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5 Free Sites to Help Journalists Build an Online Portfolio

Whether you’re a soon-to-be J-school graduate or a journalist looking for a new gig, one thing you will most certainly need is a good portfolio. And not just any portfolio — it has to be online.

When a potential employer Googles your name, you want your website — complete with all your best articles, social media profiles, videos and other work — to be the first thing that shows up.

An online portfolio is the new first impression and you want yours to be a strong one.

This doesn’t mean you have to b a web designer or someone who can code in their sleep. Luckily, more and more sites are popping up that make collecting your clips in one place and creating an online portfolio as easy as 1-2-3.

Here are five sites to visit if you are in the market to create your own online portfolio. They all offer the ability to create a customizable URL, are free (unless you choose the paid version), and don’t require you to know any code. The most work you’ll have to do is click the mouse or trackpad.

WordPress
A WordPress blog is probably the most commonly used platform for journalists looking to create an online portfolio of their work.

It’s relatively simple to set up and free if you use WordPress.com to host your blog instead of hosting it yourself, which costs money, with WordPress.org. (Journalism.co.uk has a pretty comprehensive article outlining the pros and cons of self hosting.) If you decide to go the WordPress.com route, there are a ton of different designs and plugins available so you can customize your site.

I don’t want to go too in-depth about WordPress because there are already a lot of tutorials and blog posts about it online, especially if you use WordPress.org. Needless to say, if you choose WordPress, you’ll be in good hands.

Cuttings.me
If you don’t want to worry too much about customizing your page design and are more concerned with collecting all  your articles in one place, try Cuttings.me.

To create your portfolio with Cuttings.me, simply register and make an account. Then you can start to upload PDFs or links of your stories. These go on your page and in no time, you have an online portfolio all set up. You can also link to social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter and include a biography.

We wrote about Cuttings.me back in November and since then, the site has expanded to include an open journalism directory where you can add which beats you cover.

“Everything Cuttings.me has done so far has been about making life easier for journalists — quick, easy to use and a clean design,” founder Nicholas Holmes told me in an email.

Update: For users in the U.S., you can also try clippings.me, Steve Buttry informs me. Same site but geared toward those in United States and Canada.

Pressfolios
Pressfolios is a brand new site that, similar to Cuttings.me, offers a one stop shop for journalists looking to put their work online.

The site is still in private beta but I got an early look at it and have to say it’s definitely a great platform. Adding a story to your porfolio is extremely easy – you just copy and paste the URL and click the “add” button.

You then have the option to modify anything from the story’s text to the featured picture to the date and publication name. You can also add tags and generate a PDF from the URL, which is really nice if you do ever have to print out copies of your articles.

My favorite feature is that you can manage your stories by publication. If you’re a freelancer or have had other writing jobs, organizing your clips can be one of the most important aspects of a portfolio and Pressfolios makes this a pain-free process. It is also very simple to connect your social media accounts to the site and add other contact information.

(After this post came out, our sister blog, MediaJobsDaily, published an in-depth review of Pressfolios.)

Flavors
Flavors.me describes itself as “the easiest and most stylish way to create a unified web presence.”

While it’s not specifically geared to journalists, many find it useful because you can stream all your social networking sites, videos, RSS feeds and a variety of other content into one page. It’s a point-and-click system where you drag and drop what you want, where you want.

The free version has seven layouts and 222 fonts available but if you go for the Premium version ($20/year) you can use a customized URL, more layout options, real time tracking, a mobile version and other useful perks.

About.me
Right now, whenever I click on a journalist’s website, I seem to be taken to an About.me page.

Even though it isn’t exactly an online portfolio site, About.me is all about promoting yourself. Like Flavors, About.me lets users create one web page that points visitors to various content across the web. It’s tagline is “a personal web page that’s all about you.”

The design is sleek (you just upload your favorite picture as the background) and lets you easily link to your profiles on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Unlike Flavors, About.me gives you access to free analytics on who is visiting your page.

Stick the link in your email and potential employees can easily find out about you from one site.

What do you use for your online portfolio? Add any recommendations in the comments section below or on Twitter, @10000words.

Keyboard image used under Creative Commons license courtesy of Jerry Bunkers.

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