Copywriting Q&A: Why You Need a Standalone Portfolio Site

Why you can't just rely on portfolio listing sites—and need your own standalone websiteWith so many great sites out there dedicated to hosting your online portfolio, you might be asking yourself why I’m so adamant about you creating your very own site. Well, you’re about to find out. Read on…

Today’s question comes from Tony R. who asks, “I get that I need an online portfolio. But if I put my stuff up on Behance or CreativeHotlist, do I need to create my own site, too?

Short answer? Yes.

Longer answer? Yes, yes, yes.

If you’re not familiar with them, Behance and CreativeHotlist (and others like them) are sites that host many people’s portfolios. They usually give you the ability to upload your pieces within their proscribed template and a place to write a bio about yourself.

They host many people’s portfolios and offer employers and clients a way to search for talent and then contact the candidates they like. I’ve gotten quite a bit of business from CreativeHotlist and so I definitely recommend putting your samples and bio up on the site. (There’s a small fee.) I haven’t put anything up on Behance yet, but I hear good things as well.

Now, for the downside of these sites, all we have to do is go back to the last paragraph’s first sentence: These sites offer people a way to search for other talent. And that means that if you provide your client with “www.creativehotlist.com/nkrawczyk” as your portfolio site, they can go there to check out your work—and then search through the listings for other writers.

Now, I’m not saying that every potential employer will do this. But look at it this way: If you needed to hire a plumber and your plumber gave you a link to a site that listed him but also many, many other plumbers, wouldn’t you at least look around?

All I’m saying is that you don’t want to give people the opportunity to be distracted by other writers when what you really want them to do is go through your pieces and read your bio. You want to keep them single-mindedly focused on you.

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When you send them a link to CreativeHotlist or Behance, they have the opportunity (whether they take it or not) to then also search other writers. But when you send them a link to your website at your dedicated URL, the only thing they’ll be focused on is you,  your talent and deciding whether or not you might be a good fit for their needs in.

When you send them to your own, personal portfolio site, you control the interaction much more so than when you send them to a portfolio listing site.

Should you go ahead and set up a listing on a site like CreativeHotlist or Behance? Absolutely. But you also need to set up your own portfolio website and that URL is the one you need to be sending out to potential employers and including on your resume/selected credits resume.

Your turn! Do you have a standalone portfolio site or a page on a portfolio listing site? Or both? Let us know in the comments below!

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Comments

  1. Gary Cunnane says

    I do have stand alone online profile. It has not only helped to show my work and reinforce my credibility, but it also weeds out a lot of parties who are running those spurious “make money from home writing” sites. Once they see you are an experienced professional they will usually move on to someone else. Also you do not need to put all of your personal information on there as with a resume. Very often the person running an ad for writers is really interested in collecting information. I will never send a resume out blindly but the more people who go to my site, the better. I also believe that allowing ads on a portfolio site is not professional except for ones own ebook or something else relevant to their work or cause. I recently saw a portfolio site with a Life Lock affiliate ad and a few others. It appeared as if the writers primary objective was making sales.

    • Nicki says

      Hi Gary,

      These are very good points; everyone should be careful about putting personal information on their sites. And I agree—ads on someone’s portfolio site are a big mistake. No copywriter should ever be trying to distract from their samples with ads! (Or with anything, for that matter.) Talk about missing the point. :)

      Thanks for commenting!
      Nicki

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