. It is about how your peers see you.

What do you want to achieve? I don't think you want to "achieve" html5 and or responsive platforms.

Think about this. Then calm down and simplify. There are multiple targets and multiple mediums at your beckoning.

Jerson  Campos

@ Bruce

I think we took over this post and Sejal's inbox has exploded. 

Thanks for the insight on how you started and business process. I currently have a full-time job working for the "Man" while I develop a few more skills before I decide to go freelance. If you don't mind, I would like to ask you a few questions when I decide to cross that bridge.

Back to the topic. 

I'm not saying that having a website that is a more traditional website is better or that a storyline website is worse. It all really depends on your business strategy. If you plan on using word of mouth then having all you really need is a website to demonstrate what you can do. If you plan trying to reach new clients by being found, than a traditional website would be appropriate. Again it all depends on the individual's business strategy. I was only trying to inform on the advantages of creating a traditional website.

BTW, I do love your website. But you don't have Storylion in there.