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I was in a job interview recently and brought along my portfolio. At the end of the interview, I asked the hiring manager if he wanted to take any of my portfolio items to review. His response, “No, thank you. I’m entirely digital.”
Fortunately, I happened to also have a website with my entire professional online portfolio and online resume, so I was able to send him the links very quickly.
Why is an online portfolio important in your job search?
Having a place to store your professional resume online, where it can be easily updated and accessed is key to networking and your job search. Lots of people can go into an interview and talk about the things they’ve done, but when you can physically show them, with an online portfolio, it makes much more of an impact. Even if you just have a hobby blog, employers like to know you have interests and talents outside of the paid workforce.
Ready to get started?
The good news is, you can start a professional online portfolio or blog in minutes, and it doesn’t require any coding knowledge. You can also host a blog for less than the price of a cup of (New York) coffee each month!
Here’s a step-by-step guide of how to start a blog using two of my favorite platforms: WordPress and Bluehost. And as bonus, City Ambition readers, you can start your blog today on Bluehost for as little as $3.95 a month.
Click the button below to get started!
How To Start an Online Portfolio, Blog, or Website
Why WordPress and Bluehost?
I’ve been using WordPress since 2010. It’s simply the best platform for bloggers and websites. It’s super flexible and incredibly easy to use. The customizations and theme options are endless. Every time I explore other options, I end up coming back to WordPress.
In order to use a WordPress engine, you’ll need to host your site. That’s where Bluehost comes in. They offer WordPress users an easy, one-click install, free 24/7 support (which is worth it!), and even a free domain, which usually costs around $15 a year.
If you’re not satisfied with the combination, Bluehost offers a 30-day money back guarantee.
How they work together? First, you have to set up hosting through Bluehost, and then you install wordpress.
I’ll walk you through both steps below.
Step 1: Set Up Your Hosting
First, head over to Bluehost using this URL for the discount code. Click on “Get started now.”
Step 2: Select Your Plan
If you’re a total newbie, the basic plan starting at $3.95 a month will be just fine. You can always upgrade if you need to use more later.
Step 3: Pick Your Blog Name (aka, the domain)!
This is the most fun part! What are you going to call your site? If you’re using this site as a professional portfolio, try to use some variation of your name (if your full name isn’t available). For instance, my name, heidikerr.com wasn’t available as a domain when I first launched, so I had to choose heidikerr.net. If you have a very common name, you might have to get creative, like hkerr.com, hkerr.nyc, or hkerrwrites.com. My advice is to keep it professional if you’re using this as a portfolio and avoid hyphens in your URL. (Tip: think of how it will look on your business card).
If you have an existing domain, Bluehost can transfer the domain for you.
Step 4: Account Details
Tell Bluehost who you are, how you’re going to pay, and establish a username and password for your Bluehost account. This is also the part of the process where you select the plan you chose in step 2.
A Few Notes on Package Options:
In order to get the lowest price ($3.95 a month) for your website, you’ll have to select the 36-month plan, which has a free, 30-day money back guarantee, so if you aren’t satisfied you can cancel it in that time frame.
Here are a few more of my recommendations on their upgrade:
- Site-backup pro: I go either way here. There are free options on wordpress that do the same thing, but you have to be willing to do some research and should have a bit of tech-savviness (i.e. you can youtube). If you purchase site-backup pro, you’re paying to have someone handle the setup for you. And if you ever do need to restore a backup, you can tap into Bluehost’s support team to help.
Site-lock domain security: Not really worth it. If you aren’t taking credit cards or selling things on your site, you probably don’t need this.
- Search-engine jumpstart: Not necessary, especially if you’re only using this as a portfolio website.
You can always decline all of these package options at the beginning and add them later if you want them.
The next step will be to input your payment information and agree to the Terms of Service.
Step 5: Create a Username and Password
After you submit your account information, you’ll be prompted to create a password. Your username is the email address you already provided.
Step 6: Log In to Bluehost to Install WordPress
Once your account is all set up, you’ll want to use your username and password you just created to login to Bluehost so you can install WordPress.
Step 7: One-Click Install & Pick a Theme
Bluehost handles the installation of WordPress. Once you login to your account, it’s already set up.
Next you will be asked to pick a theme. There are thousands of free and paid themes on WordPress and selecting the right one is one of the most exciting and overwhelming parts of owning a blog.
My recommendation: Right now, while you’re setting up WordPress on Bluehost, don’t worry too much about which theme to choose. You will have an opportunity to go back and install a new one. Bluehost includes step-by-step video instructions on how to install a theme, when you do that later.
Click “start building” to customize your site.
Step 8: Customize
Bluehost guides your customization options by asking what type of site you want to set up. Here is the difference:
- Business: You’re trying to sell a product or service. You will need a way to take payments, etc.
- Personal: This is my recommendation for those looking to set up an online professional portfolio or online resume. Even if you’re setting up a blog that you want to convert into an online business, you can customize it for a business blog later.
Bluehost has a lot of tools built in to help you customize your site. Before you launch your site, you can explore and play around with configurations, and get familiar with WordPress, if you haven’t used it before.
Step 9: Pick a Theme, for real
So, in Step 6, Bluehost wanted you to pick a theme to launch with. Now, you can take some time to research and find the perfect theme for your site’s purpose.
- Free themes: Here’s where to find all of WordPress’ free themes.
- Paid themes: I love buying my themes from Creative Market. Every theme I’ve purchased has been great.
Free vs. Paid Themes
My advice: start with a free one. There isn’t much difference in terms of quality. While you’re in the “planning and developing” phase of your website or blog, you might need to experiment with a few themes before you know exactly what you’re looking for, so I wouldn’t spend money on this right out the gate.
Installing Themes on Bluehost
Bluehost has a great step-by-step video tutorial for installing themes. You can easily switch them to see which one fits the needs of your online resume or professional portfolio best.
Step 10: Add Content to Your Online Resume
Depending on the theme you’ve used, you can add information about yourself to your online resume. You can also begin adding items to your online portfolio.
Step 11: Launch Your Site
Now that you’ve customized your site, added a bit of content, and picked the perfect theme, it’s time to launch your site!
You can change your site title and description at any time.
Congratulations! You’ve launched your online resume and portfolio, and it only took ten steps! You are now the owner of your very own website. Don’t forget to add your website link to your LinkedIn profile and on your business cards.
Did you try this? Leave a link below to your online portfolio so I can check it out!