What's the modern way to build a development blog/portfolio site?
December 6, 2017 12:41 PM   Subscribe

I've decided to become an indie game developer, and I need a website that will be half portfolio, half development blog. I'm a programmer and can handle technical setup but I have weak art/design skills. I last attempted to do something similar 10 years ago and settled on a hosted WordPress.com site, but I want to investigate other options before I revamp my website. What's the best way to make that kind of site today?

I last updated my existing site in 2013, and I plan to use the same URL but remake the site entirely. For the front page I would think the top half would be portfolio links to specific pages + a short text blurb, with the blog starting on the lower half and continuing. Wordpress.com is okay but the post writing interface is hard to use, I have a hard time finding good themes, and it's been a bit unreliable. I really like using Medium for personal posts but it doesn't look like there's a good way to embed posts into an external site (there used to be but those options are disabled). I am willing to pay money for this, and I'm fine with initial setup but do not want to deal with a lot of maintenance.

I know about website builders like Wix and Squarespace but haven't tried them. I could switch to cloud hosting wordpress myself but I'm not sure that's worth the effort over WordPress.com. I could try one of the other open source CMSs like Drupal but that is probably a bit much for my needs. Has anyone built a site like this recently and have any advice?
posted by JZig to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
My brother is a 3D artist and animator, and he tells me the de-facto portfolio standard these days is an Artstation profile. It looks like they have a portfolio site builder.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:25 PM on December 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

I work with a lot of self-hosted WordPress sites, a lot.

My advice is a self hosted WordPress site, and overcoming the issues you have with WordPress. I can understand your concerns, but they only amount to learning WordPress better.

There's lots of nice themes these days. Good ones come with good page builders. You can find nice themes on www.themeforest.net. Elegant Themes make Divi which is really popular and they have lots of other themes, lots based of Divi. I use WebFaction for hosting (you don't need to refer to it as "cloud hosting"), but I also use DreamHost which has a friendlier control panel.

You can export your existing WP content and migrate it to a new site quite easily. If you keep it simple, running updates is not really much effort. Current WP updates itself automagically by default.
posted by humboldt32 at 3:05 PM on December 6, 2017

I'm not a web developer, but I was in a similar situation last year and I decided to use pelican with the bootstrap3 theme which in turn allows you to use any of these free bootswatch themes. I'm quite happy with the end result which is a site that looks modern (although perhaps a bit bland), works on desktops and phones/tablets and that I can modify it and post new items with a simple workflow. Also because the generated site is just a bunch of static files, it doesn't have to be updated and can be hosted almost anywhere.
posted by Poldo at 4:15 PM on December 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

An easy platform that I personally use for my portfolio is GitHub Pages + Jekyll. GitHub stores the source and content, and Jekyll works on top as a "blog-aware" static site generator. So you can write posts for each of your projects using Markdown or HTML, push the posts to your repo, and Jekyll automatically updates your page, nav links, etc to incorporate the new post. Really the only work on your end is picking a Jekyll theme (they range from minimalist text-based themes to visual media oriented themes) and writing the posts in Markdown. The initial setup is probably an hour or two.

It's simple and static, and thus reliable.

Some example pages
posted by hexaflexagon at 4:40 PM on December 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

Wordpress or another CMS is overkill for your needs-slow, and you don't need a database. If you need more than Wix or Squarespace or Artstation provide, you'll want a static website generator. In addition to the mentioned Pelican and Jekyll, consider Hugo.
posted by Kwine at 8:30 AM on December 7, 2017

« Older How important is gender when signing up for...   |   Echo Dot, Bluetooth speaker, music stored in phone... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.