How to Build a Portfolio Website in WordPress – A Step-by-Step Guide
A portfolio website is a collection of websites designed to display the creatives’ work and, ideally, generate interest in pitching potential clients. The majority of portfolio websites are built on WordPress, a free and open-source content management platform that enables journalists, bloggers, and other content creators to conveniently build websites.
Whether you’re an experienced web developer or designer who wants to try his or her hand at creating a portfolio website or are simply looking for the how-to guide, this article will help you jumpstart your journey to become a WordPress pro.
Choosing A Hosting Service
Before you build your portfolio website on WordPress, you’ll need to choose a web host. A web host provides the space on which your website will reside and allows you to install and run various applications such as WordPress. There are many different hosting services available and, ideally, you’ll want to go with a reputable hosting provider in order to ensure that your website will remain live and accessible to the public for as long as you need it.
You’ll also need to consider the size of your website. Large websites generally require more server resources and can become sluggish once they reach a certain size. For that reason, you might want to restrict the amount of content that is stored on a single page so that your website stays fast and smooth even when it gets quite a bit of traffic. Another important factor to take into consideration is how many databases the host provides for free. You’ll need at least one database for your website, and the more the better. Having more than one allows you to easily split test and replicate content across multiple sites or subsites without having to worry about running out of space.
Setting Up A Development Environment
WordPress is a complex application and requires a few programming tools to be able to develop for it. In order to use WordPress as a platform for your portfolio website, you’ll need to have a development environment set up. A few popular platforms with which you can develop and test your WordPress sites are:
- WORDPRESS (CLI) – The Classic HTTP API
- XAMPP (CLI) – A quick and easy way to get ready to develop WordPress sites
- MAMP PRO (GUI) – A popular choice among developers because it provides a one-click install of many PHP-based web applications
- PHP (CLI) – The command-line interface for PHP (pronounced “PcHiP”)
- JEFFREY HAZELMAN’S AMP STUFF (GUI) – A collection of extensions and scripts that make developing with WordPress easier
- KEEPASITE (CLI) – A free and open source tool that helps automate the process of setting up a development environment for WordPress sites
- SITEISLATIN (CLI) – A free and open source tool that provides a complete database of Latin words and phrases—a must for any WordPress user
- DIGITALOCEAN’S DBDOCTOR (GUI) – A tool designed to make setting up and configuring MySQL databases a breeze
- MOJO SEO (CLI) – A free tool for automating and monitoring SEO processes within WordPress
- FREEMANANCER’S WPGroombusters (GUI) – An SEO tool designed to help WordPress users find keywords and relevant content to optimize their sites for
- GOOGLE ANALYTICS (CLI) – A free tool that provides detailed site statistics and allows you to view the performance of your website across devices
- SEOMODO’S SEO PACKAGE (CLI) – An all-in-one SEO tool from SEOMODO that enables you to prioritize keyword searches, analyze competitors, track performance, and submit sitemaps to Google without needing a developer
- EMBELLION’S WPSITE BUNDLE (CLI) – A collection of WordPress development tools which include a web-based editor, SEO tools, and more
- WPLANDMARK’S HOSTING SERVICE (CLI) – A web host with a built-in WordPress installer that makes setting up your development environment simpler
The next step is to install WordPress on your hosting account. Installing WordPress is actually quite simple and takes only a few minutes. A WordPress installer will walk you through the process step-by-step. Once installed, you can access the dashboard where you can click on the Settings icon and then on the Writing tab to customize the theme, colors, and other aspects of your site.
You can also click on the Reading icon to see a list of your favorite articles. You can click on any article’s title to be taken to its page, and from there you can click Read more. This feature makes it easy for readers to stay connected to your content even when they are on another device.
Creating A Username And Password
You’ll need to create a username and password for your WordPress site. Keep these simple yet unique identifiers clean and short. Remember that your password is case-sensitive so make sure you type it correctly. You can also use a password manager like LastPass to generate strong and random passwords for you.
In order to make using WordPress more convenient for your everyday needs, you can install the official WordPress app from Google Play or the App Store. This app provides you with a handy dashboard where you can see all the necessary information about your site in one place. You can also install the WordPress mobile suite which provides similar features along with a few extensions that make developing with WordPress even simpler.
Understanding The Role Of A WordPress Theme
WordPress themes are what give a WordPress site its overall look and feel. Themes are generally either created by WordPress developers or sold as part of a larger package by third-party developers. In order to use WordPress as a platform for your portfolio website, you’ll need to install and activate a theme that suits your needs. You’ll also need to understand the role that the theme plays in your site’s functionality and overall design.
WordPress themes come with a lot of features and can be quite complex. With that complexity, however, comes a steep learning curve that is necessary in order to fully utilize all their potential.
Choosing A Presentation Layout
When designing a portfolio website, you’ll need to decide on a presentation layout: Should the pages be stacked on top of one another or should they be presented on a flat page?
You’ll generally want to go with the former when presenting information because it provides the viewer with a sense of depth and an overall greater feel of professionalism. However, if you want to keep things simple and clean, you can opt for the latter.
Setting Up Sub-domains For Different Projects
If you’re using different themes for each of your projects, you might want to set up sub-domains for each one of them. For example, you could have a theme for your design projects and a different one for your blogging efforts.
This way, each project can have its own address which will direct visitors to the relevant content.
Creating The Perfect Header Image
Your website’s header is the large image at the top of the page that provides your visitors with important information about your site. Designing the perfect header image for your website can be a challenging yet rewarding process. There are several things you can do to make sure your header image is perfect: