In 2018, I took another picture book illustration class and we had to create a portfolio website for our final class presentation. There are many ways to create a website and some are free and easy to use for beginners such as Weebly.com, Wix.com and WordPress.com. I set up jenichenart.wordpress.com for the presentation and since it’s free, you will see wordpress.com after my name.
The teacher talked about Behance which is an industry specific network for creatives to showcase their work. Art directors go there searching for talents and you may get freelance work from there.
After some consideration, I decide to set up my own website JeniChen.com using WordPress.org. Unlike WordPress.com, WordPress.org (own by the same company) provides more flexibilities, including search engine optimization (SEO) functions to increase traffic to your site and you get to own/control your content, yay! The downside is that if you don’t have any technical backgrounds, there’s a learning curve. But there are so much information and tutorials out there, you can google your way into some proficiency. No coding or html knowledge required.
When people want to find you on the internet, they usually search by name. That’s why it was recommended that we snatch up the domain with our name in it as soon as possible. I purchased my domain name JeniChen.com and web hosting from GoDaddy. In 2019, Google flagged my site as unsafe because I did’t have something called SSL certificate. GoDaddy charges $99.99 per year to have this SSL certificate while some other hosting companies provide it for free. I will be looking for new hosting company soon.
Here are some basic general steps to get started:
1. Buy a domain name and web hosting plan. WordPress.org recommends these three companies.
2. Follow the instructions from your hosting company to install the free/open source code on your own hosted site.
3. Start playing with every button and functions on the backend. Google anything you are trying to do. I just googled “how to have different themes on wordpress” and found step by step instruction on how to do just that. I wanted my portfolio and my blog to have different looks and different functions.
Sometime I thought I was way over my head and I should just hire a professional to do it. Other times, I found the challenge interesting. It’s like finding the pieces to a puzzle that was a vision in my mind and I can change it anytime I want. When I found the missing piece to the puzzle and made it work, how satisfying it felt!
PS. My site is a basic portfolio and blogging website that gave me a presence online that’s my own. There are many ways and options to build a website. This article is about how I build my portfolio and blogging website JeniChen.com using WordPress.
PPS. I just learned that anything you put on WordPress.com, they can use for free and they can shut you down like Facebook/Twitter, etc. On the other hand, you own your content on WordPress.org.