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Creating your own porfolio site v. using a portfolio service (Behance, MyPortfolio, etc.)

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Sep 22, 2017

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In the early 2000's, as a digital artist and all-purpose online designer, I felt it was important for me to have my own .com to showcase my work; but also, to design and program the whole thing myself... with all the headaches and rewards that come with that.

But nearly two decades later, the landscape has somewhat changed. No longer are websites just random addresses all fighting for shelf space with equal means. For a while, even just having a Facebook fan page seemed more important than your own dedicated site, because of the accidental traffic it was more likely to benefit from via people interaction... but there's also a higher likelihood of bot farms influencing those numbers. I'd be surprised if half the followers people have there are real, especially when it comes to the pages that paid for additional traffic.

So my question is — in today's online environment — what are the pros and cons of maintaining your own unique website v. saving some of that effort for the art while letting a major website like Behance (or Adobe's own MyPortfolio) worry about the nuts 'n bolts?

If the idea is to attract eyeballs and potential clients, is there still a point to programming one's own website ourselves? Or are we now better off leaving our lonely islands to join one of the many communities offering us a page in their big books?

(Bet I'd get completely different answers in the PS forum, might try that after. Right now, I'd like the developer's take.)

Thanks!

The answer is relatively simple.

If you are building web sites then using a portfolio site would prove nothing about your abilities to any potential clients. For every other profession then the decission is up to the individual.

A good set of pages in a portfolio site, is preferable to potential clients than a bad self built site, providing the portfolio site has everything required and is flexible enough to match the professional requirerments.

Just remember to check who actually owns any content placed on a portfolio site, and don't expect too much from them. Which can be said of a badly built and maintained custom built site, which is what many none web developers forget.

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Creating your own porfolio site v. using a portfolio service (Behance, MyPortfolio, etc.)

Contributor ,
Sep 22, 2017

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In the early 2000's, as a digital artist and all-purpose online designer, I felt it was important for me to have my own .com to showcase my work; but also, to design and program the whole thing myself... with all the headaches and rewards that come with that.

But nearly two decades later, the landscape has somewhat changed. No longer are websites just random addresses all fighting for shelf space with equal means. For a while, even just having a Facebook fan page seemed more important than your own dedicated site, because of the accidental traffic it was more likely to benefit from via people interaction... but there's also a higher likelihood of bot farms influencing those numbers. I'd be surprised if half the followers people have there are real, especially when it comes to the pages that paid for additional traffic.

So my question is — in today's online environment — what are the pros and cons of maintaining your own unique website v. saving some of that effort for the art while letting a major website like Behance (or Adobe's own MyPortfolio) worry about the nuts 'n bolts?

If the idea is to attract eyeballs and potential clients, is there still a point to programming one's own website ourselves? Or are we now better off leaving our lonely islands to join one of the many communities offering us a page in their big books?

(Bet I'd get completely different answers in the PS forum, might try that after. Right now, I'd like the developer's take.)

Thanks!

The answer is relatively simple.

If you are building web sites then using a portfolio site would prove nothing about your abilities to any potential clients. For every other profession then the decission is up to the individual.

A good set of pages in a portfolio site, is preferable to potential clients than a bad self built site, providing the portfolio site has everything required and is flexible enough to match the professional requirerments.

Just remember to check who actually owns any content placed on a portfolio site, and don't expect too much from them. Which can be said of a badly built and maintained custom built site, which is what many none web developers forget.

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Sep 22, 2017 0
LEGEND ,
Sep 23, 2017

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The answer is relatively simple.

If you are building web sites then using a portfolio site would prove nothing about your abilities to any potential clients. For every other profession then the decission is up to the individual.

A good set of pages in a portfolio site, is preferable to potential clients than a bad self built site, providing the portfolio site has everything required and is flexible enough to match the professional requirerments.

Just remember to check who actually owns any content placed on a portfolio site, and don't expect too much from them. Which can be said of a badly built and maintained custom built site, which is what many none web developers forget.

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Sep 23, 2017 1
LEGEND ,
Sep 23, 2017

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I was asking myself a similar question this morning. Has the web over exploded with what is effectively a river of crap, mostly out dated information not to be taken seriously any longer, yes, l came to the conclusion, mostly as a result of it being cheap and easily accessible. Lets face it if you do a search for anything these days 99% of what Google returns is outdated and irrelevant in 2017. Even youtube indexes channels that have not been updated in 5 years, what relevance are they, especially if they are tutorial channels using yestedays software and yestedays methods.

The internet has become as redundant as advertising in a publication these days because anything relevant struggles to be been seen amongst an ever increasing army of poorly conceived, poorly written, out dated garbage.

It probably is better to go with the sites you mention because they generally will have more traction in terms of footfall and constantly changing material. The drawback is you are in competition with every other artist, known as a 'grave yard' in publication terms.

I dont know what the answer is but l think the internet is fast reaching its peak as to being something 'different' to being just normal. Like most things that start out being exciting and new, they end up becoming boring and old.

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Sep 23, 2017 1
LEGEND ,
Sep 23, 2017

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osgood_  wrote

I dont know what the answer is but l think the internet is fast reaching its peak as to being something 'different' to being just normal. Like most things that start out being exciting and new, they end up becoming boring and old.

Maybe it's time for search engines to add a created on date to its search criterea, and any results that are not government info, (in the contry of browser user) is not shown after a set period.

99.999% (add infinitum) of web content and site development methods, has not significantly changed since IE6 days, and so long as search engines do nothing for indexing sites, and web development tools stay stuck in the past for development methods the web will become less relevant and less interesting too users.

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Sep 23, 2017 1
Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 23, 2017

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They're not mutually exclusive, you know.  Why not do both?  PF/BE are great creative venues for showcasing your work.  And the ease of use makes it simple to get your work online in minutes rather than days or weeks.  But you're limited to a stock set of features & layouts that PF provides.  Arguably, you can tweak the settings a little in your console but beyond that, you're out of luck.

Visit the PF forums & you'll better understand what I mean.  Simple things like adding columns to a layout or inserting some code for a before & after widget are impossible in PF because you have no access to the source code.   It's a locked system.   For that reason alone, I would never consider using PF as my primary website.  I prefer to think of PF/BE as compliments to the primary site the way a blog & social media channels are.

Nancy

Nancy O'Shea, ACP
Alt-Web Design & Publishing

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Sep 23, 2017 1
Contributor ,
Sep 23, 2017

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True, but spreading oneself too thin by being everywhere and nowhere at the same time isn't recommended either. I have a finite amount of time to invest, and want to invest intelligently between the contents (individual items) and their container (the site). So what I'm really looking to determine is whether or not the work I save by allowing the container to be someone else's is worth the control I'm giving up.

Behind my reasoning is the idea that a junior developer could assemble a basic website without too much trouble, given all the tutorials out there... so I question how pertinent it is for me to demonstrate those abilities; as it would take me literally weeks, maybe months to design, program and troubleshoot my own website to satisfaction. Meanwhile, I suspect the demand for my services is more likely to come from the design side (though I could be underestimating the value of being able to assemble a functioning website from scratch in 2017).

In my view, there's value in having my personal dot-com point straight to a site that has all the tools to display my work beautifully across desktop/mobile; while I put all of my efforts in making sure the WORK ITEMS themselves are as pleasing as can be.

Has anyone here tried a portfolio site like Behance (or other) and later given it up to program your own? Or vice versa, returned to a portfolio hosting site after having created/maintained their own for a while?

I'm also wondering whether going all-in w/ Instagram might lead to a bigger payoff for a graphic artist. I've never used it, but it's still the largest community for visual shares, right? Visual shares play big in artist word-of-mouth, but you can also get lost in a sea of sameness.

I think I'm quickly approaching the point of overthinking this. 😃

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Sep 23, 2017 0
LEGEND ,
Sep 23, 2017

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We are all probably overthinking this.

In an ideal world one would simply cover all bases, and create a precence on all the popular blog/portfolio/chat sites, as well as having a dedicated web site. The problem with that is, that you would never get the time to do anything else.

All the statistics i have found are bias, in that those prefering one method over another have, (if the have had more than one) abandoned the others anyway, or have some financial interest in someone investing in a particular method if one delves deeper.

I suppose its like asking someone who only has a portfolio page if a web site is better. If they have never had a web site, then how can they compare the two?

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Sep 23, 2017 1
Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 23, 2017

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Frankly, I could take down my PF/BE tomorrow and not miss it because it's a) not my primary site & b) not income generating.

FYI:   The default PF page that you create (yourname.portfolio.com) has a secure SSL - a green lock next to it.  If you decide to transfer your custom domain to your PF site, don't expect to see the green lock.  Google Sites work the same way:  SSL by default; no SSL on custom names.

Nancy

Nancy O'Shea, ACP
Alt-Web Design & Publishing

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Sep 23, 2017 1