The information below is a direct excerpt from the book “The Definitive Guide to Getting Freelance Writing Work on oDesk“. If you’re a freelance writer and looking for ways to make money straight away, using sites like oDesk and Elance are a great place to start. I was able to quit my job because of the work I was doing on oDesk – you could do the same!
What Sites to Use For a Portfolio (own site vs hosted sites)
Here are some websites where you can have a portfolio outside of oDesk– which you should. In oDesk, you want to provide samples of your completed work. On a portfolio site, you want to provide samples as well as customer testimonials and any work you've done outside of oDesk.
But not all portfolio sites are created equal. Here are my top 5 sites in terms of setting up your portfolio website outside of oDesk:
- Clippings.me - This is probably the simplest and easiest one to set up. Once you’ve joined, set up your profile like you have your oDesk profile, making sure to add in all your personal details and your social media information (you have social medial channels right?!)Make your blurb stand out by applying a little SEO 101 to it. What do I mean by this? Keywords! Make sure whatever writing track you are heading down is mentioned in this blurb. It’s also a way to showcase your writing!The portfolio is easy to set up, allowing you to separate work into categories and include publication details. One of my favorite things about Clippings is that you get a browser bookmarklet, which means that you can capture your published work and add it straight to your portfolio without even logging in!This site is free, but for just $4.99 per month, you get some added extras such as a custom domain and a listing in their journalist directory.
- Writerfolio - If you are looking for something a little different, a chance to highlight your personality maybe, this site is probably more your style. For just $4 per month, you get access to their templates and themes as well as unlimited hosting of your samples and any scans you upload, plus your own domain support.This site is similar in setup to Clippings. Make sure your profile is properly optimized.
- Contently - This is not necessarily a portfolio service as such, as its primary objective is to match its users with freelance writing jobs. However, the portfolio side is fantastic and completely free. What more could you ask for, really?It is probably the simplest to set up, allowing you to list the publications you’ve written for and then searching those publications for your byline. You just have to check off the ones you want to show up. Think of it as the Pinterest of portfolio sites, as this is how your samples are displayed. It’s very good for a free service.
- Writer’s Residence - If you are just starting out and don’t have as many examples to showcase, this site is probably your best bet. Charges are in sterling pounds, at 5.49 per month. This gets you a simple, clean portfolio website. You can add as many clippings/samples as you need to, and you do have some customization options as well. I love that it is very clean and clutter free.
- Tumblr - While not necessarily a portfolio site, Tumblr is a great platform for freelance writers. It’s extremely easy to set up, it's free, and it allows you to quickly publish your samples or new content. There are themes you can use as well. It’s a good option if you don’t have a blog. You can use it as both your portfolio and your blog, making it a pretty powerful combination for a free site. Plus, your content will be syndicated out to all the other Tumblr users if it's good! Free advertising, that's what I love to see.
Benefits of Having Your Own Website
So it’s all well and good having a portfolio site as listed above, but what about your own website? As a freelance writer, shouldn’t you have a website that showcases both your work and your musings, ie a blog? What am I talking about? WordPress of course. A blog, but not just a blog. WordPress can be hosted on your own domain and it is a great combination of providing you with a platform for both a portfolio plus a blog to showcase how awesome you are.
No matter what type of writer you are, having a blog is key to showcasing your own free writing as well as having a place to house your samples. You can have a specific, separate portfolio site as listed above as well as a blog. Simply link your blog to the portfolio site to allow people to access your work, or use WordPress.
Here are some great websites that combine both a blog and portfolio:
- http://yolanderprinzel.com/ - Simple, clean and easy to navigate. This is a WordPress site.
- http://oscarhalpert.com/ - Eye-catching, with great copy (which is good because he’s a copywriter!) and a good photo.
- http://kristihines.com/ - This is an excellent example of how to highlight the skills that complement your freelance writing. This site is one of my favorites.
- http://www.emilysuess.com/ - This is another excellent example of combining and showcasing your skills.
- http://www.pathow.com/ - Something a little different, but a great example of displaying personality while maintaining professionalism.
What's your preference, a stand alone portfolio or a combination of portfolio and blog? Let me know in the comments below!