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How did you create your very first online presence?


Senior Member
Hi all,

I published a blog post yesterday on why I think it makes good sense to outsource work that you don't have a full understanding or capability of. In my case I did this for the coding of my website/blog.

I had one comment from a student asking what they should do if they don't have the money to outsource?

I'd like to write a response post suggesting ways that design students, with very little money to invest and little knowledge of coding, can produce an online presence that's still considered professional.

Off the cuff I suggested showcase sites like Behance and Deviant Art. Are there any more sites like this that would be suitable for budding designers to send prospective clients/employers?

I'd also like to suggest other routes that might be taken such as:

Exchange of services - finding a coder that will do a job exchange.
Perhaps use blogger/wordpress hosted sites
Single page portfolios to cut down on the expense
Is a facebook fan page acceptable now? (probably not but I thought I'd ask :) !)

I guess the question is should people with limited knowledge of coding be forced to struggle through and do it all themselves with a sub-standard result? Surely there are better options available?

I'd like to know how you produced your first web presence wheter you were a designer that couldn't coder or a coder that couldn't design.

Any suggestions or insights you can offer will help me out a lot, as I think it's something that a lot of students would like some advice on.


First web presence back in 1997 / 1998, designed and coded a website for university as part of my course, was all designed in Dreamweaver and was for a 2 year project we were doing (making our own short film or TV pilot).

Was absolutely awful and used frames :eek: :lol:


Senior Member
Sounds pretty similar to my first efforts. My first two sites were terrible.

What is the alternative now? Is there a better way of going about it now, are there any resources or sites for the clinically broke?


Senior Member
I think it depends on what your presence is showing.

If you want to show off your skills in web design, it needs to be a well designed website (in my opinion) using the likes of behance just wouldn't showcase your design skills in full (my opinion)

If you are a graphic designer or illustrator there are so many portfolio creators out there that I think it'd be more than adequate way of starting.

I'm in a continuous loop of not being quite happy with the ideas I come up with and learning more which improves the ideas. Some times I think I should just get on with it, but I feel first impressions are so important I find it difficult to convince myself :) hence having no work out there


Senior Member
Cheers for your thoughts, I guess this problem is for designers and illustrators that don't specialise in web and code. Obviously if you are trying to see yourself as a web designer you should have your own site, as anything else would not sell your talents properly.

Can you recommend any specific portfolio creators that might be of interest to those wishing to use them?
I've always leaned more towards Web and interactive Design than Graphic Design, and have an interest in both the visual side of things and the development part. My first web presence must have been around 10 years ago (wish I still had a copy of it as it was bloody terrible, and also used frames hehe! :)) and I just wanted to get my design online so I started diving into HTML, and loved the fact that I could create a full working website out of my design. I get almost as much satisfaction out of cracking a coding issue, and getting the Information Architecture and user experience right, as I get in nailing a good design.

As mentioned, I think it's different for Web Designers, as in most cases you're expected to be able to do both the visuals and the front end development. And If I was a pure Graphic Designer I'd probably outsource the coding part as well. In the same way, If I had to do a project that included branding for a relatively big client, I'd probably outsource that bit to a Graphic Designer.

Can't really think of any good portfolio creators apart from WP folio themes. Sorry Ken, not much of a help. :)


Senior Member
I have pretty basic knowledge of HTML / CSS so I used Cargo for my online portfolio. Its really good, you can customise everything, and its only £20 (I think) per year. You do need some knowledge of CSS to make changes so maybe not for everyone.

If you just want to get your work up & out there then alot of people use Flickr or Behance. Welcome :: Indexhibit is also very popular.

Here is a selection of Cargo websites so you can get an idea of what people have done with it.

The content is the Cargo


Senior Member
Thanks Dean, I'll check those out.

All the info offered by you guys will help me out when if comes time to write the article, cheers.

If anyone else can suggest other resources it might help someone out a lot further down the line. :)


Staff member
Believe it or not my first website was a portfolio one lol

Did it all using wysiwyg in golive after spending time in photoshop and on paper getting the design sorted.

Follow a similar basis now but usually go in and manually tidy up the code since I've learnt more but still as I don't specialise in it need to have a basis to work from type affair.


Senior Member

I made my first web presence when I was 16 years old (and only just at that!). Designed my website myself - had never coded before but learnt it enough to put something together.

Ive uploaded it to my server and its viewable here: my first web presence

Link to it in your blog if it helps.

On a more serious note, i heard Carbon Made was meant to be rather good - havent used it myself but worth a recky i recon.



Active Member
My first site was a little HTML site for my design work built in Dreamweaver with all the treats of old DW WYSIWG coding, managed to put it together after taking a few HTML lessons with a friend, and the help of a Dreamweaver forum for some troubleshooting. Thankfully I think it's lost deep in the archives never to be seen again!

If I was back to square one, and didn't have the money to outsource I would try and firstly find a friend who could help me with coding, if not probably grab a free HTML/CSS template and try hacking it up by changing the images then colour codes in the CSS. Or alternatively try and find a developer who would be interested in an exchange, so they code my site design in return for some design time, a trade of services that's mutually beneficial :)



Senior Member

(obviously not a "live" screenshot)

My first design was table-based and a few weeks after launch, about two years ago at the age of 15, I recoded it into valid CSS/XHTML. I never got the blog to work though. The site was online for about 6 months. And I've had the ugly purple thing ever since :p

EDIT: this wasn't my first design, just my first completely finished website including code