Design Career Series: A Web-based Portfolio for Newbs

Are you crunched for time and looking to build a website? Here are my tips for beginners:

Decide whether you want to use a paid, or free content management system (or CMS) .
The CMS is a website that allows you to create your website. The CMS you choose will depend on what kind of customization options you want. A very easy CMS with the option to pay, or not, is WordPress. A fairly straightforward paid CMS is Squarespace. Any other suggestions? Please share in the comments below.

I developed a site on a CMS that required monthly payments, but in hindsight I would now choose to create one using a free CMS. Once I got a job I realized I didn’t feel like paying to keep my website going anymore, but I’d still like to have a mechanism for displaying my work online. As a result, I’ll be redoing my portfolio website using a free CMS.

Register an account with the CMS of your choice.
Sign up and begin your new site.

In the following steps I will tell you how you can replace the initial Web address with a better one that you have purchased.

Brainstorm domain names.
The domain is the address of your website. For example, the domain of this blog is If you don’t purchase a domain name you will likely have to incorporate the name of the CMS  you are using. For example, if I hadn’t purchased a domain for this website then it’s address would have been In my opinion, that is just a little less polished and not as easy for people to remember.

Check to see if that domain is available.
You can either do this through the CMS with which you have an account, or through a website like Domains at Cost. Personally, I chose to go with domains at cost, as prices seem to be extremely reasonable there. Any other suggestions out there for good sites to purchase domains?

Purchase the domain.
You will typically be able to purchase a yearly registration and of your domain.

Replace the original domain of your new Web account with the one you purchased.
This is called “pointing the domain.” The CMS you have signed up with will likely have step by step instructions guiding you through the process. If all else fails, contact their tech help desk. They can either guide you through, or do it for you.

Pick a theme and get started.
For those of us that aren’t code pros, your CMS may offer many great themes to choose from. This is one of the reasons why WordPress and Squarespace are good choices for us newbs.

Incorporate many of the print portfolio tips we have already discussed.
Those can be found here.

Spread the word!
Include your website information everywhere you can. On your business card, in your email signature, on LinkedIn, in all networking tools possible! Networking is a key to success and definitely something I plan on talking about in the near future.

There you have a few tips to get started on a simple website. Any further questions or insights feel free to comment below or email


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