Welcome! You made it to the launch site.
Together, we will create your online Portfolio in 6 very easy-to-follow steps. It will take you no longer than 15 minutes and a little bit of thinking upfront.
At the same time, it will create massive value for your reputation and ability to accelerate your reach into the world and your potential to connect and interact with new people.
The following steps will help you to launch your first WordPress Portfolio Website in no time. We will cover everything you need to know, step by step, no headaches, no dead ends.
So now what?
By now you know what WordPress is and more precisely what’s so special about it. You got to know the many good reasons why you should have an online Portfolio and you might have received a significant boost of confidence from browsing through the best and most innovative Architecture Websites of 2018.
So now what?
Well, now its time to pull the trigger and fire up the engine. We are about to take off.
The quick steps upfront – It’s as easy as:
1. Choose a domain name
2. Start the engine by choosing a hosting company
3. One Click WordPress Installation
4. Choose a WordPress Theme
5. Upload your WordPress Theme
Create your online Portfolio
It is time to unlock all the obvious and the more surprising benefits that can result from sharing your work and thoughts with the world. Being present online can become a major asset for your career and in a “google driven generation” it becomes an inalienable part of the creative craft.
Our end goal for today is to provide you with an awesome online Portfolio that creates an outstanding reputation for you and your work.
Step 1 – Choose a domain name
The first step is more of a preface to the actual steps since it involves some consideration and thinking up front about your digital web address.
Ask yourself: What name should people type into the browser line in order to find you?
Your web address or domain name is ultimately a part of your brand and often times it is the first point of interaction.
Your domain should be appealing
Companies put a lot of consideration into this question and it is not uncommon that they spend huge amounts of money to acquire the preferred domain name that fits best with their brand.
However, to create your online portfolio, you don’t need to take it that seriously. Just pull out your pen and mark down some ideas that come to mind.
Take the following hints into account:
– too long
– too complicated
– trademark infringement
– sounds good
– easy pronounceable
– intuitive and easy to remember
– fits with your brand or your personality
– short, but not too short
Combining a name with a domain extension can be a fun and playful thing to do and it can lead to very creative and smart combinations.
However, don’t overthink it, yourname.com will be just fine and should be the first idea on your to-do-list.
Unless your own name is way too long, too complicated to remember, too hard to pronounce or to type, I would go with the yourname.com approach.
In case your name causes some of the mentioned issues you could also try to only use your first or your second name. Whatever sounds better. If not available you could try some more exotic domain extensions like yourname.me or some trending ones like yourname.io or yourname.co. You could also consider using the specific domain extension of your country, e.g. yourname.se for Sweden.
Just in case you want to go deeper on that topic, there is a smart article on iwantmyname.com on how to pick the right domain extension.
Use namecheap.com for brainstorming
Let’s go, head over to namechaep.com and play around with domain names and domain extensions until you come up with something you like.
Your dream domain is waiting for you – check upfront if it’s free and up for sale. For illustration purposes, we used “thisisyournewportfolio” as an exemplary search:
If you find a combination you resonate with and that is actually available for sale, you are ready for the next step.
To keep it simple, we will use namechaep.com only for brainstorming ideas. You could also buy and register your domain with namecheap.com right away but in our case, at the beginner level, we want to leave out some possible confusions.
Don’t get me wrong, I love namecheap.com for buying and managing several domains and I am using it myself.
But, at this point, it would only make sense if you are more advanced and you want to buy several, and maybe more exotic domains.
As mentioned we want to get you off the ground as save and quickly as possible and leave out possible dead ends. To keep it simple, we’ll grab your domain together with your hosting plan in the next step.
Time to take action.
Step 2 – Start the engine
After the part of intense thinking, it’s finally time to take real action. We are about to start the engine by choosing a hosting company.
A Hosting Company does mainly two things: Host all of your files, that are part of your Website and provide a free and easy WordPress Installation. That’s it.
The hosting company is responsible for the consistent availability of your files online.
Means when someone types your domain in a browser line, the Hosting company is responsible to show your Website with all your content:
A: As fast as possible
B: At any given time 24 hours, 7 days a week
Indicators of Quality
Therefore, to identify a great hosting company we should consider some indicators of good quality.
1. Speed – The time your website needs to load
2. Uptime – The percentage of time your website is actually online (should be very close to 100%)
3. Reliability & Support – The amount of security and the care for the customer
4. Price – The price you pay in relation to the quality you receive in return
Since there are many many hosting companies competing against each other, there are huge differences in quality.
In order to find the best Hosting Company for my own website, (archiitect.io) I already put in all the work, went through myriad tests and comparison and found the one Hosting Company I fell in love with Siteground.
Webhosting Services crafted with Care!
WordPress itself is recommending Siteground and since I am able to draw back on my own experiences from the last year, I can say that the mentioned indicators of good quality are exceptional. On top, the price is amazing and the setup as easy as tying one’s shoes. Everything is truly crafted with care.
You get everything you need and additionally you get automated managed updates, which means WordPress will be updated for you in the background. Hence, no headaches after the initial setup.
After creating Portfolios for many years and by drawing back on my own experience with a variety of different Hosting Companies, I would always recommend Siteground.
Besides, if you decide to buy your Plan by clicking on one of the referring links, I might receive a small commission from Siteground. The price you pay is hereby not affected, but Siteground might reward the referral and in that way, you can easily support the project on the way. Of course, only if you want to.
Just another side note, I only promote a service when I feel absolutely confident, based on my own experience, that this will add significant value and quality to your journey as well.
So, finally, let’s get serious.
1. Choose a Plan
We choose the “StartUp” Plan in the “Web Hosting” Category. This is the smallest available plan, that offers everything we need for a solid rocket-launch. You will receive a powerful Hosting that is specially crafted for a great Web Start. The plan costs around 3,95$ per Month (Date: 06/30/2018) and gives you all the essential hosting features you need to accommodate an average-size blog, personal, or business website, or in our case, a rock-solid online portfolio.
On the side, archiitect.io is still running on the same plan!
The “Start-Up” Plan is the perfect choice until you start attracting more than 10,000 unique visits per month on a regular basis. That would be a lot!
If you do so, that’s great! It means that people love your website and you can easily upgrade to the next plan. In that way you can always keep track with your growing audience.
2. Choose your domain
Now, Step 1 comes into play. Check “Register a new domain” and enter your preferred domain that you figured out previously. Moreover, choose the domain extension you want to go ahead with and proceed.
As you can see below, exemplary we choose the domain that we figured out in Step 1: thisisyournewportfolio.com
3. Review & Complete (Pay with Credit Card)
Given that you did a great job in Step 1, then your domain should be free and available for registration.
If so, you will receive a “Congratulation” alert and you can proceed to enter your account information as well as your personal data.
Proceed and provide your payment information. Review your purchase information and complete the payment process.
That’s it. We’ve successfully launched and finished the 2nd Step. Congratulations, your account was successfully created!
Wow, easy like that. We have set up your web hosting in no time, now we can jump right to the next step.
Step 3 – WordPress Installation
The terms “WordPress” and “Installation”, especially in this combination, might sound technical and maybe a bit like rocket science, but in fact, you will laugh how easy it really is. Instead, one could better say “WordPress Activation” and it will take you no longer than 1-minute and approx 6 clicks. It’s in fact absolutely hassle-free and very straightforward.
SiteGround has made this process very intuitive. After proceeding to your customer area they will ask you, how you want to set up your hosting. Then, SiteGround will guide you through these quick steps.
Make sure you check, “Start a new Website”.
After checking “Start a new Website”, they will ask you, which software you want to install and provide some options. Of course, we want to install WordPress!
Now you have to choose your “login details”. That is your individual username and your password to later login to your website. These are the keys to your whole website to create and modify content. So make sure you choose a strong password, write it down and put it in a spot where you will always find it.
SiteGround will offer you an additional Site Scanner to keep your Website save. You could buy that or leave it out for now. If you think that’s necessary later on, you could also add the Site Scanner Service later.
Good news, your Website is now up and running. Finally, you have a fully functional WordPress Website that is already connected with your domain and is showing the standard WordPress design.
Basically, these first three steps are the fundamental part of creating an online Portfolio. You have registered a domain, set up a decent web hosting and activated WordPress. You are life! People can reach your website, now it’s time to make it look special.
If everything went well, you will now see the following design connected with your domain. In our case, that would be thisisyournewportfolio.com. Everyone who is launching a WordPress Website will get this standard design after the initial setup.
It feels pretty good to launch your first website, right? For me, it always feels like a magical moment when a few clicks turn into a digital product.
Your WordPress Website is now up & running and has the standard design. We are ready for the next step – to hook you up with a professional design.
Step 4 – Choose a Theme
In order to save you all the hours by browsing through thousands of Themes by yourself, I did the job for you and created various collections of the best WordPress Themes for Architects and Creatives that are available online.
In doing so, I applied high standards for the evaluation process and searched for awesome designs that are carefully executed and that provide an outstanding online experience.
Take the shortcut
From here on you have two options:
A: Try to make it on your own through the wild Jungle of WordPress Themes. You could start with my guide on choosing a new WordPress Theme and then start your individual “search program” on themeforest.net
or, you can take the shortcut, and
B: Simply jump right to the collections of the best Portfolio WordPress Themes and save you a ton of time.
In order to find your perfect WordPress Portfolio Theme in the shortest amount of time, check out the following collections. In the latest best-of collection, I compiled the golden nuggets from all the previous collections and gave some insights into the evaluation process.
That should be your first stop:
In the unusual case, that you can’t find a Portfolio Theme on archiitect.io that makes you smile, please let me know.
Choose a Theme
Pick your favorite Theme that fits best to your individual vision of a modern online Portfolio and you are almost ready for the next step that brings you real close to the finish line.
1. Choose your Theme
Choose the WordPress Theme you like the most and add it to your cart. Exemplary, we choose Calafate, one of our all-time favorite Portfolio Themes.
Then, go ahead, checkout and buy your Theme.
2. Create your Account, Pay and Checkout
Simply create your account, choose your preferred payment method and checkout.
Once again, if you decide to buy your WordPress Theme by clicking on one of the referring links, I might receive a small commission from ThemeForest. The price you pay is hereby not affected, but ThemeForest might reward the referral and in that way, you can easily support the project on the way, too. Of course, only if you want to.
3. Download the Theme File to your desktop
After you finished the payment process you can easily download the whole Theme as a ZIP-File to your computer. We will then pick up from there in the next step and upload it to your WordPress Website.
Whatever Theme you choose will be available for download in your account.
Well done. Now it’s finally time to install your WordPress Theme.
Step 5 – Upload your Theme
The next step is equally easy and straight-forward. We will upload the Theme-File to your WordPress Website and in that way replace the standard design with the professional Theme you just bought.
To access your WordPress installation you have to go to www.yourdomain.com and add /wp-login.php at the end. In our example that would be: www.thisisyournewportfolio.com/wp-login.php
This little extension at the end of your domain forms the gate to your Website (called back-end) where you can manage everything, create content and modify the design.
Enter the login details you just assigned in Step 3 to enter your WordPress Website.
Welcome to the command center of your new website. This is what WordPress looks like in “the back”. From here, you have full control about everything that happens or that should happen in “the front” of your website.
Whether your are running the Harvard Business Review or your personal portfolio, every WordPress Installation in the world looks like this:
In order to upload your Theme to your WordPress Website, just follow the instructions which I provided as Screenshots from setting up thisisyournewportfolio.com with Calafate. However, the process is the same for every WordPress theme, whether you are also using Calafate or any other one.
Final sprint, let’s get started.
Login to your WordPress Website and perform the following actions, circled in green.
Optionally, after logging in, you could also jump right to the next and final step and watch the video with “First Steps” created by the authors of Calafate. It is a short and comprehensive video for the initial setup. The first 30 Seconds show the same steps that we will perform now.
Anyhow, go to “Appearance”, then select “Themes”.
Then, hit “Add New”.
Next, click “Upload Theme”.
Select the Theme File that you just download in the previous Step 4.
Make sure you unzip the Theme-File before performing this step. If you are using a Mac, you just need to double click the ZIP-File to unpack the Theme Folder. In case you are using a Windows System, you might need a program like Winrar or Winzip.
Go into the Theme folder, in our case with Calafate, go to the folder “01-Theme”, then select “calafate.zip”, then hit “Open”.
Then, hit “Install now”.
Finally, after the successful installation, activate your new Theme right away or go to “Appearance” / “Themes” and hit “Activate”.
Well done, you are very close to the finish line. Everything it takes is some customization on the Theme settings.
That’s it. Your Theme is uploaded & activated and ready for some final customization.
Step 6 – Customize
Customize the shell
Customizing a theme is somehow like having a completely finished building and then being able to change the color of the doors and windows or even the interior of a room. However, the basic architecture of the house, the shell construction, remains the same.
Same with a Theme. You can change the content of the pages and posts, insert your logo, write your own text, set your own colors. However, the basic architecture of the Theme remains the same.
That is why a good theme design is so important, it will provide the framework for a beautiful website.
Upload Demo Content
Finally, it will alway be helpful to upload the Theme’s demo content. That basically means, that all the content (post, pages, images) that you see in a specific Theme-Demo will be imported into your WordPress Website so that your own site will look the same.
I’d always recommend this initial setup for every theme because then you can experience the design as a whole and pick up from there.
As mentioned, the authors of Calafate created a short and comprehensive video of the initial setup. The first 30 Seconds show the same steps we just performed in Step 5. Then, they will show you the process of importing demo content, activating the necessary plugins and setting up the front page.
Being able to see the whole theme with demo content, will help you to customize everything according to your own personal vision by simply exchanging the content with your own projects.
Just follow the few simple steps in the video:
Afterward, perform the absolute last and final step and set the primary menu. Simply go to Appearance / Menu and then hit “Manage Locations”.
From there on, you select the primary menu as “Menu 1” which has been imported with the demo content and hit “Save changes”.
Your portfolio website has been successfully set up.
That is what Calafate will look after performing the few steps we just did. Don’t get confused the images are blurred only for copyright purposes. As soon as you upload your own images everything will look sharp again.
Update your portfolio website with everything you have to offer, customize the colors and upload your logo – then – you are ready to conquer the world.
If you need help with the customization of Calafate, just check out their excellent documentation with explanations for any option that can be set within this theme. As part of the documentation they’ve created 10 short explanatory videos that will teach you anything you need to know for a smooth customization experience.
Including the following topics: Customizer, Menu Setup, Custom Page Builder, Creating Posts, Blog & Magazine, How to work with lightboxed elements, Building a project, Building a more complex project, Calafate Covers Settings.
On top, they provide a solid support center in case you have any question that is not covered in the documentation.
Take your time
Be patient and don’t push too hard, that would be my last advice.
The process of customization should be the fun part. Bringing your website to life by uploading your projects and content feels amazing. It is the moment where you open up the doors and share your work with – potentially – the whole world.
Nevertheless, it might take a little bit of time to understand how things work. Play around and enjoy the process. Simply have fun and be curious. Soon you will be able to navigate through WordPress smoothly and intuitively.
Bringing your website to life is an amazing feeling. It is the moment where you open up the doors and share your work with – potentially – the whole world.
That’s it. Congratulations, you made it. And it wasn’t that hard, right? Now everybody can check out your online Portfolio from any device – worldwide.
You might want to go ahead and print your web address on a business card and share it with whom you want and wherever you are. You could also just put your cards somewhere on a table and let people discover your work by themselves. There are so many amazing ways to share your online portfolio and create attention and eventually even a following around yourself.
Hopefully, you found this guide helpful and you enjoyed the process on how to create your online portfolio.
Epilog – The differences
The part of customization will slightly differ from Theme to Theme since every author has a somewhat different design approach.
Nevertheless, the layout and structure of the WordPress “Command Center” will always remain constant. Also, Step 1 to 5 will be the same for everybody who’s about to create a WordPress Website.
The only thing that can actually change is the number of additional options that will be available for the Theme design and that is simply due to the individual author of a Theme.
That can mean, that the process of adjusting the design of Portfolio Theme A, can slightly differ from Portfolio Theme B. But as already mentioned, WordPress as the basic foundation never changes and will stay the same for both Themes.
Anyhow, that is nothing to worry about. Any author of a good WordPress Theme will practically always make sure, that you will find a smooth way through the customization process. That is usually achieved by providing a comprehensive documentation and an additional help center.
It is in the best interest of any Theme Author to make you become a happy customer.
If people would get stuck in the middle, they wouldn’t provide any value, lose a customer and most probably harm their business by getting bad ratings on their Theme. You have to keep in mind, that many authors make a living from selling professional themes on platforms like ThemeForest. They usually put a lot of effort into documenting the Theme as detailed as possible and provide a Customer Support Center on the Side. In that way, they will take care of your issues if you are not able to solve them by yourself.
Calafate – a best practice Theme
If you look at Calafate, this is somehow the best-practice way of creating happy customers. They’ve created an excellent documentation of their Theme and tried to answer any question that could probably arise during the customization process upfront. As already mentioned, they provide short explanatory videos within the documentation that will teach you anything you need to know.
On top, in case you could have any doubt about some detail explained in the documentation or any other you can just create a support ticket and they will try to help you as better as possible.
If you decide to use Calafate, you’ll definitely be in good hands. Nevertheless, every professional high-quality Theme will most likely offer you a documentation and a help center to ensure you get smoothly through the process of customization.
Theme = solid framework
The big advantage towards many other “do-it-yourself website-construction-kits” is, that here, you can get a Portfolio Theme from a professional designer that serves as the foundation and the framework for a beautiful website. You don’t need to jump into the role of a web designer anymore and adjust every detail. Everything you need to do is customize your Website within that framework. Everything else is pretty much set.
In that way, you keep the powerful design and just tweak it a little bit, in terms of colors, logo, structure and put in your projects.
That is why a good design is so important, it will create the foundation, provide a solid framework and will make your Website look amazing no matter what.
Show your Portfolio?
I’d be happy to see what you’ve created. If you like to share your Portfolio with us, feel free to do so.
I’am also considering to present the best online Portfolios from aspiring creatives on archiitect.io in the near future.