Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Creating an Online Portfolio

When I was applying for internships and my first newspaper job, I spent hours trying to get my published articles photocopied. It’s not easy to shrink a full-size newspaper down to a readable 8 x 11 sheet of paper. Then I made copies of my resume, created a customized cover letter and put together a packet of information to mail to prospective employers. It was time consuming – and expensive.

Fast forward, er, just a few years later and a majority of my clips are online. Now I have a website and online portfolio where I add links to my articles. If someone wants a sample of my work, I can simply forward a link to my website.

In fact, most editors don’t want that big envelope of newspaper and magazine clips. If you’ve even seen an editor’s desk you know she has more than enough stacks of paper. Today everyone wants to see your work online – it’s much easier.

That means it’s critical for writers to have an online presence. That could be a blog or a professional website where people can learn more about you and your work. Even a blog needs an “About” tab and another page to showcase work you might have had published elsewhere.

Keeping an updated LinkedIn profile is another good way to highlight your professional experience.
In a recent issue of Inc. magazine, I read about three products that allow you to quickly and cheaply create a personal webpage. These don’t give you a space for adding a portfolio, but it’s a good start if you don’t have an online presence and at least want a bio and photo on the Internet. 

Here are Inc.’s recommendations:
  • RebelMouse for a collage type site for your social media posts. Free for a basic account.
  • About.Me for a one-page site with your photo, bio and social media links. No place for creating a portfolio but a good start if you don’t have any online presence. Free.
  • Vizify for an aggregate of your social media accounts presented in infographic form. Free.

Now to go a step further and create a true online portfolio, check out:

  • Writer’s Residence for creating a space for your resume, published work and bio. $8.99/month.
  • Writerfolio for a nice clean web space. $4/month.
  • Contently for a professional portfolio and branding tools.  You can also join their Pro.Network to get work from publishers.
These are just a few of the many options out there. Let us know if you’ve tried a particular site you really love.


  1. Holly, if you were a writer just beginning to build your online portfolio, which would you say were the top 1 or 2 things on this list to begin with?

  2. Definitely have a bio that outlines your background and expertise as a writer. Second, showcase your work. Have links to anything you've published or to your blog. Editors will want to read what you've done. ~Holly