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The web is constantly evolving, it’s past phases can be VERY broadly categorised into three sections.

An average website would be static and difficult to update, with the flow of information very much being a one way process, from website to reader.
Websites were glorified brochures. When new mediums emerge they often ape their forebears, for example early television was simply radio with pictures.

The next evolution came when sites became more dynamic, both in terms of motion and how easy they were to update.
How regularly a site is updated is deceptively important, it’s one of the key differences between print and screen. For example a few years ago if you wanted to sell your car privately you’d typically place an advert in Auto Trader magazine and a few weeks later with any luck your motor would be off to a new home, now it’s far more common use eBay where the whole process can be completed in a matter of hours.

The most recent stage of the web’s evolution came with the emergence of web 2.0.
This a bit of a wide ranging term but can be summarised by the flow of information being a two way process, with the user becoming a contributor. This is typified by the emergence of the Blogosphere, YouTube, Flickr, Delicious and the like.

The design agency Modernista have taken the philosophy of web 2.0 to an extreme by not having their own site but instead using user generated sites to host their content.
http://www.modernista.com

You might think what has this got to do with my personal site, well a great deal. You need to demonstrate you’re an active member of the design community and the easiest way to do this is to utilize the web 2.0.

Blogs demonstrate to employers and clients; who you are, your design style, how you communicate and your area of interest within graphic design. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of posting to your blog several times a month. Start to use it like a sketch book, recording exhibitions, fliers from gigs, your thoughts the rebranding of Pizza Hut, your personal projects, university work etc. Blogs can be what differentiate you from the other tens of the thousands of graduating graphic design students. If you feel the need to blog about your personal life create a separate blog so you maintain a professional appearance to potential clients/employers .

Simply creating a website or blog and hoping it’ll get significant traffic is like having a CV and not sending it out to employers. So you have to market your website by actively participating in the online design community.

Bath based Carsonified came up with a clever way of using the Blogosphere to market themselves. carsonified.com/events/carsonified-golden-ticket

My own online presence has followed the evolution of the web in philosophy and technology.

When I left Complete Control several years ago I created a web portfolio.

davidgillett.co.uk
It’s built in Flash as this was my strongest skill at the time. It’s has a number of disadvantages, the images can’t be used by blogs, it’s a pain to update so I haven’t really touched it since it was built, the images are quite small, there’s no way of flagging my latest work. If I were to do it again I’d do it very differently. It fails as a self promotional website because I didn’t clearly identify what it’s key aims were before designing and built it.

My second self promotional site is for my personal photography.

gillettphotos.co.uk
It too is built in Flash but this time all the content is dynamically drawn in so it’s far easier to update. It’s still brochureware though.

The third self promotional site I built was my Blog.

davidgilletthasablog.com
My blog acts as an online module file, it’s not meant primarily as self promotion. It helps me to organise and record my thoughts. I’ve simply used a template from a blogging site as it’s focus is it’s content and it’s not primarily a sales tool. It takes a matter of minutes to upload new content, as I’m generally incredibly busy that’s a big plus.

My most recent self promotional website documents a personal design project.

Graphic Teasign
This site was built so I could learn how to adapt blogging templates to my own needs using wordpress.org. This is now an extremely common way for non technical designers to build small to medium websites as the learning curve’s not very steep.

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