Web-hosting Research: Moonfruit and Portfoliobox.

After looking in to some web-hosting sites, I came across two that I felt would give my portfolio an edge in terms of layout and the ability to add multiple features. I had considered using a site recommended called Cargocollective and also this seems to be a site that I may want to use, judging by the layout options I felt as though this site might tend to focus more on photography than any written content. The writing aspect is really key to my portfolio as I consider this my strongest point on my course; and so any site that I choose to host my work on needs to be able to cater to this particular trait. I narrowed it down to two sights that I felt had the potential to host my online portfolio in that of Moonfruit and Portfoliobox.

The first site that I attempted to experiment with was Moonfruit, I chose this site because I felt the examples that I had seen were really interesting in terms of layout; and definitely something that I would consider reading further as a viewer if I was looking as a client.

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I found these templates and layouts to be quite striking, and so I thought that if I was to use Moonfruit I could make my portfolio look just as professional as the images above. It had crossed my mind that a lot of sites that use Moonfruit tend to be small online businesses, which made me question it a little; however I thought that there would be no harm in seeing what the navigation would be like for using such a site like this.

Before signing up, one of the main reasons why I chose to experiment with Moonfruit was because it offered a free version. This is something that I feel was key to me picking to using this web-host because as a student I am simply not in the position to be paying for a website; especially as with a majority of these site you have to pay the annual sum all upfront.

Upon looking at the different layouts to choose from, I decided that I would go for something very simple as I personally feel that this makes a portfolio appear more professional. After playing around with the logo I came up with the image below.

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I was finding the navigation of Moonfruit a little confusing, so I decided that I would try and get one of the other sections of my website sorted out in that of the About Me section. From looking at other biographies on the research websites that I had featured in my last post, I felt that this section would be better suited if it was written in third person as it seemed to me a little more professional than simply repeatedly saying “I” all the time.

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I wanted to keep my ‘About Me’ section quite short as I felt this would make viewers more inclined to read it as opposed to a lengthy biography. As this section is for me to provide a written account of my professional accomplishments I felt that it would be key to mention the work experience that I have gathered over the years so far with my film articles. I also felt that it would be good to mention the success of my fashion blog and where it has taken me so far in its short life-span; along with giving me the opportunity to able to work with the likes of online fashion companies Chiara Fashion and #AccessAllAsos. I have also mentioned that in the summer I accepted a contributors position at Planet Ivy’s film section as this shows the type of journalism that I would like to go in to once I graduate from University. I also chose the image of myself above from one of my fashion blog posts as I felt it was the most flattering image which also looked quite professional. I feel that with this image it shows those who are interested in me from the fashion prospective can see from this image what my style is like; which is obviously ideal if clients want me to write something that is fashion related. I like the fact that I am able to have a fair sized image on this page, and I feel that it doesn’t distract you too much from the text either as they are relatively the same size.

My only real problem with Moonfruit is that its incredibly difficult to navigate even if you just want to do one simple thing. I feel that looking at my logo in comparison to other online portfolios that this is simply not up to the standard that I want my site to look like. So I have decided that I don’t think Moonfruit is the right site for me to be hosting my portfolio on. Another reason why I feel this site isn’t right for me is also because I cannot link up my Youtube channel to the page; and as this is a vital aspect of how I blog especially to show my range in expertise using multimedia that I could not continue with building my site on here. It is also incredibly frustrating to design anything that looks professional looking in comparison to the other sites that I have researched in to; and I feel as though I simply do not have the time to be reading in to the mere basics of this program when I should really be focusing on the content that I want to feature on my portfolio.

After being thoroughly disappointed with what Moonfruit had to offer, I decided to do a little bit of research in to what alternative site I could use to host my portfolio. After reading through this article about how to create a professional portfolio using Portfoliobox I thought that it would be a good idea to try experimenting with this site.

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What I instantly found incredibly liberating using this site was the fact that I could change my layout at anytime. So nothing was particularly set in stone in terms of colour or design; and if I wasn’t happy with the way something looked I could change it if need be. As an example, if I wanted to present some of my photography in a horizontal manner I could; while on the next page I could present my journalism page in an entirely different way. It felt like a refreshing way to test out the different features that could be used for my portfolio by building it from this site. The web-hosting site also contains pages that are accommodated to each presented need; for example, for my multimedia page I could use the video page tool so that I can add in my weekly video diaries on upcoming projects. Portfoliobox also contains a free version, which luckily for 30 days unlocks all the features that the Pro account contains; which is ideal for me as it means I can take advantage of the tools the paid account has in order to make my site look that much more professional.

Again, as I find that the most simple layouts have the most impact in providing an air of professionalism; I decided to go for a rather simple layout. When looking at previous sites for research I often found the busier looking sites to be distracting and made me personally not want to read them; despite the fact that they probably had very interesting content included on them. Due to this, I felt that the best layouts were the ones with the menu placed on the left of screen; as I personally feel that this makes it easier for the viewer find the work that they are looking for.

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From looking at other portfolios online, I also thought that it was a nice touch having the background of the layout being filled with the person who’s site it was trying to sell. Due to this, I looked back at some of the photo-shoots that I had been a part of during my time at university where I had been the model. I found these two black and white images of myself appear to be the most striking and the most professional looking. I also thought that a black and white image would be good to use as the background so that it wouldn’t distract anyone from the main content of the site; like it would if it had been a coloured background for instance. I also felt that a plain black and white image wouldn’t clash with any font or text colour and could be quite clearly seen in contrast to my background fill image. Which is something that I picked up on quite early when researching layout examples of other online portfolios.  At first I was quite anxious to have myself as my background, as I felt it suggested to potential clients that I may have a high level of being big-headed. However, I felt that both these images help solidify my experience with fashion blogging as they are quite similar to the images I have here on this blog as it shows that I can not only do styling but I am comfortable in front of the camera as well. I also felt that as this is supposed to be my online portfolio then I should sell myself as much as I can.  As I was not sure which one to pick, I decided that I would try and see which one looked the best and tested them out on the site itself with some of my content going over the top to see what the correlation between them was like.

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As you can quite clearly see from the images above, the head-shot background looked best in comparison to the image with the full body as you can this image more prominently than the other; which is why I chose to keep the head-shot image as my main fill in background.

 So far, I would say that I’m really happy with the way Portfoliobox has let me have a bit more freedom in choosing what I want my layout design to look like. I think its a really nifty web-hosting site as it appears to have a wide-range of tools that I would like to experiment with further when creating my portfolio and making it look as professional as possible and selling my work in best way that I can. I prefer this so much more than I do to any other site and so I have decided to use this to host my site purely for these reasons. What I will need to do in the meantime is choose the exact content I wish to feature on site which will require a lot of thought and consideration as it needs to not only be varied to show off my different journalistic skills, but also appeals to my target audience of potential clients and employers.

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