Wow ’em with your website

What makes a great website? Written content? Graphics? Funny gifs? As a part of my multiplatform journalism class, we’re working on creating our own websites to host online portfolios. I’ve been doing some research and found three unique webpages that are effective for different reasons.

1. Portfolio site:
While looking for sample portfolios for inspiration, I stumbled upon this one. I love it, because it’s visually appealing, well organized and informative. It also gave me an idea of what makes a portfolio site effective:

  • Sleek, visually appealing design that still doesn’t distract from the content
  • Utilizing different pages (ex: Home, Résumé, Clips, Contact)
  • Links to the owner’s social media sites
  • A tab that makes it easy to contact him or her
  • A number of samples/clips — this person has them organized by subject!
  • An online résumé that features work experience and relevant skills

2. Online news site:
Another site that I find unique is that of the St. Louis Beacon. I actually used to intern for this newspaper, and it’s cool because the content is 100 percent online. However, the set-up of the site is different from most online news sources, because it looks similar to the front page of a print newspaper, and one can “flip” through the different pages. Some other features that make this site effective:

  • Different tabs/pages: Register, About, Contact, Donate
  • A “News Watch” that shows headlines from other major news sources
  • A ticker that updates with the Beacon’s latest tweets
  • Links to all social media sites
  • The “Public Insight Network,” which allows readers to easily contribute to stories — whether its sharing ideas or acting as a source

3. Miscellaneous Website:
I’ve talked about it before, but I absolutely love Brandon Stanton’s blog, Humans of New York. It’s different than the other sites I mentioned in that it’s centered around visuals. However, he manages to tell an intriguing story with each photo and a simple sentence or two. Besides Stanton’s storytelling ability, here are a few other aspects that make the site effective:

  • Sleek, colorful design that catches the viewer’s eye
  • Multiple pages (again)
  • Easy to navigate
  • The focus is on the photography, with few distractions on the pages

So there you have it! Three websites that have got it goin’ on. Take a look around and see if you can draw some inspiration from them! I know I have.

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