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August 17, 2009 12:49 PM   Subscribe

How would I best go about making a web-based writing portfolio with limited internet abilities?

I am a former newspaper journalist now working in academia, but I still do freelance writing assignments from time to time. Most communication with clients is done through e-mail, and when asked for samples of my work, I typically send an MS Word document with 6 or 8 pieces copied and pasted from their various sources. I would like to find a more professional way to do this, and I'd like to hear your thoughts on how.

What I want is some sort of simple URL link to a easy-to-browse collection of my best or favorite work -- the kind of thing that I could send by e-mail, have in my facebook profile, etc.

My HTML abilities and time are extremely limited, so buying a domain name and building a fancy freelance site are kind of out of the question. Instead, I'm considering either using a pre-packaged portfolio service like, or a free blog like Wordpress or Blogger. If I went with a blog, which is where I'm leaning at this point, I'd choose a dozen or so articles I've written and link them as blog posts. Where necessary, such as with certain stories behind a newspaper paywall, I would excerpt parts or all of the story as the post, with some disclaimer of copyright. I have good relationships with all of these publications, and don't foresee any copyright issues.

So my question is: how cheesy is this approach? Would you, as a magazine or newspaper editor, or marketing executive, etc., see my use of a blog-as-portfolio as unprofessional or cheap? Any better ideas?
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'd recommend for this. There are more professional templates available through it, good support, frequent updates and a number of possible upgrade features to help cater to your specific needs.

I think this is a good idea. Being one of the newspaper journalists who's been willing to not only jump into the "new" medium but also embrace it with a personal website may very well give you a leg up in some of your pitches.
posted by metalheart at 1:16 PM on August 17, 2009

I'd a free hosted wordpress blog, which will appear to the world as If the semi-nonprofessional look of this url is of concern, you can purchase your own domain name and link your blog.

As for adding content, I would include the entire text of the articles on the blog and include a link to their external locations where possible.
posted by pmbuko at 1:19 PM on August 17, 2009

I use a blog as my portfolio, and editors love it. I use the category function to, well, categorize my writing -- by subject matter as well as to label by publication (but only for a few big, name-drop-worthy publications). Editors have an easy time looking at my clips, and I have my photo and email up there for quick contact and so they can put a face to my name.

Buying your own domain costs about 8 bucks via GoDaddy, and is much better than having "" or whatever.

(Please quell any desire you may have of using a witty "write/right" construction in your blog name. Those drive me nuts. I don't think it's just me, though.)
posted by mdiskin at 5:12 PM on August 17, 2009

You could also put a site together for free with Google sites, which is probably a little easier to use than Wordpress for someone who knows nothing about HTML, etc. Concur that getting a domain name is a wise plan, and an inexpensive investment. Your domain name can be re-directed to point to your Google site.
posted by acridrabbit at 1:36 PM on August 18, 2009

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