I started this blog originally as a college portfolio website to showcase my writing skills. Clearly, it’s changed a bit since then. I recently spent a lot of time developing my own portfolio website, and I think it’s something every college student needs to have. It doesn’t have to be expensive or challenging to get started with your own portfolio website. In this blog post, I’ll explain why you need a college portfolio website and how to get started with one for little or no money!
Why You Need a College Portfolio Website
Creating a college portfolio website is a great way to show your talent. It doesn’t matter what you’re majoring in or what your career goals are, this digital portfolio is an undeniable networking tool. You can link to your college portfolio website from your linked in page. Basically, your college portfolio website acts as a digital resume to attract networking opportunities and stand out to future employers.
- Show off your projects from college
- Demonstrate your writing and communication skills
- Network with future employers
- Stand out as a self-starter and professional
College Portfolio Website Misconceptions
Before I address how to get started with your own college portfolio website, let’s discuss some of the common misconceptions. Don’t let these thoughts get in the way of starting your own portfolio website in college!
It’s expensive to start my own website.
A lot of people don’t know how much it really costs to start your own self-hosted website. It’s surprisingly affordable, and you can get your own professional as heck domain and hosting plan for less than the price of a few cups of coffee. If you’re concerned about costs, there’s no shame in using a free portfolio builder. We’ll talk more about your different options in the next section.
I don’t have anything to show on my portfolio.
If you’re in college, this simply isn’t true. You can use your college portfolio website to show off your work experience, no matter how small, or to share interesting projects you’ve worked on in college. As a student, you’re always writing essays, research papers, and don’t projects. Show them off! If you’re a graphic design major, you’ve probably already collected a lot of samples over the years. If you’re a journalism major, post your latest articles. Marketing major? Show some of your marketing plans from your classes.
Showing your work in your portfolio is also an excellent way to attract freelance clients. You might find your college portfolio website to be surprisingly lucrative! Attract visitors with a blog or by linking from your social media profiles.
I’m not tech savvy enough to start my own website.
You don’t have to be a coder or IT genius to get started with your own college portfolio website nowadays. There are a ton of easy site builders like WordPress and Wix which make creating pages as simple as drag and drop. All you need is some time to get started.
Building Your College Portfolio Website
You have a lot of options when it comes to building your own portfolio website in college. As a student, it’s understandable to not have much money to put towards your website, and that’s completely okay. Let’s talk about your options.
If you want to be taken seriously, you simply need to have your own domain and hosting plan. This will allow you to have maximum freedom with design and content. It’ll also look super professional, and trust me hiring managers will be impressed. It’s really easy to get started with a paid website, and it costs a lot less than you think. I have a step-by-step guide for setting up your WordPress website and you can sign up for my free 5-day e-course on blogging in college below.
If you aren’t ready to spend any money on your college portfolio website but you still want to get your feet wet with WordPress, try their free version. This lets you learn how to work with WordPress and get familiar with theme design. Unfortunately, the free version does not let you have much control over your themes, but there are a few presets which are perfect for portfolios. If you want to step up your free plan, consider purchasing just the domain name and pointing it to your free website.
Wix is a really popular choice for building your own portfolio. It’s free to use, and it has a lot of really cool designs so you can make your portfolio look however you want. It will essentially walk you through your portfolio creation which is great if you’re in a pinch for time. It also will help you with setting up a custom domain name if that’s what you want to do.
What to Include in Your College Portfolio Website
Now that you’ve set up your paid or free college portfolio website, it’s time to start adding the stuff that’s important. It can be intimidating to decide what to include, and honestly, there are a lot of conflicting ideas about this on the web. Here’s my personal opinion on what’s important to include on your college portfolio website.
Your about me section is your chance to introduce yourself to the world. This can be more than a little bit scary, and there is a lot of pressure to make it perfect. It’s better to just get started than to let this intimidation get to you. Start with the basics. Say hi and explain your educational background. If you’re a student, talk about your major and your career goals. If you’re feeling particularly crazy, consider including a few quick facts about yourself. Don’t get too carried away with your personal life, though. This isn’t your Facebook wall. Stay professional and keep it simple. Here’s mine:
Hey, I’m Sam. I’m a full-time writer and blogger from Orlando, FL who recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English. I write content that creates buisiness and builds lasting relationships. After starting my own lifestyle blog in 2015, I discovered my passion for content marketing and SEO. Now, I hone my skills by crafting unique, long-form blog posts that drive traffic. When I’m not typing at my computer, I’m spending time with my dog Barbie and re-reading Harry Potter.
My example is direct, to the point, and shares a little bit of my personality. Don’t be afraid to share some things about yourself, but remember who will read it. Try to show not tell. That means instead of saying “I’m a good writer,” show it in your ability to craft a killer about me section.
You want to make it as easy as possible for people to contact you. If someone has to spend more than two seconds looking at your college portfolio website trying to find a contact page or information, it’s not easy enough. Include clear links to a contact page in your menu and link it more often than you think you should.
The key word here is “relevant.” If you’re an aspiring photographer, you don’t need to take up valuable space sharing your research papers or experience working at your local grocery store. Less really is more. Showcase your best work and don’t waste space on stuff you aren’t proud of. If you’re not sure what your best stuff is, ask for a second opinion from friends and family. You only have a few, valuable seconds to make a lasting impression. Make it count!
This is optional, but a blog is a great way to build an online presence no matter what you’re interested in. You can treat your blog like a journal, but this probably won’t attract as much attention. Use your blog to show how you’re an expert in your field. Even if you don’t feel confident at first, fake it until you make it. Here are some blog ideas to get you started:
- Advice for people getting started in that industry
- How-to or creative guides for professionals in your industry (ie: a guide to different file formats for graphic designers)
- Things you’ve learned from studying your field
Creating a College Portfolio Website
If you’re in college or you’ve recently graduated, you need a portfolio website. Whether you pay to create your own domain name or you use a free page builder, having a portfolio online will help you stand out to future employers. If you want to be taken seriously, you need a serious portfolio to back it up. Luckily, it doesn’t take much time or energy to create your own college portfolio website, and you’ll be networking in no time!
What are your tips for starting a college portfolio website?